The Plastic Jungle

Shattering Illusions
Ruin's Relief

Ruin giggled and rubbed his hands together. Hong Kong was a red herring. We’re not going there after all. What looked like diabolic omens a few hours ago turned out to be an illusion. The demon wasn’t still playing with us from another dimension. Instead we fell for the lies of a cute girl.

As an illusionist I should know better than to fall for illusions myself. That geisha really played us. Even with my analyze truth spell over her I couldn’t see through the web of lies she spun. Next time I’m interrogating someone I’m going to take it slower and be more thorough. Looks like I’ll have a chance to practice in a few minutes when we question the leadership of the sweat shop.

Though I know Cantonese and my parents are from there, I wasn’t looking forward to Hong Kong really. It was going to be all business, no pleasure. And it would’ve been like searching for a needle in a haystack finding someone there. At least in Dubai we have a destination.

No Oongapei in Battleax’s future. Instead I’ll be buying her some nice duty free top shelf liquor in Dubai. Maybe some Grey Goose or Maker’s Mark. And definitely will have to pour some out in honor of Flit, one of the finest runners I’ve had the pleasure to work with. RIP

Zig-Zag's angry

As we listen to the warehouse audio feed and learn how we were fooled on the pier, Zig-Zag’s blood boils. Contrarily to common beliefs in the community, he is not typically prone to anger, but right now his mourning is turning into rage. He’s angry at being played, angry at losing Flit (she was OUR psycho bitch) after letting the fake decoy go.

Flit may be alive if we had not been fooled by the Geisha: ZZ believes that the latter is erasing all traces of her involvement with the Cathode Glow, which involves getting rid of Casey. Another option is that someone else wants the Lucky Coin real bad, but that’s less likely (if they want to find the bitch like we do, they’are doing it wrong by blowing up Casey’s neighborhood). Nope, ZZ’s convinced that Flit’s death’s on the Geisha, and he wants his pound of flesh… Or maybe 20 pounds.

There is hell to pay, and the asswipes in charge of the warehouse will be the first to feel ZZ’s wrath. He’ll squeeze every bit of information from them to know everything there is to know about their boss. Then we’ll blow the warehouse to smithereens. Who’s gonna be left in the building when that happens depends on the slavers’ level of cooperation…

Next we’ll go to Dubai. Not sure if we’ll use Djinn’s favor or a commercial flight, but we’ll have to go with the fastest route no to miss the rendez-vous. ZZ Can’t wait to meet her again…

The run went bad, tragically bad.
From Echo's perspective

I guess Flit was feeling guilty for shooting the young woman’s leg. Flit offered her 5K nuyen for a new knee. Zig Zag offered to pay half. Not sure why. Maybe he felt complicit in her injury, or maybe he just likes to play the hero.

Ruin is always thinking of money. Maybe that’s why he has so much. He suggested we take the Cessna. I told them I couldn’t change the ownership of it, certainly not quickly. Flit offered to start up her jammer, and Zig Zag drove it across the water to Thule’s safehouse. We tried to call Bogart, but he did not pick up my call. Flit tried to call him, too, with the same result.

Bam Bam called Zig Zag asking for help with a job blasting the warehouse behind Cathode Glow. Now that’s an odd coincidence. It’s the same place our decoy’s kimono is from. The persona offering the job was a cloaked figure Bam Bam met on the shadownet. Allegedly, there’s a sweatshop behind the Cathode Glow. Do they make kimonos, perhaps? Bam Bam didn’t believe it, as Casey, the dude who runs the Cathode Glow, is a decent guy who wouldn’t run a sweatshop.

Investigating the cloaked figure, I found some suspiciously radiant reviews on yelp. Digging deeper, I was able to trace the cloaked figure to his current location in Glow City. It was right about then that Zig Zag received a text from Bam Bam, “NOW!! TROUBLE.” Bam Bam was at the apartment complex where Casey lived, in Glow City. Hmm. There were bombs in four of the buildings, and Bam Bam was busy disarming them. He needed help getting Casey out before the whole place blew.

