Per Wuxing’s request, MMFEC has positioned themselves atop the Empress, a container ship bearing Wuxing goods and with a proverbial target on its bow. They face a fierce battle against violent Yakuza to defend the merchandise and the ship, but it turns out that’s not necessarily the cargo the Yakuza were looking for this time. Will their “tank” prove useful or send them to Davy Jones’ locker?
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Moments before we rejoined MMFEC:
- Elsie, with Ma1n’s help, took up residence inside an armored personnel carrier (referred to erroneously heretofore as a “tank”)
- Fang is hiding a few yards from one of the flashbangs on the top deck
- Cromwell and Mordecai took position inside or near shipping containers on the top deck
- Ma1nfram3 has hidden herself beneath the ship’s console in the wheelhouse, near the ship’s Captain Moore.
It should be noted that Captain Moore has a sort of rugged averageness about him, rain slicker and all – but on the Matrix his dashing pirate captain avatar catches Ma1nfram3’s eye when she drops into virtual reality.
During the initial few seconds of chaos, Cromwell used the telekinesis boon to attempt to move one of the flashbangs closer to the initial intruders, but gave up when it became clear the flashbang wouldn’t reach the intruders in time to help.
Once the intruders make steady footing on the boat, they go directly to the windows in front of the wheelhouse – which happens to be the one stretch of the top deck that lacks flashbangs. Two of the invaders point their automatic weapons at the windows, shattering them. Ma1nfram3 is well protected by the console, but the captain becomes exposed. Ma1n manages to brick one of the guns quickly, but the other intruder hits the captain for some damage. Less than expected, though – the captain turns out to be fairly nimble. Ma1n is impressed, and continues helping him the best way she knows how – bricking as many guns as she can find in short order.
Elsie, hearing from Ma1nfram3 that there’s been some action, swings around to come to the bow of the boat with the tank. But before she can tackle the front intruders, another boat pulls up along the starboard side of the boat, featuring artillery. Ma1n and Elsie flank the approaching boat on both fronts – Ma1n is able to nauseate (using her new program Tantrum) and disable the persona behind the artillery, and Elsie… well, Elsie proceeds to cripple the boat with a rocket launcher while hanging out the side of her tank.
Once the artillery is dealt with, Ma1n pops back out of VR, remembering how badly things went when she stayed in VR too long and took several needles of Narcojet. The rest of her Matrix decking will be done in VR – but she is careful to remain concealed, not speaking or moving underneath the console.
Mordecai becomes aware of a magic user and heads up above one of the shipping containers to confront them. Meanwhile, Sharky is sent to deal with some spirits near the starboard engagement. Mordecai does a lot of wappy-slappy on the opposing mage. Along the way, Mordecai’s Spirit of Man also stops by to cast Concealment on Ma1nfram3, helping her remain physically hidden despite being a few feet away from angry Yakuza.
Soon after, Fang goes to the warehouse behind the wheelhouse and finds the door open – more Yakuza have boarded and are making a beeline to take over the ship. Fang engages several of these attackers in direct combat; in particular spectactularly impaling one of the Yakuza with her katana and then following up with a shot at point blank range once the Yakuza is incapacitated.
Once Elsie has dealt with the ship to the starboard side, she tries to get in touch with Cromwell and hears no response – and anyone who knows Cromwell knows this is a very concerning turn of events. Still, she she turns the tank to port to cross the bow of the ship. She uses the tank to indimidate the Yakuza still trying to enter the wheelhouse – those who are not scared away are fired upon by the water cannon.
At some point, the Yakuza are told to retreat, and begin making way for the escape boats off the port side. Elsie takes the tank up to the edge and attempts to sink their boat, but the rocket launcher misses. She resorts to more traditional methods to encourage them to make a hasty retreat. In the process, the tank is scratched up *just a bit*.
Ma1nfram3, after her dalliance with the artillery ship, is once again feverishly working to brick any guns held by conscious Yakuza. Now that she’s in AR, she can see Captain Moore somewhat heroically taking several bullets and continuing on – while straight-up dodging countless others. She begins to develop a – um – professional admiration for Captain Moore.
Unfortunately, a Yakuza with one of those bricked weapons draws a katana, which the wounded Moore will be hard pressed to avoid. In a split second, Ma1nfram3 silently rubs the cat totem she received from Wuxing to cast Accident on the katana-wielder. When he goes to charge on Moore, he trips, planting the katana into the ground and then impaling himself on the blunt end, making himself breathless enough to lose consciousness. Ma1nfram3 is relieved.
Meanwhile, things get heated in the mage-on-mage battle up above the containers. Mordecai takes some damage and his eyes become illuminated slits as he casts Trid Phantasm in his bezerker rage to don a cowl of darkness. In his rage, he repeatedly bellows “WHO SENT WUXING??” – unfortunately, that is not actually useful data for the team, as the intruders are Yakuza and not Wuxing – but it at least seems to unnerve the opposing mage, if not yield interesting information.
Though Ma1nfram3 and Captain Moore are still outnumbered in the wheelhouse, they are quickly bolstered by the Spirit of Man’s efforts – and Elsie on the tank. A final blast of the water cannon either kills or incapacitates the rest of the interlopers, and the mission seems successful.
Now that the physical threat (to MMFEC and to the mysteriously compelling Captain Moore) has subsided, Ma1nfram3 quickly attempts to snoop on the commlink traffic between the retreating Yakuza. There’s already a great deal of noise so she is unable to retrieve much data – but she DOES uncover an exchange to the effect of “We got the troll but not the second mark. Anoi-sama says abandon the Empress and continue otherwise as planned.” Anoi is Yuki’s dad (from Elsie’s now-infamous time at University Prep ‘undercover’) and a Yakuza higher-up.
It is left to Ma1nfram3 to break it to the team that it looks like they may have been set up – Cromwell has been kidnapped. Elsie seems certain that not only was this kidnapping arranged by the Whitetree family, but that she was the primary target and Cromwell will only be kept alive as long as it takes for them to get to her – if even that.
There is one remaining unescaped Yakuza onboard and unconscious, so the team rouses him and questions him. (There’s also an incident where Elsie writes on him, which causes Mordecai to exclaim, “YOU’VE been the one writing on my face? I thought that was Ma1nfram3!”)
Unfortunately, this particular mook’s primary goal was to take the ship and its goods to a rendezvous point, which the team obtains. There is no way to get information from him or his commlink about Cromwell’s intended whereabouts, and Sharky is unable to track him due to attacks from other spirits. But Mordecai, in the residual anger from his mage battle, makes the dark choice to liberate another finger from the captive (who seems well-versed in losing fingers due to his chosen profession.)
The captain, meanwhile, is extremely grateful despite most of his crew dying. Elsie contacts Wuxing and the team is paid in full, but Wuxing is uninterested in the kidnapping of Cromwell and offers no assistance, citing the occupational hazards of shadowrunning.
We leave MMFE minus the C, still onboard the Empress, trying to figure out their next steps. Now that they have their funds from Wuxing… will they continue on and pursue Cromwell, whose life appears to be in immediate danger? How will they find him?