"Shadowrun Duels: Datafile [ II ]"
A Shadowrun Novella in Five Parts
Find out how the characters of Shdowrun Duels met and what they got up to on their first run into the shadows...
You can find the first part of the story right here on Orcs in the Webbe.
What is Shadowrun?
"It is the latter half of the 21st century. Magic has returned to the world, awakening powerful creatures of myth and legend. Technology merges with flesh and consciousness. Elves, trolls, orks and dwarves walk among us, while ruthless corporations bleed the world dry. You are a shadowrunner – a mercenary living on the fringes of society, in the shadows of massive corporate arcologies, surviving day-by-day on skill and instinct alone. When the powerful or the desperate need a job done, you get it done... by any means necessary."
Shadowrun is a science fantasy setting based in a near-future universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. Thematically it combines the genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime, with occasional elements of conspiracy, horror and detective fiction.
What is Shadowrun Duels?
Shadowrun Duels was a collectible miniatures game produced by WizKids back in 2003, set in the world of Shadowrun.
Unusually the Shadowrun Duels 'miniatures' are big 1:12 scale action figures each with a separate base that has three Clix dials. This twist on their single dial Heroclix range allows the figures to take damage in one of three areas (Head, Weapon, or Body) as they fight during the game.
A clever multi coloured dice based mechanic also allows for a level of roleplaying to be easily included in scenarios along with multiple options for different equipment and weaponry that can be chosen from before each game.
//Begin Datafile 2.1//
>Nobody spoke as we climbed into the van. Despite the security scramble, we managed to escape relatively unscathed. A bullet grazed my arm, but it was a shallow cut, nothing that would slow me down. Silver Max lost one of his scouting drones, a small hovering disk, but either it wasn't all that valuable and was easily replaced or he was as pissed as the others and simply wasn't speaking to me.
As we all settled into our seats and the doors slid shut, I didn't mention what happened. I simply told Max to drive us to the Bar None, a hole in the wall that I occasionally bounce at. I'd made arrangements to use a secure back room there to hole up and relax after the job. I figured that it would be best to talk to everyone over drinks, when they'd had time to cool off a little. I could feel everyone staring at me, feeling angry and betrayed. Max was glassy-eyed in the driver's seat (jacked into the van), but I could almost feel the light from the heads-up display glaring at me. Still, I had done what I had to do. They were professionals; they'd understand.
As we strolled into the Bar None at almost 2:00 in the morning, with the glares of my teammates burning into my augmented back, I sighed inwardly and longed for a drink. Nights like these made me wonder if these types of gigs were worth it.
Once inside, I quickly led the team through the quiet bar to the back room I had arranged for us. I stopped briefly to talk to Tiffany, an attractive ork waitress that I'd dated a few times, and asked her to bring a round to the back room where we were heading. She smiled and nodded, and a minute later we were seated around a large polished table, drinks in front of us – and angry glares directed at me.
"So, you want to hear me out, or shall we just get on with the lynching?" I growled, staring around the room. I knew they had every reason to be pissed off at me, but that didn't mean I had to like it. I was team leader, I made the call, and they had to deal with that. I stopped myself and took a drink. The fact was, they had dealt with it, accepted it, and backed my play even if they weren't happy about it. I smiled and realized that I had chosen a good team for this run after all.
"Okay, gang, here's the deal," I began, taking a deep drink. "The Johnson gave me a couple extra instructions right before we left. I didn't say anything at first because he only told me, not the group. After I thought it through, I didn't say anything because I had hoped it could be avoided. I also wasn't entirely sure how you would react."
I paused and looked around the table. They were still angry. Time to drive the point home.
"When we were leaving Tony's earlier, Mr. Johnson pulled me aside. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that his employer's main goal was to deny Ares the scientist. If we ran into problems, we were to terminate him rather than risk Ares recovering him. If you don't believe me, I can call up Mr. Johnson right now and you can ask him."