We hustled and headed out to Glow City to help him. Zig gave Ruin and me ride. Flit took her bike. Unfortunately, there was a traffic accident slowing us down. Cars funneled to a single lane to get past the mangled vehicles. The Knight Errant was using this as an opportunity to stop each car and inspect the occupants. I was prepared to fast-talk our way smoothly through the traffic stop.

Zig Zag had other ideas. He peeled out, driving along the shoulder and zoomed ahead. Two motorcycle cops pursued him. Flit came to our rescue by hurling a perfectly timed grenade. It landed under Zig Zag’s car, but did not explode until the pursuing cops drove over it. Never a boring moment with this crew.

Zig Zag called Bam Bam en route. B-squared told us what building he was in, which one he thought Casey was in, and where the bombs were. He had disarmed one and moved to find the next one. Bad guys were already one the scene. I was still trying to figure out the bigger picture, how this all fit together.

Flit sped ahead and arrived at the complex a few seconds before us. Patience is not her thing. She didn’t even slow down when she got close to the building. She just leapt from her moving bike and landed on her feet, ready to fight.

While Zig was driving up, Ruin conjured Downward Draft Dodger, an air spirit. It could provide backup for Flit until we got there. We were close enough to see an arrow descend on her. Not a normal arrow—an alchemy arrow that burst into a fireball. Sometime around then Ruin conjured (or summoned?) a fire spirit, BBQ. I’ll learn the names of the regulars eventually.

I went into Hot-Sim to get a closer look at this apartment complex. I was hoping there were cameras I could see through. If I was lucky, there would be a fire alarm system I could trigger. This is a shit neighborhood. Any fire alarm or fire suppression system probably stopped functioning decades ago. Still, it was something to look for.

Flit was down from the fireball only briefly. Her auto-injector had her back up on her feet. Ruin used some kind of mind control to get one of the thugs to shoot the other. I was blind and deaf here, so I only know what was going on by what they chose to share wirelessly. My attention was drawn away by a data spike. Someone attacked me. They were running silent, but I detected a resonance signature.

I could hear the activities in meatspace. It’s like listening to a baseball game on the radio. Zig pulled the car up to the apartment complex. Another fireball dissipated Ruin’s air spirit. And his fire spirit. You’d think the fire spirit would have some resistance, right?

After several attempts, I was able to find the technomancer attacking me. It was a cloaked figure, not unlike the one who hired Bam to destroy the Cathode Glow warehouse. What are the odds?

Zig Zag used a grenade launcher to take out an archer standing on the carport roof. The frag grenade tore through the guy and left a ragged hole in the in the roof. Someone shot an arrow on the Ford Americar disabling the engine.

The technomancer attacking me suddenly jacked out. That was somewhat surprising, as I had not dealt any damage to the trickster. Then I realized why the dude jacked out. The TM was onsite and wanted to wake up to move out before the place blew.

ZZ told me to get out of the car. I already knew the engine was disabled. I switched from VR to AR only to realize I was in a car that was leaking fuel. I ran out and used a nearby building for cover. Zig Zag was shooting at a guy on the 2nd floor of a stairwell.

Bam Bam told us the place was about to go up. Flit leapt up to the 2nd floor through the hole Zig had blown open. The corner of Casey’s apartment was also destroyed by Zig’s launcher. Flit entered Casey’s apartment and found him lying on the floor, unconscious from knockout gas. She ran in and grabbed Casey.

Knowing the whole place was about to go up, Ruin and I ran for safety. Two of the buildings exploded. Flit used her body to shield Casey. She chose to take the damage in his place, dying to save his life. Seriously, there’s no spin there. That’s exactly how it happened.

The explosion caused one of the buildings to collapse on Zig Zag, nearly killing him. I was injured but nothing serious in comparison. The place was obscured by smoke and dust. We collected Casey’s unconscious body. We did a quick heal on Zig and Casey, then we split in Bam Bam’s van. We rode in silence for a while. We were all thinking of Flit, but no one was ready to talk about it.

We went to the Cathode Glow in Tacoma. Casey let us in the front door. He explained about how he rented out the back warehouse. The money was good enough that he did not ask questions.

Ruin did an astral perception and was able to see about 30 figures on the 2nd floor. Sweatshop workers, maybe? No astral signatures.

