Season 1 is the original Shadowrun Missions campaign. It takes place in Seattle, and the adventures were all designed for use with the Shadowrun, Third Edition rules.
- SRM-01 Mission Briefing
- SRM-02 Demolition Run
- SRM-03 FORCEd RECON
- SRM-04 A Fork in Fate’s Path
- SRM-05 Dark and Stormy Night
- SRM-06 Double Cross
- SRM-07 Strings Attached
- SRM-08 Harvest Time
- SRM-09 The Gambler
- SRM-10 A Walk in the Park
- SRM-11 Lost and Found
- SRM-12 Keys to the Asylum
- SRM-13 Duplicity
- SRM-14 For Whom the Bell Tolls
SRM-01 Mission Briefing
Your chance at the big time – a friend has tipped you off about a job opportunity to do some bodyguard work for a group of exclusive clientele. You have been trying to break into the Seattle shadow scene, and these are just the kind of people that can help. All you have to do is make sure that their meeting doesn’t get interrupted. It’s a simple walk in the park, natch!
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
When the dust settled, there was not much left bigger than a soccer ball. Everything had been reduced to rubble – the entire three story building was now just a pile of concrete, rebar, and other clumps of twisted metal laying in the lot of Redmond where the fixer’s headquarters once stood. The destruction was the result of a war in the shadows; one where no one was the winner, and everyone was the loser, in one form or another. A few of the more dedicated shadowrunners had arrived too late to the scene, and now used both technology and majicks to search the morass of jagged concrete for any sign of life. It did not take long before the worst was confirmed – the fixer who had once reigned over this section of the sprawl, and had also been one of the best fixers of the entire Seattle Metroplex, now lay dead and torn amidst the rubble. Digging out the body also uncovered some of the fixer’s prized possessions – a cyberdeck and storage unit, their armored cases miraculously providing them protection against the crushing collapse of the building, were discovered. Also found was an armored and fireproof box which, upon further examination, contained a copy of the fixer’s last will and testament – dated only weeks before. But it was the storage unit that was the most interesting…
… It wasn’t until almost two days later that the runners were able to crack the encryption on the files and get to the paydata contained within. What those datachips contained was nothing short of the key to the late fixer’s entire empire: contacts, run-ners for hire, markers, access codes, blueprints, reconnaissance photos, and miscellaneous tidbits of “compromising informa-tion” that could be used to blackmail or otherwise ensure coop-eration of many of Seattle’s most influential and important po-litical and corporate figures. Needless to say, the data was worth millions of nuyen, and possessing it alone would make someone the target of all the other predators and scavengers of the shadows that smelled the opportunity. The runners had not survived this long in the shadows though by playing things stu-pid. They knew that only more conflict and war could arise from releasing most of this data into the world – conflict that could end up catching them all up in its folds and spitting them back out as corpses. The fixer had somehow foreseen this eventuality however, for the will contained instructions on what to do should the data be recovered. They all saw the wisdom of it – divide and conquer. The will contained a list of almost a dozen of Seattle’s fixers; some more well known than others, some less powerful, but all had worked with the deceased at some point, and were known to be among the more “honorable” people that kept the shadow community on an even keel. So it was determined that invitations be sent out to these select few, and that they be gathered for a secret meeting to find an equitable way to distribute the data so that the balance of power could be maintained and the powder keg of another war in the shadows could be defused…
… A week later, and the select few agreed to the terms of the meet. Downtown, in Freeway Park, would be the location. In order to help ensure trickery and double-crosses, for even these fixers were worried about such, it was determined that a team be assembled to provide security for the event. These shad-owrunners would be chosen by the fixers – each one could rec-ommend a team member, but it had to be an unknown, some-one who had little or no stake in the outcome of the meeting, and may not have even met the fixer who hired him or her. Not all of the runners were available, but those that were able to do the mission received directions to meet at a local downtown bar…
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
The shrapnel just missed my face as it filled the air above the boardroom table. Not the shrapnel from a firearm or grenade, but from a much more dangerous weapon – the shattered remains of a datapad, smashed against the marble tabletop by the ‘old man’. I was one of the lucky ones. Seated at the opposite end of the table, I was spared the full brunt of Dr. Fredericks’ fit of rage. Dr. Struthers, his assistant and chief operations officer, was not so lucky; Bob ended up receiving a few lacerations to the face and arms by the flying shards of plastic and glass. Nothing that couldn’t be repaired easily enough by one of the dozen or so technicians in the company’s clinic, but the emotional scars would be much more difficult to heal.
“This is the third contract we’ve lost in the past month!” screamed Dr. Fredericks. “Another 1.5 million nuyen lost in revenues!” The CEO of Paladin Medical Technologies glared across the half dozen gathered before him, demanding an answer for this latest failure among the corporation’s contracts. “At the rate we’re going, we’ll be out of business within a year! Miss Nagahara, could you please explain to me just how we lost the Salish border patrol contract?”
Katey Nagahara was seated to my right, and I could almost feel the anxiety coming out of her pores. Her voice was strong, however, when she responded. “It appears that a new bid was entered shortly after our ownÑthe new bidder was able to supply the necessary drugs in the desired amounts for almost ten percent less than us. My sources cannot ascertain the winner of the contract.”
“Well, find out! First Seattle General, and now the Border Patrol! If it happens again, we’ll have to start dropping shifts and laying off personnelÑand guess where I’m going to start!” Fredericks had every reason to be upset. Paladin had lost some of their biggest contracts lately, all in the pharmaceutical supply division. Bob Struthers valiantly took some of the ‘old man’s’ rage on himself. “Sir, I believe that this is not a failing of the Marketing department, but rather the result of a malicious attack against our data systems. It appears that we have finally backtracked the logs and discovered an unauthorized access of our current JSR database, and was able to retrieve our operating figures and charges on various customer contracts. Needless to say, I believe that this information was sold to one of our competitors and used against us. We have taken measures to repair the security leak in our networks and change our access codes.”
“That’s not enough,” fumed Fredericks, “I want a total system rebuiltÑget all the system administrators together and work through the night if you have to, but I want a new network security plan on my desk by tomorrow morning. Nagahara, I don’t care how you find out, but you have the same deadline to bring me news of who our “competition” is and how they are undercutting our prices. That’s all! Get back to work!”
At least none of us ended up on the chopping block that day…
* * *
The incessant buzzing of the intercom on my desk was like a knife through my skull after last night’s lack of sleep. Only days after Katey had discovered that DocWagon was the culprit that had caused Paladin’s recent decline in market share, her “sources” had also discovered the source of their success. DocWagon has recently erected an automated pharmaceutical factory in the rolling hills of Snohomish. They soon discovered how quickly they could manufacture their own drugs, patches, and other meds, and in quantities greater than their own needs. Thus, the old laws of Supply & Demand, along with a timely offer from an enterprising decker, allowed DocWagon to hit Paladin and some of the other firms in town to sell off their excess pharms and undercut the competition. The voice on the intercom was, of course, Dr. Fredericks. “Wallace, it seems we have a problem. I know you’ve been in the loop on this DocWagon thing, and I cannot express how displeased I am that they have such a facility here in the sprawl. I think it would really help out Paladin if that facility were to no longer exist. If only there was a way to make such dreams a reality, eh, Wallace?”
“Of course, sir. I understand completely. I hope you will be able to sleep well soon… ” I replied.
There was no mistaking his tone of voice. Fredericks wanted the facility neutralized, and my job as Special Security Director was to see to it that such plans came to fruitionÑwithout the direct involvement of Paladin or any of her subsidiaries, of course.
It was time to make a call to someone that had a proven record of successÑa real “saint” of a man. The cultured British voice was always pleasant to listen to over the anonymity of the telecom. “I say, ol’ chap, it has been awhile. I assume you have something bothersome that needs a solution? Right… ”
SRM-03 FORCEd RECON
The ancient ninjas were more than assassins; they were also experts in spying and intelligence gathering. A new research facility has just been built, and someone wants to get as much paydata on their operations in case future incursions are necessary. Become the modern ninja and name your pay!
