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Next session is Saturday...
Don't forget to show them that 1 pic I posted with the little girl and the big gun Big Grin

Assuming you haven't already.
Oh, no worries, Peg's already seen it.  I showed it to her the day you posted it.  However, she prefers a different one I found:


Which I have to admit is a bit more adorable.
The game got pushed back to Sunday (yesterday), and I have the largest set of notes I've ever taken for a session -- nearly two full sides of a sheet of plain white paper, in reasonably small writing. When I get that all typed up. I'll post it. Hopefully I'll have the time tonight.
(Sorry that it's been so long folks.  I actually finished typing this up last night, but I was simply too wiped to post it.  And good thing I didn't, as I made more than a few embarrassing typos which I've just fixed over lunch.  Oh, and the other reason that this took until now to post is that Helen woke up on Saturday with a migraine, so the game was pushed back to Sunday.  Unfortunately, Tiffany couldn't make it on Sunday, so Attila played Yoruichi.)

Before we got started, we had to re-sync the calendar again.  The big issue was how much construction had been done on the warehouse and the time that took, and after we worked it all out, we determined that the  wyrd mantis hunt was taking place on Saturday July 24, 2055.  Once that was settled, we picked up where we had left off at the end of the last session, which was tracking back the mantises through the semi-rural outskirts of Iserlohn on the eastern edge of the Rhine-Ruhr metroplex -- after killing a wild minotaur which seemed to come out of nowhere.

Bikavèr, who had just caught up with us, got tasked with dragging the carcass of the wild minotaur back to the farm where we started the hunt.  As he trudged off into the growing twilight the rest of us followed the mantises' trail back until the woods we were in abruptly ended at a small industrial area.  The trail led us to a mid-sized one-story factory-like building with a prominent "Stultz Machinenwerks" sign on it; it continued around to the back of the building to a loading dock, where there was a metal garage-style door that looked like it'd been torn apart from the inside.  We studied the site a bit more and Valentine realized that the twisted metal was hiding an equally-damaged side door; it appeared to have been ripped open from the outside by someone humanoid and very strong, before the larger door was destroyed from the inside.

About this time Bikavèr had gotten the wild minotaur's body to the farm, where his arrival with it absolutely stunned the cops there.  He negotiated a 20,000¥ bounty on it plus 5000¥ per head for the mantises (and the right to keep the bodies).  In the process he had to dicker with a cop who's an anti-troll bigot.  However the cop's sense of duty and fair play (and the fact that Bikavèr was defaulting negotiation off his Intimidate skill) actually overwhelmed his prejudices and we got a good deal.

Realizing that we're going to want to keep the mantis and minotaur bodies in good shape until we can get them to our buyer, Bikavèr called Gunther back at our base and had him arrange for a refrigerated trailer to be delivered to the farm.  Bikavèr then approached some of the other cops -- ones who had looked disgusted at the first one's obvious bigotry -- and asked them to call him when the trailer got there.  They agreed, and he traded phone numbers with them.  Bikavèr then took off at his top running speed -- which is considerable, given that he's a troll -- and beat feet to catch up with the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch industrial park, Lukas had gone astral to scout around before we entered the building.  He immediately found a ward over the structure.  Pulling up short, he changed his plans and spent some time circling it and trying to get an idea how strong and how big it was.  A careful circumnavigation of the so-called "machine shop" revealed the ward was quite large and covered the whole building.  And while he couldn't get a solid read on the ward's strength without actually interacting with it, he was able to get a sense that it was more than a token barrier.

Just about the time Lukas decided that they'd have to break down the ward (because although it posed no impediment to physically walking through it, doing so would likely nuke their quickened spells, among other things), Bikavèr actually caught up with them.  Lukas explains to Bikavèr that they need to take down the wards, but doing so will alert whoever cast them.  "We'll need to be ready to move fast and get out fast, because whoever did this isn't just going to ignore the wards coming down," he says.

"You know," Valentine says, "we're working for the cops right now.  We're actually supposed to be here."

"Yeah, so?" Lukas says.

"So," Valentine replies, "call for backup!"

So Bikavèr called the cop with whom he'd traded numbers, and told him what we found and what we expect would happen the moment we blow the ward.  The cop took him seriously, thankfully, and let him know that they'd dispatch men immediately to intercept anyone responding to the ward.

That settled, Lukas and Bikavèr attacked the ward together from astral space.  (Well, Lukas attacked from Astral Space; Bikavèr has a physical adept ability that lets him attack astrally from the physical plane like a dual-natured creature.)  Slashing at it with his knife focus, Lukas drove the ward down to half-power with one blow.  (Which suggests that it was not too terribly powerful.)  Bikavèr, who had kindly let him go first, finished the job with an almost casual killing hands strike.  The ward collapsed utterly, and we all piled in through the shredded door.

Inside, the loading dock turned out to open directly onto the machine shop proper, with nothing more than a bit of warning tape on the floor separating the two areas.  We had no trouble finding where the mantises came from, because there was a clear path of wreckage through the various stations and equipment, leading to the left rear of the shop.  Naturally we proceeded along the path of destruction, Bikavèr stealthing his way out of paranoia.

But it was well-justified paranoia, as we'd barely entered the shop area when we were ambushed by five mantises which dropped out of the shop rafters onto us.  When we go through the surprise rules, it turns out to be a bizarrely complicated situation.  They gain surprise on half the party -- Lukas, Wolfgang and Valentine are caught flat-footed -- but the mantises never even noticed Bikavèr (what with his stealth and all), and he watched them drop, so he has complete surprise on them.  Yoruichi and Ylva weren't surprised, and can deal with the bugs normally.

(What does it say about us that the 300-pound, seven-foot troll child is the least noticeable of our little gang?)

Bikavèr took advantage of his situation and immediately splatted the two mantises attacking Valentine and Lukas with his Ranged Killing Hands adept ability.  Swinging her rifle through a short vertical arc while firing, Ylva killed the one landing on Wolfgang and then the one in midair just above her head; as she drilled the one above her it tried to attack her but it missed her head and instead the strike glanced off her body armor.  (If I haven't mentioned it before, most of us have child-model Secure Ultra Vests.)  The last the ambushing mantises tried to land on Yoruichi, but she just side-stepped and let it smack into the concrete floor.  Sadly, these things weigh too little for their size for that to actually have done anything to it.  She and it trade blows; its attack glanced off her armor as well while she drove a blade through it.

After gathering up the remains for further bounties, we proceeded further toward what we could now see were furnaces, smelters and kilns, all in a separate area to the back left of the floor -- and a staircase in the midst of it all from which the mantises had obviously exploded outward, judging by the damage.  We'd barely registered all this when we heard a voice -- female, hoarse -- say "Stop!"

There was a long give-and-take here which I didn't transcribe, but the upshot of what we learned is that, at the bottom of that staircase, behind more wards, was a female mantis spirit who'd been trapped in this facility by its owners to facilitate the breeding of wyrd mantises.  For what purpose, she didn't know, but she'd been there for weeks if not longer... and she was dying. 

Honestly, I somehow missed the point where we determined that she was sincere and not the bait in a trap, but apparently we did, because the next thing I have in my notes is that we studied the three-layer ward that was guarding the staircase down into what was apparently a camouflaged lab.  Lukas, as it turns out, doesn't have the Magical Theory skill needed to tell anything about the wards (he's all about the practical magic).  Fortunately Ylva and Bikavèr do -- and they identified first an alarm ward (which is exactly what it sounds like), after which there were two conventional wards of rather high strength.