I hacked the building’s host and went into the security camera logs. Many hours earlier, a Phoenix Thunderbird drove up. Out came the two guys we killed at the Cessna. Also, the young Asian woman we saw at the Cessna. It turns out, she was no decoy. That was our culprit.

Not only did we let the thief go, Zig Zag and Flit gave 5K nuyen before we freed her. I have to hand it to the girl—she is a fine actor. She had duped us all.

She was a great actor, but not necessarily a smart one. The stupid woman bragged about her plans: stealing the Coin of Luck from Djinn Massad and then selling it to a competitor. The exchange was scheduled for tomorrow night at the Che Lounge in Dubai.

Change of plans. Cancel Hong Kong. We’re going to the Persian Gulf. A good place to do all sorts of business. It’ll be a long flight to get there. Too much free time to think about Flit.

Flit's Farewell

The group was settled in at the Cathode Glow. Zig was scoping the outside of the building. Ruin was assensing the location. Echo was busy reviewing video footage trying to track down the geisha girl. Each was processing the loss of Flit in their own way. Suddenly a group call started to blip on the com and Flit’s name appeared on the caller id. With a sense of trepidation, the group answered the call.

After a brief moment, Flit’s face appeared on the screen, Flit’s real face. Not one of the many disguises she had started to wear, but the face of the real Flit the group rarely saw. She smiled into the camera.

“Hey everybody, I guess I ‘bought the farm’ as the old saying goes. Every runner knows that any run can be their last, and I suspect every runner has a message like this set up for their loved ones.” Flit paused after saying loved ones. She looked off camera with a slight furrowing of the brows. After a few seconds, she flinched and seemed to come back to herself and a wry grin spread across her face.

“So yeah, let’s get down to business. I have a few thoughts and gifts for each of you.”

“Hey, Echo. You’re one cool chick. I wish we had a chance to hang out together outside of runs. We could have tore up the town. But hey, living out in Tacoma is crazy sister. I want you to have my apartment, just make sure you hit the clubs once in a while, especially Club Sapphire. Let em know I sent you. They will treat you like a queen!” A message popped up in Echo’s AR feed with a digital code to access Flit’s apartment in Touristville. “Anyway, I hope you like the new digs.”

“Ruin. You dirty old man! You were always there for me when I needed some quick cash. I hope this pays you back.” Ruin’s comm beeped and a message popped up indicating a transfer of funds. 10,000 ¥ appeared in Ruin’s bank account. “Also, I hope this small memento will help you to remember me the way I want to be remembered.” Flit winked at the camera. A small folder appeared on Ruin’s comlink entitled “Flit’s Nudes”.

“Zig Zag…hey man. I know we didn’t always understand each other. I know you think I’m a pyscho bitch…and hey, I probably am. I wish I had your sense of….I don’t know, honor, I guess. Anyway, I have a bottle of wine I was saving for a special occasion. I want you to have it. Go to the storage unit at 1st Metro Saving and Loans. I have a safe deposit box there. The box is password protected as “Finer Days”. I hope you enjoy it."

“Well, folks. That’s it for me. Running with you all was the highlight of my career. Good luck in the future.” After a last wink and grin, the message ended and the screen faded to black.

Honoring My Teacher
Ruin's Thoughts

As soon as the girl mentioned Hong Kong my head started spinning.

Talus, that foul demon, originally told me he wanted me to go to Hong Kong to fetch a tome for him. He refused to pull any strings to help get the team and me to HK, and told me to work it out myself.

Now, days later, we were in possession of a tome, but we got it in Seattle, not HK. And we sold it instead of acquiring it.


It’s like the pieces are all there as Talus said they would be, but they’re out of order and scrambled. Much like one of those word puzzles Shen used to use to teach me conjuring. Once you unscramble the meaning of the words and rearrange them, suddenly portals to other planes open up. In my case, though, I’m feeling the need to close a few portals.

Talus says he wants to be my teacher, but I have a hard time believing him. He dangles magical secrets in front of me to tempt me, but I am not a donkey who plays the carrot and stick game. As far as I’m concerned he’s more of a mugger than a mentor. I do want the secrets he’s offering, but he could just be lying about offering them. I know demons well enough to not trust blindly. I won’t be enslaved as I saw my teacher enslaved before me. I won’t honor the memory of my teacher Shen by falling into the same trap he did.