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
“We have decided to make you an offer.” And with those eight simple words, Griffin Biotechnology grew to become one of the largest biomedical research and technology firms in the Seattle Metroplex. Of course, it wasn’t the words that caused this rapid expansion, but rather the backing of DocWagon. Griffin Biotech had been struggling along with some of the other small firms in the sprawl until their latest breakthrough promised to end all that. With the help of Dr. Indira Chontel, Griffin has managed to make some dramatic progress and developments in the treatment of epilepsy – primarily the ability to use the signals from healthy brain tissue to compensate for the irregular signals of damaged brain tissue. Dr. Sumihiro Asikawa, CEO of Griffin Biotech, began to court some of the major players in town in the hopes of receiving investment partners to receive the money necessary to complete the neural research. It was not long before he had a number of groups interested in the possible developments that Griffin’s research could produce in the future. DocWagon led the pack of others including Ares Macrotechnology, Seattle University, and even the UCAS Department of Defense through various grants.
Now that they had the money necessary to move forward, they would need a facility – one where not only the research and development of Griffin’s latest technologies could continue, but also medical facilities where test subjects could be monitored. In addition, support labs and manufacturing facilities for nanotechnology would be needed. To top it off, this facility had to have the security necessary to protect the valuable state-of-the-art developments that would be released to the investors.
With Ares as one of the prime investors, it seemed only natural to sign a contract with Knight Errant Security Services to handle the security matters for the new facility after it is built. In order to protect their interests, Ares even offered KE services at a highly discounted rate. The university loaned out their thaumaturgic staff to assist in the construction of the new compound, on land purchased in northern Everett. With the services of Mackie Construction retained, the building of the new facility could begin.
* * *
It was another profitable quarter for Paladin Medical Technologies. As one of the premier suppliers of medical supplies, organ cultures, and research and development in the Seattle area, Paladin had been able to make some shrewd business moves in the past few years to ensure their continued growth and stability. Those in the shadows, of course, know that much of Paladin’s success was due to the fact that Dr. Fredericks, the head honcho, was not afraid to employ shadowrunners to retrieve prototypes, research data, or special shipments for use by Paladin. Rumor even has it that he hired a group of runners to hit a DocWagon manufacturing facility so that Paladin could secure a lucrative supply contract with Seattle General.
But it was becoming harder and harder to maintain a competitive edge. Just a couple of months ago, Griffin Biotechnologies received some major funding from some undisclosed investors. Fredericks had no idea what they had come up with, but now they were clearly Paladin’s only serious competition in the sprawl. To make matters worse, in that short amount of time, Griffin has managed to purchase property and build a new state-of-the-art facility in northern Everett, all within a short few weeks.
The report from the man he knew only as “Christof” now lay on his desk. Its contents were quite disturbing. Large armored trucks escorted a group of men that set about creating a large magical circle which a lithe elven female had apparently doused out for them. Stranger yet, large earthen elementals appeared to move the earth itself around the compound, forming large, solid rock walls. A few days more saw the arrival of construction equipment and large crews of trolls and orks that began to build the foundation for a large facility – the earth elementals helping to move the earth and speed the construction process. The construction vehicles all had a large logo on the side – that of Mackie Construction.
Currently, Griffin Biotech still resided in the Huitzilopochtli Plaza, owned and operated by Aztechnology and across from their pyramid. It was difficult to hire even shadowrunners to attempt runs against such a target. The new facility, however, would take some time to become fully operational. If he could contract some runners to investigate the new compound in Everett, perhaps the data could be used in the future to make a more profitable run against Griffin. Consulting his extensive lists of “intermediaries,” he settled upon one name that had provided results in the past for reasonable fees – and he was much more pleasant and civilized to deal with than many of those in his line of work.
A short telecom connection with Lyle Green, former child trid-star and now a connection to the shadow scene in Seattle, and Fredericks knew he would soon have the information he needed.
SRM-04 A Fork in Fate’s Path
A runner’s gotta do what a runner has to do. Or does he? For once, you get a choice of two different runs. Time limits your choice to one or the other, but not both. But remember chummer that looks can be deceiving, and that all that glitters is not gold – like the hyper velocity gel round of an angry Lone Star Cop, just as an example…
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
The party was just how Rolando pictured it – beautiful people, beautiful clothes, and beautiful table settings. The conversation, however, was quite boring. Rolando moved about the room, Betty and Betsy, his two female ork bodyguards, trailing close behind. They were ecstatic about coming to the party, and both had gone out and purchased new Heracles matching designer cocktail dresses. Both dresses were fitted for their over large frames, and had a little extra sway here and there that helped to conceal their weapons holstered on their upper thighs. Rolando sighed again as he listened in on another boring conversation about the latest terrorist attacks against DocWagon. It was clear to Rolando that the attacks were not the work of terrorists, but the start of some kind of shadow war being waged against the medical conglomerate. Rolando was sure there would be opportunities for him in the future, as soon as the conflict reached critical mass – eventually DocWagon would have to respond without drawing the public’s notice, and that meant using shadowrunners.
Rolando paused as a waiter passed by with a tray of champagne flutes. Taking one of the slender glasses from the tray, he dismissed the waiter with a wave of his hand as he was an afterthought. But then something caught his attention – a new topic of conversation had started, but he couldn’t see what was going on; everyone seemed to be focused on someone or some thing in the middle of the throng, but from his vantage point, Rolando couldn’t see the center of attention. Throwing etiquette and caution to wind, Rolando handed his glass behind him for Betty to take, and began to concentrate. After a moment, his body began to rise slowly, his arms slightly spread from his sides. The higher vantage point allowed him to see what was going on – there appeared to be an elf, albeit very short, standing in the center of a ring of people. He was signing autographs while simultaneously answering questions. Rolando knew instantly who the male elf was – the short frame and larger than normal elfish ears helped identify the man as Kevin Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was the owner and main producer for HotSpot Communications, a small trideo film firm here in Seattle. They produced a lot of the local trideo shows such as Eye on Seattle, Good Morning, Seattle, and Puget Sound Nightlife. Rolando, of course, had dreams of appearing in a trideo feature, especially a remake of the original gangster films from the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Rolando lowered himself back to the ground and motioned for his “girls” to watch his back as he pushed his way forward into the small crowd around Kirkpatrick. Eventually, he was part of the “inner circle,” and learned that the trideo mogul was launching a new project which he hoped would skyrocket in the ratings – earning him millions of cred and reputation in the process. His project was a new reality based program that would feature those elusive individuals known as shadowrunners. Some people romanticized the role these shadowy figures played in the struggles of the streets, and they were often blamed for the attacks and damage against both government and corporate entities. They were seen on the reality cop shows from time to time – almost like a “super gang.” Kirkpatrick hoped that the show, RealRunners!, would show more of the behind the scenes aspects from the runners point of view, and find out if they are the “Robin Hoods” of the day as many believe, or just scum and “public enemy #1” as others did.
While talking to the small group, Kirkpatrick noticed one of the men seemed to be making some subdued movements with his hands. He shifted his perceptions slightly, noticing the swirling energies of the astral gathering about the strange Italian looking gentleman. The man wove the energies about the small group, causing them to continue to see and hear Kirkpatrick drone on about whatever their minds wanted to hear as he guided Kevin through the crowd to a remote corner. Kirkpatrick was intrigued – he was, after all, no stranger to magic. A “spike baby,” born as an elf during the early 1990s, he had endured ridicule and prejudice about his large, floppy pointed ears and his strange mannerisms. When magic returned to the world, he was able to embrace it, and could perform small prestidigitations himself. Large mental illusions of the type the man had just performed, however, were out of his range. What was also a surprise was when Rolando, as the man with the olive skin and tacky gold chains had introduced himself, proposed that they become partners in his new venture. It seemed that Rolando not only wished to invest funds into making the show, hoping for profits on the back end, but styled himself as something called a “fixer,” someone who evidently arranged connecting the shadowrunners with those that wished to hire them. Rolando said that he knew just who to contact…
SRM-05 Dark and Stormy Night
It was a dark and stormy night – traveling near Glow City in the Redmond Barrens during a hail storm is not your idea of a good time, especially when things go bump in the night!
