Take Me To Europa

We Won An All-Expenses-Paid Vacation to North Korea! pt. 2
up in the HQ

As they flew over the Pacific in the tiny supersonic jet, Knave, Ikiryo, Vortex and Neko planned their next move for the run.

Wait, who the hell is Neko? She was the magically invisible Elf girl in the back of the minivan. She snuck onto the plane, and eventually uncloaked, scaring the shit out of everyone.

“Why did you sneak aboard our plane?” Knave demanded, unsheathing his blade.

Neko stuttered a reply. “I… I want to be a Shadowrunner. Like you guys.” a big anime sweatdrop formed on her brow. She was an Elf, about 14 years old, with eyes that glowed with an arcane magic, and a pair of cat ears twitched on top of her head.

“Ya know, sneaking on to our plane and freaking us out was probably not the best way to become a Shadowrunner,” said Vortex.

Neko coughed nervously and said nothing. Knave slide his death sword back into its scabbard. “Fine,” said the ninja, “but you better not be a spy or something. Or I’ll be really pissed off.” Neko nodded.

The Shadowrunners introduced themselves, and discovered that Neko was looking for her brother, a troll named Fenrir. “Hey, we know a Fenrir!” said Vortex, “Maybe it’s the same one? Fenrir is a pretty common name.” Neko gave more details about Fenrir. It was the same troll!

“What a strange coincidence,” said Knave.

“I have no idea what the hell is going on,” said Ikiryo.

As our intrepid Shadowrunners, Ikiryo, Neko, Knave and Vortex, fell graciously out of a God damned airplane over North Korean airspace, no one really thought this was a bad idea whatsoever.

While Ikiryo had his own parachute, custom-made and fitted with thermogliders, altimeters and other hi-tech doodads, the others had to make do with whatever that asshole pilot handed them before booting them off the cargo ramp mid-flight.

Knave pulled his cord and floated down easily enough. After much freaking out and parachute problems, Vortex was able to hold onto Neko as they tumbled down, detangling the chute before splattering on the cold, hard ground.

“So what now?” Ikiryo asked while cooly lighting a cigarette.

“Lets go to the HQ and kill this damned queen before a butterfly bursts out of my chest” Knave said.

“Aww, that’s so cute,” Vortex and Neko echoed. Knave gave them both dirty looks. Also, his face was covered in dirt, so this added to the effect.

After walking a few blocks to the Korean BBQ restaurant that was a front for the Syndicate, some semblance of a plan bounced in their heads. They would sneak into the secret underground base, gain access to the Armory and other sweet rooms that were drawn awesomely on the makeshift map, and inform the North Koreans of the secret base.

As soon as the cavalry of North Korean super soldiers arrived, the team would break into the lower levels of the facility, undetected as the invading NK SWAT team made for a perfect distraction. They hoped their plan would work, anyway.

Knave and Ikiryo went ahead, ordered the secret menu item (peanutbutter beef) and took the secret freezer elevator in the back of the noodle shop down to the Synidcate’s HQ. Knave was able to secure one of the dorms on the lower floor. The previous owner had died in a mysterious frogurt accident. Ikiryo went to look for a good place to jack in and start hacking. Neko and Vortex got the e-vite to Knave’s new pad, and took the elevator down to LEVEL 0002 (BARRACKS), meeting the ninja in the tiny, cramped loft.

Searching the room, the trio found swords, knives and pistols, loaded with explosive and armor piercing rounds. “Nice find, Neko-san” said Vortex. The Elf girl gave a thumbs up and smiled. After tearing down the Kid Rock posters and putting on his epic JRPG playlist, Knave relaxed on the bed while Neko and Vortex browsed Yahoo chatrooms on the PC.

“What are you looking for?” asked Neko.

“A smuggler to get us out of here, once our mission’s complete. Someone with a fast enough ship to make the Kessel Run in at least 12 parsecs.” A microscopic image flashed on the chatroom’s upload window. Vortex rolled our eyes. “It looks like this small penis man can help. Ugh, what a creep, though.”

“Hentai…” Neko agreed.

“We can watch Hentai later, Neko-san. Here, you can use the comp now, I’m done.” Vortex passed the keyboard to the mage.
“iku yo!” she said happily. Vortex shrugged, smiling like she understood, while Neko scrolled her tumblr page.

The human hacker Ikiryo strolled into the nerd cave that was the Matrix training range. Several slobby looking script kiddies sat in chairs, dumb expressions on their faces, writing code with their minds while jacked into VR. He took a comfortable leather chair and began his infiltration into the security systems. 1’s and 0’s danced in his eyes as he set BOOLEAN_SECUIRTY_1 = FALSE. No alerts. Not yet, anyway.

Ikiryo had finally accessed Administrative privileges into the complex with his dope hacking skills. “You have a Green Light, Knave” he said over the secure channel.

Knave hopped out of bed. The mission was a go.

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We Won An All-Expenses-Paid Vacation
...to North Korea!!

