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Slow Boat From China

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Slow Boat From China

Back to Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Real Date: 28th January 2006
Game Date: TBA
Venue: Stuarts


John drew back his focus from the street outside the taxi, looking at the AROs that only he could see broadcast from his PAN. At the top left of his vision, his clock, counting down to his departure time, and in the middle of his field of view, reviewing his tickets once more. He'd had a nice relaxing holiday for once. No unexpected excitement on his outbound journey, nor once he arrived, and now his trip was all but over. Just the short cruise home to go. Sure, it'd be faster to take the sub-orbital, but the last time he visited an airport he ended up nearly killed fighting terrorist plane-hijackers. Cruise liners were absolutely the way to go - slow, boring, and not interesting enough for anyone to try and hijack.

Cast of Players


So, anyway, Sammy, after you mentioned that potential job on Slacker's Shack, I was interested in hearin' what you hadda offer us. The job sure sounded interesting, though I definitely get nervous these days when I hear that something's gonna be easy. After I got done talkin' to you I gave Bane a call; he wasn't really with it; I musta woken him up or something, but after awhile he agreed to come to the meet. I also called Eclipse, mainly 'cause she always gets our payouts bumped up a notch or two, but she said it'd be best if she called Ms. Snootypants - sorry, that's TNO. She has an attitude problem, but she seems to be useful in a fight. It turns out Eclipse also called that drek JD, the one who wanted ta cap me in the head when the nightmare virus was trampling all over my brain.

We agreed to meet with the Johnson, and everything went pretty sweet from there, up to a point...


I get a call from Slacker, the repugnant smelly little dwarf. It must be biz related he would never ring me if it was social. He tells me Sammy has a job. Hmmmm Sammy's choice of Johnsons seems to have taken a nose dive recently but I am willing to give him another try. Apparently we are meeting at the Peoni Palace. That could be fun especially if Dandan's there. I tell slacker it's probably best if I get hold of T-no, at least she answers the phone to me. Since we'll probably need some cannon fodder I ask JD if he wants to come along too.

The Johnson tells us it's a simple job, that immediately gets me suspicious. He initially trys to get us to do the job for 20,000. After a bit of barganing I get him up to 35,000 with 7,000 up front. Apparently we have to steal a jewel from a pop star, and steal it in a way so that no-one knows it's gone. For that we are given a fake gem that looks like the real one.

Bane's POV

Oh God, So Ive just learnt this new spell, really cool, turns people in this, well, Goo. Its called "Turn to Goo", which in all honesty is a terrible name but hey, any way I just buzzing down from this BTL I popped to celebrate when the thing glitchs, and I black out for about 20 minutes, dam cheap street crap, when i come round I am half way through this coverstation with Slacker and have apparently agreed to go on a nice easy run, sponsored by Sammy Lee. Shit, oh well. We go to this high class whoe house to meet the Johnson and whose there but Dan Dan Song, now TNO is still offering 2000 on his head, so i get ready to blast him when i get a sudden rush of common sense to the head, I hate it when that happens, which says that wasting him in a room full of triad goons in a "neutral" territory will be bad for my health. So he lives but I tag him for latter. We meet the Johson he wants us to rob a cruise ship and replace some neclace with a fake, subtle and unotice. Ha! He dosnt react well to my suggestion of sniking the boat to cover the theft, some people have no imagination. Eclipse does her monkey trick of getting more cash and we take the job. Then we have to plan. I hate that part.

Events by TNO

thump thump thump

With my hands pressed on either side of my head, I try to keep the loud aching sounds from penetrating my skull.

thump thump thump

Teeth gritted, almost growling with anger, the sound just won't stop. If it was the neighbours, I could just go round and ram my katana through their faces, and shut them up. But I can't! The noise isn't just tearing my head apart, it's coming from INSIDE my head.

buzz buzz buzz

The sound changes pitch, and I almost scream before I realise it's my commlink trilling away on my bedside table. I snatch it up and smack the 'talk' button. It's Eclipse, inviting me out on a new job from Sammy. I agree to be in on it, even though the meeting is at the Peoni Palace. Eclipse asures me she's checked the Johnson out, and he's clean.