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
…the chill of the night air could be felt even down here on Level Four, even though the lab was completely sealed and the facility had its own air circulation system. Maybe it had something to do with the room’s inhabitants. Kat almost jumped off her stool as her cell phone began vibrating. As one of the leading mages working here in the depths of the latest research lab of Ares Arms, she was not supposed to have her cell phone on her – a security violation that could get her dismissed from the project. As an independent consultant for Ares, she was awarded some degree of latitude, but security was something that could not be dismissed, especially here, especially now. But she knew that Stella worried about her, and would often call to check up on her – like she really needed checking up on.
It’s just that Stella couldn’t understand why Kat couldn’t talk about her job; she just didn’t grasp the concept of classified projects and why people needed to hide things. That’s a Dog shaman for you, always trying to be one big happy family. As a follower of the hermetic tradition, I cared only about one thing – money; and Ares was offering plenty of it. Classified jobs paid even mo re, and this one was just through the roof, and with good reason.
The large insectoid form now on the table in front of her looked just like a 2 meter tall carpenter ant. Its large black mandibles shone under the harsh fluorescent lighting of the lab. Kat was not in the least bit worried – the abomination was strapped securely to the table with Kevlar woven straps, and it had been stunned senseless by her mana based magics. And the wards – a quick glance to the left revealed the glowing cartouche that indicated that the ward was holding and strong.
Her attention was once more drawn back to the vibrating cell phone. She turned and addressed the two scientists in the lab with her, “I need to prepare a further binding ritual on the subject to ensure its complacency during the testing. Why don’t you two go and get a cup of coffee or something before we begin the testing.” It seemed like a good enough excuse for the two mundanes to leave the lab and the insectoid form on the table behind them. They quickly left Kat alone in the lab.
“Stella, I thought I told you to call me only in an emergency! You don’t realize how much trouble I could get into by talking to you right now!”
Stella’s voice sounded frantic across the wireless gap between them; “But I was worried! It’s been nearly 14 hours since you left the house! You’ve never been gone this long before without calling!”
Kat’s calm voice reassured the shaman; “I told you I would be working late today. We’re on the verge of some important experiments, and I’m very busy. Stella, I promise I’ll call you as soon as I’m done and ready to come home.”
The scrape of chitin on metal raised the hackles on Kat’s neck as she turned back around to the subject on the table. The large ant-like creature had awoken and was straining at its bonds.
“Stella, I’ll have to call you back!” she hoarsely called into the phone and dropped it on the counter, not thinking to push the disconnect button.
The ancient tongue came difficult to Kat, but she continued her chant, building the astral energies and preparing to release them into the creature.
An unholy screech sounded from the insect as it focused all its power into the formidable limbs, cutting through the tough Kevlar that held it down. Another screech to celebrate its progress, and it began the fight for freedom.
Kat began to release her spell, but was distracted at the last moment as the two scientists rushed through the door of the lab, intent on discovering the source of the alien noises they had heard. They stood frozen in the door at the sight before them – the ant-creature sitting upright on the table, its mandibles and forelimbs working on cutting its remaining bonds. Kat stood off to the side, and spun at the entrance of the scientists, releasing her spell energies prematurely.
“Don’t just stand there!” she shouted, “get the sprayers!” But it was all too late – the abomination severed the final bond and broke free, leaping off the table towards the scientists at the door. It grabbed the one on the left, and ripped the scientist’s body in half, dropping the legs to the ground as it flung the upper torso towards Kat. She quickly cast another spell, this time a bolt of powerful energy. But her attempt to dodge the bloody upper half of the scientist caused her to miss, and the bolt struck the transom above the door. The insect turned back to Kat and released another shriek as it leapt towards her. Kat screamed one final time as she tried to turn the fury of the insect, noticing almost ironically before being rendered apart that the glyph above the door had flickered and died…
It was a dark and stormy night. The rain was beating a deafening crescendo on the window to her left. Stella sat in horror as she listened to the strange alien shrieks and the frantic yelling of Kat on the other end of the line. What seemed like an eternity took only seconds, and by the time she could respond, only silence greeted her through the ear piece. She had the presence of mind to keep the line open, and went to the telecom to contact a close friend. She had known Manny for many years, and she knew that she could turn to him for help. The fixer picked up on the second ring, and Stella immediately started crying into his waiting ear. “Manny its Stella I don’t know what’s happened but something terrible has happened to my friend Kat I just know it I just know it I was talking to her and then I heard some screams and something awful oh just awful that I’ve never heard before oh I don’t even know if she’s still alive oh Manny you’ve got to help me you’ve got to help her!”
“Whoa, calm down Stella, calm down. OK, Manny is here to help, where is Kat now?” the fixer calmly asked, hoping to calm down the frantic woman.
“I don’t know she just wouldn’t tell me I’ve asked her a lot but she just says she can’t tell me it’s classified and oh I don’t know but I was on the phone with her and I dropped the phone and kept the line open…” the shaman responded.
Manny used his many years of experience to quickly assess the situation and responded “Don’t worry Stella, I’m contacting an associate of mine right now and feeding him your cell phone number. Don’t worry, this guy is good, and he’ll be able to lock down a position if the phone is still open and has a strong enough signal.” His fingers flew across his telecom unit as he dialed up one of his star deckers and put him in another window on the screen. The data flew across the bottom of the window as he relayed Stella’s cell phone number and the request for tracking it down ASAP. A few moments later, and Manny had his answer – he knew he could depend on this console cowboy. “OK Stella, you can hang up the cell phone now, we’ve got it…you should hang it up so that nothing can track back to you. Let me handle things now and you try to get some rest.”
The shaman visibly calmed as she responded, “Thanks Manny, I knew I could count on you – I’ll pay whatever it takes – just get Kat back to me…” Manny immediately began scanning for who was available and ready to take on a quick rescue mission into the heart of the Redmond Barrens and The Glow…
It was a dark and stormy night. But here, in this underground facility of Ares Arms’ research division, the sound of their footsteps on the tile floor was the only thing anyone could hear. Sergeant Colby had only another 20 minutes to go before the end of his shift. Both he and Corporal Rachovsky had been tasked with making the security rounds on Level Four – where the main labs were. Everyone had their own ideas of what was going on down there. As security guards, they were only cleared for patrolling the hallway and not allowed in the labs themselves unless an alarm was triggered. That was fine with Colby. Talk of everything from mutants exposed to The Glow to space aliens recovered from the crashed suborbital to even stranger tales of things that go bump in the night…
He pushed the button to call for the elevator, and alarms above his head sounded their claxon roar. “What the hell is going on?” he asked Rachovsky. The corporal could only shrug as the elevator opened before them. They waited for a second as the speaker system activated; “Attention all hands, Attention all hands, This is NOT a drill, This is NOT a drill, There has been a breach in Laboratory B, Level Four, Hostile subjects are extremely dangerous, Activate protocol CHARLIE, All security teams report to duty stations and load chemical rounds!” The speaker continued to bark out orders as the two nervously got into the elevator and proceeded to the bottom level of the facility. Colby was not happy! “Why does this drek have to always happen when I’m about ready to get relieved??” Both of them checked their magazines and ensured that the special chemical rounds had been loaded. They had no idea what the chemicals were, but they had been told that it was necessary to use such ammunition rather than standard lead bullets here in the facility. It didn’t matter to him, as long as they worked, and they had better work!
