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> Ghost in the Station Wagon, Epilogue for "Best Served Cold"
coolgrafix
post Apr 2 2007, 04:55 AM
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Our group just ran through Shadowrun Missions "Best Served Cold" and I've prepared this brief story to recap the ending for those who couldn't make it or had to leave early. Thought I'd share it here. No spoilers.
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coolgrafix
post Apr 2 2007, 04:57 AM
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Ghost in the Station Wagon

Kevin wasn't listening... again.

"Kevin, you aren't listening to me. I'm starting to think your new weirdo friends are more important to you than I am." A curly golden lock of immaculately teased hair dripped in front of Josie's big blue eyes as she stared at Kevin, waiting for a response. None came. Her lips pouted. "Fine. I'm getting out," she proclaimed as she grabbed the passenger-side door handle. It was filthy, like the rest of the old station wagon they were sitting in, and she didn't want to touch it. Across from her in the driver's seat sat Kevin, his hands gripping the steering wheel like his life depended on it. And as it happened, tonight his life did depend on it.

The sirens were getting closer.

"Oh my god, Josie, he just, like, totally fragged that guy with his bare slottin' hands right here in front of us! Did you see that?! He snapped that guy's neck like a twig! Holy slottin' drek! Poor scorched fragger didn't have a chance! And we're witnesses!" Kevin's eyes here hidden behind their chromed protective univisor, but his still-open mouth betrayed his continued shock and amazement.

Josie's slender hands tugged frantically on the door handle but nothing happened; she knew nothing would happen... it never did. "You play that stupid game all the time but you haven't learned much from it," she quipped, still struggling with the door. "You're not a witness, Kevin 'I-hacked-the-Seattle-school-district's-mainframe-and-now-I'm-a-world-class-criminal' Nitmick. You're an accessory! Your mom's gonna really freak out this time!" She laughed that high-pitched shriek that she did when she really wanted to hurt someone's feelings.

The Ares Citymaster rounded the corner to the loading dock, it's screaming sirens filling the area with a sea of echoes and flashing lights. Screeching to a halt, its sirens suddenly fell silent and its ZDF occupants swung their top-mounted LMG around to bear on the battered old station wagon. A flood light coated the scene in instant daylight revealing not only the car they had expected, but also a large troll on foot carrying a limp body, and a somewhat dazed-looking ork not far from him. Through the back of the station wagon the ZDF gunner easily made out the vehicle's sole living occupant, and instinctively targeted the back of his head. The Citymaster's PA system barked to life. "Come out with your hands up," it ordered with authority.

"Remember all that police-band comm chatter you picked up on the way here? Well here it is," Josie snarked. She laughed again.

"Can it, Josie," Kevin turned and quipped. He had trained himself to only talk to Josie using his cranial commlink's DNI... less noticeable that way... but this time he slipped and said it out loud as he weighed the options. If these pigs were like the cops on T.J. Laser then the team was in good shape. If they were like the cops in Miracle Shooter: Vice Squad, however, then they'd just open up, frag every living thing first, and maybe ask questions later. As he saw the LMG come to bear in the rear view mirror, his neck hair suddenly stood up on end and his gamer's gut told him these ZDF guys were the "ask questions later" variety. For the first time tonight he was really frightened. His gamer's gut had never let him down in-game, and so now he had to disable that gun.

"I'm good. Get out of here," Mr. Snuggles' voice came over the commlink.

Suddenly the station wagon lurched and bounced. Crunch, the big troll fragger, had leapt back into the rear of the wagon with the lifeless body of the hacker whose neck he had just snapped. Crunch quickly slammed the back door, propped the dead man's body up as a shield against the LMG, and screamed "Drive, Dev!" Kevin had learned pretty quickly that this crew wasn't much for either subtlety or multisyllabic words. He briefly considered explaining his view on their immediate options but instead decided to just go hot sim and take care of things quickly. With any luck he'd be back in a few seconds and he could explain then.

"Don't just leave me here!" shouted Josie. His body went limp and his head sank backwards into the wagon's headrest. Kevin's mind had left his meat body and had now assumed his usual Matrix icon of a swirling black nothing. He thought it was more than fitting for a hacker whose handle was DevNull. It crossed his mind for a moment that the hacker that Crunch had just killed called himself The Void and no doubt had a similar icon to the one Kevin was now using. "There must be a hundred black hats running around the Matrix with the same slotting idea," he suddenly realized, feeling derivative and pwned. It made him feel slightly better about his new handle to also realize that there was now one less. His swirling black nothingness grinned and leapt onto the large ZDF badge icon floating in front of him.