I get to the Peoni Palace, and Sammy tells us the job is for some Red Dragon guy, who needs some out-of-town work done for him. I spot Dan Dan Sung at another table, and subtly point him out to Bane - Bane catches my drift, he hasn't forgotten about the 2K price I've put on Dan Dan's head.

Dan Dan Sung has the nerve to swagger over to our table - not that I'm surprised, he's that kinda guy - the sort that thinks everyone wants to drool over them. I see a crazed look glint in Bane's eye, I see his hand twitching. The Dan Dan walks off, never realising how close Bane came to wasting him. But I know, and it gives me a special smile.

One of the 'ladies' that works here comes over, she leads us to the 'purple room' where our Johnson is waiting. He's a tall, thin man, with short black spiky hair. He introduces himself as Eddie Wong. he seems like a nice guy, maybe I'm just taken in by the well-tailored suit. He tells us that the red Dragons were impressed at how we handled the whole Jackie Chan Red Dragon deal, and they think we're the guys for the job they have. It's flattering... I like the guy some more.

There's this ferry, The Pride Of Nagasaki, that's leaving in a few days on a two day cruise to Nagasaki, and on that ferry there's going to be a van. In this van, there's going to be a safe with a necklace in, a necklace worth half a million nuyen. I'm not sure there's a single one of us not wanting to drool, and I can tell Slacker's interested. Even though he's only in the room via AR, I can see his eyes wide and hungry, I can almost smell his putrid eagerness.

The van belongs to Sandra Lu - a 1-hit wonder pop-star who's only slightly less fabulously rich after her debut single than before. She's heading to Japan to negotiate the starring role in some film. Eclipse takes over negotiations, and scores us a 35k payout with 7k upfront. The keys to the van will be held by her driver/bodyguard called Arak Sung, and we need to do the job by midnight on the first night. We accept, then head to Sisko's to plan. Our plan is, roughly, that Eclipse and I will get the jeys from the driver, and Bane, JD, and Slacker will steal the necklace.


Planning goes well, at least i think it went well, or at the the others seem to think we have a plan which is good. Slacker does his hacking thing which is also good. TNO seem to be developing symptoms of the Krieger Strain HMVV virus and turning into a Ghoul, which is not good.

I perform a few subtle tests and questions to discretly test this hypothisis. Inconclusive. I reckon theres at least a 30% chance of her turning into a ghoul and killing us on this run. I like those odds! I share the info with slacker and eclipse so they can keep an eye on her. This new guy JD i dont tell, he the control, since I figure he will be eaten first. But anyway TNO's impending hunger frenzy aside The essenceo of our plan as far as i can tell we bord the boat, slacker hacks we nick the jewel, we go sight seeeing in Japan Easy!. Eclipse may have to sleep with the guard to get the key, but thats a sacrifice I am willing to make.


The plan was simple, I like it simple. I get the car keys from the bodyguard, give them to T-no who will give them to JD. Then JD with Bane to back him up, break into the cargo bay and swap the gems. They then give me the keys and I sneak them back onto the bodyguard. All the time Slacker is in the ships computer system doing his thing. Simple and elegant. But before that I have to go shopping so that I have something to wear that will catch the eye of the bodyguard. T-no takes me out and we hit the swankey places. She does have good fashion sense even if she is a bit stuck up. It makes me wonder why she is doing this, she has obviously had a priveliged upbringing.


So yeah, we thought it'd be damn useful to get some info from the ferry company's systems, so I found their node on the Matrix and launched an on-the-fly attack on their wireless access portal. I got in but it turned out that their IC made me on the way in. I launched my Attack Complex form, but it turned out to be one of those hacks where nothin' seems to go right and the IC swapped out for an attack program, which immediately launched a probe in an effort to trace my backtrail. It'd only get as far as Sisko's, so no real danger, but I logged out gracefully and suggested we go to a curry place while the Sprite I'd uploaded did the work for me and brought back the info I wanted.

After that I went somewhere else and jacked back in, spent a few hours casing the security around the shipping company's node. After a few hours I found a sweet little security loophole where anyone submitting a positive recommendation on the customer complaints server got rerouted to the core database, where it was an absolute cinch to override the inner security settings an' make myself an administrative access account.

I got all the access codes for the ship, got the crew and passenger manifests, figured out there was no security hacker aboard, and generally crammed as much info about the ship as possible. I also upgraded tickets for me, Eclipse and TNO - didn't offer to upgrade JD's, and Bane reckoned one of us should stay in the economy class area to make sure nothing weird happened. Best of all, the admin account I hijacked would also work on the ship's systems.