I looked around the table once more. Karkhov and Liada were still far from happy, but they seemed willing to hear me out. Silver Max's face was unreadable behind his beard and bushy eyebrows, and he sat staring at his nearly empty mug of beer. Kyushi simply looked on, impassive. I sighed and punched the number Mr. Johnson had given me to contact him into the phone on my pocket secretary. I turned up the volume so that everyone could hear, and I set it in front of me. After a couple rings, the screen lit up and Mr. Johnson's face appeared.
"Ah, Mr. Dogg, so good to hear from you," Mr. Johnson's voice cut through the room, smooth as glass. "You have completed your assignment?"
"Yes, we did," I growled, "however, there were complications. Security was all over us. Can you confirm for my team the extra detail of the contract you told me before we left?"
"Of course – I gave him explicit instructions to eliminate the target should the run be severely compromised," the Johnson said through the phone as I spun it around so that the team could see the screen.
Mr. Johnson suddenly apologized and hung up, claiming he had other business to take care of. I knew that Tony was planning to make arrangements for payment the following day, so I didn't press Mr. J for that before he disconnected.
Karkhov still didn't look happy as I put my pocket sec away, but he seemed to have accepted what happened. Liada was nodding to herself, apparently satisfied with what she'd heard. Max was grinning, though.
"Does this mean we still get paid the full amount?" the dwarf asked, looking up at me finally.
"Yes, it does," I confirmed.
"Good," Max stood and headed for the door, "I gotta use the little dwarf's room, if you know what I mean. Then, the next round's on me!"
>We made it out. I'm still not sure how. And the cold beer in front of me wasn't doing much to improve my mood. If the hairy eyeball could kill, G-Dogg would have been a smoking pile of ash before we made it here. Karkhov's stony glares told me he wasn't feeling much more charitable toward the ork, either. G didn't say anything all the way back – he didn't even look at us from his spot in the shotgun seat. Max – well, who could tell with Max? He was plugged into the vehicle with that glassy-eyed look riggers get when they're communing with their rides. And they say we mages look freaky when we buzz off to the astral.
It wasn't until we'd all sat down that G-Dogg finally told us what had gone down. "Let me get this straight," I said as he pulled out his cell phone and offered to get Johnson on the line to confirm what he'd told us. "If we didn't get him, we were supposed to ice him? And you didn't think this was important enough to share with us?" I sighed. Biz was biz, and I didn't doubt G-Dogg's word about what Johnson had told him, but it still rankled. Looking back, I figured that was what the two of them had been discussing off to the side after the meet. Maybe I should have listened after all. I hate surprises.
>G-Dogg fulfilled the contract his employer had given him. The only dishonor he showed was – perhaps – in not revealing the contingency instructions to his team. Even then, no leader is required to tell his subordinates everything. It is simply part of the job.
Once we reached the bar, Liada and Karkhov began haranguing G-Dogg for not informing them of the possible eventuality of the scientist's death. Liada was quite unhappy about the events. Her argument was largely based on G-Dogg's reticence to reveal his full instructions to them.
Karkhov, on the other hand, was most upset that the killing had taken place at all. He felt they had ample opportunity to extract the scientist even with the guards fast approaching. He complained that time had been wasted in attempting to secure Dr. Stolling's approval of the plan. G-Dogg finally got so frustrated that he called Mr. Johnson to prove his innocence. The man confirmed his instructions to G-Dogg: Deny Ares the scientist if he could not be extracted. I could tell that he was not pleased to be justifying himself to a group of shadowrunners just to settle an argument.
I did not enter into the discussion, finding myself weary of it after a few moments. Max seemed pleased enough once he learned we would still be paid in full, and announced his intention to leave the room to bring back another round.
>I suppose this is where I take over again, since Max didn't seem to want to comment on this datafile. Once I realized the disk was gone and checked in with my employer, my course of action became clear: Track down the extraction team and retrieve the item. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to be alone.
Functioning with their usual precision, Ares had already placed a substantial bounty on the extraction team. The word was already all over the Matrix and the street that our happy group of companions had something that Ares wanted back – and fast. The price was even enough to let me entertain a thought or two about a double cross, but not nearly enough to make me go through with it. I knew I had to act fast to get the disk if I was going to beat the competition.