The elevator doors opened, and the two Ares Arms guards immediately reacted to the combat scene before them. It was readily apparent who the bad guy was – one of the scientists had just finished firing one of the special spray weapons, little more than a fire extinguisher, at what could only be described as a giant carpenter ant! The black body was covered in white foam, and it let loose with an alien screech that caused the two warriors to respond with screams of their own. The scientist could only stand by helpless with the empty dispenser as the ant swept sideways with a powerful forearm and pinned the human to the wall. The guards opened up their weapons on full automatic mode, emptying their clips in mere seconds. With luck on their side, the insect finally collapsed as green ichor oozed from its mouth. A few moments later, the elevator opened behind them and a squad of guards poured forth, quickly securing the area. Another of the facility mages moved forward and inspected the lab and the surroundings, paying particular attention to the door at the far end of the lab. “Everyone! We need to secure the facility! We’ll need to go into lock-down until backup can arrive! Sergeant Colby, you and your partner oversee the lockdown efforts. The rest of you, proceed to the entrance of the facility for further orders. We need to hold the fort for about an hour before the pros get here. And Colby, make sure you reload…”
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
The numbers were excellent, the risk was small. As Chief Operations Officer for DocWagon Seattle, those were the two main variables that concerned Michael Davenport. He had been working on the proposal now for two weeks, and now he had finished the report. It was just too good to pass up – the UCAS military had decided that it needed to develop new technologies to help combat the new enemies of the sixth world, new weapons that the average rifleman could use in the field without the need for a trained magician. One of the areas that showed promise was the pharmaceuticals arena, where drugs could be used by combat troops to enhance their own abilities, as well as drugs or chemical compounds that could be used against paranormals, such as the revolutionary gamma-scopolamine. What was even more exciting is that Fort Lewis, right here in the Seattle metroplex, had been chosen as the testbed and control center for any corporations that won the contract. Furthermore, since DocWagon was made up of individual franchises, it allowed DocWagon Seattle to bid on the contract themselves without having to deal with a home office. If Davenport could bring in this contract, it would mean millions of nuyen over the next four years.
Now all he had to do was get it past Garrett. Garrett Walsh was the Chief Executive Officer and Michael’s boss. They had been friends early on, but over the years, their relationship had strained. Michael was ever looking forward, looking for new markets and new ways to increase profits, and as such, make himself a very rich man. Garrett, on the other hand, seemed to be too conservative. He just wouldn’t take any risks, and was happy following the standard franchise services of providing emergency medical care, private clinics, and tissue replacement services for DocWagon contract holders. Davenport couldn’t figure out why Walsh wouldn’t even branch out into ventures that made sense for the company, such as drug manufacturing, bioware development, and other technologies derived from the various products and spin-offs that they already produced. But for some reason, Walsh had shot down just about every proposal that Davenport had brought to him in the past two years. But this time, this time it will be different – the profit potential and visibility of the contract was just too much to ignore. Walsh would have to back Michael on this on.
All of this went through Michael’s head as he walked down the hall to Walsh’s office, his datapad tucked securely under his arm. He greeted Yolanda, Garrett’s executive assistant, as he reached the office door. She greeted him with a beaming smile and sparkling violet eyes as she waved him into the inner office. Michael saluted her with a wave of the hand and passed through into Walsh’s main office. Garrett was seated behind his desk, going over the quarterly spreadsheet projections as they hovered in front of him, suspended in the xenon mist that emanated from the holo projectors on either side of the virtual screen. He shut off the screen and came around to greet Michael, indicating that Davenport should take one of the large synthleather chairs in front of the executive desk. Walsh broke the ice first, “OK, Michael, what do you have for me today?”
“Well, I think that I can safely say that this time, Garrett, I have developed the means for us to be able to retire a few years earlier.” Davenport opened his datapad and initiated the handshaking protocols between it and Garrett’s desk. Within moments, the holo screen had reanimated, showing the numerous graphs and spreadsheets contained within the proposal. “I think you can see that the potential for profit, from this contract and spin-off sales into the private sector, will serve to almost triple our current yearly earnings within the first two years alone. We cannot afford to pass this opportunity up – in fact, I’ve already put together the red team for finalizing the effort based on the RFP we received from the government. All we need is your final go-ahead, and we can have the document ready for your signature by the end of the week…” Davenport let the sentence hang, waiting for Walsh’s response.
“Interesting, very interesting. Well, Michael, you’ve certainly done your homework…But…”
Michael Davenport couldn’t believe it – the pause was unmistakable, Walsh was going to shoot down another proposal! “No, Garrett, don’t do this – you’ve shot down every proposal I’ve brought to you. Why won’t you take a chance?? This is a major opportunity here, and it will strengthen our company and make the shareholders happy at the same time!”
Garrett sighed, “Now, Michael, you know that’s not true. I approved your proposal just last month about launching a production facility in Snohomish, and the construction of that is almost finished – and we have already signed contracts with Seattle General Hospital and the university clinic to supply them with the pharmaceuticals we produce in overage. Finance figures we’ll have paid off the facility within the first year and a Shadowrun Missions Double Cross 4 half, and the profits alone from not having to purchase our medkits and tranq patches from outside vendors will save us almost a half million nuyen a year. And this other proposal that you sent me, concerning Griffin Biotechnology, well, that is looking promising as well…”
“…And yet you haven’t approved it yet either!” Michael exclaimed. “You know what your problem is, Garrett? You’re afraid – afraid of what the public and the shareholders will think if you take the slightest risk. The Snohomish facility is just a natural augmentation of our services, and one that some of the other franchises have already proven – you’re just copying them. Any time I bring you an opportunity to truly diversify, you shoot it down. Just because this proposal is for a defense contract does not mean that we’re warmongers, or that we’ll be perceived as such by the public. C’mon Garrett, take a chance – this is worth millions for god’s sake!”
“Michael, you know my position on defense contracts as it is…and we do have a public image to uphold, whether you agree with it or not. The people expect us to provide quality medical care – and that’s what we do. Hell, Michael, we have a virtual monopoly on health care here in the metroplex as it is! With the way things have been going since the Redmond crash in ’59, our shares have steadily increased. Slowly, yes, but the shareholders have been ecstatic enough. I’m afraid my answer will have to be ‘no’…”
It was at that moment that Michael felt his world fall out from beneath him. It was clear to him that he would never be able to excel here at DocWagon – not with Walsh at the head of the table. If he wanted to make his multi-million nuyen retirement a reality, he would have to either get rid of Walsh or move to another company. He sighed as he disconnected the virtual connection between his datapad and the desk and stood up to leave. Without a word, Garrett let him go back to his office. Once inside, he flung the datapad against the far wall, smashing it into a hundred pieces. And then it hit him, the one thing that Garrett Walsh had said that had caught his attention: “we have a virtual monopoly on health care here in the metroplex.” Well, maybe that was the problem! DocWagon didn’t have to take chances, didn’t have to take risks – they were the ‘big boys’ on the block, and no one seemed to want to challenge them. Not even the big multinationals and megacorps dipped into the business seriously – they all knew that DocWagon had a tight grip on the market share, and could offer their services at a much cheaper cost based on their volume of business and lack of overhead that the larger companies had. Smaller companies faired no better, as they couldn’t fathom the resources needed to compete against the medical provider, and couldn’t seem to sway the big dollar clients away from their dependable service. But this meant opportunity for Davenport!
It had taken a few months to lay the groundwork, but already the events of the past few weeks seemed to be playing into his hands. Just a few short weeks ago, someone had destroyed the Snohomish facility, setting DocWagon back six months in lost profits and production levels. They now had to pay higher prices from outside vendors that sensed that their usefulness had been diminished by this latest venture of DocWagon Seattle. Yamatetsu, in cooperation with AG Chemie of Europe and Paladin Medical Technologies, a leader in biotechnology products here in Seattle, had won the big defense contract that Davenport had been working on. They were now making money hand over fist, and the word from Davenport’s sources said that this contract was the only thing keeping Paladin afloat. And just the other day, his sources informed him that someone had been poking around the new Griffin facility up in Everett. Since the facility had not yet opened, and Knight Errant was working security, it was no surprise that the infiltrators, whoever they were, learned very little about the research being conducted on DocWagon’s behalf. It was a miracle that Walsh had signed off on that proposal, after so heavy-handedly dismissing Davenport on the defense contract. Soon, Griffin and their lead researcher, Dr. Chandra Dasari, would be ready to begin human trials on her revolutionary neurology research. He was supposed to announce Dr. Dasari and her program at the upcoming shareholders’ meeting.
The meeting would also serve as his ticket out. He had already laid the groundwork for his “retirement” from DocWagon. Throughout the company, he had hidden various files containing customer lists, security codes, and other data he would need to compete against his current benefactor. One of the files had even been in the Snohomish facility, earmarked as an innocuous file named simply “H.” His decker assured him that it was hidden within the system were a standard inspection would not find it, and even so, was encrypted so heavily that it would take years to break the code. Only his own biometric data and a secret passcode would allow the file to be decrypted safely. Last week, he had made sure that his medical data had been replaced with that of Earl Peabody, the owner for a very successful car dealership in Fort Lewis. Since Earl had the same physical build and general characteristics of Davenport, the COO even had Shadowrun Missions Double Cross 5 their clones retagged. A second clone of ‘Peabody’ was commissioned, under the pretenses that the customer wished a backup to be shipped to the east coast.