By nature the alarm ward is no impediment, and we'd already alerted someone to the fact we're in here, so we blithely passed through it.  Then Bikavèr smacked the first conventional ward around.  We deduced from his die rolls that it was a Force 8 ward; he took it down with a pair of astral hits as sirens started blaring outside.  He then stepped forward and took down the next, even stronger (Force 10 we determine), ward.

Downstairs, we found the wrecked remains of a mantis breeding facility -- and a sickly-looking young woman in tattered rags, chained to the wall in her own cell, the air of which is redolent with an unpleasant chemical smell.  This, we learn, is "Laila" (or maybe "Lila", I never did get the right spelling), the mantis spirit, who had been forcibly manifested into the body of an unwilling young woman.  A couple small male mantis spirits attended her, but were not able to free her.  We learned that she was not only ill from mistreatment and undernourishment, but because the chemical smell in the air was a low-level insecticide used to keep her weak and manageable.  Well, long story short, we pulled one end of the chain out of the wall, and after giving us a "you guys are stupid" look, Valentine hacked the electronic lock on her collar at the other end of the chain.  As Bikavèr carried her up and out of the lab and the machine shop above it, Ylva and Lukas both took a look at her astrally and concur that she is indeed a Force 8 mantis spirit -- but she's in rotten shape.

When we got back outside, the cops were there waiting for us.  As we explained to them who Laila was and what's up inside the machine shop, we heard a helicopter approaching, apparently flying very low over woods in a different direction from that which we came from earlier.  The cops confirmed it wasn't something of theirs, and we told them to take cover.  Laila's little servitors carried her into the forest we came from to hide and protect her; she promised that we'd be able to find her later.

We prepped for imminent battle, but just to be sure, as the lights of the helicopter appeared above the treeline, Ylva hit it with a Detect Enemies spell, pushing the spell's range as far as she could, and very briefly detected five potential enemies aboard it.  But once its crew spotted the cops, and it abruptly turned around and buggered off.  Fortunately we were able to get its registration number for the cops, who don't have as good eyesight as <s>Bikavèr does</s> we do.

After we settled things with the cops, who proceeded with an investigation of the site, we looked for Laila.  True to her promise, it was easy to follow her attendants' trail -- the idea wasn't to hide from pursuit but simply shelter her from possible harm.  When we found her, we offered to take her back and give her shelter until we can figure out how to separate her from her host.  She accepted.

So, with Bikavèr carrying her again, we traipsed back through the woods to the farm where all this fun started.  We set Laila up in one of the fold-out beds in the van (remember, it's the camping model).  The trailer we requested had arrived in the hour or so that we'd been gone, and as Lukas swore that Gunther was going to get a bonus, we got it hooked up to the van.  Then we maneuver it around to where we'd stacked the bodies, and Bikavèr rolled the minotaur corpse into it.  After that, the rest of us packed mantis exoskeletons in around it.  We got our 100,000¥ bounty credited to us on the spot (16 mantises at 5K each, and one minotaur at 20K), and we headed back home. 

By the time we got back to the warehouse/base it's late and dark out.

We set Laila up in one of the few finished rooms in the former "office" area of the base, then looked at each other and asked, "now what?"

As we're trying to decide what to do next, Roksa let us know he's out of money for construction supplies. Lukas and Ylva gave him 4000¥ out of their shares of the bounty.  After that, Gunther gave us a lecture about firearms laws and what kind of trouble we might get into if we flaunt the illegal parts of our gear a bit too obviously.  (It's pretty clear he's worried that not only might we get ourselves in trouble, we might just cost him the cushy job he's gotten with us.)  During all this, we were making ourselves late-night snacks in the base kitchen, and after Gunther finished with his lecture, Roksa mentioned off-handedly that an accountant in the neighborhood had recently gone nuts at his office,  According to him, this guy grabbed a gun from his office's security guard, and shot the place up, killing half the staff.  Somehow we miss finding out what happened to him...

Anyway, over this snack the shamans were researching and discussing the problem of how to get Laila separated from her host, and the bad news they come up with is, they can't, not really, because the host's almost certainly not there any more -- the poor girl is dead in every way except her body is still breathing, and the only way to get Laila out of the body is to kill it.

This revelation causes dissension in the ranks.  Bikavèr points out that he promised to free her, and is willing to kill the body himself; and if he can't, he wants to be there when she's freed.  Lukas wants nothing to do with killing the body, and worries about its disposal afterward.  Ylva doesn't want to see the spirit suffer but never actually says what she thinks of about killing the host.  Yoruichi doesn't seem to care one way or the other.

As we argued over this, sometime around ten at night, Bikavèr's mentor Joachim showed up to check on him.  (I think there was a phone call made to let Joachim know we had just come back or something; I missed and/or failed to log why he chose to come by that late.)  He met the team on good terms and invited us all to a pool party that's being thrown by his wife to celebrate his return from a long, difficult assignment.  When he learned about Laila, he offered to handle the matter for us, with sensitivity and care. 

Later, when Joachim left with Laila, he also offered Lukas and Ylva a ride home, which they accepted.  On the ride to Lukas' apartment building, he and Joachim had a long talk about being a runner, where Lukas explained that while it's scary and not like the trid, he thinks they've been helping people, and as long as they keep helping people, he'll stay a runner.  Joachim offered to help him if he ever wants out of the profession, and gave Lukas his business card before got out of the car.

Joachim similarly quizzed Ylva as they proceeded to her uncle's place and she ended up telling him about how she originally was in Germany only for the summer, but now is thinking she wants to stay longer.  (There was more, but it went by faster than I could get it down on paper.)

The next day is Sunday.  Lukas stays home to reinforce his "ordinary school kid" cover.  Ylva plans to spend the day planting trees -- memorials to her father -- with her uncle.  And Bikavèr goes to check on the kids he was looking after way back in the first adventure of the campaign; Yoruichi goes with him. 

As they're leaving afterwards, they spotted a van on the street nearby rocking wildly.  The two of them went up to it -- "to check out the sexytime, no?" as Bikavèr puts it.  But when they got closer, the back doors of the van burst open and a crippled griffon leapt out.  It wass obviously injured, with a visibly infected and suppurating wound in one wing, and while it couldn't fly away, they couldn't calm it down either.  So Bikavèr carefully stunned it with a martial blow.  Looking in the van for any clues, they found only a dead fellow in a zookeeper's uniform, recently snacked upon by the griffon.

The two of them bundled the unconscious creature into Yoruichi's van, and called Lukas to come heal it.  Lukas reluctantly agreed, but when he got there he pointed out that the wound is obviously much older than an hour, and his only medical spell, Treat, only works in the first hour after taking damage.  They then called Ylva, who reluctantly left her uncle (with a promise to return quickly).  She actually has some real medical skill -- called Biotech in the game -- and managed to treat the griffon's infection and bandage the wound.

Lukas decided he doesn't get enough face time with his father and bailed on them.  After this, Yoruichi checked the news feeds and discovered that a zoo in Essen was robbed of several griffons a week or so earlier.  The motive was believed to be using them as the targets of an illegal hunting club.

So Bikavèr, Yoruichi and Ylva drove to the zoo.  After a little light comedy with the security guards and staff, who understandably wanted to know what they're doing with a wounded griffon, the zoo staff identified (via implanted chip) the griffon as one of the ones they lost in the robbery.  After Bikavèr lectured them on security, the three of them got a 10,000¥ reward for returning the creature.