The next day, we all meet up again, and Slacker is all full of himself, swaggering about hacking into the shipping company and upgrading some of our tickets to 1st class. He's done his own ticket, and Eclipse's and mine too. While he's deluded about himself, he can tell Eclipse and I are cut out for better stuff.

I'm still not feeling great, I sneeze now and then, and I make sure I aim one at Slacker to let him know just how little I think he's worth. I think he and Bane must be germ freaks, as they both start acting very freaky around me, shining lights in my eyes, and asking if I feel well. maybe they fancy themselves as doctors, Bane sure does seem to medicate often enough.

I decide to ignore them, and I drag Eclipse out shopping with me, between us we spend about 12k, and it almost feels like old times, out shopping with my friends.

We spend the evening out wining and dining, then the next day we head out to catch our cruise. It's not hard to spot Sandra as Eclipse and I enter first class, she's the one drawing all the attention, can't miss her. It's also not hard to miss the swanky guy and beefy bodyguard with her, and the fourth member of their retinue, Jaina Jansen. I have to turn away quickly, not wanting her to notice me. I wonder if this is going to be an added complication to the run. I observe a little more subtly, and get a better look of the swanky guy, turns out he's Charles Worthington III - a guy who runs Capricorn One.

While I initially try to avoid Jaina, Eclipse and I finally decide she's our way in, and I go on over to chat with her, pretending I work for Eclipse. I say Eclipse is a rich girl who wants to buy her way into showbusiness, and Jaina invites us both to dine that evening with her group. Eclipse acts fast, and has already given Sandra's bodyguard several looks, and started chatting him up. While hanging around the bar, I recognise the barman. I have to take several looks, he's too familiar. Finally I figure out where I recognise him from. He has almost the exact same face as the guy in the picture I keep showing around. He looks like my dad!

He's way too young, he isn't him... but surely he has to be related to him. Eclipse is around, and I don't want to approach him now, but I make a note to find time later and come chat to him. I check the crew manifest Slacker obtained for us, he's called Tom Atherton.


We get on the boat easily, being upgraded to first class is great, VIP treatment all the way. On the way in I spot the mark and her bodyguard. Damn he looked fine. There was also another woman there, not sure who she is I haven't seen her before. T-no tells me she is a movie talent scout or something. This could be our way in. The bar is the perfect place to set the plan in motion. I catch the bodyguards eye as he comes over to the bar, strike up a conversation and before long he is putty in my hands. He offers to buy me a drink but there is no barman, when the barman tunrs up, I do a double take. The guy is the spitting image of my dad! This needs to be investigated, but not now. I have the perfect idea of using the talent scout as a way in. I get T-no to set up a dinner so I can pretend to want to be in a movie, and get her to invite Sandra too.


JD, Bane, Slacker spot guy they think is cop - he's John Kyama JD also spots 2 shifty guys, he overhears a conversation and he reckons they're drug dealers


We have dinner, Sandra's acting like a total bitch. Loud, obnoxious, and getting totally drunk - I reckon this is probably what Slacker's like when he's had too much to drink. She heads off, wobbling back to her cabin I guess, not that I cared. Her bodyguard stays behind, and as the group dissipates, Eclipse gravitates towards him, and before long she's all over him, hands roaming here and there. She's after his keys, but he thinks she's after something else.

Eclipse finally plams me the keys as she and the guy she's wrapped around swing past on the dance floor, and I leave first class and head down to meet the others - making sure t change into my jumpsuit first. I hand over the key and the fake replacement, and wait for them to get back to me with the necklace.


The dinner is a great success, after Sandra passes out from alcohol abuse I slip my room number to the bodyguard. He turns up a bit later and we go to the dance floor, turns out he is really well toned. After a couple of close dances I manage to get the keys off him while his attention is diverted elsewhere. I go over to the bar and give T-no the keys. She comes back a bit later and returns them then me and the bodyguard head back to my room for some romantic indulgement.