For better or worse, the group hadn't covered their trail very well. Upon leaving the Ares compound they'd hopped straight into Silver Max's ride, and then they hightailed it over to Bar None, a dive that catered to clientele with "special needs." They'd been careful about being followed, apparently, given the time it took them to show up there from the run, but they hadn't split up or made any evasive maneuvers. Not the kind of act anyone pulls if they rip off Ares and want to live to enjoy it. They were either arrogant, stupid, or someone in the group had pulled a fast one. I put my money on the last one.
Bar None was a seedy little place, all dim light, fake wood paneling, plas-steel tables, and cinder block walls. It looked like a bad movie set and smelled like the bottom of an ashtray. It would be a great place to hide – if you thought no one was looking for you. I walked in, looked around at the usual suspects, and headed for the back hall.
The three rooms off the back hall were the bathroom, the office, and the "private room." I put my ear to the door of the private room and caught bits of Liada laying into G-Dogg. It wasn't long, though, before I heard someone coming. I took refuge in the bathroom and peeked out the door. Silver Max had left the room and was headed down the hall, ostensibly to the main bar. He turned back to shut the door behind him, and I stepped out into the hall then, surprising him.
"How's your evening, Max?" He wasn't happy with me addressing him by name, as we'd never met before. I kept the conversation civil, though. I told him that word was out on the street about his little escapade earlier that evening, and that Ares badly wanted whatever they took. He said they'd just popped a scientist and hadn't taken anything. Ordinarily I'd take that claim with a ton of salt, but I had watched the whole thing earlier. He thought he was telling the truth. I'd have to get them one-on-one if I wanted to find out who'd taken the disk, and that was going to take time. In the hopes of shaking things up, I told him he needed to keep an eye on his allies, and then I left the bar. I hoped it was only going to be a matter of time before they led me to it.
//Begin Datafile 2.2//
> Did I mention that I hate surprises? One minute we’re all sitting there at the table, calmly (sort of) discussing what had gone down, and then before you could say “big ugly troll,” all hell broke loose.
In the space of about three seconds – or at least that’s what it felt like at the time – the back room door flew open with a deafening slam, and a huge form filled the doorway, bellowing a challenge. I was closest to the door (lucky me!), so one of the thing’s huge, hairy paws clamped around my chest and dragged me bodily up out of my chair. Next thing I knew, I was being crushed against the massive chest of an enormous troll, held in place by a forearm as big around as my waist. I could barely breathe, let alone gather the concentration to throw a spell. I managed to twist my head around to get a look at his face and wished I hadn’t. I’d heard of this guy: Wolf Nev, a gangbanger big as a brick drekhouse and twice as ugly. He was grinning, which just made him uglier. “Got ya!” he thundered. Then, to my shocked companions: “Don’t move or I geek the daisy-eater! There’s a reward on all you fraggers, and I’m gonna get it!”
His breath smelled terrible, but I didn’t think this was the time to mention it.
Nobody got to answer, because suddenly the room was full of Ares security. They poured in around Wolf Nev, raising their guns and trying to point them at all of us at once. I vaguely heard Silver Max yell, “How did they find us?” before Wolf flung me away. I took out a chair and crashed into the wall. By the time I got up again, the fight was on.
I quickly took stock of the situation. My first surprise was that Kyushi was right in there slugging, seemingly on our side. My second surprise was that Wolf Nev was fighting, too. As I watched in stunned amazement, he grabbed two Ares guards and slammed their heads together, dropping their two limp forms without a second glance, and looked around for another target. “You drekwipes fragged up my reward!” he yelled to nobody in particular.
The others were holding their own, but there were so many guards. I readied a spell and flung it at a guard who was about to plug G-Dogg, satisfied when he crumpled bonelessly to the floor. Even so, there were just too many of them, and I couldn’t do area-effect spells without taking out my own side. We had to retreat. Somebody else was yelling the same thing. We all started backing our way slowly toward the exit.