And that's where things ended.  The only other thing of note is that by end of session Lukas had enough Karma to raise his Initiation grade from 0 to 1, which he did.
Next game session is Saturday.

Oh, and Peggy reminded me last night of a bit of business I forgot to log and post from the last game. Early on, at the start, there was another instance of what seems to be a very brief once-a-session discussion about having aliases/code names for when we run. Lukas has not bothered with one yet, and when someone -- I think it was Valentine -- pushed him too hard about getting one, he said, "If I gotta have a street name, then I'll call myself 'Hauptstraße'." Which got him groans and me showered in snack food.

For those who don't speak (or read) German, "Hauptstraße" is "Main Street".
The game session happened on Saturday as scheduled; I just haven't had a lot of time to type up the log. It's begun, but not even a quarter done yet. We got a lot done because it was pretty much the first session where there wasn't a firefight.
Sorry it took me so long -- it's been a busy week and a half.  But here's the summary of the latest game session for whoever still cares.  (Is anyone actually still reading this what with all the revived COH activity in this forum?)

Between Helen's usual anachronic appointment-keeping, a fire alarm in her building, and her dog, we started the game session some three hours late.  In the midst of that, Tiffany -- who had arrived with Helen and Attila, then stayed behind when they went to deal with the side effects of the alarm -- left before the session started, complaining of a growing headache as well as increasing body pain.  (Thanks to an accident she suffered before we met her, she has a number of steel rods embedded in her back and is prone to random fits of unbearable pain.)  So Tiffany left with her girlfriend before the session proper began.

When Helen and Attila returned only a few minutes later, it was decided that Yoruichi had taken off on her own and was out of touch.

So.  The game picked up with a bit of a flashback to the night of the 25th and Lukas, who had just been dropped off at his apartment building by Bikavèr's mentor Joachim just before the end of the last session.  Lukas walks into his family's apartment around ten at night -- and discovers that for the second time in a row, his father's there and waiting for him.  Lukas panics, having no idea how to explain why he's only getting home now, and starts to stammer out something, anything, to cover his ass.

Which his father completely ignores.  He doesn't seem to even notice, nor am I entirely sure he's aware that it's ten at night.  Instead, all his attention is on a packet of papers.  "Oh, hello, Lukas," he says.  "You're home, good, good.  I was contacted at work about you...  it seems you've received a scholarship to a special program for magically-gifted youth at Saeder-Krupp's corporate academy."  He tilts his head and looks at his son.  "I wasn't aware you were magically talented."

"Um."  Yeah, Lukas had never gotten around to telling Dad he was a shaman.  "I know a little magic.  Doesn't everyone?"  He desperately hopes his dad will buy that.

Dad looks at him oddly.  "No," he says slowly.  "I don't.  You need a special gift for it."  He shakes his head.  "Never mind.  In any case, this is quite an honor and will give you a substantial advantage in later life.  I strongly suggest you accept the scholarship."

Lukas is running through all the possible reasons for this sudden stroke of good luck in his head and cannot come up with anything that isn't suspicious.  "Can I think about it?"

"Certainly, son."  He puts down the packet and turns back to his computer.  "We'll talk about it tomorrow."  And with that his attention is completely on something else.  Lukas stares at his father for a minute longer.  Not a word about getting in at ten at night, covered with dirt and mantis goo.  He looks at Wolfgang.  Wolfgang looks back and makes a doggy shrug.  Having absolutely no clue what to do next, he washes up and goes to bed, seriously wondering if his father is absent-minded or mildly autistic.

Meanwhile, when Ylva gets home, her uncle has a very similar packet and even more questions, starting with, "who do you know in Saeder-Krupp who would submit your name for a scholarship?" and going on from there.  He can't deny it's a good offer, if it's on the up-and-up.

After Joachim has dropped off Ylva, he calls Bikavèr.  Joachim, who is very highly placed in Saeder-Krupp (he works almost directly for the dragon Lofwyr, who runs the corporation), says basically, "I forgot to mention this before, but I've arranged for some cover for your friends."  He goes on to explain that we've not only gotten the attention of the S-K higher-ups (including Lofwyr himself), we've also earned some enemies in the Himmelsrecken, who have already made a couple attempts to get at us that S-K security has thwarted.  Both to protect us and because they might have a need for a team of highly-trained children like us, they're going to put us into the corp Academy on paper but tutor us.  We'll even get equipment and supplies (within reason) when we need it.  When this is all done we'll have very real academic histories, and jobs with S-K.  In fact, that's how we'll pay them back for all this, by working for the corporation after we graduate. 

Joachim then tells Bikavèr that the offer, while sincere, is part of a bigger plan.  There is a terrorist group -- the name of which is coyly not shared -- that Saeder-Krupp security is targeting.  They're behind the human trafficking ring we stumbled over at the beginning of the campaign, and the scumbag who "owns" Valentine (and did I ever mention that?  She's essentially a cybered slave for some crime boss) is a low-level member of their operation.  S-K security has a plan, and it needs a group of children for some unspecified infiltration task -- us.  The exact details aren't available yet, but if we take the offer, our first job for S-K will be this operation.

Bikavèr, being Bikavèr, thinks this is a great idea, and tells Joachim he'll let the rest of us know the offer is for real and that we'll be needed for an op if we accept.  They hang up, but before he can call any of us, Bikavèr is visited by Lila the mantis spirit.  She was hoping to find all of us together, but settles for thanking us through him for freeing her, and tells him any of us can call on her if we need her help.  (Helen then tells us that our characters all have a new Contact.)

The next morning, Friday the 26th, Bikavèr calls Lukas to fill him in on what he got from Joachim and Lila.  Meanwhile, Ylva's grandfather -- who also seems to some kind of vague connection to Saeder-Krupp -- calls her to tell her that the offer's for real, but doesn't have the information on the terrorist op.  More importantly for her, he lets her know that his people have found and recovered her father's remains from a mass grave near the remains of the Messern Biochemie complex.  Apparently our little incursion so upset the Himmelsrecken that they abandoned the complex and burned it to the ground -- which unfortunately left little behind in the way of evidence to acttually link them to the death of her father and so many others.  But, he assures her, they are working on it, and it will be very bad for Westphalia when it all comes out -- and it will.

Later on the 26th, we all get together at our base in Neustadt and Joachim shows up to brief us in detail on the whole arrangement with Saeder-Krupp.  So, above and beyond what we heard from Bikavèr:  first, once this starts, we will live at the base, which will be the real "boarding school".  Tutors and trainers selected by Saeder-Krupp will come to the base five days a week to instruct us in academics, magic and anything else we need.  When it's necessary to reinforce the illusion that we're actually attending the Saeder-Krupp Academy -- Parents' Day, various ceremonies, stuff like that -- we'll be transported to the Academy and provided with uniforms and other props.  Saeder-Krupp picks up all costs.  Outside of this, we are free to go on runs as needed or desired.  And Joachim has contacted the Ancients and made it clear what kind of tasks we are not to be given as part of our arrangement with the gang.  Finally, he makes it clear that we will not be entered into some kind of long-term indentured servitude for all this, but well-paying jobs with the corporation for just a few years after we reach our majority.

We have a brief discussion after hearing all this, and the consensus is yes, this is a good deal and we will accept it.