After arriving safely in Seattle with few hiccups, our four Shadowrunners met Knave’s handler, Annabelle Fear, at her lavish apartment. She was Korean, a raven haired Boss from Hell who managed the Korean Syndicate’s Seattle branch. They delivered the missile and magical foci successfully, albeit nervously, and Annabelle politely asked them to get the hell out. She’d call them if she had another job for them. (It’s been several days she hasn’t called yet)

Now all they had to do was to figure out how to get Knave’s bugs spirit out of his body without killing him. Screw that it was time for poker!

“I’m gonna work on this piece of shit Honda all night” T-Wasp said gruffly.

“Can I help?” Vortex asked.

“No, leave my garage, and don’t touch my fancy new bowling alley on the way out, either.”

Vortex sighed and shrugged, defeated. “Nobody wants to touch your balls, okay? Jeez”

The troll Fenrir adjusted the strap of his oversized bag. “I’m going to the hospital. I have to… run some errands.”

Vortex’s eyes lit up. “Fenrir, can I come with? I know of a good flower shop nearby”

The troll’s angry grumble sounded like a small concrete truck bouncing around in the back of a much larger concrete truck. Vortex got the message loud and clear.

Knave got an alert on his commlink. Amy, the Mysterious Poker Chick had sent him a text inviting him to the next game. She would be hosting. We still need two players, the message read.

“Well, see, I know just the skirt,” Knave said to himself in his mobster boss voice, replying with two smiley faces, and the number 8 followed by several equal signs and a ‘D’.

“Hey Vortex, wanna go play poker?” he asked the forlorn, friendless Elf.

“Yeah!!!” she chirped, she leapt into the air and threw out a peace sign and everything froze and went blurry for a few seconds just like in an animé.

“Okay, cool. Just don’t… embarrass me, okay?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it” the Orc said with a radiant smile. They got themselves cleaned up and took a cab to Amy’s house.

Meanwhile, T-Wasp was fixing up the clunker in his garage, and he had his work cut out for him. It would cost at least 0.5 times the original price of the Honda to fix this hunk of junk, and he didn’t even have the Core Rulebook in front of him, so he could only guess at the expense. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, then began his work. When this was over, he was gonna eat a pint of ice cream and binge watch the new season of Two and a Half Dwarves. Good show.

The troll mage strolled through the nursing home’s sliding glass doors, bumping his head on the glowing sign that read “METAHUMAN LONG-TERM CARE”. He had been here countless times before, it became a routine for him. He would sit by his sister’s bedside, tell her about all the cool crimes and Shadowrunning he’s been up to, and she would rest there in her bed and listen, quietly. It was still hard on him to see her in a coma. Every time he looked at her shriveled form in the bed, his heart twisted in his chest. Neko…

But Neko was decidedly not in her hospital bed. The machines and monitors that filled the room were broken and battered, sprawled against the floor. The window was broken. His sister was gone.

WHAT!?!?! was the only intelligible word he screamed. The rest was a terrible roar, an animalistic chain of obscenities, howling/barking and unimaginable grief-filled sobs. Fenrir lumbered out of the nursing home drunk on anger, a blubbering mess of clenched fists, tears and bloodrage. The next-door neighbor’s front door was kicked in. It crumbled like a graham cracker. The orc family inside was eating ham and mashed potatoes. The troll stared at the father with blood red eyes.

WHERE IS SHE!?!?” he said, his voice an erupting volcano.

“Uh, who?” The orc stuttered, sweat beading on his brow.

“WHERE’S NEKO!?!? ELF GIRL!?FOURTEEN!? COMATOSE!?”

“I don’t know!” the orc pleaded.

Fenrir picked up the green skinned man and tossed him across the room like a ragdoll. He crashed through a cheap Ikea bookcase and landed on a glass table, shattering it to pieces. Vases and picture frames went flying and broke just like in the action trideos.

“I don’t know where Neko is!!” the orc begged. Fenrir roared. The troll stormed out of the house and destroyed several more residential units, coming up with the same lack of answers. No one had seen Neko. No one called the cops, either. Everyone was simply too shocked by the troll’s ferocity.

Fenrir climbed onto the roof of an apartment building, a lanky silhouette in the moon, and howled at the unforgiving night sky. Neko was gone. Neko. My only sister. I was supposed to protect her and failed. Neko…

Meanwhile at the poker game, Knave and Vortex made it to Amy’s apartment, a posh comfy suite on the good part of town.
“Welcome, you guys” greeted a neon haired Asian with a pearly smile. She was a human from Singapore, her eyes a rich silvery-green, her hair a shimmering waterfall of tangerine. She had Malaysian, Japanese and Chinese heritage.

Three players sat around the low circular black table in the center. Pedro, What’s His Face and Amy sipped their cocktails and eyes the Shadowrunners as they entered the poker arena.

The Shadowrunners paid the buy-in, 100¥. Vortex lost it all in her first hand, double twos. “So Knave,” the badass Amy grinned, “has something been bugging you lately? I notice you have a insect spirit inside your soul. It looks like a glowing maggot.”