Davenport’s position as COO often allowed him to work with the security director in accomplishing certain black operations, or ‘shadowruns’ against some of Seattle’s corporations, usually to do datasteals in the hopes of manipulating new contract negotiations or in defense of DocWagon’s facilities from rival incursions, as in the one that happened in Snohomish recently. Michael decided to use this same pool of talented ‘deniable assets’ to help reroute ‘Peabody’s’ clone on its way out of DocWagon’s Tacoma storage facility. Thus, everything was in place for the final act.
Davenport began to plan for the shareholders’ meeting. He could not find any flaw in his plan – it was brilliant. He would hire two teams of shadowrunners. The first team would be the best money could buy – they would be outfitted with DocWagon uniforms and equipment as a High Threat Response team, perhaps even graduates of his Temporary Responder Program that he devised back in 2057 as a way to augment the undermanned HTR teams already in the field. They would take his second cloned body (the Peabody clone) and have it outfitted the same as he would be on the target day, and place it into a remote controlled ambulance. It was a pity that the team would have to neutralize a current HTR team in order to get the ambulance, but having their bodies inside would add to the authenticity of what he was about to accomplish. He just had to make sure that their own corporate bracelets would not register in the dispatch system until he desired it to be so.
The second team would be a group of relative unknowns, nowhere near as skilled as the first team. They would be hired to “assassinate” him. By having this team of shadowrunners report their plans to their “Johnson,” (in other words, him!) he would be able to prepare any appropriate defenses and illusions to complete the illusion that they had succeeded in their attacks. At this point, the first team would come in to “rescue” him, taking him out of the shareholders’ meeting and into the ambulance. They would, in fact, be concealing him and hastening his escape via other means while another illusion made it appear that his body would be taken into the ambulance. Once away from the hotel, the explosives could be triggered, destroying the van. Any examination of the contents would confirm that members of DocWagon’s HRT team and Michael Davenport, COO, had been found as nothing but burned remains. The DNA results would match perfectly. This would allow Davenport to move on to remote parts to have some reconstructive surgery performed, as well as begin to retrieve his files while the security codes were still valid and DocWagon had not caught on.
He would then return under the identity his contacts had created for him – Walter Broward, with enough capital to start up Rose Croix, a new health care provider to compete against DocWagon in the Seattle Metroplex. It would then only take some careful planning and strategic strikes against his former employer to weaken their stranglehold on the sprawl, and allow his company to advance in size and power. He would take the risks that Walsh would not – he would make his millions, no matter what the cost. He cared nothing about public opinion as it concerned defense contracts, biotechnology, controversial genetic research, or other fields – if there was nuyen to be made, he and Rose Croix would take advantage of it.
All he needed to do now was to find his two shadowrunner teams for next week’s big event. Funny, he never thought he would be planning his “funeral” so soon…
SRM-07 Strings Attached
You’re hired to extract some VIPs from a secure facility and then destroy any evidence or witnesses that you were there. Of course, there are strings attached: the VIPs are not very cooperative and must be unharmed. You always did enjoy a challenge!
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
Not even being the Chief Operating Officer of a company like DocWagon’s Seattle Division was enough for Michael Davenport. He had ideas that would make the division millions of nuyen, but was stopped short by his boss at every turn. DocWagon had grown static and overconfident in the Seattle market. With the demise of Crash Cart after their mysterious debacle in the early fifties, it paved the way for DocWagon to be the de facto provider of emergency care services in the Seattle metroplex. There was simply no competition to force them to grow and develop. Sure, they received new customers every year, but it did not “grow” the company in the way Davenport knew that it could. The problem was, DocWagon Seattle’s CEO would have none of it – he turned down lucrative defense contracts and what were considered risky ventures. Davenport could not, would not, be ignored. So he did the only thing he could think of – he had himself killed…
Davenport sat in the shade of a palm tree, sipping his drink as he recalled his plan. The two shadowrunner teams had performed flawlessly, although the one team that had been hired to “assassinate” him almost did too good of a job. They almost had seen through the charade, but luckily he was able to escape in the end. Now his mind shifted into high gear as he planned the next phases of his life. He had already laid the groundwork for his new identity, Dr. Walter Broward, months ago and started the shell corporation that would become Rose Croix. His sources told him that most of the capital assets had been spent to procure office space, medical equipment, and trained medical personnel. The only thing he had to do know was heal up from the recent sessions of cosmetic surgery, and then return to Seattle to take control of his new company, one that would compete against the sleeping dinosaur that DocWagon Seattle had become.
Jose didn’t really like his job. The money was great, especially for an ork with no education. And the people were pretty nice; he’d heard only the occasional racist crap from a few of the guards. But he hated going into the Vault. And he had to clean it every single night. The low man on the totem pole had to do the worst jobs. Eleven years on the job and he was still the low man on the janitorial staff.
The smell would hit him the instant the door swung open, that crisp, acrid ammonia and metal scent. Underneath it, the barest traces of meat…like a clean, cold freezer in a slaughterhouse. And the low hum of the chillers, barely audible, but Jose always felt it in his chest. The dim red lights were always kept low in there too. Even with his low-light vision, he had to squint and peer around while he cleaned.
But the worst was looking at them. The cold, lifeless bodies, line upon line of them, hanging like puppets from narrow cables four feet off the ground and suspended in a narrow, open tank of some bluish-green syrup. The red glow of the lights gave the bodies an evil life -like aura, almost as if they were just sleeping. Jose had bumped one of the tanks once while mopping the floor…the sibilant hiss of the cables and the cold feel of the skin as an arm flopped out had caused him to lose it completely, and he had ran screaming upstairs. Jose made a point of never bumping the tanks again…
Doctor Walter Broward caressed the real leather of the high backed chair in his new office – Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board, The “Big Cheese” – his plotting and planning was beginning to come to fruition, and his return from the Caribbean left him energized for the weeks and months to come. Time enough, he thought, to crush imbeciles like Garrett Walsh over at DocWagon. People of vision like himself could not tolerate incompetence or short sightedness. He took a long view on some projects. For him, biotechnology was a gold mine; one that should be exploited from all angles. Even something as trivial as providing emergency medical services. As COO of DocWagon, in his previous “life” as Michael Davenport, he’d seen how the sprawl was evolving. Ever since the crash of the suborbital into the sprawl and the passing of the comet, DocWagon had experienced record growth. Too bad the corporation could not see the challenges until it was too late. Now, they had a shortage of medical personnel, and the security forces needed to back them up in today’s high threat world. DocWagon had become a complacent giant, just rolling along and not innovating or taking chances. Walter Broward was not like that.
Even now, what little money he had managed to embezzle from DocWagon, along with personal funds and those of private venture capitalists he’d approached, had gone to acquire and train medical teams, security teams, and facilities around the sprawl in strategic areas. They would soon grow quickly, and he’d be able to expand Rose Croix into other areas of the sprawl. DocWagon was soft from lack of competition, and he would go for the soft underbelly.
A soft knock at his office door made him turn to find his executive assistant, Lucy Turnbull. She had the look of someone who’d seen a ghost – and perhaps she had. Lucy led in Dredd, or Mr. Bones as he was now called, into Broward’s private office. He dismissed her with a curt ‘thank you’ and turned to the large black man in dreadlocks and dead black eyes. “The time has come – my first strike against DocWagon is ready. I’ll need you to start putting out feelers for some shadowrunners that can handle the situation. I’ve printed out a datafile with the particulars on it for you to go over. Five thousand each for the primary objectives, and a thousand for each of the secondaries. Make sure that they understand that they must get all the primaries back to me or they’ll get no bonus for the secondaries.” Broward slid the paper across the desk to the Jamaican cyborg.
The hired muscle merely folded the paper without reading it. “No problem, boss. Everyt’ing gonna work out all right. You be jammin’ too much on dis an your heart, it come a blowin’ right out o’ your chest. Dontcha be worryin’ no more, I gots me a back up plan in case da first boys don’ cut it right ya.”
