Shifts in Power

The Plan
A Fork in the Road

The October night was still young and brisk, and the group spent the first couple of blocks in sobered silence. Droneslinger was the first to speak up.

“We need a plan,” he said quietly enough for the group to hear. “You don’t know me, but I can offer my drones to help cover some ground so we can be everywhere at once. It’ll just take me some time to set them up.” He gestures towards his armored van parked down the street.

Everyone stopped at the corner and looked towards his van. Snowflake offered to break the brief silence, “Sounds good. The shaman and I will head back to the bar and see about getting more information.”

“Pipes,” Piper said while looking at Snowflake. “And you are?”

Everyone exchanged names and contact information. Droneslinger laughed, “I wonder if that captain even knew we didn’t know each other!” The girls chuckled softly at the remark, and Droneslinger turned and walked towards his van while saying, “Alright, I’ll get things started. Meet me back here, and do contact me first so there won’t be surprises.”

They nodded and continued down Powell towards the Leaky Brain.

No guards were seen posted outside when they arrived. Upon stepping inside, they were greeted by the bright light of the fully lit interior of the bar. Omar was seen hunched over the bar top wiping it down. This would look normal if it weren’t for the plethora of bullet holes everywhere, shattered windows and mirrors, and broken bottles behind the bar.

Omar looked up towards them as they entered, “Can’t you see the bar’s closed?” He nearly interrupted himself and immediately continued, “Oh! It’s you two. The captain sent you to put me out of my misery?”

“No,” Pipes said briefly and amused.

“We’re here for information,” Snowflake added.

“RIght down to business. I had a feeling about you ladies.” Omar stepped down from his stool while saying, “Have a seat, and let’s chat.”

Chairs were put up atop each functional table, and Pipes and Snowflake headed towards the nearest table, pulled down the chairs, and politely sat down.

Omar didn’t seem interested in sitting down when he got to their table. “I’d offer you girls a drink, but you shot up the place!” Not interested in starting this conversation off as a competition of who-did-what, they stared at him blankly.

Looking around, the bar seemed empty except for them, “We need information on the Wolf Syndicate, and I’m told you’re the—”.

“Listen, lass,” Omar interrupted. "Everyone knows I dislike these dogs more than anyone else in this territory, and to have some hood rats walk in here and shoot up the place over a grudge I’m not a part of…

“Shadowrunners, eh,” he asked after he managed to regain his composure. “You’re not the only one interested in knowing more about them. Isn’t it awfully convenient that rival southeast gangs suddenly got along and formed this here syndicate?”

Piper nodded in agreement. Omar continued, “I may not have the information you’re looking for as I’m looking for the same thing, but it’s something I can’t do myself. My bar may be shot up, but I’m still good for offering a job. What do you say about sneaking back into their station and grabbing Intel about them from their servers?”

“We’ve already accepted a contract from their captain,” Snowflake said professionally. “I’m not one to break contracts.”

“Well, you wouldn’t need to,” Omar exclaimed. “In fact, it’s probably that much easier that you’re on a job with them! I’m in no rush, and I’ll front you some money now. Just grab data from their server warehouse in the middle of their compound, and I’ll pay you well for each credible and usable piece of information.”

“Besides,” Pipes offered to Snowflake, “we technically didn’t sign a contract with them!” This raised an eyebrow from her.

“Very well,” Snowflake calmly. “1500 nuyen now, 1500 for completion, and 500 for each usable piece of Intel.” She folded her arms.

“I can tell there’s no changing your mind on this. Deal.” Omar messaged Snowflake the agreement. This surprised her as she hasn’t shared her contact with him. The surprised look on her face prompted Omar to wink at her. “This old dwarf still has a few tricks, lass.”

“Deal, but there’s still the matter of us completing our job. The other piece of information we hope to get from you is how to get into West Portland under cover.”

