Shadows of the Crater

The Secrets of Ares

What lies beneath?

July 12, 2072

Hey again, net heads, Matchstick here with an update on the hottest area in Seattle, and I don’t mean Dante’s Inferno.

More news coming out of the crater today as a group of shadowrunners emerge from the radioactive wastes brimming with paydata like you wouldn’t believe. We’re talking some real hush-hush stuff that Ares doesn’t want you to know. A three-man Shadowrunner team consisting of hacker leader Constable There’s a Man Behind You, ork shaman Hawkbat, and revolver ace adept Jesse James XII took out a mission within a previously inaccessible anomaly in the crater. Readers unfamiliar with my post on the anomalies should check out Shack Anomaly.

Constable took a break from running the shadows for the megacorps and sob stories through local fixer Dumpster McGee to become his own Mr. Johnson. On a run from last week, Constable came across one of the more deadly anomalies in the crater, the shack anomaly, which has been known to take out entire Ares and Scavenger teams with ruthless efficiency. A little stone elemental tells me the place actually accepted Constable and allowed him to return in one week to explore whatever mysteries the shack was hiding.

Sure enough, one week later at July 11, Constable used his connections with Dumpster McGee to round up two more runners to come explore the anomaly with him: Hawkbat and Jesse James XII. The team met up, collected the equipment they needed, and headed out to the crater and the shack anomaly. Once they arrive, they were met with a peculiar sight. The small earth elemental that had instructed the team to come back welcomed them with open arms, inviting them inside “the fun house”.

Now, that can be more than a little unnerving for any shadowrunner, but Constable and the gang pressed forward. The Ares systems seemed largely unaffected by the close blast, working most likely due to magical protection, and the group took a short ride down a service elevator. Ares apparently loves to keep its storage facilities buried deep.

What the group found, though, was anything beyond your normal hack and grab datajack job. The security had apparently been severely tampered with by a disgruntled Ares employee named Joker. Seems J had been accidentally sealed up in the storage facility for a little too long and took a shining to creating archaic and bizarre traps throughout the facility.

Joker met the party with open arms and an eccentric invitation right off the bat, welcoming the team to his “fun house” and telling them to seek a fortune in paydata hidden throughout the facility. I know what you’re thinking: traps? We’re not talking black ice and security spiders crawling one super server all day, this guy physically changed the damn facility to include magical and switch-based traps! To name a few:

  • A featureless room with a bucket of water in the corner and a hole in the ceiling. The team eventually figured out there was a water elemental in the bucket that would continually refill it until they could swim to a hole in the roof.
  • Astral guards and writing, including directions the team had to follow and a nasty shock to anyone trying to astrally perceive past any walls or doors. Hawkbat didn’t seem too amused by being thrown back to his body after brushing a wall experimentally.
  • A completely offline central security system with drones shaped like jester heads and clowns popping out of air vents and filing cabinets running purely off of autosofts. Door ran on direct-link consoles or no consoles at all!
  • A room with three pillars separated by 20 centimeter grooves in the floor to section off the room into three parts. Each pillar had a lever to pull and the door had no other way to access it. when one lever was pulled, walls slammed down into the grooves, separating the teammate and giving them each a drone to fight by themselves. The team’s shaman astrally perceived a long line of text alone the wall and eventually figured out a password to speak while each team member pulled a lever and opened the door.
  • An incredibly elaborate and lever-based airlock door than… lead to no where. Constable seemed less than amused after spending two hours trying to figure out a sequence for the levers before making an ultrasonic test to find that the door was guarding… solid concrete.
  • A hallway with a doghook at the end which Constable had to disarm manually and with ease… which, unfortunately set off the electric floor behind him, shocking his teammates. Remember runners: your teammates don’t “always” do shit to you on purpose…
  • A peculiar room with a trap door in the middle of the floor that fell in a meter or so and didn’t cause any damage. The crew seemed baffled to find a metal crate in the corner that perhaps appeared as though it would fit in the hole. when the crate was pushed in, nothing happened. They inspected the ceiling where the crate was originally sitting and found a secret alcove with some data stored away in it. A gut feeling told Constable to check the trap door again and, to everyone’s surprise, another alcove was found IN the trap door! Pay attention pays backs nicely, runners!
  • A hallways of broken and stripped drones with three live drones in hiding.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this “fun house” was the final confrontation with Joker int eh main server room. The team was congratulated for getting so far, but then challenged to combat with the trap maker. After watching bullets whizz right through the body of the ork, it was discovered that the Joker the team was fighting was nothing more than a Phantasm with Magic Fingers holding a stun baton. The real Joker had shrouded himself in invisibility and stealth spells within the room, even managing to hide from Hawkbat’s perceptive astral eye, but not for long!

The team, having caught on to Joker’s tricks, slowly called the ork out, finding cans of paint around the room that the maniacal jester had used to paint his custom drones. Once the clown was painted, he had a little harder time dodging Jesse’s bullets and Hawkbat’s ignite spell. Sensing defeat, Joker pulled an unusual trick out of his hat and disappeared astrally, leaving behind his equipment, weapons, and armor.

A lot of good Ares information was retrieved from this run, check your local infobrokers for some juicy tidbits soon! Oh, and if you meet a grinning, naked ork on the streets of Seattle… well, use your best judgment, net heads…

(Adam’s note: I COMPLETELY forgot to mention one thing you guys picked up in the facility! Which I will note right now)

But paydata and an unusual exotic weapon weren’t the only things found in the depths of the storage facility. A strange, simple wooden totem, carved with shamanic runes, was found tossed in the corner with a pile of drone parts that drew Hawkbat to it. The thing sounds pretty powerful, but doesn’t appear to be… functional, yet. Collaborating GPS grids with Joker’s room also discovered the room was positioned directly beneath the Garden Anomaly! Sounds kind of fishy to me…

That’s all I got for you guys today! But don’t worry! I’ll be back again soon with more crucial updates on the Ares A-103 crater as things develop!

This is Matchstick, your technomancer infoblogger, jacking out.

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