In Episode 18 “Under the Underpark”, MMFEC has been separated from their tank and faces a more “traditional” dungeon crawl laced with physical traps along the way to their goal: bringing the technomancer who’s been terrorizing the park out alive. Read on for a recap, and then join us at 6PM every Wednesday (Pacific Time) at http://twitch.tv/hyperrpg for the next LIVE broadcast!
We rejoin MMFEC just after they’ve been separated due to the collapsed ceiling. Cromwell limps back topside for medical treatment while Ma1nfram3, Mordecai, Elsie and Fang head deeper into the abandoned military labyrinth. They take a moment to heal, during which
Mordecai discovers that his commlink was not properly connected to the group when he made his big admission to Ma1nfram3 about his feelings. Fang is still conflicted about what to do with the information she heard, and says nothing. Mordecai becomes even crankier than normal; he is NOT having a good day. But this time, Mordecai hands his ancient commlink to Ma1nframe and she successfully slaves it to her own, enabling the group to re-enable the jammer keeping the technomancer from interfering with them.
They round a corner and discover a pair of hallways. Most of the party goes down the first hallway, which turns out to be a dead end. Fang, on the other hand, prances down a different hallway and is immediately zapped by fairly powerful electrical bolts. The party comes to her aid as much as is possible, and eventually ascertains that the hallway is filled with laser tripwires.
Mordecai creates a barrier around Fang that allows her to slink, singed, back to the party. But the only way to deactivate the tripwires is probably the network access console on the other side of the hallway. Somehow, Ma1nfram3 and her deck have to get through the lasers unharmed.
Elsie reveals that she has been studying late 90’s trids that Ma1nfram3 might like, and saw something like this in American Gladiators. The pair decide to tag team – Elsie will use her superior agility to sneak through the beams, and Ma1nfram3 will use what she learns to follow in Elsie’s tiny footsteps. Ma1n psychs herself up with some aerobics and gets some rare Agility sparkles from Mordecai. Giga Sharky calmy wanders around the hallway, oblivious.
In the moment of truth, Elsie makes it about halfway through the lasers before slipping a bit and getting zapped in the foot. She composes herself and finishes the passage. Ma1nframe, inspired both by Elsie’s success and by the images conjured in her mind of the American Gladiators (plus some chat room dice for good measure) makes a catlike pass through the lasers on the first try.
Of course, now she’s completely out of breath and still must jack into the control panel and confront the sprites controlling these lasers. She disables the lasers, then bricks the whole system for good measure. The passage is clear.
Through the door, the team discovers a series of pressure plates. This time, the entire party takes a ride on the Mordevator, but they all failed to guess that the room was not only pressure-trapped but also motion-activated. Lights illuminate in the ceiling and emit a toxic gas, nauseating many members of the party and hurting them in the process. With no choice but to continue, they float worse for the wear to the door, taking another round of gas hits in the process.
Once composed and no longer vomiting, the party comes upon a marshy partially flooded subterranean tunnel – and a family of basilisks. (Fang can’t say that 5 times fast.) Giga Sharky is sent to deal with most of the basilisks, accidentally hurting Fang in the process. Ma1n only manages to hit the slithering creatures once with her gun, but Elsie’s love of explosives pays off when she throws a grenade directly into one of the beast’s throats, detonating it from the inside. “GRAPEFRUIT!” Gore splatters everywhere.
Eventually the group escapes the basilisk tunnels (after hand-digging their way through another collapsed doorway). Fang’s over-enthusiasm gets the party into trouble again when she saunters into what appeared to be an innocuous locker room. She pried a door open only to discover a discarded animatronic drone – and soon dozens of the drones are pouring from the other lockers. Giga Sharky is the only thing standing between the party and imminent death, as his considerable mass absorbs most of the first wave of laser shots aimed from the deadened eyes of the animatronic drones and security robots.
Ma1nfram3 finds a way to connect with the technomancer wirelessly while the party fights off these nearly overwhelming waves of dead-eyed electronic creatures singing “It’s a little planet after all”. A fierce digital battle ensues, with sprites taking the form of wolves, but Ma1n’s loaner deck from Horizon holds up better than her own did (and she’s learned some new strategies, too.)
But while this is going on, Fang becomes aware that Ma1n is communicating with the technomancer and begins to try to do so herself. She is unsuccessful but desperate in her attempts to talk the technomancer down from further violence. This newfound empathy with the murderous opponent alarms her teammates.
The technomancer Anna, badly stunned, tries to appeal to Ma1n’s conscience and asks to be set free. Ma1n is taken aback by the technomancer’s sudden desire to communicate after days of angry diatribes, and struggles for a moment, considering whether she is in fact the villain. But Ma1n decides that Anna crossed the line when she dumped those children from their restraints – while the Shadowrunner’s world may be fueled by revenge, revenge on your enemies is different than revenge on the innocent. Ma1n refuses to back down.
But just before Ma1n knocks the ‘mancer unconscious with Matrix-based damage, the rest of MMFEC (minus C) breaks through to the room where the technomancer’s prone body rests. Anna concedes defeat to Ma1n and returns to her body, where Elsie has gone deeply dark, threatening torture before returning the technomancer alive. As easily as the threats were made, though, Elsie gets the mancer up and starts marching her at gunpoint through the dank hallways, over a ground littered with discarded animatronics crunching beneath their feet.
We leave MMFEC back above-ground, as they’ve handed off their mark and received full pay for saving the park’s launch and preventing any loss of life. Ostensibly, this is their biggest success to date – no loss of life, and only moderate structural and collateral damage (doors notwithstanding, because they rarely withstand MMFEC.)
The big question that remains: can any of them stomach another visit to the parks during their remaining hotel stay? Oh, and what will Fang do about Mordefram3? And why is Elsie so deeply upset about Fang’s strange change of heart deep in the labyrinth?