“You’re in luck then. If I don’t know the information, I certainly know where to get it.” He then looks up the second floor before shouting, “HEY! CUCKOO! GET DOWN HERE! I’VE GOT INTRODUCTIONS TO MAKE!”

In an unceremonious fashion, Cuckoo was heard stumbling over a chair before collecting himself and walking down the stairs from the second floor with an empty cup in his hand. He was an elf with a Mohawk and wearing jeans and an armored leather coat. “Oh! I thought I heard company,” he bellowed.

“This here is Cuckoo. I called him up when I overheard something about Lucid Dynamics in northwest Portland.”

“Yeah,” Cuckoo says as he approaches the table. “I know a guy who can ferry us across. He and I go way back.”

Pipes chimed in, “nice to meet you, Cuckoo. There’s still the matter of payment. We have another with us, and he’ll need a cut of the payment, too.”

“Ah,” Omar remembered, “that cowboy-looking fellow! Then it’s settled. I’ll pay your friend as well.” He points at Cuckoo, “and you don’t get a dime! You owe me.” Cuckoo gasps, puts his hands up, and lets out a short chuckle.

“Sounds like you have a full night ahead of you,” Omar concludes. “Best of luck.”

View
Into the Wolves' Den
A Fork in the Road

Powell Station took up an entire square block with its main entrance recessed from the main street. A tall wall surrounded the compound. The main building was 8 stories high.

The captain escorted everyone through the main, open gate (guards posted outside). Inside the gate was all paved around the building with plenty of room to walk down each side of it and a small set of stairs that lead up to the double doors in the front. Two guards were posted outside of it.

The walls were plain but retro adorned by unimportant paintings. The hallway was short with only a few rooms on each side. It ended at another set of double doors. It opened in and revealed a set of stairs to the right that curled up to the open second floor. Guards were posted by the door and by the stairs.

With his retainers opening the doors for him along the way, the captain lead the party through a door to the left in the large room and into a fairly sized office. His men posted outside his door which was left open, and a member of their force was inside and stood up to greet the captain.

“See to it that this young lady is tended to at the infirmary,” the captain said to him.

“As you wish, sir.” He headed over to Snowflake and her contact. They exchanged nods, and she departed with the guard.

“I’d offer you a seat if I had time for hospitalities,” the captain said as he beckoned everyone to come in. “However, time is a precious commodity, and there’s a job to do.

“Make no mistake: war is now upon us. Black Horns have made an appearance and the first move. In order for us to counterstrike, we need intel. The Black Horns must have been growing in numbers in secrecy since their extraction in the Turf Wars. We’ve been quietly hunting for them since.

“We believe they’re either hiding in Kings territory in northeast Portland or based out of any number of Lucid Dynamics warehouses in northwest Portland. Wolf Syndicate doesn’t have the resources or political capital to explore either. That’s where you come in.

“Gather what intel you can find on the Black Horns by any means necessary and bring it back to me.”

The party exchanged a couple of blank looks. Snowflake was the first to speak up: “How would we be compensated and how much of that do we get now?”

“I believe you have mistaken this to be a contract of work. The job pays only for the Intel you provide. Nothing sooner than that.” The captain’s body language and tone suggested he’s not budging on this point.

Sensing this, Droneslinger offered a different approach, “I’m not sticking my neck out without knowing what I’ll get in return. What are you paying us?”

“That all depends on what information you can find and whether it holds any merit,” the captain paused before emphasizing the next word. “IF the intel is credible, then you’ll all be handsomely rewarded. I refuse to be caught with our pants down again.”

He rested his elbows on his desk, folded his hands, and looked upon the party. They quietly agreed with each other and nodded to the captain.

“Good. See to your friend and yourselves out. I must now deal with Omar. Good luck.”

Without hesitation, haste, and malice, Snowflake immediately left to the infirmary. Droneslinger and Pipes followed right behind her. Omar was heard yelling at the captain as they left.