I was the God in the machine again that night while Bane and JD went to get the necklace, bypassin' the doors with my security codes and gettin' in to the cargo deck pretty easy. Suspicious! A mechanic is comin' back from the cargo deck, though a different part from where the necklace we've gotta steal is. I'm suspicious so's I check the dude's records; get this, he'd only joined for that sailing! I tell the others and recommend they knock 'im out so we can figure out what he was up to, but Eclipse and Ms. Snootypants override me and that's that.


Everything seems to go without a hitch, the guys head back to the cabin, and hand over the necklace. I put it on, just to see how it looks, and I reckon it suits me. Having no better place to hide it, I keep it on, under the jumpsuit, and chat with Bane and JD about stuff when Slacker's suddenly gibbering over the comm about a Japanese Imperial Navy frigate pulling alongside to do a customs inspection.

We all have a bit of a panic, but then realise that they must be after drugs or something, and can't be here for the necklace, so we calm down. Then not long after we lose comms with Slacker, but he's back broadcasting on our PA Ns about the server being suddenly taken offline - and then we start to panic again. From the sound of things, these navy guys are rounding up the passengers... and we stat suspecting that we're in the middle of a hijacking.


When the 'Imperial Navy' pulled alongside I figured my best bet would be to just go with the passengers and gather in the nightclub. I didn't wanna get into a fight or anything, and anyway I can do my magic with the ship's systems from the nightclub just as easily. Except, shit, the bastards shut down the server. 'least I can still broadcast directly to the team's PA Ns, until the asswipes cockblock me for the second run in a row by starting up some kind of jamming device that interferes with the wireless signals.


It was going really well, just in the middle of things then there is a banging at the door. What the fuck is that I wonder. I ask 'who is it?' a voice says 'open up, it's customs.' I open the door a crack and look out. There is a stern looking guy with a machine gun. 'You have to go to the main hall' he tells me. 'Sure' I say, i'll just get dressed. I go to close the door but his foot is in the way, 'let me clos the door' I say. He then calls out to a friend, 'Hey I think we have a trouble maker' a second guy comes over. By this time lover boy has got his clothes on and comes over to see what is going on. He gets a rifle but in the face and goes down like a sack of potatoes. They both come into the room and the second guy says to his friend, 'lets drop the pretence and have some fun before we go back.' Something is definatly not right, but before I can do anything much they have both been knocked out.


JD meets John John saves Eclipse


Bane and I get rounded up by some goons, but Bane is waving his arms around, complaining and distracting, and I manage to sneak away still wearing the necklace. I don't know what's going to happen to him, but it feels like he's sacrificed himself for me, I really owe him. I make my way to the weapons locker and bump into Eclipse, JD, and some guy, who it turns out is a cop. This guy is a little freaked out that the three of us seem to pass the weapons around, quite professionally, he keeps asking who we are.

We can't communicate at all with Slacker or Bane, there's a jammer active somewhere jamming comms and PAN traffic. So we make a quick plan to go up to the bridge and see what's going on. When we get there, JD spots and deactivates the jammer before we can get into position, the hijackers all get alerted to comm systems being activated, and lead starts flying on the bridge. Fortunately we all make it out of there alive, but we have to flee as more goons are heading up.


Soon after I got to the ballroom, wondering what the hell I could do now that I couldn't hack anything, Bane got herded down there too. Good, least there were two of us, but I didn't know how the hell we could take the ten guards watchin' us. Still, at least they didn't know what me or the others looked like, I thought. Maybe if I stayed cool there'd be an easy way out of this.

The captain of the 'Imperial Navy' - actually Filipino pirates - goes over to Charles Worthington III and asks him what he's done with the item, how dare he betray them an' all that. That explains the dude I'd seen waving some kind of sensor over the necklace they'd got from the cargo deck, I guess.

It turned out that Worthington had hired these pirates to steal the gem, then hired US to swap the gem for a fake before they attacked. He admits this to the pirate captain, and then sends him names and photos of our group. The bastard! I'll drekking KILL him!, I think to myself. Whoops, too late, the pirate dude says Worthington's usefulness is at an end and busts a cap in his ass.

I still wasn't entirely useless though; I managed to intercept the broadcasts being made on an unjammed frequency by the pirates and decrypt it, so at least I had some idea of what was going on... I also began preparations to broadcast an 'emergency message' tellin' the pirates to bug out to the bow of the ship 'cause of heavy fire from the enemy there, so maybe I could trick the pirates with it later. Meanwhile, it was a tense waiting game as the pirates took each passenger's stuff and put them on the other side of the room, the group Bane and I was in shrinkin' rapidly.