“Thanks for noticing, Amy,” Knave said cheerfully. “I was wondering if you knew anyone that could help me with that.”

“Bug spirits, bug spirits,” the adept bounced her head back and forth histrionically. "I do, actually. Ask around for a man called “X” at the Seattle Communist Lounge. They have great sushi."
“I appreciate your help” Knave said, with a soft bow.
“Anytime, Knavey. One last thing,” Amy smirked, “There aren’t much people alive who are better than me.” and with that, Amy owned everyone at poker, robbing them blind.

Knave and Vortex arrived at the SCL, an unassuming bar with a hammer & sickle flag. Inside were paintings of famous communists and Marxists, some metalheads and thrashheads and a couple Ska-fans, a Japanese catgirl drinking a PBR, a t-shirt of an Orcish Che Guevara hung on the wall, and in the center of the bar, a digital bartop pulsed with light. The bartop was also in the shape of a hammer & sickle. A warm fire crackled in the corner and rounded out the establishment’s look. Vortex sat at the bar and ordered a vodka.“Does anyone in this totally sweet bar know about bug spirits?” she asked. “My friend is really fucked up”

“Welcome, friends.” The friendly bartender said, I am Castrø, your friendly bartender. Can I interest you in a talk about the evil of corporations, and how they must all be destroyed in order for metahumankind to be truly free?"

And so they chatted with Castrø about the pitfalls of capitalism. It was a heady and cerebral discussion, many things were learned, many minds changed. Vortex was able to nudge the conversation back to the topic of insect spirits.

Suddenly a guy who was a cross between George RR Martin and a gurglecore mosh fiend stood up from the lounge area near the fireplace. He was freakishly tall and foreboding.

“My name is X and I know a lot about that insect spirit inside your friend, Orc” X, the man said.

Vortex turned to look at the grey-bearded fellow. He was wearing a pilot’s uniform stitched with anarchist punk band patches.

“I’m a pilot,” the man, X, said.

“Ahhh,” Vortex giggled. “I love punk music. Do you love punk music, too?” she asked.

The old man nodded in the affirmative. “The name’s X Pository-Dire Log. Friends call me X, for short.”

“It’s a pleasure,” X shook Vortex’s outstretched hand. Knave approached the strange man cautiously.

“Can you see the bug spirit inside me? the ninja asked.

“Yes I can, it’s really gross. You gotta get that thing checked out, buddy. What did you say your name was?”

“Knave”

“Well, Knave, an insect spirit has been implanted in your soul. In approx 11 days, it will burst out of your chest and take over your body. You, in essence, will die. The only way to kill this soul bug is to eradicate the queen who laid it. She is most likely located at the headquarters of whoever implanted this insect inside of you. And these people are…?” X playfully nudged the deadly assassin, pushing him one step closer to the edge.

“I work for the Korean Syndicate. Their HQ is in North Korea.” Knave flashed him a look like throwing daggers. “Ya know, the bad one.”

“Did you say the Korean Syndicate?” another man stood up from the couch around the warm, snuggly fire. “I’m Ikiero. I hate that Kim Jung Trill dude. He’s a real dick. I’ll help you go to North Korea and take out this phantasmal insect queen.” He flipped a Sacajawea Coin in his fingers thematically. “If the price is right” Ikiero smiled broadly.

“For my life, anything. I’m Knave” the ninja said, bowing.

“Can you fly us, Mr. Pilot Man?” the cheeky Vortex asked.

X raised his fist triumphantly. “I can, and I will. My plane is really far away and I’m pretty drunk, but everyone hop into my huge minivan and I’ll take us to the airstrip.”

Vortex and Knave introduced themselves to Ikiero, a human mage with a badass attitude. They made pleasantries and loaded into the van. They never noticed the catlike shadows, or the cloaked figure hidden in the back seat.

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I Survived Tir Tairngire And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt
The Double-Cross Begins

We last left our Shadowrunners beaten and bloodied in the Tir Tairngire forest, being chased by elementals and biker elves alike. Instead of letting them bleed to death, the leader of this Elf gang, Aap’Ast’Ri’Fi, had an idea.

Vortex sped along in her newly acquired school bus, but apparently not fast enough for the air elemental chasing her. She drove out into a clearing and was greeted by an armada of motorcycles, one elf with a megaphone yelling, “GET OUT OF THE BUS AND LIE FACING THE GROUND!”

“I was just going to pick up some Taco Bell!” Vortex pleaded. The forest bikers were not convinced (although one of them did feel like Chalupas later)

Vortex complied with the bikers, and was soon captured and brought back to the interrogation room, which wasn’t really a room but more of another open grassy field with one funky-looking water cooler sticking out of the mud.

“T-Wasp! Knave! Fenrir! You’re alive!” Vortex exclaimed, tears pouring down her face. T-Wasp smiled weakly at the orc. Knave and Fenrir were both unconscious, tied to chairs. An elf gave them smelling salts, and they woke up gibbering and doing the funky chicken. T-Wasp, also tied to a chair, grinned sheepishly and nodded. Vortex was duct-taped to her own chair, and the Elf leader, Mr. Ri’Fi, asked them exactly why they were trespassing in Tir Tairngire.