Most of my concentration was occupied with forming spells, but something kept poking at the back of my mind until I finally noticed it. What had Wolf Nev said? “There’s a reward on you fraggers . . . ” Drek! If street trash like Wolf were hearing about this already, somebody must have put the word out on the street about us damned fast! Somebody was deadly serious about retaliation for our little job. Was the science geek G-Dogg iced worth that much to them? Or – but no. I glanced down at my satchel, and then shook my head. Couldn’t be.
The battle had turned now and the guards were falling under our attacks, but who knew if there were more waiting in the wings? It wouldn’t be smart to stick around; that much was clear. We backed out of the shot-up back room and into the main bar, ignoring the shocked stares of the patrons. Off to my left, I noticed a huge form slinking off into the shadows – Wolf Nev. I considered going after him, but my ribs still hurt from our last little dance. He couldn’t have been the traitor, not if he was trying to claim the reward. Let him go for now.
The last guard went down and we got outside. I gulped great lungs full of the cold, sweet, polluted Seattle air, bent over with my hands on my knees. Normally I prefer good old-fashioned walking, but I was never so happy to see a vehicle as I was when Silver Max’s ride pulled up at the curb.
We were all going to have to have a talk, and fast.
>I really hate it when things go bad, and that night things just kept going bad and getting worse. I'd finally gotten everything settled regarding the incident with our target and was trying to relax as we waited for Max to return with another round of drinks. Through the walls I could hear the muffled rapid-fire thumping from the band, and I was already mulling over how much of my take from this run could be saved and how much I could blow on a shopping spree.
Suddenly, there was a much louder thump as something hit the door, hard. A split second later, the door splintered inward and the doorway was filled with over three meters of muscle, horn, and dermal deposits. I knew this troll, a former ganger named Wolf Nev. He was mean, tough as a tank, and as ruthless as they came. He roared, and before any of us could twitch he grabbed Liada and picked her up like a rag doll, threatening to rip her in half if we so much as blinked wrong. Then it got worse.
A staccato of gunfire drowned out the sound of the band and ripped into Wolf's back. He flinched for a moment, and then threw Liada aside. For a brief moment, I hoped it was Silver Max, and then I caught a glimpse of an armored form behind the troll. I instantly recognized the armor, and I sat stunned for a moment. How the hell had Ares found us so quickly? My contemplation lasted only a second, then I pulled my shotgun free and rushed toward the door; I was suddenly glad I'd chosen a bar where I was a bouncer so that we were able to remain armed.
>I wasn’t exactly pleased to see Ares guards again so soon. They rarely bother tracking down individual agents following an extraction attempt unless the target is extremely important, or something else is going on. Dr. Stolling did not appear to be very important, and I trusted that the others would have done their homework. That meant that something else was going on, and I was not at all happy to be part of it.
To be honest, I might have let Wolf Nev take Liada, except for his mention of a reward for all of us. When the guards broke in, though, I know our problem had become too much to face alone. Max and I were over next to the wall when Nev broke down the door, so we were the first ones to draw. We had the best view of what was to come.
When the guards pulled in, they first put a gun in the troll’s back, ordering him to put Liada down. He threw Liada across the room, then whirled and conked two guards together like an old-fashioned sim flick. G-Dogg roundhouse-punched the guard next to him, Karkhov drew swords and grinned like a fiend, and Max began shooting the guards as they came in the door, targeting center mass and head shots with no effort whatsoever. Liada was stunned by her crash landing, and a pair of guards was on their way over to her. Regardless of my opinion of her, I was not prepared to let Ares have her and endanger the rest of us. I leapt up and launched myself at her erstwhile attackers. I wanted to know why Ares was after us, and I suspected she might have an answer for me.
It was a short fight, but uniquely satisfying to feel the guards crumple under my attacks. They were not the best Ares had to offer – lucky for us – but they were skilled enough to present some challenge before they fell. They were simply not adequately trained to fight one who has been taught by the Yakuza since childhood. I believe I took out some of my frustration with the situation on them, and it felt good.
By the time the guards were down, Wolf Nev was nowhere to be seen – a fact I disliked considerably. We decided that it was better to leave than risk a second wave of attacks or a visit from law enforcement, and we headed for the front of the bar. G-Dogg tossed a credstick on the bar as we passed, so at least the owner received some compensation. Max had already summoned his vehicle, and we climbed into the van to relocate somewhere more private. There were questions that needed to be answered, and fast.