Upon entering the infirmary, they found it quite surprising how well kept and clean the room was compared to their past experiences with “doctors” and medicine. Snowflake’s contact laid on the cushioned table across the large room with half of her shirt off exposing the medical tape wrapped around her arm, shoulder, and breast and arm in a sling. The man that tended to her didn’t look like a doctor or nurse but carried himself as if specialized as one. He stepped aside and worked to his counter as if it were a mess, allowing them to approach her.

“It’s not how I imagined we’d meet each other,” she said as Snowflake approached.

“No, it was unexpected for sure,” Snowflake replied calmly.

“What have you been up to?” A rather casual question to everyone that heard her, but as she was saying that, Snowflake received an encrypted message from her: “I was sent to inform you about the Wolf Syndicate.”

This got Snowflake’s attention, and she played along and said aloud, “Taking care of you now it seems.”

The two verbally exchanged a friendly and casual chat, but the encrypted messaging continued, “See what you can do to learn more about them and uncover anything peculiar. Omar is a trusted informant and a candidate for having anything against the Wolf Syndicate.”

“Do you need a ride home,” asked Snowflake aloud

“No,” she grunted as she stood up from the table, “I’ve already arranged a pickup that will be here momentarily. I’m assuming I’m good to go, doc?”

“Keep your arm in the sling and limit the mobility of your shoulder, and you’ll recover just fine,” he replied. “Per the captain, consider this payment for aiding in the conflict.”

She nodded, said her thanks, and left the infirmary with the rest of the party. As they stepped outside, she disappeared from sight.

View
The Leaky Brain (Pt. 2)
An epilogue to the Shifts in Power

“The Black Horns remember!”

They all cried out in unison as each of the six Black Horns gangsters pulled the trigger of their submachine guns after storming into the Leaky Brain.

However, one was struck through the heart just as he was pulling the trigger. Droneslinger was already drawing his pistols as they stormed in. He aimed one of his guns at the metallic edge of the bar and squeezed the trigger. The bullet cracked as it hit the metallic edge of the bar and ricocheted through the chest of the gangster.

Collapsing backwards, the shot gangster still pulled the trigger of his gun as his aim rose skyward. Incidentally, his bullets struck two notable targets: Snowflake’s contact and one of the syndicate guards posted up on the second floor.

§

When Snowflake locked eyes with her contact, she noticed unusual movement behind her. Shifting her focus, she realized there were six armed men storming into the bar. The contact noticed a shift in Snowflake’s expression and linked the sudden commotion behind her as danger. Just as the gangsters cried out, she quickly squatted, spun, and grabbed her gun simultaneously.

Unfortunate luck for her, a few bullets were already trained on her, and all but one missed or grazed her. Just as she dodged a couple bullets and took aim at one of the other gangsters, a bullet shot through her shoulder. The blow rolled her enough to land on her injured shoulder as another bullet whizzed by her left ear. As she fell on her shoulder, she let out a loud grunt and grasped her shoulder with her left arm.

Snowflake started sprinting towards her just as the firing started. She quickly calculated that she wouldn’t be able to get to her in time and took cover behind a toppled table. She peaked around the corner of the table and saw her contact trying to raise her arm up to aim but is struggling to even raise it from the elbow.

§

It wasn’t until actual gunfire rang from the entrance did Pipes noticed she was in danger. Despite being caught off guard from the attack, she spun over the bar counter that she was practically on top of already and took cover behind the bar—drink still in hand! She set the drink down and readied a throwing knife. Omar was already ducking (or in his case slightly standing) behind the bar reaching for something under the counter.

Droneslinger swung both his pistols out in front of him as he aimed for one of the bulkier gangsters. One of his shots missed but the other struck above the elbow through the center of the arm, ripping it off behind him. The ork shouted in pain but only shifted his weight from the impact and kept his submachine gun at the hip and firing.

He let the recoil of his guns bring both pistols near his face as he spun behind cover.