“Excellent, see that it’s taken care of. I’ve got Ramos’ agent scheduled for a meeting next week, and I’m sure he’ll be wanting to assist us in our endeavors here at Rose Croix. I know I won’t be disappointed…” Broward left his sentence trail off as he turned back to the window, looking over the lights of Seattle’s downtown area and wondering who was “asleep at the wheel” in Tacoma tonight. He smiled at the thought of shadowy figures moving through the cold halls of the facility, carrying out the bags with his clone and the others he’d chosen. Clones that would become important “guests” at Rose Croix’s new state-of-the-art facility that would be coming online tomorrow. The shadowrunners must not fail…
SRM-08 Harvest Time
The members of an urban tribe are brutally murdered and left for dead. Who could do such a thing? Vampires, ghouls, gangs, or just some crazed lunatic? Nope, a greedy corporation that needs fresh organs! Help recover the evidence before it is destroyed and stop them!
Introductory fiction by Eric Boivin and Rich Osterhout
Darkness had long since crept across the sprawl – soon, the light of a new day would break from the east, but for now, only the darkness existed, and Jimbo. After years of living in the Redmond Barrens, Jimbo still has difficulty falling asleep. Protective instincts, some might say, since Jimbo is the leader of a small “urban tribe” known as the Raikun. Day to day they live by scavenging what they find and selling it to the highest bidder. Life is hard in the Sprawl, but their wits allow them to remain active.
Interrupting his thoughts, Kip, the tribe shaman entered Jimbo’s shack. Kip informed him that Rat, the tribe’s totem, had sent him a message, one of dire portent. Jimbo knows that their tribe’s totem isn’t a chatty one, so when they receive messages, he pays attention. Waking his family first, he moved on to Ron, the father of the other family sharing their ramshackle shanty. Not waiting for everyone to awaken, Jimbo instructed Ron to take everyone to hide deeper in the rubble. Then he moved off into the night to awaken the rest of the tribe…
Taggert could not believe his eyes . The recon of the warehouse was supposed to be simple, just a little cruise with a rotordrone through the early morning hours of the Barrens. The rest of his team would be waiting for the “GO” signal so that they could hit the warehouse. Even his team would have it easy-they just needed to get into the warehouse and take some pictures of the chemicals being stored there, and grab a few samples. Nothing, of course, is ever ‘simple’ in the shadows.
As the rotordrone approached slowly in whisper mode, Taggert began to focus the starlight lens of the main camera upon the hilltop. The warehouse was clearly visible, as was a small collection of ramshackle buildings along the base of the hillside-squatterville central. Taggert paused the drone in a hover as something strange caught his attention. Four dark forms were moving into the hovels below the warehouse. What he saw next almost made him wretch on the van’s floor.
It was too late for the Raikun-the danger was already there. Four armed forms skulk up to the edge of their encampment, each one entering into a different shack. While the others attempted to reach the safety of the hidden underground shelter, Jimbo ran towards the closest shanty to rescue its inhabitants. All he could hear was a slight coughing sound coming from inside. As he stepped into the doorway, he was greeted by a horrific sight – a woman and two children lay dead on the ground, a shadowy figure crouched above them. Jimbo’s only action was to scream in disbelief at the carnage before him. The figure spun about and in one swift motion, brought his weapon level with Jimbo’s chest. The suppressed sound of two submachine gun rounds barely registered in Jimbo’s brain as they passed through his chest. Jimbo fell to the ground, unable to move a muscle. But he wasn’t dead yet, unfortunately for him. His last sight before losing consciousness was a scalpel digging into his face to extract his right eye. For some unknown reason, his left was spared…
A few moments later, the few survivors of the Raikun find Jimbo near death. With the help of Kip’s magic, he regains consciousness only to witness the horrible: the attackers had killed nearly all the Raikun, and in an incredibly brutal way. Every corpse had been gutted like a fish, the body parts grossly extracted. The tribe’s only surviving members consists of the two families of his shack, and Kip. Everyone else was butchered in the attack. Some of the encampment’s neighbors offered themselves to help clean the place and to burn the corpses, as there was just nowhere to bury them in the hard ground and cement, and to keep the devil rats, ghouls, and other scavengers from claiming the bodies. During this time, Kip performed the ceremonial rituals- the other survivors moved about the other shelters, trying to recover anything still of value. Jimbo, during this time, contemplated the shattered world around him with his remaining eye.
Once the pyre had burned low, the remnants of the Raikun gathered for a meeting. It was decided that they could no longer stay here. Rat would lead their way to a new home, and vengeance. And Jimbo knew that he and the remaining twelve tribesmen and women would know no barriers to avenge the other three dozen of their brethren who had fallen to this brutal slaughter…
While the remains of the Raikun piled into a dilapidated VW Superkombi to take them to their new home, four men stood before Devon Tyler, known to them only as “Mr. Johnson.” He examined the contents of the cooler that now sat before him on the ground, the freshly harvested organs a dull red inside their zipped plastic bags. They would soon be transferred to the temporary biomedical containment facility that had been set up in the Fort Lewis clinic. Tyler turned to the four men in front of them, their hard, steely expressions revealing nothing of their night’s work.
“No survivors, I assume?” Devon inquired.
One of the runners answered “Well boss, there’s this guy… We had to leave in a hurry and I only could get one of his eyes, but I’m pretty sure he’s dead now.”
“Imbeciles! Get yourselves back out there and clean up your mess. If this guy is still alive, he could talk- you’ll have to get rid of him quick. Now leave!” Devon knew that if this kind of operation was brought to the public, DocWagon would lynch him or worse. Not just the local subsidiary, but the main branch as well. They could ill afford the press this would receive. It was a mistake that had to be corrected. It was also a great opportunity for their rivals, such as that upstart firm, Rose Croix, to grab a part of the competition…
Shelly Paterson’s daily ritual always started with a decaf latte while sorting through her emails from the night before. Today was no different, except that she had a small package waiting for her on top of her workstation. She set it aside as she powered up the unit and logged into the system. Shelly kept glancing sideways at the small package as her email opened – her avatar immediately began gesturing frantically for her to open one of the emails . It was from Taggert, a friend of her roommate. Taggert was evidently responsible for the small box, and he said that if she liked what was inside, she (or her superiors) could transfer whatever amount of nuyen they felt was fair to the numbered account he’d sent in the email. Now she was intrigued. Opening the box, she found an optical chip. Slotting it into her workstation, it immediately came up on the vidscreen. The light green tinge told her she was probably looking at some footage from a lowlight camera of some sort. Even though the images were at first hard to make out, they quickly sharpened, as did her intake of breath. She popped the chip out of the socket and rushed down to the end of the hall – the office of Rose Croix’s president and CEO, Walter Broward.
Broward looked across the desk at Vincent Capello. The man’s pointed nose looked out of place on the rest of his face, but Broward knew he could trust the man to get the job done. He would have to. “Vinny, our efforts have paid off. DocWagon has made the next move as I knew they would have to – and luckily for us, we can take advantage of the situation earlier than I expected.” He simply turned the screen so that Capello could see it, and played the video stream. The man sat emotionless while it played out, and remained quiet for a moment.
“What is it that you would like me to do?” he asked Broward.
Broward punched a few keys and brought up some datafiles. “First, I want you to commend Ms. Paterson on bringing this to my attention, and give her the rest of the day off. Then, I want you to contact this number – it’s a Brit that goes by The Saint. Have him gather a team together, specifically these individuals, if he can get them; otherwise, let him choose. Set up a meeting by noon and take the video with you. This is your chance, Vinny – you wanted to be a Johnson and work the covert side…don’t screw it up!”
“Of course, sir, I’ll take care of it right away!”
“Good, by the close of business, I want to have that one-eyed man and whatever other information you can find – tomorrow, we take it public!”