After Joachim leaves, Bikavèr decides he wants to bring the pair of ork children he hunted down the traffickers over (Uwe and Karla) to the base to live there.  He calls an Uber to take him, Ylva and Lukas to Karnapp, the somewhat less than sterling area where they've been staying; the Uber driver is not thrilled, especially when Bikavèr tells him to wait.

It takes a fair amount of convincing, but finally Uwe and Karla agree to come back to the base with us, and gather up their stuff.  Fortunately, the Uber driver didn't bail on us, and is very happy to leave Karnapp.

When we get back to the base, Gunther reports that the Ancients came by and mentioned yet another wild shooter incident in Heitten -- so recent the cops are still on the scene.  Lukas and Ylva decide to investigate when they hear no one's been allowed to survey the site magically yet.  While they prep for the little excursion, Bikavèr is doing more convincing of Uwe and Karla, this time to make use of the tutors coming in.  After that, he spends some time talking with Gunther to make sure he's still happy working for us.  He is.

Right before Ylva and Lukas leave for their little sightseeing mission, Uwe overhears what they're looking into and pipes up that a third mass killing took place a month earlier in Karnapp -- this time a guy with a knife -- but it never made the news.  Curious, Bikavèr looks into that one.  It turns out that another of his contacts -- a fellow named "Stein" -- was one of the guys who stopped the Karnapp killer, and in talking to him learned that the cousin of one of the Karnapp victims himself got shot at the bakery here in Neustadt where the first mass killing we'd heard about happened.

After the entire group convinces Ylva not to take her rifle, she and Lukas finally head out to visit "Sweet Treats by Becher", the bakery.  It's a little corner shop about ten blocks from the base, and they get there quickly enough.  When they do, they find it boarded up and wrapped in yellow police line tape.  No big, they can assense from the sidewalk, which they do.  Other than a mild background count -- the remains of the victims' fear and terror -- they find nothing.

Once they finish there, Ylva and Lukas realize that they don't actually know where the incident in Heitten is, so Ylva calls Valentine and asks her to find out.  It turns out to have happened in a warehouse/shipping company called "Lustiger Zweig".  On top of that, she relays the discovery that one of their drivers had made a delivery at the baker just before the shooting there; he narrowly dodged being involved there, only to get shot at the warehouse.  Valentine also suggests that maybe we should wait until morning, as it's like 9PM, it's the still the same day as the shooting, and the cops are still swarming the site.  Lukas and Ylva sheepishly agree and trot back to the base.

Finally, some time later, possibly during Ylva and Lukas' outing, Bikavèr sits down with Valentine at a coffee shop to brief her about the Saeder-Krupp plan.  She's resistant but open, refusing to make a decision that very moment.  She tells him she will talk with him about it later.

And that's where things ended.
to see some updates on this and that your guys sare still playing the game. sounds like a weird but fun group of runners to say the least with the isses of age and contacts.
So... in a few minutes we'll be having a very late start to our latest session...  before I shut down and head out to play, I was wondering if anyone could recommend a fan artist to do a pic of Lukas for me.

EDIT of EDIT:  moved my edit to a new message, because I forgot that it wouldn't register as "new".
This was formerly an edit to the above message...

Let me rephrase that -- I was rushing as Helen, Attila and Tiffany were coming through the door at the moment I was typing it.  I'm looking for an artist -- not necessarily a fan artist -- who takes commissions and who does Shadowrun work.

In the mean time, a little Google fu has turned up a photo which will serve as Lukas for the moment. Because of some MyBB functionality that I don't quite grasp yet, it appears as a thumbnail where I originally posted it, in the message above, mainly because I cannot delete it from that post.

In other news, the session got off to a late start, but went on until 11, for about 7 hours of gaming.  I'll try to get my notes written up within the next few days.
Sorry it took a week and a half, but here's the log:

Peggy: How was Yoruichi raised?
Me: On a hydraulic lift, once every 50,000 miles.

So once again we got a late start -- this time because Helen's car picked up a screw in one of its tires, and because AAA was having a bad day, it took them a good three hours to get someone out to her to take it to a shop to be repaired. So Helen, Attila and Tiffany (who was with them) didn't show until 4 PM -- and then Helen immediately took Tiff into another room for half an hour of private session, after which she ended up parked on the couch waiting until our storylines intersected again some hours later.

For the rest of the group, we picked up roughly where we left off, late(ish) in the evening of July 26, 2055. Yoruichi still hasn't gotten back from wherever she is. Gunther informed us that she'd left on foot in the morning without letting anyone know where she was going. Ylva tries to call her but it goes to voice mail. Bikavèr tries calling Valentine, but gets her voice mail. That's not nearly as worrying, because we know that due to her indenture to the nameless scum she stands a good chance of being incommunicado any time we call, but it is inconvenient.

Lacking any other idea what to do, Lukas turns to Wolfgang and asks him if he can track Yoruichi. Wolfgang gets her scent and leads us to the subworld under Neustadt, to a crude but functioning subway deep in these ostensibly abandoned tunnels, and points to where she got on a train. The signage indicates two lines with different destinations use this station, and obviously there's no way to determine by scent which she got on.

We do notice that there are cameras watching the area, and Lukas goes running off to find the security office just off the platform. There we learn that for 20 nuyen the security guys will go through their footage and tell us which line she got on. (And they're not doing us a favor -- turns out that there's a sign on the door well over our heads listing services like that and how much they cost. Fortunately, Yoruichi didn't take "We won't say where you went" for 350 nuyen.) A few minutes later, we find out she took the NW line -- which has as its most interesting stop what amounts to a 24/7 permanent flea market.

So we get tokens and take the train to the flea market. Wolfgang picks up Yoruichi's scent again and leads us through more tunnels to a massive cavern. We enter this space on what's basically a mezzanine lined with hovels ringing it a couple stories above its floor, where we see the market. The air in this place is warm, and humid, and awash with spices and other scents. Wolfgang leads us down a set of metal stairs to the market floor, and we wander our way through it following him, occasionally pausing as he searches for and picks up the scent again. Finally, at some point roughly in the middle of the market, we reach an open area which seems (based on the various posters and bills nearby) to be variously used as a meeting area, an amphitheater, and a fighting ring, among other functions.

Wolfgang dashes about, nose to the ground, and finally gives Lukas a telepathic summary of what he thinks happened: the scents are muddled, and the spices and other things in the air don't help, but to his nose it looks like Yoruichi walked into this area, abruptly fell over, and was surrounded and carried off by at least a half-dozen people, leaving behind a little of her blood as well as her scent.

This, of course, upsets everyone when Lukas relays it to them. Before we head off to follow Wolfgang pursue the very clear scents of those who carried Yoruichi away, Valentine finally returns Bikavèr's earlier call and gets filled in on the matters at hand. She says she'll join up with us, but to keep her informed if anything changes dramatically.

We get moving again, and Wolfgang leads us all the way across the cavern to another set of stairs directly opposite the ones we came down. From there it's back into the tunnels, where we we come upon a complex intersection and a complication: someone has laid down a scent bomb here to foil anyone doing what we are. It stops Wolfgang cold. But Wolfgang is of course no two-bit bloodhound; he can go astral to clear out his nose and remanifest physically a distance down each of the five other tunnels to see which way Yoruichi's captors went. It only takes a couple minutes for him to identify the right path -- and he waits beyond the bounds of the scent bomb for us to catch up to him. It takes a little while because Ylva has to convince her wolf Skadi to cross the scent-bombed area.