Seeing an opportunity during the exchange in gunfire, Snowflake jumped out from cover and sprinted toward her contact. They were over ten feet away from the attacks who were more focused on spraying bullets across the bar. Noticing this, she tells her, “don’t shoot, or you’ll draw attention to us.”

Music was still playing in the bar in an unbelievable coincidence about two neighborhood kids reuniting during war. “I… didn’t think you could even get to me,” she managed to say through her pain. Snowflake barely acknowledge the sentiment as she was more focused on putting herself between her and the assailants. The gangsters continued their assault across the occupants of the bar, paying no attention to Snowflake and her contact.

§

Droneslinger had another trick up his sleeve. Using what he can see from his fly spy still placed above the kitchen door—a perfect vantage point over the Black Horns gang members—he trained the barrels of his guns upon the bracket of one of the dancing poles and squeezed both triggers. The bullets ricocheted toward the armless gangster.

One bullet passed through what would have been another hit to his missing arm (bouncing off the metal door behind him harmlessly to the floor), but the other bullet hits him square in the chest. The shirt tore open to reveal body armor underneath, and the ork grunted from the impact and swung his own guns toward Droneslinger’s cover.

Omar popped up above the bar with two double-barreled shotguns and fired each one at a time. The shots hit several of the gangsters but not enough to kill or knock any of them out. He then immediately hopped down behind the bar as one of the closer gangsters sprayed bullets at the bar.

Glass and mirrors shattered as bullets tore through the bottles and shelves behind the bar. “My whiskey,” cried Omar! Pipes made sure he saw her glare at him. She then looked up and saw one of the mirrors were intact, and the angle that it was mounted at the wall allowed her to see the attackers.

She all but released her grasp on the throwing knife to cast a spell. She pulled her hands close to her hip, and a surge of mana erupted between her hands and emitted a dull, blue glow. Pipes then extended out her arms towards one of the gangsters in the mirror as a stream of blue energy bolted over her head and the bar towards the attacker shooting at the bar.

The gangster screamed in pain but continued his suppressing fire upon the bar.

§

The other two remaining gangsters trained their guns on a syndicate guard that took cover behind a larger table by the stairs. Snowflake watched as the bullets pelted around him. He popped up to take a shot and was immediately struck with a couple bullets. He lunged backwards landed on his back grasping at his left shoulder or arm in pain.

It was then that Snowflake noticed all of the bodies scattered across the bar floor—motionless and atop pools of blood. “They’re done killing the defenseless,” she thought to her self, “and now focusing on us!”

Before the gangsters had a chance to take their sights away from the guard, she leaned out and shot at one of the gangsters to the left of the door. Her bullet thwacked through his face and sent him twisting backwards from the blow. She pulled herself back behind cover as bullets start to spray around her and impacting the table.

“How many rounds do these goons have?”

§

The kitchen door popped open, and three syndicate guards stormed out in a trained fashion: the first hopped out to keep the door propped open while kneeling, the second cleared the door and knelt next to the first, and the third stood behind both. All three fired a wall of bullets across the line of remaining gangsters, felling each in succession with the one-armed ork falling painfully last.

“Are we clear,” the standing guard asked loudly across the bar.

“Clear,” shouted Snowflake!

Pointing at each guard, the standing guard continues, “you: call this in and check the front. You: check for injured.” He then turns towards Omar’s bar as both Omar and Pipes stood up from behind it.

“We have an injured here,” yelled one of the guards. Snowflake looked up and was surprised that he was referring to them as she was applying pressure to her contact’s wound. She looked behind him and saw that the guard behind the large table laid motionless.

“I’m a shaman,” Pipes said slowly as she observed the numerous dead across the bar. “I can help.” She walked down to the end of the bar and leapt over it.

Droneslinger holstered his guns as he stood up, tilting his hat toward the guard that’s obviously in charge. The guard nodded his head slightly back to him.

“Good news,” Pipes calmly said. “The bullet passed through and only hit muscle and flesh.”