>The back room of the Bar None was not my first choice for a battleground. And even if I did want corp sec boys surprising me with guns blazing, I’d rather not have them coming at me from the only two doors in the room.
Fortunately, Wolf’s back caught the first burst of SMG fire. (I gotta admit – he was every bit as tough as Grim had been. I understood how he had led the Blood Puppies.)
Instead of falling, Wolf shrugged it off, grabbed a face full of sec man, and tossed him into a wall. Not being as tough as a troll, I’d propped up a table for cover as soon as I heard the doors go. When the sec man slid down the wall next to me I finished him off with a throat slash. When I saw how much armor the corpse was wearing, I put away my SMG. I would do more damage with my blades than I ever would ripping through non-AP clips with my Ingram. I’d just have to be patient.
The roar of G-Dogg’s Remington 990 was deafening, but at close range it knocked back a sec man into the clowns following him. This gave me an idea.
I noted with some satisfaction that Kyushi was kicking the snot out of some padded rent-a-cop who had ducked in under Wolf’s sledgehammer fists. Instead of admiring her work, I aimed for a gap and threw myself at the pile o’ sec men that G-Dogg had created just outside the back door. I dove out, spun, slashed, and stabbed with both blades like a madman. Fortunately for me, sec armor isn’t so good at stopping 18–26 inches of razor-sharp steel with some muscle behind it.
Sure, I got kicked, clubbed by a rifle butt or two, and I’d be pissing blood for a while after taking a fistful of Predator in the kidney, but I stood a hell of a better chance in the midst of my opponents, where they couldn’t get off a shot, than I did waiting for them behind a table. Besides, the adrenaline keyed me up to ultralevel.
The question about what had happened to Wolf, who had been standing at the door, no sooner entered my mind than the troll barreled past me and up the alley. Lopping the head off the last standing sec man with a Kasumi cut, I shouted “This way!” and moved to follow him. He was gone before we got to the fence.
//Begin Datafile 2.3//
> The part of the burned out shack roof that hadn’t been devoured by the fire kept the rain off of our heads as we reconvened our Ares-interrupted chinwag.
How did Ares find us? What did Wolf Nev mean about a price on our heads? Who posted the bounty? Who knew about it? Where were we safe? Blah, blah, blah.
I kept checking for motion coming toward us as the chatter went on.
“Look,” I said, “it doesn’t really matter much, does it? Something drew the air heads to us.” Nobody argued this. “None of us is green enough to bring along a tail after exfiltration, so it was either a snitch at the Bar None who happened to know we’d just run against Ares or they traced Dogg’s com when he called Mr. Johnson or . . . Mr. Johnson set us up.”
There was some muttering at this as nobody was pleased with G-Dogg’s special instructions.
“Johnson setting us up would also explain how we got bounties on our heads within minutes of leaving the corp,” Liada said.
More muttering of agreement.
I looked at the elf biff and added, “Or else it was magic drek.”
This popped the top on a whole new can of worms. Blah de blah de fraggin’ blah.
Finally, the dwarf pointed out that somebody took something from the lab. This is news to me, but Liada immediately started in on Kyushi.
“She had the best chance. Ask her why she’s here.”
Kyushi made some noise about being innocent that sounded like the truth.
Liada started in again until something passed between her and G-Dogg. It was a nonverbal communication, but the next thing I know, the elf does a 180 and confesses that she took a souvenir.
Fraggin’ excellent. Now which am I most comfortable with: My head on the block because Mr. Johnson set us up (call me paranoid, but there was only one way we could have bounties on us that fast) or my head on the block because someone on my team stole a magical bullhorn that is shouting, “Hey, come and get us!” to spell worms all over the sprawl. Tasty choice, neh?
The elf decides that now that she’s been caught our new job is to figure out why somebody wants the gee gaw.