Once we join up with him, Wolfgang leads us to a less squalid area (the average building is now a shack or better, and not a hovel) and up to what appears to be a solidly-built structure that might once have been some kind of business but is now very clearly Private Property. Yoruichi, he tells Lukas, was put down in front of this building, and picked up and brought inside.

Ylva casts Detect Individual and confirms that Yoruichi is still in the building, but notes that she has to overpower a ward a few feet inside its walls to do so. Ylva then casts Clairvoyance and, after powering through the ward again, locates Yoruichi -- she's in a basement cell, in a chair with no pants on and her arms dislocated and bound behind her. Ylva glances around the rest of the building and counts ten other people in there -- and a few of them are watching us on video.

Just as she tells us this, a machine gun emplacement on the roof activates and begins unlimbering -- but only Lukas notices. Lukas shouts "Roof gun!" just as Bikavèr walks up to the front door and punches through it, with the intention of getting to the ward. It's time to roll initiative.

We all run for the front door, hoping the gun's arc of fire doesn't reach to straight down the building's facade. No such luck -- its mount is sufficiently articulated that it is able to get a few shots off at us as we scramble in behind Bikavèr. Bullets ping off Ylva, Lukas and Skadi's armor as we do. Once inside Lukas conjures a Force 6 hearth spirit and gets two services from it; he commands it to cause confusion in our enemies (which it will when its first action finally comes around, quite a while from now; it didn't have the best initiative roll).

Inside the door is a hallway with another door at the end; it looks like someone just put up walls in what was once a lobby area to force a kind of bottleneck entry. As we're gathering this, the door at the far end opens, and a guy steps out and fires two shotgun slugs at Bikavèr, who shrugs them off. The guy screams, "There's a troll out here!" and someone else yanks him back through the door and slams it.

Bikavèr smirks and makes a Ranged Killing Hands attack on the door, blowing a hole right in the middle and basically leaving it two independently hinged pieces a couple feet from each other. Seeing her opportunity, Ylva lobs a Stun Blast through the hole, targeting it on the wall she can see three or four meters beyond it. As usual for her Stun Blasts these days, the resulting explosion has a nine-meter radius; being a mana spell it goes right through the walls, including the one at the end of the hallway with its partial door, so it hits us. However, we are awesome and tank the spell effect handily, while on the other side of the door we hear the sound of people being blown into walls and furniture.

After people stop bouncing around, Bikavèr bellows that if they release Yoruichi they won't get hurt. (More than they already are, at least.) He's also using his Intimidation skill, and we have an amusing five or six minutes as Helen goes through the rules for Intimidation and totes up all the extra dice he gets for the events of the last 30 seconds or so. It's quickly obvious that we have terrified the hell out of everyone in the building. Oh, and when it becomes obvious they're surrendering to us, Lukas releases the hearth spirit.

As we were doing all this, Yoruichi had her moments, in scenes with a guard that were rife with cryptic comments about their motivations, and Yoruichi asking "Is the pay worth it?", especially after Ylva shakes the entire freaking building with her spell. We eventually gather from these moments that she'd been kidnapped for some kind of bounty, for which the runners who did the job got half in advance, with the balance to be paid on her delivery to their employer. When Ylva's Stun Blast seriously messes up their ability to repel us, one of the team (whom we realize is their leader, called "Volpe") comes down to free her, and as he does (getting her a pair of pants to wear and putting them on her because she can't do it with dislocated arms), she actually negotiates a deal to have them take her -- and us -- to their "Herr Schmidt". They agree and bring her to us while we watch everyone who managed to stay awake with a certain amount of trigger-happy suspicion.

There is a happy reunion, and with the application of a Medkit (or rather, the advice from its expert system), we get her arms un-dislocated and at least some of her damage alleviated. She and Volpe explain the deal they worked out. They were offered a half-million nuyen (half on taking the job, half on delivery as mentioned before) to kidnap Yoruichi and deliver her to an airstrip -- what they'll do is help us fake the hand-off, and let us have the remaining half of the payment (by giving an account number of ours to receive the payment). We agree.

But the hand-off is to happen well after midnight, which means Lukas has to call his uncle and let him know he's "staying over with his friends" again, which he does -- only to find out he's missed a surprise party thrown by his father for the "scholarship" he just received. Lukas quickly claims he's been at a party at his friend Zoltan's, who also received a scholarship; with Bikavèr's OK he gives Uncle Martin Magda's phone number to "confirm" the party and sleepover. Uncle Martin says he'll call Magda and then get back to Lukas.

Ylva calls her uncle and gives him the same story. She has less trouble as he's not throwing a surprise party for her.

Uncle Martin calls back and says all is okay -- he's reassured Lukas's father, there will be another (smaller) party tomorrow night, and Lukas should be back home by 10 AM. Lukas agrees.

That handled, we go back to planning the sting. We find out that the other team's "Herr Schmidt" has connections to a Japanese organization called the "Takogumi". We suspect they are Yakuza, but Yoruichi doesn't know. She doesn't even have any idea who might have a price on her head. Why, she knows -- she's an assassin, she's sure to have annoyed someone along the way. But specific someones? No one comes to mind.

The plan has us all arriving at the airstrip a couple hours before the hand-off is to take place. Volpe and his team offer sniper support, but will not otherwise take part in our "sting" beyond the drop-off, to preserve their reputation. We agree to this, and mention that we have our own sniper, but we need to call our support team to bring her Barrett. "You have a support team?" Volpe asks incredulously.

Ylva tilts her head. "Yes. Don't you?"

Volpe starts. "Of course. But I didn't think you..."

Lukas gives him a blank stare and says, with all the disdain and condescension an 11-year-old can muster, "We're professionals."

Before this can degenerate any further, we call Gunther to bring Ylva's Barrett and ammo and other gear we need, including Lukas' still-unused grenade launcher. While the rest of us wait up at ground level for Gunther to come in the van, Ylva and Bikavèr ride with Volpe's group to the airstrip. Gunther arrives, grabs an Uber back to the warehouse, and we take off. We get to the airstrip just after Bikavèr and Ylva got a sitrep on the people around the Takogumi jet -- which includes someone or something that might be an oni.

Helen calls the game there, it being about 11 PM at that point. Our next session is scheduled for Saturday, September 14 -- and we'll see what happens.
Huh. Now that I think of it, I don't think Valentine ever caught up with us. I wonder if Helen will retcon that and have her with us at the airstrip...
...and when they came over last night, both Helen and Attila were adamant that Valentine had caught up with us right after we rescued Yoruichi. So I probably just failed to note it in my log of the session.

Next game is tomorrow.
Once again it took me too long to type all this up. My apologies.

Before I begin, a correction: the Yakuza group is the "Takogumi", not the "Takogami" as I posted last time. I apparently misread my tiny pencil scrawl or something. Oh, and for some reason we all apparently thought former-kidnapper and now-temporary-ally Volpe was male, but Helen corrected us; Volpe is female.

Anyway, in a disturbing change from the usual routine, everyone arrived on time for this session, and we actually got started before 2PM. Play started when Helen gave us a map of the airstrip and we be began planning.

Turns out the airstrip is actually an isolated section of a larger airport, set aside for private flights. It's a separate runway with a set of three hangars and a small office building off to one side of it; the Takogumi are in one of the hangars, whose big doors are about halfway open. Inside we can just make out a couple of small private jets, a maintenance area, and an area with several tables to one side. Fortunately for us, things are laid out such that at least part of the interior is visible from all three other buildings' roofs.