Street cred 7
Notoriety 3
Public Awareness 3

Never let friends sleep over
Echo's perspective

I get now why his street name is Ruin. His stupid demon trashed my place. I had that apartment for less than five months. When things get that ugly, I just split the scene. Why stick around and wait for Knight Errant to show up? Sure, I could bluff my way through a statement, but I’d rather there be no evidence I was involved. A year from now I won’t even remember what name I used to rent the place.

Instead of making the exchange Odin hired us for, we just sold the item he gave us with nothing in return for him. I still want to work in this town, so we have to make this right somehow. Hong Kong sounds cool. Lots of work for runners there, or so I am told. I’ll have to let Mom know I’ll be “on vacation” and that I’ll get getting a new apartment.

  • Human female seeking room for rent. Must have access to low-noise grid. I’m rarely at home, and when I am, I’m usually quiet in my room. I have no pets but love cats and dogs. I won’t pass a background check, but I am happy to pay first and last up front. I prefer roommates who are tidy, non-smokers, mute, and asexual. No weirdos.
Flit's Perspective
I hear they have good food in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong huh? Never been, but I hear they have some good eats there. It might be interesting. I hear the Lo Mai Gai is to die for.

We’ve certainly had the run around for a relatively simple and low paying job. I got the chance to shoot some people, so that’s a win. Still, for being a quick and easy favor this is turning into a lot of work. If we can find cheap travel to Hong Kong I guess it might be worth going. I do owe that fracking bitch of a thief a beatdown for complicating my life….plus Lo Mai Gai!

street cred: 4
notoriety: 2
Public Awareness: 1


(out of character: I did some research and it looks like the official languages of Hong Kong are Chinese and English…so language may not be as much of an issue…unless Hong Kong changed their languages in the Shadowrun universe)

ZigZag's perspective
My word is my bond

ZZ is ambivalent about going to HK to recover the artifact and catch the thief.

On one side he has given his word to Odin that he would recover this item, and ZZ’s honor code dictates he should do it no matter the cost. He is not revengeful, but he’d sure like to best the thief, especially after all the paces she made the group go through. That much effort to lose us means the item she stole is very important, and therefore worth a lot…

On the other hand it’s definitely outside his comfort zone, and it’s probably cost more money than bring some, unless we can get Djinn to pay for some of it.

So in the end, ZZ’s vote is to go to HK and recover the goods.

According to Herolab:
Street cred: 3
Notoriety: 2
Public awareness: 0

Twas just a delivery job they said...

Right after the Sheik’s incident, Fleet and I exit the club. Fleet tries to track the “geisha” but can’t find anything relevant (there’s too many people here for that). I run ahead through the crowd but cannot find her either (if it’s really a woman…). That’s a dead end, he/she’s gone for good and we don’t even know what he/she looks like.

Echo and Ruin try to approach Massad, but they are rebuked by the Orc bodyguards. One of the orcs throws however a cheap commlink at Echo and tells her to wait for a call. Ruin tries to use his astral sense to find the assassin, but comes back empty handed and quite freaked out: he saw the spirit that had been stalking him for a while (looks like a nasty gorilla he says). He then sends two of his spirits to search for the geisha, to no avail. The exiting crowd is being funnelled by the police. We are scanned by drones, only Echo’s SIN is triggering an alarm. She is taken out of the crowd, a detective talks with her. I don’t know what they say, but he finds her gun, confiscates it and gives her a business card with a smile. Pig…

Ruin feels a gun stabbed in his back: it belongs to one of the Vori captains we already met before, telling him he should have come to the meet with the Terminator… Ruin yells “gun” and gets away from the gun. The Vori switches gear, trying to avoid attention from the Law, and tells he has a job for us, and that we should call him. As he moves away from us with his bodyguards, I tell him that first he should remove the bounty on our heads, then we’ll talk. He agrees, but I don’t believe one word coming out of his mouth.