I was hired for a run. Some important details weren’t given to me. I wasn’t thrilled about that, but I’m a big boy, I’d get over it. One of my teammates went into biz for herself while on the job. Drek happens. But, Ares sec forces knowing where to hunt for me? This is not good. There’s a price on my head? No, I didn’t see anything about that in the recruiting vid. And now I’m being dragged into some kind of investigation for a magical dingus? NFW, my friend, NFW.
I checked the back to see if anybody was sneaking up on us, and I made up my mind that I’d stand a better chance of survival on my own.
> I sat off to the side and caught my breath while everybody else speculated about why the corp sec boys and girls were after us. There’s just something about being grabbed from behind by a big ugly troll that slows you down a little, you know? Not only that, but I was angry at myself for letting the big lummox get the drop on me. No matter how much mojo you command, it’s all useless if you can’t concentrate hard enough to throw it. If those security types hadn’t showed up . . . well, I don’t like to think about where I’d be right now. It was a pride thing, and having my pride injured made me mad.
“We have something,” Silver Max was saying. My ears perked up at his words. “Someone took something from the lab.”
I immediately turned my glare on Kyushi. I hooked a thumb at her. “There’s a good place to start,” I said. “Why do you think she wanted to join up with us in the first place? And how did she just happen to know what was going down tonight? We didn’t exactly stop to ask her about her reasons at the time, did we?”
Kyushi was quick to proclaim her innocence, and to my annoyance, it seemed like the others were buying it. “Look,” I protested, still glaring at the Yakuza, “I don’t care that she helped us out in that firefight. Of course she’d do that – she wanted to save her own skin, and we were her best bet to make that happen. But she had plenty of chances to grab something in the chaos. Go ahead. Ask her why she was there tonight.”
I thought I was starting to sway them, but then I got a look at G-Dogg. He was looking right at me, and he had a funny expression on his face, like he was trying to decide whether to say something. Spirits, but sometimes I think it doesn’t pay to let somebody get to know you too well. I was going to just let it go, but then Kyushi happened to glance over and catch the look that passed between G-Dogg and me. Before she could say anything and make things even more complicated than they already were, I let out a sigh and shrugged. “Hey, I thought it was just a trinket,” I said defensively, pulling the shiny disk out of my satchel and holding it up for all to see.
Of course, anybody with a shred of magical knowledge would know that the disk was more than “just a trinket.” Frag, the oricalchum alone would have brought enough to keep me happy for several months. It was just sitting there in the lab, and especially after G-Dogg geeked the geek, I figured I’d salvage at least something out of the run. Ah, well. Easy come, easy go. “Okay,” I said, flipping the disk onto the table and trying to head off the lectures before they started, “so if this is what they’re after, I guess we’d better try to figure out why, neh?”
I did not like the way G-Dogg looked at me when he said I wasn’t going to like where we needed to start looking.
>Karkhov’s questions were what we had all been thinking. I took a moment to examine each of the others in turn as he posed possibilities, watching the reactions of the team. G-Dogg was indignant but still attempting to keep his cool. Apparently, he worked as a bouncer, and it took a lot to make him lose his temper. He did not like the criticism he was receiving regarding his decision to hide part of his instructions from the group, but he did not attempt to draw the argument out.
Karkhov himself seemed annoyed, particularly with the idea that Ares knew where to find him and that they would have bothered to track him down. Street punks were one thing, and disturbing in and of itself. Ares security breaking into a public place to arrest you was a disturbance on a whole other level entirely. He met everyone’s eyes, however, and seemed interested in finding out the truth.
Liada was indignant as well and extremely hostile toward us. Though she had seemed a bit friendlier to me following the fight, her frosty behavior was fully in place once we arrived at the safe house. She also would not meet my gaze, except to glare at me and then turn away.
Silver Max was angry and upset, his face alternating red and pale. He listened while the others spoke but continually muttered to himself under his breath. Finally, when Karkhov put an end to his theorizing, Max stood up.
“I saw a woman outside the room at the bar, before the troll broke in. She said her name was Midnight, and she knew who I was and what we’d done that night. She told me that Ares put the word out on us, said we’d taken something they wanted back really bad. I told her she was wrong, but she just laughed and told me to watch my friends.” He looked around at each of us, his eyebrows bristling and face mottled with anger. “So, which of my ‘friends’ needs watching, eh? Someone took something from that lab, and I want to know who.”