After a brutal interrogation of the captured Shadowrunners, Mr. Ri’Fi discovered Knave’s employers, a secretive Korean Magica Syndicate, had wanted the group to steal a weapons drop of magical Foci, boring-looking walking sticks and nanofilament chainsaws. Mr. Ri’fi discovered something else, too; Knave had been implanted with an insectoid spirit, which was slowly eating away at his soul, and would eventually take over his body, becoming a hive-minded zombie assassin. “Eww, Gross!” Vortex shrieked. Fenrir agreed, “Yeah, a bug spirit? What the hell, dude?” Knave was silent as the trees, contemplating.

“Killing you would be easy,” Mr Ri’Fi said, “But now that I know who you work for, using you would be more…” He paused, looking for a fancy word, “Advantageous”

T-Wasp groaned, guessing what would come next. Knave felt sick to his stomach.

“I will let you return to your master, Miss Annabelle,” Mr Ri’Fi continued, “and I will give you the cargo you fools were trying to steal.” T-Wasp raised an eyebrow.

“Under one condition,” the Elf said, “That you betray your master, eliminate her, and report back to me.” Ri’Fi tossed T-wasp a cred-stick with his contact information. The stick bounced off his chest and landed in his lap. “I will give you time to repair that awful pink vehicle,”

HEY!” Vortex protested.

Ri’fi looked nonplussed, “and you may rest for the night. In the morning, you have permission to get the fuck out of Tir Tairngire. Contact me when Annabell is dead. And you better not triple-cross me, or,” He pasued, dramatically, “I will be quite upset.”

“We better do as he says,” Vortex whispered to T-wasp.

“Yeah, no shit.” he replied gruffly. The biker elves untied the captives, healed their wounds, and gave them permission to peruse the elf encampment. Vortex was amazed by the site; she had never seen an honest-to-goodness Elf City before, having spent her life in Seattle.

“It’s beautiful” she said to herself, amazed at the spiraling silver tree-houses, the floating wisps, the spirit deer and wolf sentries quietly making their rounds through the mystical woodlands.

“This is just like that Warcraft III game my grandma played all the time” she enthused. A nearby elf rolled his eyes.

After T-Wasp made repairs to the Honda, and Vortex bought a t-shirt from the local gift shop, and Fenrir and Knave stopped bleeding everywhere, the adventurers were ready to get the hell out of this damn place. They loaded the trunk with the Magic Foci and staves.

The Honda looked worse for wear, since T-Wasp had to repair the car with materials he had on hand. One of the replaced doors was completely made out of tree bark. sticks and leaves replaced most of the windows. The back seats and upholstery were covered with elk and bear pelts. The half-melted dashboard was installed with an enormous rattlesnake skin, for some reason. Luckily the Moon Roof was still intact. The CD-player was broken, sadly. T-Wasp groaned, knowing he would have to listen to Vortex’s unbearable singing for the ride back to Seattle.

Fenrir and T-Wasp crawled in the back seat and passed out. Knave sat shotgun and Vortex hopped in the driver’s seat. They drove the rickety car down the dirt path and out of the grove of treehouses. The path eventually reached a cracked highway that hadn’t been maintained in decades. They followed it south until it curved west and then northward. Knave saw a road sign: Salish-Shidhe Council, 10 mi He tapped Vortex’s shoulder. “Uhh, SSC Country is coming up ahead.” Vortex nodded and pulled over. She looked at Fenrir and T-Wasp in the backseat. Fenrir looked incredibly carsick. T-Wasp was passed out, utterly exhausted from repairing the vehicle the night before. “I’ve got an idea,” the Orc beamed, getting out of the car. With a screwdriver she removed her licence plate. She took a handful of roadside mud and splattered it against the sides of her pink Baby. “Uhh, what are you doing, Vortex?” Knave asked, solemnly.

“We need the element of disguise if we’re gonna get through this checkpoint safely,” she beamed. She stuck a couple of pinecones in the windshield, then sprawled, “NORTHWEST LARPERS BEATDOWN 2072” in mud on the side of the car. “WTF is Larping?” the assassin asked. “Only the most awesome thing ever,” Vortex said, grinning like a shark. “It’s where fun and cool people create characters and have fantasy battles in the forest, fighting arcane monsters and dodging magic missiles. Plus, a lot of free drugs. It’s the fuckin’ best”

Knave rolled his eyes. “If you say so,” he sighed. The Ninja lowered his seat back, activated his chameleon suit, and went invisible.

Vortex slowly pulled up to the CCS Checkpoint. A dwarf and human eyed her suspiciously. She handed them her SIN and smiled innocently. “Hello, officers! How is your day going, today?”

The Border Patrol agent ignored her, “Provide the SINS of your passengers and state your purpose for entering Salish-Shidhe Council, Orc” the dwarf grunted.