We gather at my car while the spirits keep searching. Echo starts doing some Matrix research about Massad, but does not find anything of interest at first. The Commlink that was given to us can only receive calls, so we “just” have to wait. We however pickup the kimono that the fake Geisha dropped when escaping, with the name of a place named “Cathode Glow” on a label. The kimono is nice quality and the wig is tailored made. The Cathode glow: it is a tech shop in Echo’s part of town. We go to Echo’s apartment to rest. She searches the Matrix for information about Massad. We turn off the loaned commlink’s wireless mode. The phone suddenly rings: it’s the orc bodyguard, who wants to see us. We learn that the item Massad had was indeed stolen by the Geisha. He wants us to meet him at the Seattle Hilton hotel. We decide to do that after some rest.

At 5:30 am, after only a couple hours of sleep, Echo’s apartment alarm rings. Some of us wake us instantly. Fleet shoots instinctively toward the apparition in the flat: a giant gorilla with horns and bat wings. It seems very angry at Ruin. It somehow summons a wave of fear: Ruin, Fleet and I can only think to get away from that thing, only Echo manages to keep her cool. Ruin summons two of his spirits (a water spirit and a spirit of man). Battle ensues. I am useless, keeping a defensive position in the bathtub, aiming at the door for anything showing up. Alas the first person approaching is Fleet. I shoot her in the chest. Fortunately the armor blocked the bullet and will only leave a nasty bruise on her chest. Fleet then joins me in the tub and that all we wrote. Another wave of fear cripples us: Fleet and I are now catatonic in the tub, Echo still has her sheet together. The spirits keep fighting the invader, I have no idea what is happening. Fleet and I are holding each other’s hand in the bathtub while hearing the terrible battle in the next room. Walls shake, furniture is shattered. On the other side, Ruin fights for his life as the evil spirit tries to drain his magical power with a terrifying bear hug. Ruins desperately shoots a mana bolt at point blank and disables his opponent. The astral creature collapses. We know if it is no dead and will come back. We learn that this creature is actually demonic.

Echo decides to move out of the apartment before we get too much attention. She packs her stuff (not much) into a few boxes and duffel bags, then we load the car as the car sirens get closer. We then head toward Fleet’s home, where Echo is planning on moving for the time being. We figure that we’ll catch some sleep before going to the Hilton in the morning. On the way to Fleet’s place, Ruin explains that the demonic being was angry at him he had told us that the Ape wanted him to find a magical book in Hong Kong. While we rest, Echo is pulling some information about Djinn Massad. Rich guys from Dubai, owns two islands. Friend with the Hilton. Likes to bet lotta money on illegal pit fights. When seen with a woman, it’s typically a Geisha. His dad is an avid collector of artifacts. Before we leave to meet Djinn Jr, Ruin takes another look at the book: it’s got a ward, it’s a power focus.

Arriving to the Hotel, we leave our vehicles at the valet parking. Security refuses to let me upstairs if I have my Katana on me. This somehow rubs me the wrong way, I ask them to talk to our host and explain the situation. They are not willing to do so, and I refuse to back down. This leads to a Mexican standoff for a little little (my teammates do not understand my resolution). Fact is, no one touches my sword except my paladin mentor and I. Civilians just don’t get this. To avoid any further conflict, I hand off the book to Fleet, and the three others go upstairs while I stay in the smoking room, a guard keeping an eye on me. When their reach the hotel’s top floor (Massad has a penthouse there), I lose all radio connection with them. That does not sound right.

Upstairs, the others are stripped of their weapons by the orc security. They then meet Massad, who offers to just buy the book from them since he doesn’t have his part of the bargain anymore. He agrees to pay 20,000 ¥ each for the book and information to fin the geisha. This way we may be able to find the item and be paid by Odin as well if we recover it. Massad reminds my group that he doesn’t want to looking for the stolen package).