Back in the meat world Mr. Snuggles had levitated out of site of the Citymaster and was trying to figure out what to do next. The ZDF forces were still inside the armored transport so none of his spells would be helpful. "I wish Mother were here," the ork thought to himself. He'd never been the idea man in the group, and his mental handicap meant that he probably never would. "Mother would know what to do," he continued his line of thinking. But just then he heard the Citymaster's LMG open fire. He whipped back to the edge of the roof where he could see what was going on and noticed the transport had moved forward, leaving a squad of troops behind it out in the open. "Came out the back, huh? Sneaky slots," he thought to himself. "But not as sneaky as Mr. Snuggles," he mumbled out loud as he cast a spell to stun them all. Collectively the squad shuddered and raised their hands a little to help them keep balance. The ork hit them again as he saw their ride careen into the loading dock wall, their LMG sitting lifeless atop the vehicle. Some of them dropped to one knee this time and Mr. Snuggles grinned. "Mr. Snuggles good," he thought to himself.

Kevin snapped back to his meat body to a cacophony of sound: Crunch was yelling something over and over about getting them the hell out of there; Josie was screaming hysterically for no apparent reason whatsoever; somewhere close by a car's horn was blaring full tilt; and Kevin himself was screaming in pain. He sat bolt upright in the driver's seat and the horn suddenly stopped blaring. There was blood everywhere. His thick blonde eye-length hair was matted with it. He'd been shot by the LMG from behind, and in his unconscious state slumped forward onto the steering wheel's horn. "Jesus slotting Christ, I've been hit," he screamed at Josie through his DNI. "They shot me instead of the big troll carrying the body!" be blurted out loud, writhing in pain behind the wheel. This was worse than he'd imagined. His bootlegged Faces of Death XXIV sim must have had the pain filters turned up or something, because it was nothing like this. He'd been shot, and there'd be hell to pay if mom found out.

"Drive, god damn it, Dev, drive!" barked the agitated troll in the back as he leaned forward in the vehicle to see what the hold up was. The old vehicle's wheels screeched to life as Kevin spun the car around and floored the accelerator. With any luck his sabotage of the Citymaster would last long enough for them to make it out alive. With additional luck they'd dart past the ZDF squad before they managed to get any shots off. With even more luck, they'd bypass any other Citymasters en route to assist the first group.

"Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!" Josie was now chorusing. "You're bleeding all over everything!" she screamed. Kevin saw muzzle flashes from the ZDF squad on the ground and momentarily considered giving them the Death Race 2070 treatment. Bullets were hitting the car, some zinking through the windshield into the back seat. "Your mom is going to be so pissed!" she yelled. She laughed that laugh again.

Somewhere between the ZDF squad and the exit of the loading dock area Kevin made a mental note to adjust that annoying laugh of Josie's once and for all; his previous efforts had apparently not been successful, but it was hard tinkering with it since there was no easy way to trigger that particular laugh in a controlled environment. Plus, it was the real Josie's actual laugh, and he had tried to mimic her every detail even down to her annoyances. It seemed silly to him to mimic the object of his desire down to the smallest detail and then start making changes. But some of the details just really needed changing if they were going to be spending so much time together. This latest version of Virtual Person: Girlfriend Edition greatly expanded the available customization options and the new ASIST hooks let him tie specific actions to specific external sim modules. Nothing like seeing the hottest girl in school give you head in your room... except seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling her do it. And no one would ever know, especially not the real Josie Carmicheal back in Seattle.

Kevin turned his Virtual Weather back on and adjusted his Virtual Surround Music. "I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine / On a cloud of sound I drift in the night / Any place it goes is right / Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here..." He sped on into 2 a.m.'s setting sun to the tune of Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride.
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Jack Kain
post Apr 2 2007, 05:21 AM
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Sounds awesome, great way to recap the adventure. That sound way more fun then when my group did it. Tough my group tends to play it cool and avoid combat when ever possible. No matter how much it grates my character. (who's also the face)


You could have put it in a spoiler tag and included all the details. After all if they really want spoilers they can download the adventure.
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coolgrafix
post Apr 3 2007, 05:19 AM
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Thanks Jack. I don't think my memory is good enough to detail the whole run, but suffice to say that the real danger, as I mentioned in the story, started after we thought the run was over! =)
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