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PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Bad Beetles” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

10 May, 2018

To understand what is going on here, you had best read the first PinkCat: Running in the Shade post, but short summary, this is a campaign report for our Shadowrun campaign set in NorCal through the filter of a cartoon made by one of the team members.

Episode Thirty-Six: Bad Beetles

Guest Starring: DD and DoubleUp.

BeetleTwo things happen around school: One, more bugs are showing up around the school, leading the school janitorial staff and food services to distraction.  Two, students start to go missing.  Pink, DD and DoubleUp working with (for once) Officer Bloodhound start searching to local area for the missing students.  Some misadventures, dead ends and comedy with local street gangs and sinister garbage collectors.  Finally find everyone in a warehouse with many, many beetles that are generating a pleasing hum that put people to sleep and gives them pleasant dreams, dreams so nice that they want to stay in them forever.  DD uses her music skills to break the spell long enough for Pink and Glimmer to build a dampening field to neutralize the hum.  They get everyone out, while Pink and the others discus what to do about the bugs, Officer Bloodhound has called in an airstrike and the warehouse is destroyed along will all(?) of the bugs.

What really happened:

We are hired by a Mr Johnson vetted by our business associate, and maybe friend, Mr Lee at the Simmer of Love pho restaurant.  He wants us to destroy a shipment of BTL (Better Than Life, addictive simsense chips) that a local gang, the Chaos Spikes, are about to receive.  With good pay on offer and having no love of BTL chips, we agree.

PinkCat scours the matrix for information while BB and Double Tap hit the streets to learn more about the gang.  BB poses as an anti-BTL campaigner, and we set up a hotline (1-877-BTLworry) for people who need help . . . or want to rat out BTL dealers.  DoubleTap poses as a media blogger (“Four-Eyes on Fremont”, PinkCat creates and backfills a local politics blog for him).  Between information harvested from a local rave, rat drones, calls to the tip line and more we were able to find the warehouse the Chaos Spikes used as a base.  From BB getting close to one of the Spikes at the Rave, PinkCat has subverted the gangs comlink network and was able to keep track of their movements.

WarehouseWe scout out the warehouse with more rat drones and BB climbs to the roof and drops a camera through to observe.   Inside the warehouse is some living space, a gun safe bolted to the floor and re-purposed as a proper safe and two machines for repackaging BTLs into distribution packets for sale.  PinkCat realizes this is a perfect opportunity for sabotage, studying the packing machine schematics, she builds a plug in that will change the packing perimeters just enough to damage each chip and render it unusable.  Someone just has to open each machine and plug in the module.

Double Tap prepares to sneak in, we arrange for the Orkish vehicle gang we are friends with to make a ride through the neighborhood as a distraction.  While the majority of the Spikes are off watching the Orks, BB scales the building to act as overwatch, PinkCat plugs in and DoubleTap slips into the warehouse after three of the four remaining gangers move to patrol outside the building.  Everything is going well, both of the packing machines are opened and the plug-ins installed when the roof collapses almost dropping BB onto the floor.  This gets the attention of the gangers who run back into the main area, Double-Tap quickly makes it look like he was trying to open the Safe while BB, who has acrobatically made it back up to a none-collapsing section of roof, slows them with some shots from her slivergun.  DoubleTap shoot out a reinforced window and escapes, leaving his Predator pistol behind.

Then we waited, using drones and the tap on their comlinks to monitor their actions, the plug ins also had alerts in case someone tried to reset the machines, but the gangs seemed to buy the failed attempt to rob them narrative and do not check them.  So, the chips are packaged, damaged and unusable by their target audience.  PinkCat reports to our Mr Johnson what has been done and that is accepted as achieving well beyond what the employer had hoped for and we are paid.  Our rep is improved and we leave the Chaos Spikes to their sad fate.

Notes: And this time, a small group, just three players.

Previous Episode 35 “It’s a Concert, Tina”.  Next Episode: 37 Art Attack”

Beetle photo “Beetle?” by Gerry Thomasen, warehouse doors “warehouse” by michellehurwitz both licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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