While I wait for them, I am stunned as I noticed a woman which looks a lot like our Geisha-thief! She has two men with her, checks in and goes to the second floor of the building. As my peeps arrive I explain what I saw. Echo starts hacking the hotel’s host to get her exact location. We try to book a room, but it’s all booked. Fleet tries to sneak into the service floors to reach the second floor, then settles in a small lounge near the elevator, pretending to play on his commlink. Echo accesses the hotel’s data storage. The footage indicates that the woman went to room 232, then left 5 minutes later with the three men. Asking questions to the valet parking, it seems they took an Airport shuttle a few minutes ago an seemed in a hurry.
We recover our vehicles and head over to the Tacoma Airport at top speed. Ruin sends his spirit to scan the freeways to the airport for these people. As we barrel down the highway, a cop intercepts us. The combined charm of Echo and Ruin, combined with the auspicious arrival of Fleet’s bike at full speed, allows me to avoid a fine. Ruin’s spirits finally find our quarry: they are not heading for the airport, they are going toward the West, most likely the docks! I exit the highway and head through nice neighborhoods as fast as I can, so does Fleet.

We finally arrive at the dock, and spot a seaplane preparing to takeoff. Two persons are on the dock next to the airplane. Ruin summons two spirits (Trident and Strider), but our opponent counters with two invisible spirits of his own. An invisible war begins between these supernatural beings. Fleet arrives on the docks first and starts shooting. Mon my car, Ruin casts Toxic Wave and tries both of the plane’s prop engines. It is now dead in the water, a few feet from the peer.

Suddenly a giant feline appears on my hood, obviously one of our opponents’ spirits. I try to shoot a burst of my SMG at point blank in its guts but the bullets bounce off its armor! It then breaths a cloud of poison gas into the car. Ruin and I wear our ballistic masks with gas masks and are immune to the attack, but Echo is very sick and nauseated.

One of the people inside the plane shoots a full burst at Trident, taking it down. The water spirit discorporates. I get rid of the spirit on my hood by executing a spectacular bootleg turn. The creature ends up in the sea, Ruin and I finish it.

We take over the plane and find the young asian woman I had spotted at the Hilton. She explains under duress that she was hired to be a decoy! The real thief has flown abroad while we were chasing the wrong woman. At first the girl refuses to say where her boss has gone, a few threats have her spill the beans: Honk Kong. Disappointingly, Fleet recoursed to torture, shooting the poor girl’s kneecap after being told not to cut her pinky off. Strangely, she then offered to pay for the knee replacement… Some people just can’t handle Kamikaze I guess.

Well, what then? Is it worth going to HK just to get a freaking book to return to Odin. We did promise to do that for him, so not doing so would be a black mark on our reputation. Still, that’s a long way just for 6000 or 9000 ¥. And when we’re there, finding that person will be very difficult. Only Echo speaks Chinese, and I don’t think the knows the right dialect for the region. Plus, we’ll all be outsiders over there, on an unknown turf. I don’t like this at all…

Shallow water
GM Summary

The crowd had begun to thin as if the wound of this fight between Alien and Crusher was still bleeding. Flit, frustrated she hadn’t found the Geisha, was beginning to think she had gotten away.

There is no way she could have gone this way, she thought. The hallway wasn’t wide enough to hide any longer.
As ZigZag approached, he indicated he hadn’t seen her either.

How the Fuck! Zigzag murmurs. Just then Zigzag see’s a small hairy hand wave. It was the dwarf ZZ placed his drink on.
Ah, shit. Here we go, thought Zigzag. A dead dwarf but no job payday. Maybe I should have just not answered Odin’s call. Whatever, the payday is good. ZZ just noticed it wasn’t the dwarves whole hand he was waving. It was just one finger.

fuck off pal! You should have put your money on Crusher!

ZZ wonders quickly, if he has the time to toss the dwarf, but thoughts of nuyen brought him back to, “Where the F… did she go?”

Echo wanders with the crowd trying to keep pace with the Orc body Guards heading towards another exit. She spots Ruin and they move in unison trying to keep pace.

Massad is our only link to the pay data right now. Echo thinks. Maybe he can give us some clues as to who shot at him? If he’s alive that is…

The over display of tactical location lets Zigzag and Flit know where Ruin and Echo are. Just as Flit pauses to change tactics he is drawn to the familiar Geisha color. He turns ready… and spots the falling outfit. whirling ahead, being tossed off several patrons was the dress the girl on Massad’s arm wore. Flit grabbed it and out fell a black wig.

Shit, it was a disguise.


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