Vortex looked to her passed out friends, poked T-Wasp, he blinked awake and gave her one of his many ID’s, along with Fenrir’s. Vortex handed the guard their SIN’s. He glanced over them suspiciously, nodded and handed them back.

“We were just coming back from an incredible LARP’ing convention in the forest. Lots of epic battles, free love, free drugs, Hu-Fu hotdogs, bonfires and bonding. It’s just the best! I can show you some photos if you want,” she beamed, fiddling for her comm.

“No, no, that won’t be necessary. What’s… Hu-Fu?” the guard asked.

“It’s like Tofu, but it tastes approximately like cooked human flesh. It’s really yummy, and it’s a superfood, so it’s good for you, too. " The Orc explained. The dwarf grimaced, wanting to end the conversation as soon as possible.

“You don’t have a license plate. It is illegal for your vehicle to enter SSC Territory with no licence plate”. Vortex leaned out the window and looked behind her. “Are you serious? Shucks! I guess it must have fallen off after that Troll Warrior pierced my bumper with his glaive. I’m sorry, sir, my car was a pink dragon in the Battle of the 69 Armies, and I had gotten separated from my battalion after elf riders conducted a surprise raid that divided our flank. We escaped some dangerous elementals, and the plate must have broken off in the ensuing chaos.” She activated her puppydog eyes subroutine, “I’m really sorry, sir, I’ll be sure to replace it as soon as I’m back in Seattle. As you can see, my two friends are completely exhausted from the fight. Again, I’m really, really sorry” The dwarf was oddly charmed by this strange Orc’s stupidity.

“Fine, fine, be sure to get your plate replaced. And make sure you have a permit the next time you want to come into our country. The orc bowed graciously. “Thank you so much, me lord.” The guard rolled his eyes and hurriedly waved them through.

“Close call,” Knave said, uncloaking in the front seat. “Tell me about it,” Vortex said, unconsciously testing out the broken radio for the twentieth time.

After another hour of driving, they successfully made it into Seattle. Or what was left of it, since most of Southern Seattle was destroyed by a deadly volcano, and what remained was a lawless hellscape of destroyed buildings and roving gangs. Fenrir and T-Wasp eventually woke up, groggy and rubbing their eyes. Vortex pulled over into a burnt-out gas station. “Why are we stopping?” The Troll, Fenrir asked.

“We Need Licence Plate” grunted Vortex, cavemanlike. “T-Wasp, you got that screwdriver?” He nodded, and casually stepped out of the beat-up car. he stealthed to a burnt out PT Cruiser and began unscrewing the KUGERMOM1 plate. The gas station looked completely abandoned. The neon sign, GASSY’S PIT STOP, glowed eerily in the silence.

But looks can be deceiving. Inside, a family was huddled around their warm fireplace, the burnt husk of a decades-old Slurpie machine. “Looters..” the husband whispered to his wife, “They are stealing our possessions. Kids, load your shotguns.” His daughter and son, 12 and 10 respectively, strapped on their bulletproof vests, and the husband charged through the front door, blasting his shotty at the half-wooden Honda. Knave leapt out of the car, easily enough since the passenger-side door was missing, and unsheathed his katana. He slashed at the man in a flurry, slicing him across the chest. he screamed and took a 5-foot-step away from the ninja, stumbling back into the gas station. The ninja gave chase. Fenrir growled and followed suit, bursting the wooden door off its hinges and charged into the building. Vortex winced, “My car…” she squeaked. T-Wasp had removed the plate from the charred PT Cruiser’s bumper and began attaching it to the Honda.

Fenrir clenched his axe tightly and swung it at the man. He took it in the gut and horrifyingly screamed. The man’s wife cocked her shotgun and blasted the troll in the back. He took the blast and was unfazed. Knave jumped on the woman and stabbed her in the stomach. The children shrieked like rabbits and began unloading on the invaders with their shotguns. The entire gas station lit up in a firestorm of flashing light and explosions. “Uh-oh” peeped Vortex, worried. She pulled out her flash grenade bang and tossed it into the front door of the shop.

The flashbang went off like an atomic bomb. Blinding white light seared everyone’s eyeballs, and white phosphorous started to burn everyone in the room, including Fenrir. “Smooth move, Vortex” T-Wasp muttered, desperately fiddling with the second screw on the licence plate. “Shit!” Vortex said, sweating bullets.

Half-blinded and enraged with bloodlust, Knave cut the boy in half with a downward slice. Fenrir fell over hard like a totem pole, or one of those semi-racist indian statues with the cigars. The Troll was out cold. Again.

T-Wasp finished attaching the plate, pulled out his sub-machine gun, and charged into the shop’s open doorway. He stopped dead in his tracks, completely agog at the bloodpath.
“Glad you could join us, T-Wasp!” Knave shouted, waving one free hand. Knave turned to his target. With a flick of his wrist, the ninja sliced off the man’s head. The walls and ceiling were splattered with thick, red blood. The daughter screamed and fired another blast at the ninja, missing completely. Knave spun in a whirlwind and sliced the woman across the belly, spilling her intestines like a Tauntaun. “They smell worse on the inside!” the psychotic killer cackled, and turned his gaze to the little girl.

