Ash, Glyph, Six.
The runners had gained access to the compound. Ash and Ki-Rin were first to the annex building with Glyph and Six close behind. An alarm was going off from inside the building and Ki-Rin worked quickly to silence it. Ash, Six and Glyph hopped onto the freight elevator that Ki-Rin had activated while Ki-Rin stayed in the annex to cover their rear.
The lift descended a freshly cut shaft, and the runners could tell that they were bypassing some of the underground floors before it finally stopped deep underground in a small chamber with only one exit. A maglock / thumbpad secured door. Six comlinked Ki-Rin to toss down the body of one of the guards, which hit the lift at the bottom of the shaft more messily than Six had anticipated. Glyph found a maglock passkey amongst the gore, and removed a thumb for the print reader.
Activating the door, the runners looked down a long corridor and saw that there was a welcoming party of armed guards. The runners were trapped in a dead end and had to fight desperately under a hail of bullets. Eventually they had cleared the floor of guards but they were injured.
The runners then pressed down through the following floors. They found the room where the CORe project had been stored that they had blown up was as they had left it, blasted and charred.
The next floor down, where the CORe test subjects had been housed had changed somewhat. The door had been replaced, and thumbed onto the face of the door in red ochre was some kind of magical runes. All eyes turned to Ash, who took a photograph and forwarded it onto Halifax.
The runners sat for a few minutes, and they became aware that classical music was being played from the other side of the door. Six who was already getting restless went over and knocked on the door. The music stopped and there was the sound of footsteps approaching.
The runners tensed up ready to fight or flight and nearly bolted when the door was opened by Dominic Cross. He was the same as before. His eyes were black pits, and the flesh on his cheeks were pitted with black burns, however he did have a circlet across his forehead with one of the CORe devices embedded. Six and Glyph were set to shot him dead again but they paused as he addressed them, he told them that he had been expecting them and invited them in to his office to talk. Glyph and Six watched in horror as Ash stepped over the threshold and went in.
Cross and Ash spoke for a few minutes and when Six and Glyph were clearly not coming in, Cross gestured and the door slammed shut and was magically sealed in place. Six shot out the lock, but the door still wouldn’t budge, and the best he could do was squint thought the hole he had made and watch Ash and Cross’ conversation.
Dominic Cross asked what Ash was doing there and when Ash told him what he already knew, Dominic showed Ash the statue.
It was an orachalcum statue of Verjgigorm and it was the source of power that Ash had been following for some time. Cross told Ash that the statue was a seal that had managed to trap Brent Masters in an astral realm and that all he had to do to free Brent was smash the statue.
Meanwhile all Six and Glyph could do was try to batter down the door. Six burned through the red ochre symbols but it didn’t break the magical lock on the door. Glyph cut through the hinges on the door but again the door remained in place. Only when Ash was done and had the statue under his arm was the magical barrier lifted (which caused the hinge-less door fall flat) The runners then fled at speed after dropping a large dollop of C15 in the room.
After setting off the charge, Six wasn’t convinced that they would have got Cross, so sent the Flyspy down to see. Sure enough there was nothing but gory remains of him in the wreckage of the explosion.
The runners then had a bit of an argument about Ash’s unpredictable behaviour towards Cross, and then about the rest of this run. And in the end Six decided that he wanted no more and headed out. Ash gathered up some weapons that had been dropped by the guards they had killed and he too made to leave. Glyph wanted to get some more info and headed up to the next floor. She found some labs, which were guarded and was convinced that they could get more info from the computers there but the rest of the team had already decided that they were leaving, and Glyph withdrew before she got into a firefight she would eventually loose.
Lone Star had been called and were gathered around the streets in Silicon Valley they had found the source of the explosion but couldn’t or didn’t want to head into corporate extra-territoriality so instead circled the building and waited for someone to make a run for it. Six was keen to oblige, and prepped his car for a chase, he hoped to draw off the police for the others to escape. Draw them off he did, and after having the pursuit joined by the officer in the SAAB Dante, he lost all of the tailing coppers.
The rest of the team also withdrew. Ash handed the artefact to his contact within the magical group and asked him to study it, and then was at a loss and headed home.
The next day Ash hooked up with Halifax again and took him to the place where he saw Brent in the astral and asked him to have a look himself.
While Ash looked after Halifax’s body someone tapped on the window and told Ash that he was the Laughing Man. They had a chat about what had happened.
Allisom had been about in 1906 and tried to summon a greater horror. The ritual to complete the summoning was interrupted by the Laughing Man when he killed the sacrifice before Allisom. The Laughing Man then separated a part of astral space and sealed the horrors in before forming a magical seal in the visage of Verjgigorm.
Allisom had found this seal and tried to break it but the Laughing Man’s enchantments forbid it. Only someone with good intentions could break the seal, and conveniently Ash’s desire to rescue Brent would break the seal.
Breaking the seal would free Brent but Allisom could then seize the moment to finish the ritual he had begun 164 years ago and would look to use him as a sacrifice. The only way to interrupt the ritual would be to slay Brent before Allisom could.
At that moment Ash realised the problem. Break the seal, free Brent, then kill Brent before Allisom could seize him and begin the next scourge. Or do nothing leave Brent to an eternity in an astral realm, fail a job and take a rep hit again.
Ash explained it all to the rest of the team before returning to his magical groups HQ to get the magical seal into his possession again.