Valentine hacks into the airport's security systems and spots signs of the Takogumi's decker in the system. She tries to slip past them and use the airstrip's sensors without being noticed and succeeds. She reports that the Yaks have a rigger who has deployed four combat drones in the area -- two trunk-sized, tanklike Doberman crawlers on the ground and two Wandjina flyers (that look like current UAVs) which are circling over head and are being used for surveillance. She then takes control of the hangar's interior cameras and microphones. She doesn't activate them -- doing so would alert the Takogumi's decker -- but she'll turn them on when Yuroichi is brought in and gives the signal (saying "bakayarou"). She spends much of the next few minutes dodging them and hiding from them in various parts of the system -- almost any time Valentine isn't actually cited as doing something below, Helen was rolling for her ability to evade detection.

Meanwhile the rest of us are discussing their magical defenses. Assensing reveals several spirits -- at least two, and powerful from what we can tell -- patrolling the hangar. It also reveals no obvious mages, which while it really means there has to at least one mage with an initiation grade higher than Bikavèr's grade 4 (whose Masking he can't overpower), prompts a comment that the alternative is the Yakuza are stupid -- leading Tiffany to coin the catchphrase of the session, "Yaku-duh".

After we finish assensing and mocking the Yakuza, Volpe summons an air elemental while her two shamans call up a pair of storm spirits. Lukas conjures a Force 6 storm spirit of his own and gets two services from it; first he instructs it to Conceal Ylva on her way to and while she's on her sniper perch on the water tower atop the little office building, and second, when he gives the signal, Confuse the Takogumi in the hangar.

That done, we deploy. Everyone gets into place without the Yaks' rigger spotting us through his drones' sensors; Ylva in particular is covered in an urban ghillie suit and Concealed by the storm spirit, making her pretty much impossible to spot. Oh, wait, almost everyone gets into place without being noticed: a spirit in the form of a ninja which we hadn't spotted earlier comes upon Lukas as he tries to get on top of a lower roof of the same building Ylva's on. The ninja-spirit, curious about a child wandering about the airstrip after midnight, reaches for Lukas' neck -- and panicked, Lukas attempts to banish it. Since he failed to banish the fire elemental some weeks earlier (which had been about the same strength), he wasn't actually expecting much, but in the time since then Lukas has gained a Force 3 focus and another level of initiation -- he doesn't so much banish the ninja-spirit as shred it into primal energies in an eyeblink, and he's briefly surprised by both his level of success and how easy it was.

Fortunately, the rigger didn't spot this either, despite it happening pretty much in the open. Lukas scampers to his perch and finally we're all in position.

Volpe and some of her team drive up to the hangar in their van with Yoruichi (arms unfortunately but necessarily re-dislocated) apparently "packaged" for delivery. Valentine reports that the rigger's drones and the decker all spot the van. From her perch, Ylva sees activity within the hangar and notes that a Barrier spell suddenly goes up around several tables to one side of the hangar floor.

They drive in, and after Volpe talks to some of the Yaks (four footsoldiers with machineguns), they hand off Yoruichi and drive back out. The Yak soldiers march Yoruichi up to the oni and a woman dressed as a miko, who are both sitting at one of the tables.

"Hello, Yoruichi," the oni says. "Why didn't you come back?"

"I wasn't given orders to come back," she replies.

"That's a facile answer," the oni says. "You knew you were supposed to return."

They continue sparring verbally for several minutes, ending with the oni getting pissed with her and declaring "We own you!" He then moves to inject Yoruichi with something in a hypodermic, and she gives the signal by calling him "bakayarou".

In the grand tradition, everything then happens at once.

The spirits all have their instructions -- as noted Lukas's storm spirit will cause Confusion in the hangar, for one -- but they act so slowly compared to the meat people, paradoxically, that they won't be able to act until things are halfway over. And speaking of those meat-people...

Bikavèr hits the hangar wall by a side door with a Ranged Killing Hands attack. The wall was hardened, but the door there was considerably weaker and blows out.

Valentine grabs control of one of the Wandjina drones and gives us the camera and mike feeds for the hangar security systems. We finally get a full idea of what we're facing -- twelve Yak soldiers, two mikos, the oni and three spiris (two "samurai" and one "ninja" -- Helen informs us this the way mikos manifest shamanic Spirits of Man). The two Doberman drones are also out and about.

The combined effect is a surprise attack, but then everyone has to roll initiative. (Pause several minutes as Helen tallies up NPC rolls and their action phases, then gets ours.)

Bikavèr, as always, acts first and attacks the Barrier spell with another Ranged Killing Hands. He blows a hole through it, and throws a second RKH through the hole at one of the mikos. She drops, along with the Barrier. He then lobs a third at the Oni (viciously exploiting a rule for multiple attacks). Although it hits, the oni is not visibly affected. He turns and faces Bikavèr. "Let our friend go," Bikavèr demands.

"I don't give up what I own," the oni sneers.

"Then I will eat you!" Bikavèr bellows.

One of Volpe's snipers blows the head off of one of the Yak footsolders. Taking advantage of the moment, the oni vanishes. Bikavèr immediate assenses to try to locate him. "Pussy!" he yells. "Go ahead, run away. We destroy you!" He easily spots the oni, who has merely gone invisible.

Ylva snipes a Yak at the back of the hangar, near the second miko, and blows off his head. Volpe's second sniper takes out a soldier near the door.

Suddenly deprived of her bodyguard, the miko casts Control Thoughts on Yoruichi and turns her into a new bodyguard (although how much good she'll be with a pair of dislocated arms is up for grabs).

Seeing as things are getting serious, Bikavèr unlimbers his guns for the first time in the campaign. These are a pair of custom-made handcannons designed for his grip size, which fire knockout microgrenades. He lets off an autofire attack; two of the three shots are all that's necessary to drop the oni, who is completely and thoroughly unconscious. Bikavèr fires the third shot into the miko before Yoruichi can react and block it; she drops, too.

Bikavèr steps over to the oni, lifts it by the neck and (employing his Intimidation skill) demands that the surviving Takogumi surrender. As the ninja-spirit buggers off (having realized that with the miko knocked out it is now free), one of the Yaks lets loose with a submachinegun at Yoruichi rather than surrender. All three of his autofire shots hit, doing two moderate and one serious wound to her. Yoruichi drops, bleeding out, and her DocWagon monitor bracelet fires off.

Lukas realizes that the Yakuza spirits are now free and immediately seizes control of the one samurai-spirit he can see through the doorway of the hangar.

Another Yak footsoldier fails to resist the Intimidation and tries to flee the hangar.

Outside, the Takogumi rigger has directed his remaining Wandjina to unload its machine gun into one of Volpe's snipers, who is basically toast. Inside, another footsolder resists the Intimidation and unloads his SMG into Bikavèr. Bikavèr mostly tanks the shots and comes out with only a light wound. The next Yak in the initiative order fails his morale and tries to run for it; as he does so, the first fleeing Yak is mysteriously squished by a piece of airplane engine previously hanging on a chain. Helen strongly hints this was an action by one of the last free spirit, unhappy about how it was used by the Takogumi.

Valentine then augers the drone she's controlling into the hangar door, firing its machine gun wildly. It crashes, killing two more footsolders.

Finally, Volpe's air elemental attacks and flips a Doberman over.

Another Yak breaks and runs, while the next one fires an AK-97 full-auto at Bikavèr and misses pitifully.

