Phase 1 – Downtime
After we finished clearing out the insect threat at Nahwa we were taken by some high class limos to the nearby town of Madha. There one of General Hassan’s men, Amir, gave us each a credstick with 5,000 for our service. Then we were told we’d be summoned by General Hassan soon. We returned to Nahwa, and within a few hours were summoned by the General.
I analyzed Amir’s aura while he was driving us to the General and he seemed distracted – wanting to do something other than drive us around. At that time I didn’t realize he had a gambling addiction and was probably thinking of rushing to the camel races.
General Hassan met with us and was both helpful and in need of help himself. He had a man named Sadiq who could help Echo train in her matrix skills. Hassan needed help overseeing some construction to restore the Nahwa compound we had just made safe. Hassan agreed that his people could smuggle our team into Persia when we were ready. When we spoke of Lung, General Hassan said something that I wouldn’t forget soon: one is always in debt to a dragon.
We arranged to have an official ROP (Royal Omani Police) officer return our rental car to Dubai, and Hassan arranged to have a different person pick up our truth serum from Musid and acquire some reagents for me. It all was fairly uneventful, except someone tried to follow Musid. That kid shook the tail, though. We’re lucky to have met a pro like him.
I talked with Fual and told him we didn’t need help with the Blood Worm eggs. I told him where he could get some dragon reagents. He told me there was another film about our meeting with Lung available on the matrix. Echo investigated and found it was being auctioned off. She found the person conducting the auction on the matrix, tried to get a mark on him, but got a mark herself. Echo backed off. The team agreed it wasn’t worth too much hassle to prevent another video of us from being released.
During the next week we focused on training. Echo did a new workout regimen. I started to learn about alchemy and used my new skills to harvest 4 black wasp reagents. I also summoned and bound a water spirit which I hoped would later help us get across the Persian Gulf. Jeeves learned some basic Farsi and did a fantastic job coordinating the efforts of the construction workers.
At one point the boys (ZZ and Jeeves) found a secret room with some assault rifles and ammo. There was a gun safe in there, which the 2 managed to get open. They found more guns inside. They told me more about the guns, but I forget the details since I was distracted with thoughts of alchemy and reagents.
Phase 2 – Where is Amir?
After a week we were ready to go on to Persia. Zig Zag must have been climbing the walls with so much inactivity and so little drugs and liquor. Sorry, chummer, that’s life in the desert. However leaving wasn’t so simple. Amir was going to take us by boat, but he was missing. General Hassan suggested we go to his house and find him.
We arrived and before entering I astrally projected into the place. There was a trace of hermetic magic, and signs that Amir was taken due south about a mile before his trace faded. (Interestingly, I never did find the source of that trace of Hermetic magic.) Amir had been here just under an hour before. We searched the house and found signs of a struggle and blood. Amir had been taken away by camel.
We contacted General Hassan and found out more. Amir was a known gambler at the camel races. All signs pointed to Amir’s gambling problem leading to his disappearance. The general was willing to pay 5,000 for us to rescue Amir and an additional 8,000 if we could take out Lieutenant General Noname, who is Hassan’s rival and the previous commander of the ROP. Since losing his power with the ROP, Noname has turned to running the camel races and gambling. The General provided an unmarked truck for us to head to the camel races to find out more. He warned us of trouble at a chokepoint on the freeway on the way there.
Part 3: The Camel Races
We headed to the camel races in the town of Jebel Mileina and after a little into the ride it appeared that the Coin of Luck was binding to me. I glowed bright green and Chinese characters were visible in my aura. It read “Lu” (the name of the coin of wealth). Everyone began to get uncomfortable and I lost my cool. I reached to roll the window down and puked in Echo’s lap. We pulled over and Jeeves insisted we spend a good bit of time cleaning the mess up. An ROP patrol car stopped, but didn’t hassle us at all. They gave us water and seemed friendly.
It seems my fate is to make Echo’s existence a bit worse. First the demon stalking me ruins her apartment. Now the coin binding to me causes me to vomit all over her. Her fate is intertwined with mine in a way that makes her uncomfortable. It’s not what I want, but it is what it is. She doesn’t seem to accept my apology and just wants me to cut it out. I don’t blame her, but don’t know what to do about it.
Anyway, we are pulled over at a checkpoint on the way there, but that goes by uneventfully when we tell them we want to gamble at the races. We arrive at the races. Earlier I summoned an air spirit, Rover, who searches and confirms both NoName and Amir are on the 2nd floor of the main building at the races. We have a clear target area.
I decide that before we start the risky part of the run that this is my perfect chance to gamble and test my new luck, which is augmented by the Coin. The team seems to think this is a great idea and we put our bets together. 3,000 from me, 3,000 from Jeeves, 3,000 from ZZ and 100 from Echo. (She doesn’t quite trust things, you see.) I astrally perceive the odd numbers are lucky. I put our 9,100 nuyen on camels 1, 3, and 5 winning, in that order.
I want nothing more than to sit and watch the races for a few minutes while also doing a bit of subtle recon, but Jeeves doesn’t see it that way. He boldly enters the upstairs racing area and fakes his way past the guards. He has put us in quite an awkward position. Do we let our team get split up or follow him? All of us follow. One thing leads to another, and Zig Zag refuses to move when commanded by a guard and a big fight breaks out. Also, someone is trying to hack Zig’s comlink before and during the fight.
My guess is that either the guards back at the checkpoint tipped these guys off, or that Jeeves forcing his way into a forbidden area tipped them off. Either way, we’re screwed. Guns start shooting, drones start attacking us, people start dying, and we can kiss our bet money goodbye. Thanks a bunch, Jeeves and Zig Zag. You guys need to learn to have a softer touch. If we could re-do it I would have liked to hang out at the races at least 15 minutes before risking a fight.
Though there are more than a dozen of them we don’t do too badly. Everyone manages to get cover behind the bar, except for Echo who takes a few bruises from shots. Two of my air spirits take out NoName. Zig Zag turns the tide a bit by shooting down a drone and using his grenade launcher to take down a few of the enemy. Jeeves shows that he’s quite handy with his pistol. Soon most of them are dead, running or about to die.
We take control of the area, rescue Amir, and search. We find a credstick on someone we think is a decker, a credstick and Rolex on Noname, and a floor safe. Jeeves and ZZ manage to open the safe. Within is a book, 2 credsticks, and a felt baggie. (Could it be Crown Royal?)
Total loot: 4 credsticks, a Rolex, a book, a felt bag
We start fleeing the scene. We hear the revving of high powered engines. 2 helicopters are searching for us. (I confirm these are not ROP helicopters). It may sound bad, but given the fact we just survived a fight against a dozen enemy guns I don’t feel too scared.
5 karma earned: 4 for our efforts + 1 extra for doing good legwork