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Entry 28: 03.09.70>
Life has a habit of getting on top of you from time to time, which is why it has been a while since my last update. It has been a wild few days – hell at one point I even thought my friendship with Ash was gone. We’re still on patchy ground but I’ve been able to lay some doubts to rest.
Back around the 26th of August, Snow put us on to a job from a small marketing Corp called Ocean Blue. On the verge of closing a major deal, one of their star execs had gone missing and with his handshake and signature needed for the contract, Ocean Blue needed to find out what had happened to him – pronto.
Research mode revealed that our boy wonder, Brent Masters, had been taken away for some ‘recreation’ by two delightful looking young ladies but it was a clear set up, less legit than a 30 buck Rolex, and we quickly tracked Brent’s last known location to a Shadowrunner flophouse where we assumed he was being held hostage.
I watched the street while the rest of the team busted in. The place was empty but Ash quickly started jabbering that he could see Brent Masters there and that he was trapped in the Astral plane. Before we could even start to puzzle that little snippet out, I saw the runners who owned the flophouse coming home, laden down with jerry cans of petrol. Who burns down their own flop and why?! Well, we had the drop on them and after a brief and bloody scrap we were able to ask the survivors exactly that. They claimed to have kidnapped Brent as per their contract, only to have him disappear on them. They claimed the flophouse was now haunted and had planned on burning it down to exorcise the spooks and recoup some of the costs of their botched job from the insurance. It was our only physical link to Brent, if a somewhat tenuous one, so we had other ideas. We sent the surviving runners from the other team packing and holed up. Inevitably, they came back looking for revenge and we were forced to shoot up the flophouse for a second time but the scrap was more dramatic this time out and with Lone Star closing in, we fled the scene.
The other team’s Mage had speculated on Brent’s disappearance with us and Ash had sorted out some sort of magical tracking that linked the flophouse where Brent was supposed to be astrally trapped with a familiar location in Silicon Valley. The former home of CAT’s CORE project had been refurbished, rebadged as a Genesis facility and was once more on our radar. We went for the direct approach, busting in and working our way down to the basement where the CORE project had been based. This too had been refurbished and now boasted a corporate suite to rival any Penthouse in the city. In residence?
None other than the previously deceased Dominic Cross.
Now I’m no Doctor but people who get their fucking heads blown off are not, in my experience, in the habit of getting up and strolling around afterwards. I was stunned. So was Glyph. Ash however, strolled into the suite like a friend of the family and sat down for tea, biccies and a nice chat. To say we felt betrayed was an understatement. Who sits down and takes tea with a supposedly dead scumbag whose life achievements including brain washing your brother and kidnapping your sister. Ash’ actions were way outside my comfort zone but before we could twitch, the door to the suite was slammed in our faces and despite our best efforts proved utterly impassable.
Ash emerged, unharmed and unfazed by our astonishment with his blasé reactions, clutching an ornate wooden box. I was mightily pissed at this point. I just could not comprehend why we weren’t putting Cross back in his grave. Glyph agreed so with a small C-15 charge, we did just that and you better believe I made damn sure this time. Drone obs confirmed Cross was pate. All that remained was the CORE orb he’d had embedded in his head but I even rolled that into the heart of the flames and stopped to watch it melt.
Ash started in on us with some damn fool scheme to free Brent that Cross had given him and that just about pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t accept the fact that Ash was going to tamely accept anything Cross had told him and take it at face value. We’re talking about Cross, a man who should be dead, a man who brainwashed Ash’s brother, a man who kidnapped and threatened our loved ones, a man whose schemes have caused us no end of trouble and loss.
And Ash is going to trust him and follow his instructions to try and free Brent Masters? Not happening, no way. I told Ash there and then in the middle of the Genesis facility exactly what I thought of him, his unpredictable behaviour of late and his reaction to meeting Cross again. I walked, packed up my kit, drew the Lone Star away from the facility to at least help the team make their getaway and washed my hands of the Run.
I kept an eye on the news and the development of the run as best I could but it gave me no satisfaction to be proven right when Lone Star discovered the bodies of Brent Masters and our liaison at Ocean Blue and put the time of death several days before we had first met them. From start to finish the whole thing had been a screw job, and I could only assume it was done to manipulate Ash into doing Cross’ dirty work for him.
Hours ticked by and nobody responded to my warning. Even having fallen out with Ash, I couldn’t stand the thought of the team being in trouble so I headed back to the Flophouse, where I was picking their vehicles up on GPS.
It seemed the guys had been involved in a third firefight there but beyond a Lone Star mopping up operation there was no sign of them. Worried now, I quickly linked into the stealth tag I had put on Ash and tracked them to a Corp called the Alamais Foundation. All set to bust in and try and get them out, I was somewhat surprised to find them sitting in the lobby, a little shaken up, a little battered and bruised but otherwise OK.