Lukas instructs his brand-new samurai spirit to also cause Confusion, and launches a stun grenade with his launcher at the Yaks nearest Yoruichi, near the back of the hangar. He hits right on target and knocks them all out.

Ylva perforates the Yak who tried to machine gun Bikavèr. The surviving ally sniper holds their action as there are no targets visible to them, between the partially-open hangar doors and the airplane within.

Bikavèr shoots a escaping Yak with his handgun and drops him, then drops another.

Two of the escaping Yaks finally get outside, only for the ally sniper to kill one as Lukas hits the other with a stun bolt.

The combat is basically over at this point. The team kill all the surviving Takogumi save for the oni while Valentine hunts down their rigger and decker. Lukas runs inside to help Yoruichi as Valentine reports she's found the rigger sitting in an airport lounge surround by civilians. After ensuring the oni is neither waking soon nor able to do anything even if he did, Bikavèr heads out to deal with the rigger while Valentine continues the search for the decker.

Lukas slaps a trauma patch on Yoruichi, then casts Treat on her. She's got three levels of Magic Resistance, but he manages to power through it, although he has to maintain the spell for a full 20 rounds in order to stabilize her and give her 5 boxes of healing. He also turns off the DocWagon and cancels the team coming for her.

Bikavèr finds the rigger, and kills him from stealth with Ranged Killing Hands before beating feet out of there, apparently undiscovered by airport security.

Valentine gives us the unwelcome news that the Takogumi decker is nowhere nearby -- in fact, he's in Westphalia.

After making sure Yoruichi is okay, Lukas then runs up to where the one ally sniper was, and confirms she's way too dead to be helped. We let Volpe know so she can handle things from there. Yoruichi decides to organleg the Yaks, most of whom have suffered nothing more damaging than a slit throat.

And we begin to loot the hangar, for which Helen is unprepared, so we end the session there.
Tiffany is constantly sketching on her tablet during the games, and at the end of the last session I found out she did basically a graphic version of Yoruichi's kidnapping and rescue:

(click through for the whole series)
Can't see any of it, Bob.
Are you looking at it through any service that might block Twitter? It's invisible to me at work but visible at home.

That said, here's the direct link: https://twitter.com/Horn_chan1/status/11...8912241664
Thankee that fix't it
Well. The next session was scheduled for yesterday (12 October), and we got off to a good start, with everyone on time and the session kicking off right at 2:00, but Helen eventually developed a migraine and associated symptoms, and Tiffany had to leave early, so we only got in a couple hours' play before we just called it. So here's what we accomplished in the abbreviated session:

We picked up where we left off at the end of the last game, after we'd all dashed into the hangar, slit throats and started looting. Valentine's voice crackles over our comm links: "Grab your shit! Security is coming!" and we go into overdrive. As our van screeches to a halt in front of the hangar, we're running around frantically. Bikavèr relieves the unconscious oni of all its possessions and rips jewelry and credsticks off the bodies of the mikos, then hoists the unconscious oni onto his shoulder. Lukas and Volpe's surviving sniper come back with the body of the other sniper, then Lukas ducks into the Taks' private jet to grab anything he can -- he comes back out with more credsticks and an armored deck case, locked and heavy. Valentine loads the two Doberman crawlers into the van and sets the Wandjina to follow us at a reasonable altitude. Everyone else (besides Yoruichi, that is -- she's barely mobile) is ransacking the bodies of the footsoldiers; most of their cyber and gear are crap and we only grab a couple things (armor mostly, if I recall correctly) plus all the credsticks that they were carrying.

Sadly, we won't get to organleg the Yaks as Yoruichi would like -- we simply can't gather and transport them in the time and vehicle we have.

Anyway, we pile into the van. Lukas, who had countermanded his commands to his spirits when it turned out they weren't needed, now instructs the storm spirit to Conceal the Wandjina all the way back to our base, and has the Samurai spirit (which is the equivalent of a city spirit) Conceal the van for the same trip. We peel out just before airport security storms the hangar and have no problems getting away, being effectively invisible.

On the way home we make a detour to stop at an industrial park where we meet up with Volpe and the rest of her team. We turn over the body of the sniper, for which she is grateful. She wishes us the best of luck and we part ways. An hour later, at something like three in the morning, we're back at our base, and with the mission now officially, we get our karma awards from Helen. I think Bikavèr took another grade of initiation, but as far as I know no one else has decided what to do with their karma yet. We also finally get to look at the payment the Takogumi made to our account as part of the "handover" of Yoruichi, and we each walk away with 50,000 nuyen. We also total up all the credsticks we lifted after the firefight, and that totals another 391,000 nuyen, which we also distribute. (With the money earned Bikavèr makes two 100,000 nuyen payments on some kind of debt he owes his fixer Katarina, leaving him with only 100,000 nuyen left on it.)

We also determine that practically all the stuff Bikavèr got off the oni and the mikos is magical in some way, and some of it is made of orichalcum. In particular, we figure out one particular pair of earrings is kind of a two-part focus; each earring by itself is a relatively small focus, but when both are worn by the same person, there's some kind of synergistic effect that multiplies them. Exactly how powerful they are, we haven't figured out yet, though.

Meanwhile, Valentine jacks into Yoruichi's cyberware, partly to make sure it's all okay after her ordeal, and partly out of curiosity about why the Takogumi went through so much trouble to retrieve her. Her cyber is all okay, but Valentine finds something odd... an unidentified module of some sort installed at the base of Yoruichi's spine that's actively hiding itself. She has no idea what it is, and has no way of getting inside it to see. We're all pretty concerned when we hear about that.

Anwyay, while her cyberware is in good shape, her flesh parts aren't, and we can do no more for her with our limited magical and biotech resources. Bikavèr calls Joachim, tells him about our battle with the Taks (and how their decker was in Westphalia and got away) and that Yoruichi needs real medical attention. Joachim says "stay at the base, I'll be there shortly. And when I get there give me everything you have on that decker." Bikavèr barely looks at Valentine before she hands him a datastick and runs out the door to get back to her "boss".

Joachim shows up with an entire medical team with what seems to be a portable clinic, which they set up in Yoruichi's room. We spend a few minutes as Helen digs through the medical rules, then the doctor rolls eight successes and we learn that Yoruichi will recover in a bit under three days. "Good thing you called me," Joachim says. "She was pretty messed up." Then he critiques the op. "Well, that was louder, but you kept out of sight. Except for you." He shoots a glare at Bikavèr, who just grins at him. He goes into a bit more detail, but ends with, "Still, you did pretty good." After this and arranging for a nurse to watch over Yoruichi while she recovers, he leaves.

Once Yoruichi's out of danger, Lukas runs home and deals with his father, who is happy and proud at Lukas' scholarship -- if not a little confused, because he was sure Lukas' grades weren't good enough to merit one. He's also concerned that Uncle Martin hadn't known where Lukas was, and Lukas realizes that with everything that happened in the last 24 hours or so he nearly blew the secret of his double life. He resolves to be more careful and not take more crazy chances, and settles in to a day being an ordinary 11-year-old (with a party coming that night).

The same day, Ylva finally goes in to get her cultured Tailored Pheremones implanted, and when that's done she's going to need a day to heal.

And while she was getting that done, Bikavèr talks to Reiner, his fixer Katarina's top mage. We need someplace to keep the oni, whom we believe is a physical adept. We've got a cell already excavated deep below the warehouse to keep him in, but we need a little extra something, and we contract with Reiner to come in and ward the cell, and to keep coming back to refresh the ward as needed.