SRM-09 The Gambler
An opportunity for a payday! Your fixer lets you know that a client is looking for a datasteal in a previously scouted location. Get in, get the paydata, and get out, all without leaving a trace or a trail of destruction. Know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
Thunder shook the room and vibrated all the bones in Don Kukalakee’s body. He could hardly contain the rising levels of adrenaline as the stampede headed straight for him. He stood riveted in place, unable to dodge out of harm’s way. But it was nothing to fear – the horses, driven by the rainbow clad diminutive humanoid forms on their backs, rushed past him and continued on around the turn. Don’s perspective drew back to allow him to view the rest of the race as his simfeed delivered all the sights, sounds, and smells of the racetrack in faraway Saratoga.
When the race ended, Don could only unplug the simfeed from his datajack with a sense of despair – another “sure thing” he thought – another “sure thing” that he’d just bet close to his entire paycheck on, only to have it fall behind in the last few seconds of the race to come in fourth. He almost cried to himself as he viewed the results of the race and the payoffs being displayed across the gambling parlor’s main screens.
Dr. Donald Kukalakee knew he had a gambling problem, but he just couldn’t rid himself of it. To him, it was more exciting than combat (which was just something else he could wager on the outcome of) or any other physical activity he’d tried. He would bet on almost everything. His employers at Griffin Biotechnology knew this, and tried to help him as best as they could. Just the fact that he had the problem prevented him from rising too far in the corporation, as he was considered a security risk because of his “ailment.” He had already been passed over for promotion twice, and now he had to endure the likes of Dr. Josario.
Don knew deep down inside that he knew much more about the brain and cybernetic interface design than Renee, and that it should be him leading the team that worked so closely with Dr. Chontel. He quickly forgot about the horses as he left the establishment – he would have to find a way to remove Josario and take her place.
A contented sigh escaped from Fredericks’ lips as he savored the rich flavor of the brandy, its fragrant aroma wafting up from the crystal tumbler in his hand. There was nothing he liked better than being right about something, especially when it followed after months of careful planning and taking a few calculated risks. Yet all those risks had paid off. Dr. Fredericks was the president of Paladin Biomedical, and one of his recent “projects” has involved an increased interest in Griffin Biotechnologies, an upstart firm that had recently received some sizeable investments from companies such as DocWagon Seattle and Ares Macrotechnology. This intrigued Fredericks, and he immediately started researching what Griffin could be developing that could attract the attention of such heavy hitters. His instincts told him to keep tabs on Griffin, and that’s what has taken place. He even hired mercenaries – those they call shadowrunners – to scope out their new facility in Everett and find out everything they could, in case future incursions would become necessary.
All that homework paid off. He took another sip of the brown liquid and let it burn his throat on the way down, smiling inwardly at his luck. Other agents of his had been poking around Griffin, trying to discover what the company was working on. Fredericks knew that the weakest part of any organization was the people, and Griffin was no different. It took a few weeks, but after canvassing a few nearby bars, one of his agents finally befriended Don Kukalakee. It turned out that Don liked to gamble – an opening that Fredericks could take advantage of.
It wasn’t long until Kukalakee owed money, a lot of money – money that Fredericks’ agent was only too ready to give to Don, in return for a little information, of course. After a few weeks, Don was a bought man – and yet he didn’t seem to mind. It seemed that he had high aspirations and few morals, something that Fredericks could work with. Mr. Kukalakee finally approached his newfound friends with an offer. In exchange for a little financial compensation, Don would pass along an opportunity for his benefactors to learn about Griffin’s latest cash cow – Dr. Indira Chontel and even more important, access to her research files. His intent is to pass along the security codes and access badge for Renee Josario, his boss, implicating her in any fallout that may occur from the “liberation” of the research data. It was, as the saying goes, a deal that Fredericks couldn’t refuse.
Fredericks thought of this hand that he’d been dealt as he put the crystal tumbler down on his desk. He was just like Kukalakee, but of course gambled on a bigger scale. He had opened with the shadowrun to evaluate Griffin’s new facility in case an opportunity arose, and then he filled his inside straight with Don, the perfect blend of greed, a gambling addiction, a little ambition, and questionable morals. His only risk now was to hope that it was not a setup, and that any operations could not be traced back to him and Paladin. It was time once again to turn to the shadows. He moved across to his wall safe and took out the large packet of data from the previous operations. He then called a “specialist” on his staff that would procure the mercenaries needed to penetrate Griffin’s labs and extract the research datafiles.
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout
The glow of the numbers on the screen did not lie. There was a discrepancy in the data, one that indicated two things. The first was that an error had been made, one that would ultimately cost the corporate millions of nuyen once their competitors learned of their setback and took advantage of it to beat them to market. The second was that the error was the result of carelessness, a missed reagent in the calculations, and directly attributed to the chief biochemical engineer on the project – Joselito Santiago.
Santiago stared back at the screen in horror as the implications of the latest failed experiment sank in. He would have to inform the project manager in the morning that they still had not managed to isolate the protein responsible for the metabolic activity in their latest wonder drug. It was an important project, and had already cost Aztechnology not only millions of nuyen in research, but in public affairs and advertising as well. The Aztlan mega had been pushing to release the drug early, but problems had continuously crept into the project, causing public mistrust and even worse when the first clinical trials had been conducted on metahumans.
The key seemed to be in the protein chain that Santiago had discovered in the first place – they just couldn’t seem to get it to bend to their needs. Rumor had it that both Ares and Shiawase were close to dis covering the key to the drug, and therefore Santiago’s project manager was pressuring him and his team to produce results so that they would be first to market. Now, with the latest experiment a failure, because of his error in missing some steps in the process, the program would be pushed back at least another two weeks – time that Aztechnology could ill afford while their competitors raced to develop their latest biomedical breakthrough. He only hoped that tomorrow morning would bring mercy upon him…
Such was not the case for Dr. Santiago. He arrived at his office early, hoping to prepare for the meeting at hand with the senior staff and the project manager. Instead, he found the project manager, along with the vice president of biotechnology, waiting for him. It did not take long. The data and the logs clearly showed that the error was a result of Santiago’s negligence – and they were errors that could not be forgiven easily. His worst fears were confirmed as they sat him down to discuss his future with the corporation. His career would be altered – he would be transferred and demoted to a research assistant. He would loose many of the perqs he’d come to enjoy. He would be all but thrown away. And that was the good news.
All of this would come with a heavy price. One paid with blood – literally. In order to recover from this incident, Santiago would have to sacrifice his only son. The corporate offices had been keeping an eye on young Tomas since his twelve birthday, when testing revealed he possessed a latent gene known to be involved with magical ability. He had failed, however, to demonstrate any sort of ability or powers that would attract the attention of the thaumaturgy division. Possessing even latent abilities, however, would make him a valuable and powerful candidate for ritual sacrifice to power some of the more obscure procedures that were rumored to take place in the secret confines of the corporation’s research teocalli. There was only one thing that Santiago could do – he would return home and spend one more night with his son. Tomorrow morning, with the rising of the sun burning away at the pollution and smog above Mexico City, he would have to take the teenage boy to the temple.
When Joselito returned home that evening, he found his wife and son waiting for him. She had heard through the rumor mill what had happened, but neither of the pair were prepared for what Joselito was to tell them. Amanda, his wife, took one look at him before bursting into tears and fleeing from the room. His son could only stand there with his big brown eyes, as if he could see the entire universe at once. It would be the one sight that Joselito would remember of his son. Because of his wife’s fragile state, he decided to spend the night on the fold out couch in the family room. Had he gone to bed as usual with his wife, he might have been able to talk to her and discover that her tears were not only for their Tomas, but because she had also found out that morning that she was pregnant with their second child – a secret she took with her the next morning after Joselito left with the boy.
Fifteen years had past since his life turned upside down. Fifteen years since he led his only son to the teocalli to be sacrificed for the glory and power of Aztechnology. Fifteen years since he returned home with news that he was to be transferred to Seattle, only to find his house nearly empty, and his wife gone. Yes, it had been a long fifteen years. He had worked his way back up the ladder again from a research assistant to one of the most knowledgeable and skilled biochemists on the Aztechnology Seattle staff. He had been instrumental in some of the recent breakthroughs in bioware and pharmaceuticals during the past two years. Yes, it had been a long time, but his life was finally turning around.