“Mostly muscle,” the contact grunted as Pipes was dressing her wound. “Just cast a spell already and get me up.” Pipes only smiled as she continued bandaging over her shoulder and arm.

The guard can be heard in audibly talking to Omar before turning to the party. He walked towards them while saying, “I’m told you’re responsible for helping defend the bar during this terrorist attack.” The party acknowledged just as he interrupted, “Where are my manners? I’m Captain Jonas Fischer of Wolf Syndicate, and these unfortunate hoodlums claim to be members of the extinct Black Horns.”

Jonas gestured to Omar and said, “Omar would like for me to thank you on his behalf.”

“They can thank me for paying for the damages!”

“Forgive him. If you please follow me, I wish to invite you to my station so that I may reward you and perhaps offer you a job as well. You are Shadowrunners, no?”

The party exchanged looks at each other. Snowflake was the first to chime in, “I’d like to take on work, but I’m first here for her.”

“She can come as well. We have a medical facility at the station. We’ll take care of her there.” The contact nodded, and the two stood up from behind the table.

“Good. We’re only a few blocks away from the station,” Jonas said as more syndicate guards came through the entrance to secure the bar. “Follow me.”

“I’m coming, too,” Omar said crassly. “I’m not sticking around with your goons in my bar, and you’re going to submit a formal expense request on my behalf!”

Not sticking around to hear what Omar has to say, Jonas promptly leaves the bar with his two retainers and the party with Omar and Snowflake’s contact behind him.

View
The Leaky Brain (Pt. 1)
An epilogue to the Shifts in Power

Pipes was determined to find out what happened to her mentor who had mysteriously disappeared last year. She heard about an informant that works at a bar in southeast Portland in Wolf Syndicate territory called the Leaky Brain. Without much else to go on, she made her way to the bar the next evening.

In front of the Leaky Brain were two seemingly uniformed guards. Their clothing was a mix of white and black cotton or polyester, and their armor was white and adorns a circular crest of a wolf’s head. One of them wore a white helmet. While in their hands, the semi-automatic weapons were in a resting position, and they each had a sidearm holstered on one of their hips.

This intimidated Piper for a moment as she’s both not one to go out to bars much (if at all), and the presence of guards with weapons—while makes sense—didn’t make the bar look inviting. Renewed by the thought of finding out the whereabouts of her mentor, she approached the bar and stepped through the front doors without much of a look from the guards.

Judging from the outside, the bar would have been mistaken as a small, rundown warehouse, but stepping inside the bar revealed an active, luminescent interior with modern furniture, sharp edges, and dance music loud enough to fill every corner of the bar but quiet enough to hear the people around you.

The first floor of the bar had tables and chairs scattered across the floor with an area for dancing by the far wall. To the left was a door to the kitchen followed by a long bar and a small stage with poles and girls dancing with them. To the right was a set of stairs leading up to the second floor. From what can be seen, the second floor also had seating above the center of the floor with a few shiny screens along the left wall for what presumably can be used for net diving or gaming.

Piper took a moment to filter through this sensory overload, collected herself, and turned towards the bar. It was packed with people gathered around it all waiting to order food or most likely drinks. As she approached, she noticed that the bar has only one bartender, and only the head of this bartender can be seen bobbing up and down and periodically rising up above the bar to hand drinks.

Unable to proceed further with everyone else waiting in front of her, she folded her arms and also waited in “line”.

§

“Droneslinger” was travelling to find someone who can help build him or at least provide materials to build an auto-loader for his clips and/or his drones, but it was already late after a long journey from out of town. He just arrived to Portland, and he parked his van down the street a few blocks on Powell from the Leaky Brain and walked his way up to the bar.

As he approached the bar, the guards took special notice of him (as they should) for they can see he shouldered a rifle and two holstered pistols. However, they don’t look entirely concerned and continued to scan the area in front of them as Droneslinger passed them through the double doorway.