Over the inter-com, the leader of the hijackers demands to meet up with whoever is running around the ship being bothersome. That's us I guess. He says there's a bomb on the ship, and if we want to live we better start dealing. We briefly discuss options, and decide to have JD go up to the sattelite uplink, repair it, and send an SOS, while I take the explosive device these guys planted on this ship, and attach it to theirs, to give us time John and Eclipse go to meet up with him, preparing a home made alcohol/perfume/flash-bang bomb.

We split up, and I rappel down the side of the ship with ease that astonishes even myself - my new magic boost to my agility seems to really be awesome. When JD meets me back on the ship, we suddenly get jumped by some Phys Ad guy and a pair of wolves. JD and the Phys Ad trade blows, with JD finally winning. One wolf keeps leaping at me, trying to savage me, I manage to keep dodging, while the other stays back and seems to be casting magic at me. I level my shotgun on them both and keep shooting. I can't hit the one closest to me, but the other gets blown to pieces, at which the other one just vanishes into thin air.


Slacker did some hacking crap and the Bad guys head out of the hall in one big group... do I have to spell it out? *Whomph* I frag all but one of them with a single spell, one guy who was at the edge of the blast survived, he also had an assault rifle Whoops. But the post spell downer handn't hit yet so I was riding high. Time to use that new spell I'd learnt....


Stuff happened. The jamming stopped allowing me to re-open comms with the group, but the server would apparently have taken too long to restart, so the others didn't bother. The mooks were starting to get nervous, so I launched my emergency signal, causing all 8 of the ones left guarding us to make towards the exit forwards, bunching up as they go and making an ideal target for Bane. He nuked 'em with some spell or another and all but one of the bad guys fell over dead. The last one, Bane concentrated on and, jesus, the guy just melted into some weird grey goop that puddled and dripped a bit.

Just as an aside, it turned out the bomb was down in the cargo hold where that 'engineer' I saw was coming back from. Just goes to show the group should've listened to me! Some of the pirates got back to their ship, I think, but TNO or someone had put the bomb on their hull! When they tried to blow US up, they got themselves instead. That's what I call instant justice!

The real Imperial Navy turned up about now, and the captain of the ship and the cop-dude the others found made it so he could take all the credit for what happened and the rest of us could remain anonymous.


We get to Japan at last, but as Charles Worthington was the guy who was going to pay us, we're seemingly screwed on the deal. I ring Jaina, she's now in charge of the business, I say we want to trade back the gem, and she says she can give us 40k she found siphoned off in a special fund that Charles must have prepared for this operation. So all in all we get 47k to split between us, plus first class tickets back to Hong Kong.

It's on the return trip that I spot Tom Atherton again, and with less mayhem going down, I get time to talk to him. He reveals that his dad was a sailor, a guy he'd never met. But he tracked him down only to find he'd died three years ago. he'd had a heart attack, only to have his life support machines turned off by someone who never got caught for it. He tells me this man had a family.. the Lu family. He gives me his number if I ever want to ask him any other questions about this.

Some time later, Eclipse comes up to me. She's been chattiing to him, god knows about what, and he must have told her I had been speaking to him. She asks why I was interested in the topic. I dissemble, lie about it being something I was hired to do. She wants to ask more, but doesn't seem able to. So we go out for dinner, party a bit at a few nightclubs, and head to our respective homes to sleep off hangovers.


On the return trip I get to talk to the barman, turns out he is my half brother. I tell him I haven't seen dad in a few years, he tells me that dad had a heart attack and someone turned of his life support machine. That happened about 3 years ago while I was inside, no wonder I didn't know. I ask T-no why she was interested and she says that she is working for someone. She's holding something back, I have always been good at reading people, I could tell she wasn't being completely honest. But hey, I haven't told anyone that i've done time so I am not going to pressure her. We all have secrets.


So yeah, that was really about it... went okay on the whole, Sammy.


Damn, you're asleep.



Yeah, yeah, it's okay... What's the last thing you remember me saying?

Oh, right. You kind of missed the whole thing.

Huh? Nah, nevermind, I'll tell ya another time. Catch ya later!