And pretty much that's where things petered out.
I neglected to mention in advance that our next Shadowrun game was on Saturday 9 November. It was another abbreviated session, as Helen was recovering from a severe cold or mild flu (we're not sure which), and Tiffany had to work. This latter wasn't too much of a problem, as Yoruichi is still bedridden and recovering from the injuries sustained during the fight with the Takogumi, but Helen's endurance was low, so she only wanted to GM for the afternoon, and not all the way into the night like we normally do.

The session started with Helen giving us a full list of the loot we took off the Yaks we ganked and off the oni. There is some review and speculation, and then the actual action begins. (I can provide the entire list if anyone's interested... the big takeaway, though, is that it was all magical, some of it profoundly so.)

So... the date is July 28, 2055, the morning after Lukas' surprise party. Ylva's recovering from her bioware implantation and is hanging out on the base's roof while Gunther and Roksa install some automated heavy machine gun emplacements provided by Saeder-Krupp. Rather than sleep in, Lukas has to go "back to school" -- i.e. the base. Shortly after he gets there we have visitors -- two of the instructors Saeder-Krupp will be providing us. They are Shama Abegwe, a forty-something African Anansi shaman who will be our Magical Theory teacher, and Farenthal, a female elf and Mantis style physical adept, who will be our primary physical/combat trainer.

They sit us all down and after laying out how half the day will be genuine academics and the other half the "good stuff", they quiz us for what else we we want to learn. Lukas asks for a Sorcery course, and Abegwe offers Enchanting as well. Ylva asks for Conjuring training, so we caster types will get training in all aspects of active magic. Farenthal will provide armed and unarmed combat training, as well as Armed Combat Build/Repair for Lukas (this is long-term planning for his enchanting)... And we just keep going for a while, laying out a long list of skills that we want to acquire.

Helen then explains how this will work: each class will focus on one skill, and will be one hour a day for five days a week; every two months (40-45 hours) of training will give us one skill level rating. Since we have to split the day with academic topics, that means each of us can only be training in four game-useful skills at any one time. So while we have a long wish list, we're not getting everything at once, or even at the end of two months.

Anyway, after working out what the first couple months of "special" courses are going to be, Bikavèr convinces Farenthal to be backup when he finally goes down to interrogate the oni. Ylva is also coming along because she can cast Analyze Truth on herself and check that the oni isn't outright lying, and Gunther insists on being a bodyguard as well. So the four of them troop down to the holding cell that we've been keeping the unconscious oni in for a few days now. They administer the antidote to the knock-out drug while Ylva casts Analyze Truth, and wait for the oni to revive.

Initially the oni is not cooperative, insisting that Yuroichi owes them not only loyalty but a debt of resources spent on her, and the completion of an assignment that includes the retrieval of an unspecified item. Since our goal is to free Yuroichi from any further entanglements with the Takogumi, Bikavèr attempts to negotiate with him. One of the tacks he takes is the reputation damage the Takogumi and the oni personally will take if it's revealed that a band of children wiped out his team. This is the first thing that seems to anger the oni; "Children could not do this!" he snarls, to which Bikavèr's only answer is mocking laughter, followed by "I am eight years old!" which shuts the oni up for a bit.

They banter back and forth a bit, and finally Bikavèr makes an offer: if the oni is honorable, we will pay off Yoruichi's debts, including completing the job she left undone and retrieving the still unspecified item she was supposed to get. The oni asks for a day to meditate on the offer, which he means literally -- he settles into seiza and immediately begins meditating. Ylva confirms that at no point did he attempt to deceive us, but that didn't necessarily mean we haven't been cleverly misled somewhere.

Later, after Farenthal and Abegwe leave, Lukas spots some new news items on his phone. The first is a couple reports on a new spree-style killing, down in Mainz Weisband near Frankfurt. There are also a few follow-up stories on the last massacre (the one at the warehouse in Heitten that we couldn't get to). According to the latter stories, Saeder-Krupp's mage corps were called in for something coyly unspecified by the reporters. After discussing this with Bikavèr and Ylva, the decision is made not to look into this ourselves (mainly because the new incident is in an entirely different metroplex a good distance away). Instead, we ask Bikavèr to call Magda and have her hire a local group for us to do some legwork and get information. (There is some humor bandied about in the idea that we're now big enough to be subcontracting out stuff we don't have the time to do ourselves.)

During all this, of course, Yoruichi continues to be restricted to bed as she heals.

The next day, July 29, the oni comes out of his meditative trance and agrees to our terms. He gives us his name for the first time -- Shiro Akagawa -- and tells us that her assignment was the assassination of three targets in here in the Rhine-Ruhr metroplex and the retrieval of an item (still unspecified) held by them. She has taken down two of her targets, and the third still has the item. Bikavèr agrees that we will complete her task with the reassurance that this will completely and permanently end her obligation to the Takogumi, and as part of the deal we will return the magic items we took off Akagawa when we captured him. Interestingly, Akagawa then gifts Bikavèr with one of the items, a heavy chain which apparently gives a Willpower bonus when worn. He then tells us that once he is released and safe, he will forward to us the full details on Yoruichi's mission, including the specifics on the third target and the item to be retrieved. We agree to this, and Bikavèr knocks him out again. Valentine and Bikavèr take him an hour away and revive him in a good, safe neighborhood, and send him on his way.

During all this, Lukas has been following up on his long-standing promise to make a Forest Spirit Focus for Ylva. Rather than do his own design work, he buys a formula for a Rank 3 Focus from Oskar, along with a few thousand nuyen worth of alchemical radicals. He then hunts for just the right piece of deadfall in a nearby wooded area, brings it back to the base, and spends some time using his woodworking skill to craft a pendant. His first attempt is also the first botch in the entire campaign, destroying the blank he was working on, and he has to start again with another piece of the wood he found. This goes better -- not by much, his skill is only 2, but at least it's not a botch, and the result is a virgin, handmade telesma suitable for enchanting. With all the alchemical radicals involved along with the base lodge and all his other resources, the enchanting is fast and easy, and is done by noon on Saturday July 31 -- just in time for the pool party at Joachim's. Ylva pays the necessary Karma (which again thanks to the radicals is a mere 1 point), and binds it to herself.

And that was the session.
... You realise this means that the next session is going to be a pool party with guns, don't you? cause... um... from the sound of this it is going to be a variant of the typical beach episode from Anime where Hijinks ensue in spades.
Well, yeah, given that the party is held by runners for runners, it's kinda to be expected after all. <grin>
(11-13-2019, 08:11 PM)Star Ranger4 Wrote: [ -> ]...  You realise this means that the next session is going to be a pool party with guns, don't you?  cause...  um...  from the sound of this it is going to be a variant of the typical beach episode from Anime where Hijinks ensue in spades.

now i wish i could remember which episode of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu that was so i could link it. and no, i don't have the time to binge watch it, unfortunately
(11-13-2019, 10:07 PM)Rajvik Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-13-2019, 08:11 PM)Star Ranger4 Wrote: [ -> ]...  You realise this means that the next session is going to be a pool party with guns, don't you?  cause...  um...  from the sound of this it is going to be a variant of the typical beach episode from Anime where Hijinks ensue in spades.

now i wish i could remember which episode of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu that was so i could link it. and no, i don't have the time to binge watch it, unfortunately

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