The doors swung inward as he entered, and he, too, took in the surprise of how much more vibrant it was on the inside than the outside. As the doors closed behind him, they swung back outside temporarily from the momentum before coming to a rest. Without much more hesitation, he made his way to a vacant table and sat down.

There was no food or drink menu on the table, nor did he notice any on any adjacent tables. “Come to think of it, where are any of the staff,” he asked himself. “All I see are armed guards, some dancing girls, and a dwarf bartender.” Annoyed, he stood up from his table and made his way towards the bar.

§

“My contact will meet with you at a bar tonight in southeast Portland.”

“How will I recognize him?”

“You won’t. She will recognize you.”

Snowflake was dropped off at the Leaky Brain. She immediately approached the entrance of the bar and scanned the room while walking in. There wasn’t anyone that jumped out as her potential contact nor has anyone locked eyes with her for recognition. Without slowing her step, she proceeded to the bar and stood behind the small crowd.

“That’s odd,” she almost said aloud. “The only ‘staff’ on the floor are syndicate guards and this bartender.” She then caught in the corner of her eye movement through the window of the door leading to the kitchen. Sneaking around the crowd and casually standing against the wall, she looked at the bar while watching the door.

One of the guards walked between her and the crowd at the bar and stepped through the door. With a quick glance as the door swung in and out, she saw an undetermined number of armed syndicate members standing over a few kitchen staff members.

They were sitting on their feet with hands behind their back, but—from what she can discern—they weren’t under duress and left untouched. With her limited knowledge of the area but general understanding of gangs and organizations, she determined that this must be standard operating procedure for this syndicate to flex its muscles on its residents.

No longer concerned about the lack of staff and not interested in food or drink in particular, she found an empty table and sat down.

§

“What will it be, lass,” asked the dwarf bartender in a raspy voice to Pipes.

“Oh,” having forgotten that she made it to the bar counter, “I’ll take a whiskey on the rocks.”

“Well, we’re out of whiskey.”

“Huh. Then some of that scotch back there, please.”

After what may have been a slight glare from him, he whipped around to the mirrored shelf behind him, stepped up to grab the bottle of scotch behind other bottles, poured it into a rocks glass, and handed it to her. “10 nuyen.”

She paid him, gladly picked up the glass, nosed it, and took a sip. “Delightful,” she said to no one in particular. She continued to enjoy her drink at the bar.

Meanwhile, Droneslinger finally made his way to the bar and saw the countertop to be a wreck: wet spots, sticky spots, and no bar snacks in sight. Even the lime slices are all gone; all that’s left are lemon slices! At least he managed to get the attention of the bartender.

“What’ll it be?”

“Beer!” The music had seemingly become louder.

The bartender gave an annoyed, blank look as if to say: “what kind of beer?”

“Whatever everyone else is drinking!”

As the bartender turned around, Droneslinger deployed a fly spy and positioned it out from the corner above the kitchen door to overlook the floor and main entrance. The bartender reached into a minifridge underneath the mirrored shelves and turned back around toward him. He then cracked the cap off the beer across the edge of the bar counter and handed it to him, foam dripping from the mouth. “5 nuyen.”

Pipes asked some folks next to her about where she can get information from someone. A few either ignored her or shrugged her off, but finally someone exclaimed, “Information? Hah! You don’t just buy drinks from our friend Omar here!” She turned her attention towards him, leaned forward a bit over the bar, and waited for an opportunity to get his attention.

§

The doors opened as a beautiful woman stepped through. She stopped momentarily to look across the floor and made eye contact with Snowflake. Snowflake gestured to the empty chair across from her, and the woman flashed an accepting smile and proceeded to head towards her.

As the front doors swung, Droneslinger noticed through his fly spy that one of the outside guards was laying on the ground. In under a breath, he reached up under his arms to unsnap the holsters of his concealed guns as he and Snowflake—who was already looking in that direction—witnessed six submachinegun-wielding men rapidly storm through the entrance as they all shouted that the Black Horns remember with their guns already raised up to the crowd, locked, and ready to fire.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.