“Don’t worry, child. I will end your suffering.” A creepy robotic smile was pasted across his face. “Say hi to your daddy and mommy for me,” he hissed, staring deep into the girl’s hollow, frightened eyes, and sliced the top of her head off with his blade. Her eyeballs bounced across the floor like ghoulish billiard balls, her body collapsing in a pile before him.

Vortex busted into the door and grabbed Fenrir’s leg, dragging his body into the backseat of her car. “Let’s go!” she barked. Knave and T-Wasp nodded and dove into the car. Vortex put the pedal to the medal and they sped away from the station.

After an hour of driving, they made it to T-Wasp’s hideout; a garage with hacking tools, drone repair bots, and storage rooms with heavy locks. “I… just want to forget what happened today,” T-Wasp muttered, slightly spattered with other people’s blood. “I know just the thing!” the Orc said, and she called up her drug dealer, Chris, to drop off some memory erasing RetCon. Fenrir passed out on the couch, Knave explored the halls of the garage while cleaning his blade, and T-Wasp raised up the car on his hydraulic lift. The drugs arrived shortly, and Vortex handed the dwarf the medicine bottle. T-Wasp swallowed the pills with a glass of water. A wave of warmth washed over him, and his memories started to blur into a spiraling neon haze. In his relaxed euphoria, he began absorbing himself in his repairs, working methodically on the busted-ass whip.

“We should meet Annabelle, ASAP” Knave suggested, walking into the garage as Vortex unloaded the trunk. She put one Tomahawk missile i a locker, and loaded the other equipment in two large green duffle bags. “Let’s call a cab”

Vortex agreed, and a taxi soon arrived. They stuffed the bulging duffle bags into the yellow car and gave directions to the cabbie. They were on the way to see Annabelle. What would happen next was anyone’s guess.

BTW Ian will reward us 1-5 Karma Points if you dress up as your character for Friday’s game (it’s on Halloween) I’m dressing up as Vortex, I hope you guys do something cool as well! See you guys soon!

~Vortex

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The Drek Hits The Fan
Fire elementals are a bunch o' assholes

camp_fire_by_adamlara-d7ft4h4.jpg
The Four Shadowrunners of the Apocalypse were bumping along easily enough, four-wheeling through the forest on the semblances of a dirt road, until they finally reached their destination; a weapons deal about to go down in the Elven Woods.

They stopped to let out T-Wasp, who used his spy drones to scout out the area and report back to the group. He saw in the clearing, not elves, but humans, suspiciously playing volleyball (is that a thing?) with some water elementals. There was a spray-painted school bus off to one side: The Target! The weapons were here!
Vortex parked the Honda about a half-mile from the encampment and got out with Knave to scout ahead and plan their next move. Vortex disguised herself to appear more Elfish, and grabbed an apple and her huge sack of Bubblegum Chong 7, an Indica-Sativa hybrid with a strong body stone. Other side effects include dry mouth, auditory hallucinations and the urge to rap. Fenrir stayed in the Honda and astrally projected his wolf form, skulking through the woods as a glowing blue-silvery beast.
wolf.jpg
The wolf got into the clearing first. It was an open field with a large bonfire, some shabby-looking tents and a smelly school bus that reeked of Nag-Champa. He was instantly detected by the volleyball players. “Hey, whats up, buddy? What are you doing out here?” one human asked.

‘I love walking in the woods, they’re nice’ the Wolf said. The humans nodded dumbly. Fenrir noticed that these people were completely stoned out of their gourds. Having seen enough, the wolf padded silently back into the woods, and the players resumed their game.

T-Wasp used his l33t hacking skillz to reach out to the school bus’s computer, perhaps to control it wirelessly and drive away in an easy escape. The bus was silent as a grave. Nope, they had to do things the hard way. He accessed Vortex’s Honda* [passcode: pizza420 accepted. welcome, user.]* the computer’s robotic voice answered, and he ordered the pink beauty to come swoop him up.

Vortex the “Elf” and Knave the human stealthed their way to the edge of the clearing, the orange light from the roaring bonfire danced in Vortex’s eyes, while being completely absorbed by Knave’s void-black chameleon suit. Vortex tripped on a gnarled tree root and shrieked, tumbling out into the clearing and landing hard on her ass. Thud. “There goes the element of surprise” she muttered under her breath. Knave was a ghost. Silent as the stars. He was a constellation of death.

“Hi there!” a friendly greeting came from the campers. “What are you doing way out here in the woods?”

Vortex had to think fast. She was sweating bullets. She felt the apple in her pocket. An idea flashed.