It was even more of a shock for him to learn one day last year that his wife was also living in the Seattle area. He had not heard from her since she had left – her note making it quite clear what she thought of the man that would sacrifice his own son to save his job and career. Santiago had not even approached her to try to reconcile and put their marriage back together. He knew her hatred for him – but what he hadn’t known was that she had carried another son when she left him! Word of this unbeknownst offspring reached his ears with jubilation. But it was not with the jubilation that a normal father would feel for discovering a lost son. He had cut all ties with family – his family was the corporation. Aztechnology provided for his every need, want, and desire. He had failed them in the past, but he would not fail them again.
His mother had of course renamed herself to aid in relocating. She was now going by Sanchez – the boy’s name was Mark. They were working for one of the biomedical firms in the Seattle sprawl – not one of the megas, but an independent outfit that did cutting research and development of biotechnology for some of the larger corps and the big megacorps like Shiawase and Yamatetsu. He’d even seen her when he was invited to look over the company’s new facility in Everett. Griffin Biotechnology knew nothing of his connection to the woman known as Amanda Sanchez of course, but he was able to catch a quick glance into a lab to verify that it was her. She was evidently making good money as a research biologist, following up on the job where they’d originally met almost thirty years ago back in Atzlan. She was even putting Mark through a private school.
That was the interesting part. The Hillside Student Community is a private school for “gifted” students in the Seattle area. They used to be a traditional boarding school for the wealthy, and were one of the first to hire on “specialists” when magic returned to the world. As a result, they were now the top school for those that didn’t work for the megas, but had children that possessed the magic genomes and could develop talents or abilities. Mark, evidently, had evidenced some early abilities as an adept, but was still developing. He was mostly quiet and withdrawn from the rest of the students.
All of that mattered not to Santiago. All he cared about was the fact that the boy had power. All he cared about was his chance to redeem himself and once again be raised to a station of honor and pride within the corporation. It had been his driving force all these years, and now he had the tool to do it. All he would have to do is bide his time – at some point, he would make his move and kidnap his son. He would offer him up to the corporation as a sacrifice. His first son was sacrificed in order to correct an error – his second would be sacrificed to correct an injustice and restore his station within the company. He would return to Aztlan a hero. He would become the lead engineer again, and he would have anything his heart would desire.
All he had to do is get the young boy…
Introductory fiction by Robert-Sean Harley and Eileen Heath
It was perfect, it was absolutely perfect, Edmundo Castellian thought to himself as he watched the security tapes for the fifth time. “I am so screwed” he said out loud as his mind raced for a possible solution.
He rewound the tape and watched it again. It showed him entering through the underground parking deck. He said hello to the security guard. A few minutes later he left the building in a car with superconductive black paint that was glowing white as the engine idled. Then he showed his pass to the guard. Just like that, it was gone. Billions of dollars of Aztechnology money. Billions and billions. Gone. And whoever stole it looked like him the entire time. He’d already analyzed the video. He magnified every part he could find. There were no extra wrinkles around his eyes where an actor might think no one would look. The voice pattern matched his perfectly. It was all too perfect. With that sort of perfection it could only be magic.
Well not entirely perfect. Whoever had done it hadn’t expected him to pull an all-nighter before the meeting making sure every last detail was perfect. If the guard hadn’t said “Welcome Back Mr. Castellian” as he entered he would never have suspected anything and spent the past hour weeping instead of hacking into the security database to see what had happened.
It was already 23:00. The new car was going to be shown off at a sunrise meeting. One of the marketing guys was trying to be clever. “Well, we’re launching a new product based on the engine and we’re calling the car ‘the dawn’ so why not show it at sunrise. It’ll be symbolic. Impactful.” It’ll be a bunch of sleepy investors and board members wondering why they were dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn to watch a glowing car, thought Edmundo. Or it would have been. It had to be an inside job. When he found out whom, he’d make sure that person would wish he were never born. If he could just get through this he would make whoever did this pay. Oh how they would pay.
Edmundo looked out of the window of his office to the work floor. There was a multi-billion dollar gap right in the middle where the car ought to be. In his mind he started to hear a voice screaming. His voice proclaimed his innocence as the sound of saws entered warm flesh. Who was he kidding?! Once the car was found missing, he wouldn’t be given the chance to proclaim his innocence. He’d just be taken by security to the lower labs. And that would be it. If he were lucky he’d be able to grab a gun from one of the guards and shoot himself before he reached the elevator. It was his responsibility, it was his neck, and most importantly it was his face taking the car. Even if it wasn’t
He didn’t even know where the car was. If he turned it on, whoever had it might know it was being looked for. Then anything could happen. The problem was even if he found, he didn’t know how he would get it back. He didn’t know people who could do that. He worked on electronics and theories. He was an engineer not a criminal. He didn’t even kn-. But he did…now. Eduardo, was barely a shadow of a memory from his childhood. Would his brother give a damn about a brother he hadn’t seen in ages? Oh please let him give a damn. As he reached for the phone he realized his hand was visibly shaking. He had to punch in the numbers three times before finally getting it right. Swallowing the lump in his throat he prayed to whoever was listening that his brother gave a damn about his life still. “Hello Eduardo.”
SRM-12 Keys to the Asylum
What happens when a corporation grows too fast? Sooner or later, someone is going to make a mistake, someone will have to pay the cost, and someone will have to clean up the mess. Who is really holding the keys to the asylum?
It’s been a fraggin’ slow night. No biz, nobody called about a meet at any clubs, and there wasn’t even a firefight when you went to grab dinner at a Stuffer Shack. A few minutes ago, you turned on the trid – there wasn’t any drek worth watching on it – and decided to crash for the night. Just as you started to get comfortable, your phone began to ring. Ain’t that always the case?
Griffin Biotechnology has been a revolving door for shadowrunners. Runners from all over the sprawl have had at least one opportunity to scout the place or sneak a peek at what’s going on inside. Word is that “the big one” has hit the streets – big nuyen to steal one of Griffin’s hottest prototypes. Will Knight Errant be able to keep out this latest attack against the Everett based firm?
For what seems like the tenth time today, you bypass the electrical current in the monowire lining perimeter wall, to the north-west of the facility.
With a deep breath you cut the cable, ensuring that you arenÕt in range of it slashing out at the sudden lack of tension. You drop over the wall and start running low, thirty seconds to get to the first building before the guards pass through this part of the facility.
Stumbling in a soft spot of geometry, you look at your teammates and realize this is the tenth time today that you have all assaulted Griffin Biotechnology. Each time the result has been different.
SRM-14 For Whom the Bell Tolls
In the corporate world, fights are not only in boardrooms, but in the streets. What if the future of an entire company were held in the hands of a team of shadowrunners?
Introductory fiction by Eric Boivin
Garrett Walsh was preparing for a meeting with his board of directors. In two weeks, the third quarter plan was to be presented to the executive branch of DocWagon. The Atlanta headquarters had been expressing serious concerns about the Seattle franchise.
Recent events had generated bad publicity for the Seattle operation, and the whole corporation was beginning to feel it. Walsh was dreading the scheduled meeting, because he knew that a very solid plan had to be presented. Usually, bringing bad news was paired with explanations about the current economic situation, asset value fluctuation, legal battles and such. This time, the enemy had a name: Rose Croix. The competing corporation had managed to force him to fight on a field where he wasn’t comfortable – the shadows.
The last time he tried hiring shadowrunners, things went poorly. He’d lost a trusted exec, and worse yet, a news story broke that DocWagon was suspected of organ harvesting. To top that, DocWagon Seattle’s latest business venture, the Griffin Biotech complex in Everett, seemed to have gathered too much attention. He’d begun to feel that the price was too high to pay for the probable return.
If only Michael Davenport, their late COO was still around. For once, his style could have truly helped the corporation. Walsh entered the meeting room. He was in shock when he saw an intruder with his four trusted directors. The fifth man was in the room, silent and solemn.
Craig Gillespie, his CFO, took the lead. “Mister Walsh, this gentleman goes by Saint James. He contacted us with a possible solution for our problems. Please, have a seat.”
Walsh never liked to use consultants to solve his problems. At the same time, he didn’t want to bring bad news to Atlanta. He sat down, and reluctantly listened to what the mystery man had to offer.
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