I sat for a moment, pondering the possibilities. Before I could speak again, however, Liada stood up and accused me of betraying the group, saying that I joining them only to steal something from the lab. My ire rose, but I remained outwardly calm. Losing my temper would have only convinced them of my guilt. Instead, I simply pointed out the truth: that I was the last one into the room and the first one out. I was there no longer than the few seconds it took to see G-Dogg kill the scientist before I was securing our escape route. In addition, the lab was apparently set up for magical research, and I am in no way a magician. I would not have known what was worth stealing, even if that were my intent.
Karkhov and Silver Max seemed unsure whether to believe me or not, but G-Dogg nodded his head in agreement with my statements. He looked at Liada, whose voice trailed off mid-accusation. Her hand fluttered over her satchel for a moment, and I knew. She was the only logical choice.
>The Ares bounty on our heads would have half the runners in town gunning for us – and the other half considering whether or not they could take us down. To make matters worse, after running for our lives, we ended up taking refuge in an old burned out stuffer shack. Seattle being Seattle, it had gone from a clear, cloudless night to pouring down rain in less than an hour, and now we were all huddled under what little remained of the shack’s roof trying to stay reasonably dry.
Accusations flew around the room, everyone convinced that everyone else had sold them out. I refrained from the argument and pondered things, trying to figure out where we'd slipped up. I was worried – more than I was letting on to the rest of the crew.
Karkhov suspected Mr. Johnson, and to tell the truth, I agreed with him. While wetwork jobs, assassinations, and the like weren’t the normal types of runs that runners got hired for, it wasn’t unheard of. I wouldn’t turn down a wetwork job, but my fee is substantially higher if I know that geeking someone is the primary goal of the run. The Johnson probably knew that higher fees were standard for most runners, and he set us up by adding in that extra clause, then alerting security. He could have also set a bounty on our heads to eliminate witnesses.
That, however, didn't explain how they knew we were at Bar None. While it was possible he traced my call, it’s too big a coincidence that Ares had a full squad of heavily armed and armored security guards waiting a couple blocks away. Wolf sometimes hung out there, so he probably just lucked out and saw us come in. I was pondering what that meant when Silver Max suddenly spoke up.
“We have something,” he said, his voice subdued. “Somebody took something from the lab.”
I looked up, and my eyes narrowed. I knew he was right, and as I heard Liada blaming Kyushi, I knew who had stolen something. I gave her a look, and she wilted, confessing everything “I thought it was a trinket. A souvenir,” she said defensively, before pulling out the small golden disk that the scientist had been working on before we killed him. With a defeated sigh, she flipped it onto the table.
I took a closer look at the disk. I hadn’t given it much thought when I saw it before, assuming it was something similar to an old computer disk. Now I saw that the gold color was a by-product of the material from which the disk was made. I sucked in a breath.
“Orichalcum.” The word came out flat and harsh, and everyone instantly understood what happened. It was magical, and thus traceable. Mr. Johnson sold us out, but this disk was how we were tracked.
“Okay, gang, we need to find out more about this disk. Someone wants this back very badly, and we need to find out why. For that, there’s only one place we can go.” I shot Liada a look and grinned. “You’re not going to like this . . . Lothan.”
I found this fantastic Shadowrun Duels story tucked away on he old Shadowrun Duels Yahoo Group. It was seemingly written way back in 2003 and I included it in the 2021 and 2022 Advent Calendars without permission from the author as I failed to track them down. Part II was first published on Orcs in the Webbe as the fourth entry in the 2022 Advent Calendar.
Shadowrun Duels is now out of print but the figures can be found every now and again on eBay, alternatively you can use any number of near future or sci fi miniatures to represent Runners in your games of Shadowrun.
The Shadowrun Duels rules including Jeremy Schwennen's expanded Shadowrun Duels Reloaded can be found in PDF format here on OITW.
For anyone not familiar with Shadowrun there are a variety of places on the internet you can learn more, one of which is the game's Wikipedia page here.