“Err, I’m an Elf” she said graciously and bowed, “These are my woods. And I couldn’t help but notice a particular… aroma, emanating from this area, uh, for us Elves have a very keen sense of smell, you see.” She coughed nervously, “Anyway, um, so do you guys partake?” She beamed brightly and whipped out the huge sack of ganja. The light from the campfire sparkled across the nugs like an gigantic, frosty diamond. Their eyes lit up instantly. A red delicious apple was in her other hand. “I’d love to load you guys a fat bowl in this apple pipe, for alas, I have no one to smoke with,” She grinned coyly, “until now that is!”

The humans just stood there, agog, but as soon as Vortex’s tailored pheramones kicked in, they were suddenly in the mood to get hella-baked with this strange Elf. The smell from the bag was overwhelming, a swirling combination of gingerbread cookies and Moroccan spices and lemon-lime soda. Vortex poked a stick through the top and side of the apple, creating an impromptu “tobacco” pipe. She crumbled the sticky medicine in her fingers, loading a heaping fat bowl for her new friends. “You can have greens, sweetie” she said, offering the fruit to one of the men. They giddily partook. It was some pretty dank shit, to be honest.

In all of the commotion, Knave sneaked into the school bus silently. Yet while inside the bus, he fumbled with the door and it slammed, quite loudly in fact. The stoners turned to the sound, but Vortex reassured them “This weed makes you trip balls. One time I thought my door said ‘Thank you, Vortex’ it was probably nothing.” Vortex started freestyle rapping about Ya Mama, the humans shrugged at the noise and joined in, bobbing their heads back and forth to the beat.

The THC coursing through their veins, the stoners were dazzled by the magical power of the Flow. When she finished her verse, she passed the mic and the next dude. Although he hit a pound of herbs he’s still nice with the verbs. So fuck what you heard.

Vortex slowly backed out from the circle as one guy with a beard was spitting some seriously dope lines. Undetected, she waltzed over to the bus.

“Did you get it started?” She asked the ninja. He shook his head, “I… I never learned how to hotwire cars,” he said, glumly. He hung his head in shame.

“Did you ask that dude?” Vortex pointed to a half-asleep hippie on a pile of pillows near the back of the van. Knave shook his head. “Hey mister, you got the keys to this thing? We were gonna go pick up some Taco Bell. Did you want some?”

The word taco caused his eyes to pop open. “Yeah, I got ’em right here, babe!” he said, holding the keys in the air. She kindly took them and started up the bus. With a grind and a grumble, the overworked engine sputtered to life. She put the shifter in gear and slammed her foot on the accelerator. The bus careened forward and puttered along through the forest underbrush at breakneck speed (20 miles per hour). The hippies around the campfire were still rapping, transfixed by their own creative juices. Vortex got on the comms.

“We got the stash! Now lets get the Hell out of here!”

The other Shadowrunners agreed, and T-Wasp started up the Honda, revved the engine, and sped away in a cloud of brown dust. Fenrir shouted triumphantly, poking several holes in the back seat. The sun was setting, and they had a long road ahead. The bus bumped ahead, with the car right behind.

It was not long until they heard the buzzing sound of dirt bikes from behind. Soon the bikes were on their tail; six Elvish riders, closely followed by two fearsomely large magical creatures, one a whirling being of hellfire, the other a maelstrom of tornado-like fury. Elementals!
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T-Wasp ordered his drones to lay down covering fire. One biker flew off his motorcycle and it exploded into a tree, just like in Return of the Jedi. Yet five more followed, firing their machine pistols at the rear vehicle. The elementals took turns shooting fireballs and windballs(?) at the poor pink Honda. The metal groaned as it took a beating from the missiles, the hood flew up and loudly smacked into the windshield, shattering it before flying off above the car. The engine was wheezing and whining like a dying old man. It couldn’t take much more abuse.
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Fenrir focused his majicks at one of the elves, his bike swiveled and swerved, he lost speed and trailed farther away until he was lost to sight. Four remaining. And the two elementals. The elves took more potshots at the car. The Shadowrunners fired more rounds at an Elf, the leader they guessed, based on his sweet chainmail jacket. He deftly dodged out of the way of the bullets and avoided the drone’s hail of gunfire. What a lucky bastard.

Vortex fired out the window from the bus driver’s seat. Her bullets ricocheted inside the Chainmail Elf’s gas tank. The lucky Elf’s bike exploded, along with the lower half of his body. T-Wasp’s drone blasted away, turning the remaining bikers into swiss cheese, it’s turret flailing wildly and spitting pure metallic death at their pursuers. The last elf said “Fuck This” and broke away from the chase. Vortex gave Knave a fist bump. Six down, two to go.
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Vortex’s Honda was leaking fuel, most of the windows were shattered, and the engine was a chimney of billowing smoke. Oh yeah, and two elemental death demons were closing in on them, smashing the car to bits. Knave knew what he had to do. He opened the school bus’s back door, and ninja leaped over the Honda with his sword held high, gloriously flying on top of the fire elemental, aiming right for it’s heart.

And missed.

The fire elemental lashed out at the ninja with a wave of boiling magma, melting his suit and throwing his body like a ragdoll. He collided into a tree. Everyone heard bones break.