They filled me in. It seemed Cross had given Ash a statue – a magical seal that it wouldn’t be a good idea to break. Cross was prevented from breaking the seal by the magic worked into it but someone with pure intentions, such as rescuing a trapped man from the Astral Plane, could have broken it. The whole plot had been a set up by Cross to persuade Ash to break the statue for him. Fortunately a Dragon called Alamais, CEO of this Alamais Foundation, had gotten wind of the plot and intervened, sending his goons to subdue Ash and the team and haul them in front of the Dragon. Alamais had taken the statue and clearly had no intention of giving it back, but he had filled in a few blanks. The Legion and CORE projects CAT had been working on were designed solely to create clones of Dominic Cross that Allisom could possess and work through. At least we know now why Cross appears to have more lives than a cat.
And so to the bombshell. Ash had cut a deal with the Dragon and taken on a job to kill the head of the Legion project and throw a spanner in the works of Cross’ clone factory. Hell I would have done that for free, so when the team asked me to come back onboard, I agreed, despite any misgivings I had about whether or not the Dragon was out to screw us over too. Ki-rinn picked up a data trail on Simon Crusher, the man Alamais identified as leading the Legion project and we soon found ourselves masquerading as horsey types to gain the confidence of a man called Philip Myers. Myers had part-owned a racehorse with Crusher and we thought he might still be in contact with our target. Sure enough, he sang like a canary and using a nanopaste facial disguise we decided I would pose as Myers to meet Crusher at the racetrack.
The meeting went like a dream, in spite of a couple of hairy moments and we all worked together to con Crusher into believing he was talking to his old friend while we slipped a stealth tag on to his jacket. I played Myers, Glyph played the drunken broad who made a pass at Crusher and Ki-rinn played my personal bodyguard, intervening physically to tag our man while hauling the horny drunk away. I wasn’t keen on staying any longer than necessary and increasing the risk our deception might be noticed so we made our excuses and left. When Crusher finally departed the racetrack he used a helicopter and while he had the edge on us for speed, we were as close behind him on the ground as four wheels and a beefy engine would allow.
The Legion Facility was on the shores of Pyramid Lake, near Nixon and we made our way there without too much fuss. Glyph and Ki-rinn teamed up well to gain us access to the compound and although ill-advised use of explosive ammunition soon gave our presence away, our slick teamwork meant we were able to mop up the opposition without too much trouble. During the firefight, Glyph and Ash had discovered an access point for an underground extension of the facility and we cautiously headed inside.
Security was tight. Automatic blast doors. Steel Lynx security drones. It took all of us, working together to access the lower levels and fight off the security detail – more of CAT’s damned console soldiers. Most of the lower level was dominated by a huge cloning room with hi-tech medical bays for 16 copies of Dominic Cross. Only 8 of the bays were occupied by fledgling clones but there were also experiments being conducted on the good townsfolk of Nixon, who were presumably supplying the raw genetic materials for the clones. It was a drawn out and bloody battle down there and I’m not ashamed to say that I kept my head down. A fly-spy drone made for a good targeting spotter, locating and marking targets for the heavy guns of Ki-rinn, Glyph and Ash but my rudimentary skills as a medic were also in demand. I pumped so many medical Nanites into Frosty it must have been like a miniature Charge of the Light Brigade in his bloodstream.
We’d still seen no sign of Crusher so headed deeper into the facility, out under the lake and up inside the pyramid shaped rock formation that had inspired its name. Here we found Crusher, protected by a pair of the CORE vampires we had previously encountered, engaged in some sort of huge ritual.
Glyph and I dispatched the Vamps, previous experience making us wise to their moves, while Ki-rinn and Ash concentrated on Crusher. Ash I think got the killing shot in and his fall seemed to disrupt the ritual, sending lightning arcing explosively around the room and earthing through us! I’ve cursed the wasted cash since buying insulated armour for the swipe of the Thunderbirds but it paid dividends that day!
We figured it wouldn’t take that long for Crusher to be replaced and then the clone factory would get back on track. Well we couldn’t have that could we? I know we’re making something of a habit out of blowing up CAT facilities but Glyph had plenty of C-15 and some damn fool had tunnelled out under the lake which made flooding the place laughable simple. It was too good an opportunity to resist, so we didn’t. We added insult to injury by making our escape in a stolen helicopter too…
Ki-rinn has his ex-army buddies stripping the chopper down as we speak and Ash even managed to get the Dragon to pay up. It has been a wild ride these last few days but things seem to have turned out alright in the end. We all deserve a break now. I’ve got the Step Van up on the ramps and a few devious plans for modding it so I’ll welcome a couple of week’s alone in the garage.
Mood: Well satisfied