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Entry 11: 03.06.70>
There’s an old saying my Pops bandies around from time to time. Some days you’re the windshield, untouchable, with everything just blowing over you or bouncing off of you. Other days, you’re the bug and it’s your ass that ends up smeared across some other guy’s windshield. I guess, maybe, for a long time now, we’ve been the bug. Regular readers know from this Blog how we’ve been through the mill and back. Today was about payback. Today, we were the windshield… I warned Cross, that I’d be back.
We left the girls at Ash’ safe house near the harbour with an old buddy of his. I worried that when Blake came around, he’d just revert to type, follow through on his orders from Cross and kidnap the girls all over again. Screw that. We stuffed his hog-tied ass right back in the boot of the car and put our heads together about our assault on CAT HQ.
We all knew walking into a corporate stronghold in Silicon Valley was tantamount to suicide so Ki-rinn whistled up some legit work papers for us to sneak in as a team of electrical engineers and sorted a tried and trusted truck rental for us. I rustled up some suitable decals, while Glyph got to work on concealing weaponry inside power tool cases and building silencers.
Ash went through Snow to gather us a bit more hardware, while Sickle busied himself sorting out all the kit we’d need for our disguises.
The ruse, didn’t work for long. It served its purpose and got us through the external security into the underground car park and from there into the maintenance areas of Cross HQ. We got as far as the fourth floor before something or other gave the game away. The lift doors pinged open and we were nose-to-nose with a couple of real mean-looking bad asses in CAT Security gear. With little room to manoeuvre in the elevator, we were forced to improvise. We had the advantage of surprise too. They knew someone was sneaking around their building but I don’t think they expected to find five burly Shadowrunners sharing an express elevator to the Penthouse!
Grenades played a key part of our modus operandi. Ki-rinn and Sickle wanted to go for maximum damage to hit Cross where it really hurts – square in the profit margins. The first grenade kept the guards’ heads down on Level Four as I snagged a Security Over-ride and got us moving again. The second saved Glyph’s life after the cut the power and we were forced to abandon the lift.
While we were sitting ducks dangling from the emergency ladder in the lift shaft, security pried open the doors on Level Five hoping to shoot down on us from above. A neat toss from Ki-rinn left them scrambling for cover and buying the farm in the ensuing explosion.
The third and fourth grenades kept Security off of our backs as we made our way from Floor Five to Seven in the stairwell. Breaking out onto Seven, we knew we were close to the half-spirit, half-wit Allisom Cross. Ki-rinn had tracked his PAN to this level and as we spread out, Sickle used the fifth grenade to take out a Steel Lynx security drone concealed in Cross’ outer office. Sickle and I burst into his private office only to realise Glyph had flanked him and simultaneously come in through a side door. Lucky for Glyph, we’d only used a Flash-bang to start with!
Ki-rinn painted Cross but Sickle and I only re-entered the office in time to see him flung out of the office and across the office like a rag doll. With the cry of ‘Mage’ going up from our comrades, we abandoned any intention of screwing Dreamseed information out of him and settled for taking a pound of flesh. I saw shot after shot, bullet after bullet, tear into that guy but rather than falling down dead, we just seemed to be stripping Cross away from Allisom like taking a cheap fancy dress costume apart piece by piece to reveal the dark spirit form lurking within. We needed to do something and there was only one thing I could think of. Bracing my pistol in both hands, I took aim at the asshole’s head…
Ki-rinn says that on the battlefield, some significant moments seem to slow to a crawl. This was like that. Seconds crawled by in slow motion. I saw the flame, felt the heat, as a fireball from Allisom’s right hand washed over Sickle and I. Lying prone on the floor, I was protected from the worst of the blast though I felt my exposed skin tightening and blackening. Slowly I increased pressure on the trigger, squeezing it more and more until with a buck, the retort of the gun firing rang in my ears. I swear I saw that bullet run straight and true. I swear I saw the realisation in my enemy’s eyes as death rushed towards him on swift nickel wings. Half of his head disappeared in an impact that spun him 360 in a lazy pirouette and dumped his carcass on the deck like a marionette with its strings cut. Nessuno scompiglia con la mia famiglia!
I know nothing about magic but Allisom’s death released some sort of prescient force. Like the visions of my loved ones when we were facing Silk, I suddenly saw Allisom’s last entry from the Astral Plane into our world and the devastation that ensued. I heard Dominic Cross summoning him, saw the spirit’s smile as yet another mortal played into his hands and finally saw the Duke, using a holo-projector to distract us while the Console Soldiers flanked us and mowed us down automatic gunfire.
Snapping out of my reverie, I realised everyone else has shared the vision.
With a snarl, Ki-rinn led the way towards the roof, smashing the holoprojector, intent on taking out the Duke. Sickle and I covered the exodus and man, did those goons get a surprise. Two more grenades sailed through the door as they burst out expecting to corner us. What’s the matter boys? Don’t FPS Bots fight dirty in your games?
Up on the roof, the Duke was attempting to scramble a chopper and get the frag out of Dodge as Ki-rinn, Glyph and Ash spread out, directing a hail of shots towards the target. Lagging a little behind, we saw a Console Soldier break cover to fire from Ki-Rinn’s blindside. Ki-rinn dived for cover at his feet as a nose-mounted Gatling on the Heli opened up. Ash went down hard and as I snatched a Nano-medkit from Ki-rinn’s webbing to administer aid, Sickle made his last grenade count with a looping cast that dropped a nice surprise right next to the Duke in the chopper’s rear.
With Lone Star surrounding the building, we made a few hasty patches to salvage the helicopter and dumping Duke’s corpse unceremoniously onto the tarmac we limped into the sky. Spotting an executive tennis court nearby, I remote PANned the cars to that location for a pick up and headed over the cops’ heads for it. We had a rough ride but I managed to get us down safely.
Just. Maybe a few lessons wouldn’t go amiss. As we sat tight in the cars, Glyph’s brainwave had me sending the Chopper skyward again, this time on remote, using it as a decoy to draw Lone Star off on a merry chase away from our position.
Man I’m ramped! We iced us a couple of irritating bad guys, got some sweet revenge and escaped with our lives. Gauge paid in full, despite Dad Cross pulling the Perfect Shooter game off of the market, but better yet, we were a team. One hundred and ten per cent bona fide a team. After everything bad that has happened to us, that means a lot. Time to celebrate with a few beers and persuade the Replacement Killers to stay!