Panicked, the troll mage had to save his new friend. Fenrir focused the last of his arcane strength, and channeled a burst of pure energy at the wind elemental. A spiral of purple and green light burst out from the backseat of the Honda like a lightning bolt.

And it fizzled.

The wind elemental laughed, absorbing the bolt of energy into its swirling form. A collective ‘Fuck’ was uttered by everyone.

T-Wasp took his mind off of piloting the car to command his drone to fire on the elementals. The robot swivelled its double barreled machine guns on the magical monstrosity. The barrels started spinning faster and faster.

And then jammed.

A rat-a-tat clacking noise rattled from the drone’s guns. It was a drumroll of death, the sound grinded in T-Wasp’s ears. Jammed. Fucking jammed. Shit.

The fire elemental whomped the trunk of the car. The car went airborne for what felt like an eternity, then slammed into the dirt, a loud pop barked from the engine as the grey smoke turned black. The front of the car rumbled horrifically like a slain beast’s death rattle. The engine began to wind down.

And then died.

The car slowed to a halt. A column of blinding inky blackness poured from the motor into the car, it pouring out everywhere. The smell of gas permeated everything. Fenrir gasped for air. T-Wasp coughed violently, he couldn’t see anything. Knave was bleeding somewhere, broken.

Vortex unleashed a gut-wrenching scream. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she looked in the rearview mirror at her friends. Bleeding, burning, dying. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair. She let out another scream, a piercing scream that morphed into a horrible crying sound, like a desperate creature caught in a bear trap. Why? Why them? It’s just not fair. GOD DAMNIT. FUCK.

Sobbing, she reached into her bandolier for a smoke grenade, pulled the pin out with her teeth, and tossed it out the window. She pulled out another and another, doing the same motion. She wedged a forth grenade in the driver-side window, grey smoke danced along the side of the bus like a demented firecracker. With one hand she ripped off a strip of duct tape and attached it to a smoker, tossing it in the back of the bus and letting the blinding cloud pour out the open door.

Get a hold of yourself, she forced herself to think. You’re still alive. Don’t waste their sacrifice. She had to survive. She had to live.

She got the fuck out of there.
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Workin' for the Brain Eaters
My grandma's a thug, word?

After “successfully” hunting all the ghouls in the Orc Underground, Vortex, Knave and Shiro came across Doge Town, a ramshackle Orc village with literally no gift shops. They walked into a bar with a gaping hole in the front window, and came across a Troll Mage named Fenrir and a Dwarf Rigger named Wasp, who were consulting the Brain Eaters gang, planning a mission to retake the rec center the trio had previously sabotaged.

In was inside the dusty bar where Vortex was reunited with her Gram Gram, who strangely had joined the Brain Eaters gang in a futile attempt to get out of the house more often. Vortex was slightly dismayed by this news, but was cheered up by her Gram Gram’s famously delicious cookies, which the Brain Eaters were gobbling up by the handful.

Gram Gram showed everyone her new Brain Eaters tattoo, signifying her honorary membership into the organization. Not wanting to feel left out, Fenrir and Vortex both got similar badass tattoos in the spirit of Inktober, because tattoos are like, totally sick, ya know?

After some grumbling, Wasp agreed to let the charismatic Vortex and the solemn human Knave help on their mission to retake the rec center. After realizing the mission would take over a week to gather the necessary resources, Knave contacted his fixer Annabelle, who had a mission that was too good to pass up; infiltrate Elven Territory and steal a weapon shipment from a bunch of dandelion eaters who lived in the forest.

Since their target was most likely a bunch of pointy-eared Freegan Elves, Knave knew this mission would be a piece of cake. He invited Wasp and Fenrir to join him, along with Vortex, who owed him a favor, anyway. Shiro was distracted by a shiny classic Harley outside of the bar, hijacked it and sped back to Seattle, hoping to sell the bike for some scratch.

Knave jacked into the local land line and summoned Vortex’s sweet neon pink Honda, which arrived shortly in front of the bar. They all hopped into the dope-ass whip and drove into CCS territory, a.k.a. American Indian Country.

After getting through the checkpoint into the country, an Apache helicopter was soon on their tail. After some clever hacking by Wasp and glorious driving by Vortex, the car deftly swerved out of the flight path of several Apache Tomahawk missiles. Knave courageously crawled onto the hood of the car, and leaped onto the chopper, skewering the pilot with his Katana and diving back into the safety of the Honda. The helicopter gyrated out of control, crash-landing into a nearby field. Wasp was able to salvage two missiles from the crashed chopper, and they sped off in a cloud of dust, only to be attacked by another damn Apache!

Fenrir’s magic was a godsend. The Troll focused his magicks on the helicopter’s missile bay, casting a spell and causing the chopper to explode, a fireball of orange flame erupting in the sky. Not wanting to waste time, they raced passed the wrecked chopper and crossed the border into the Elf Lands, nearly reaching their destination.

What adventure awaits these heroes? Find out next week, on TAKE ME TO EUROPA: THE NEXT BIG SCORE, Fridays at 1PM on the WB Network.

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