Escape from the ACHE
The runners are hired to do something nearly unheard of: extracting someone from the Arcology Commercial and Housing Enclave (ACHE aka the Renraku Arcology.)
Things of Note
Contact: Barry the Mole. Human Smuggler, 4 Connection, 1 Loyalty. Power: Fence, One for All, Smuggler; Knowledge: Firearms (Pistols, SMGs), Smuggling Routes
Number of Players infected with Human-Metahuman Vampiric Virus: 0
Future Threats: Vengeful Vampire Blood Mage in the ACHE
This run was rather on the short end of the time allotted. The runners met the Johnson at one of the terraced parks of the Ingresoll and Berkley Tower. There, they are told about the job: get into the Arcology, retrieve the target, get out. After some poking and prodding for more information, the Johnson gives the players more details. The target is a newborn baby, and the parents want the child to have a better life outside the Arcology. The payment is set and they are given an up to date map of the interior of the enclave. After preparing and acquiring equipment, the team is taken in on the next shipment of smuggled goods into the ACHE. Wu provides magical support for the team and uses his abilities to locate the child's whereabouts in the arcology-ten stories down in one of the basements. 5H1FT breaks the team into a maintenance area behind the walls of the residential bloc the team arrived in, and they proceed down an elevator shaft six floors with a combination of adept feats from Avarice, gecko style wall climbing with 5H1FT, and levitating downwards for Wu and MK Six. They are stopped by a broken elevator car (which 5H1FT cracks open) and they are deposited onto a floor controlled by a gang called The Hunters. However, that is not the more pressing matter.
As they descended, Wu observed astral shapes that corresponded with someone infected with the HMHVV virus. A lot of Infected, who were watching them descend down to their level. Upon alerting the team, Wu and the others formulate a plan; they were not warned ahead of time of Infected by their Johnson. As one of the Infected approached and started to climb the stairs, the team went 'dark' and were protected by a spirit Wu summoned. The Infected that was approaching them went back down into the area and the Infected further down returned to a state of normalcy. The team made their way down to the bottom of the stairwell and got a glimpse of what was in this basement: a housing 'unit' of Infected. The baby was thirty meters away, inside a medical clinic, and Avarice was sent to retrieve the target. Using ultrasound to get a bearing on the environment inside the clinic, the team discovered that the baby was inside a locked incubator. After Avarice left to go get a sequencer to unlock the keypad lock, a different Astral signature was discovered by Wu: that of a blood mage.
A sense of urgency was established, more so when an Infected moved into the room that the baby was in. Avarice returned and heard the ghoul say "They should have been here by now." Without skipping a beat (thanks to her teammates), Avarice got the attention of the ghoul doctor and informed him that she needed to take him and the baby to her team. The doctor quickly grabs the baby, wraps it in a protective blanket, and follows Avarice out quickly.
Then drek hit the fan.
As Avarice, the doctor, and the baby got ten meters out of the clinic, small objects in a five meter area began flying about, hitting them but doing no damage. The Infected population fled from the scene into their ramshackle homes as Avarice and the doctor met up with the team. As if on queue, four Ghouls charge towards them. The distance allows for a quick exchange of greeting, and the hand off. The doctor goes back in to stall the four charging ghouls. Tension mounts as MK Six fails on two attempts to levitate the team up the shaft and the blood mage approaches the melee. On the third attempt, he succeeds and they lift off up the shaft. 3H1FT tossed a number of grenades at the 1v4 melee (quietly apologizing to the doctor for this), which go off and kill the five ghouls. The blood mage would have been killed or severely hurt as well...had they not turned into a cloud of mist before the grenades went off. Seeing this astrally, Wu alerts the team to this high level threat: a vampire blood mage.
They reach the elevator car, which is punched upwards by Avarice so they can ascend unabated. Unfortunately, a number of surviving ghouls turn as one and charge up the stairs after the party. Avarice has to be restrained from going berserk and fighting the mob while Wu tries to calm down the baby, who woke up and nearly started crying. By some miracle, he calmed the child who went back to sleep. Meanwhile, a plan needed to be formulated. The ghouls were at the fourth floor when the team arrived at the top of the shaft and onto the floor which led to the residential bloc. Avarice had calmed down and they bolted to the door to safety. As the first ghouls reached their floor, ten frag grenades met them after ping off the walls of the hallway. Wanting some action, MK Six launched a lightning bolt at the metal stair rail and shocked the surviving ghouls as they panicked from the series of explosions. The team shut the door behind them and thought about how to get out. Then it hit them: they had no escape. The smugglers hadn't set up an extraction.
They backtracked to the 'maintenance' ork in the floor's cargo bay, and tried to negotiate an exit. This lowly ork was of little help other, until he went deadpan and offered to take the team to an aerial warehouse for one of the upper blocs. As he marched to the door, Wu noticed that the baby they were extracting was Awakened and powerful. They get to the hanger, where an aerial vehicle is getting ready for take off. MK Six 'persuaded' the pilot to take them out. He obliged the team. After a hour of flying (and dealing with a fussy baby who didn't like being woken up by explosions or the pressure changes), the team arrives at the St. Jerome Emiliani Orphanage. A nun, their drop off contact who was confirmed by the J, was waiting for them. Wu made the hand off, though he was rather reluctant to do so (having grown attached to the little tyke.) The sister set his mind at some ease in that she will be well taken care of-she's not the first normal child of a ghoul couple to come to the orphanage nor the only Awakened one. So, the team parted ways with the baby girl and went on their ways; their pockets heavier with nuyen and their consciences brightened by doing some good.
Notes on Antagonist
The major threat of this run was a powerful Vampire Blood Mage. He specialized in Manipulation spells and was aware of the runners' presence during the descent into the Arcology basement. Using Mob Control and Control Thought, he put the players on edge due to Wu's astral perceiving and mind net with the team, as the Infected looked as one in the direction of the team and a sole Infected started moving towards them. A water spirit was summoned to shield the team from being astrally seen by the Infected, the mental manipulation ended and the Infected went back to normal. The Vampire had a suspicion that the team was still there and knew what they were coming for: the baby. This thought was confirmed by the movement of the ghoul doctor to check on the infant as well as him removing the baby from the protective incubator. The mage laid his trap: Poltergeist + Ignite to make a firestorm as a diversion for his loyal ghouls to attack and retrieve the child. However, the Ignite failed to light anything ablaze. Taking the misstep in stride, he sent his four ghouls after the team, following them at a distance. The grenades from 5H1FT were a surprise and he transformed into a cloud of mist to evade the explosions. After the dust settled settled, he once again used Mob Control on the surviving ghouls in the basement, and sent them after the team using Mob Mind. He followed his horde to ensure they would obey. More grenades and electrical shock from MK Six's Lightning Bolt hitting the metal railing of the stairs broke the force of the spell and foiled the Vampire's plan.
Once the team realized that there was a Blood Mage who was a Vampire, they didn't want to stick around longer than they had to, and the Mage was able to counter the drain from his spells. A head on confrontation could have been bloody and vicious, not to mention risk of infection from the ghouls under his sway or from the Vampire directly.