Shadowrun Africa

Clearing Out the Ghouls part 1

I would like to meet your King.

I don’t have everyone’s names yet, if you could even throw up some really preliminary OP PC pages, that’d be fantastic.

Horza Kazmirov (as Hesperia Talkut), Nomusa Iblis, and Qualicus Bloodspiller (as Jeff Smith) have each been in Cape Town for a few months, attempting to get the lay of the land and to start making progress on their individual goals (and in the case of Jeff, quest). Things have been a bit slow, so when they each received word that there was an opportunity to make some money, they each were happy to do so. Their contacts informed them that a Mr. Johnson would be in touch with them at a fairly upscale nightclub in one of the ritzier parts of town, before the normal business hours. Not wanting to generate too much noise, they each left their weaponry and heavier armor at home, except for Jeff, who is never without his sledgehammer. They all took the city’s free public transit.

The bouncer at the club let HK, NI, and JS in as they arrived, looking at JS’s hammer with a mixture of amusement, disbelief, and silent mockery. Seeing as this was well before the profitable part of the evening would begin, he didn’t give him too much grief, provided that they would be clearing out before anyone remotely fashionable or interesting showed up. HK sat at the bar with a drink, scoping out the table until the others sat down. Joining them, stilted introductions were made among the three of them, and each in his or her own way attempted to discover more about the other astrally. It turns out that all three are adepts, though HK was the only one to get more detailed information, even noting a peculiar, unknown malady in NI that did not seem to be significantly impacting his health.

After a bit of small talk amongst them, a waitress brought over a small black cube and set it down on the table. A fuzzy trideo image of a nondescript matrix avatar greeted them, and was a bit puzzled that only three had shown up, but figured it would be worth continuing anyway. The Johnson offered them a job to clear out a nest of ghouls in the slums along the mountainside in Cape Town. He only hinted, but it was pretty obvious that he was representing a real estate firm that was keen on developing the area and turning it into a big mall. Perhaps this was his first rodeo, as most self-respecting Johnsons would not divulge so much information, much less involve the nightclub so thoroughly. At any rate, he said that there was a nest of ghouls that was causing some difficulty in securing the land for the endeavor, and was offering a bounty of 1000 Nuyen per head to clear them out. Video evidence from their commlinks would suffice, and he would meet them later in the week to pay them for the mission. He was able to tell them that the ghouls were probably mostly mindless, but that there were likely to be a couple of intelligent ones, too, based on what he knew. He was unable to give any more useful information, so he bought them a round of drinks. HK ordered the most expensive drink in the house (145 nuyen for a shot of magically infused whiskey), while NI only took pure filtered water.

The three discussed the plan for a bit, and decided to scout out the area later that evening, to try to get a good sense of what they would be up against. Besides, it was getting a bit late, and they were starting to get looks from the bouncer. They planned to meet up a half an hour later in the outskirts of the shantytown, after they went to their respective places and got their “work gear”. JS had a peculiar conversation with the cabdriver, who decided to turn the radio up before having to talk too much to the weirdo. Larpfolk are a different breed entirely.

Meeting up at one of the primary entrances to the slums, it was quickly apparent that the rough bamboo, scrounged cinderblock, and corrugated tin shacks grew up like mushrooms after a rain, and so the satellite map of Cape Town that their commlinks supplied, only about a year or so old, was woefully out of date. It was pretty obvious that the place was mostly devoid of working-age adults, as they saw mostly children and a few elderly women. Apparently the adults and teens were working in the city and would not be back for a while. The crew decided that it would be easiest to find information by talking to some of the elderly people, and so they went up to a random shack where an old woman was preparing some sort of meal.

Although her grasp of English was somewhat limited (she evidently more commonly spoke the creole English/Xhosa/Afrikaans language of the streets) a small bribe of 50 Nuyen was enough to convince her to get over her initial fear and tell them that there were dangerous men about (the Mountain Boyz, the local gang in the area) but that there were also even more dangerous things that would come out at night and often take some children, usually. She didn’t know the location of the ghouls, and thought that they might be further north, into the slums a bit more. She was very grateful for the money, and the assurances that the crew was there to help (JS considering it to be a quest of sorts, in his Larpfolk manner), and offered them some of her meal. The crew declined, however, noticing that the meal was exactly that: some sort of corn- or wheat-meal and water. They couldn’t afford flavors this month.

The crew decided to head deeper through the maze of shacks, all the while searching for signs of ghouls. Based upon NI’s knowledge of ghouls, it would be very hard to locate the nest without getting a better idea of where to look, however, and random assensing was not getting them very far.

As they walked along, they came across a more permanent-looking two-story building with a youngish boy out front. As they approached, he ran inside. It was apparently a Mountain Boyz place, with the boy a lookout of sorts. JS and NI decided to head in to get more information, with HK heading around back to provide support if necessary.

As JS and NI walked in, they saw about a dozen men sitting around, playing dominoes and drinking beer and whiskey. Every conversation stopped, and all eyes were on the newcomers. Some of the men clearly thought it was hilarious that these two would simply decide to walk in here, though most looked deadly serious, particularly with the gear that the two were carrying. Far more valuable than what the Mountain Boyz were wearing at the moment. JS walked up to the bar and asked for a bottle of water. The bartender laughed and said that it was a private club, but at the nod of one of the dominoes-playing men, handed him a bottle. As he drank it, he asked to speak with their king. The men laughed at this, but a large, tattooed man with an AK74 casually slung over his arm walked through the curtain to the back room, said that JS had a point, and that he liked the idea of being called their king. Before things had a chance to get ugly, JS and NI started asking about the ghouls, to see if they would help in clearing out the nest, and offering to pay them 100 nuyen per head. The Mountain Boyz boss told them that he wasn’t terribly fond of the idea, and that he liked having their western border protected from the other gangs. Besides, the gear that they were carrying was far more tempting, so it would probably be a good idea for them to just go ahead and give it to them right now. Several of the men stood up. JS got out his sledgehammer.

HK sneaked around the back of the building, her ruthenium polymer-coated clothing making her blend into the dingy twilight slums. A large makeshift corrugated tin fence cut off vision to the back, but a couple of crushed cars stacked up were an easy target to jump to from the roof of the building across the alley. Leaping across and stealthily making her way up to the back of the building, she was ready to burst in should trouble start. She’d been monitoring a feed that NI was giving her of what was happening, and decided that it was time to help out. Silently ducking inside the curtain, she completely surprised a man making his way to the front room with an automatic weapon. Her silenced ceramic submachinegun obliterated his head, and his body collapsed on the floor.

The noise of the body falling was followed immediately by the noise of the Mountain Boys leader’s face being smashed with the sledgehammer. He fell backwards, and NI cut him in two with his monofilament whip. Four Mountain Boyz stood up and started shooting handguns at the two men, mostly missing. NI got winged once, but didn’t even notice due to his high pain tolerance. JS decided it was time to end things once and for all, and sent out a gout of flame from his shotgun-mounted underbarrel flamethrower(!) starting the place on fire and burning one of the Boyz quite badly. One fled, and the others were quickly dispatched by barrages from NI and HK. That’s what they get for not wearing any armored clothing, I guess.

After killing everyone that didn’t run from the bar, the trio set about generally demolishing the place. HK thought about taking a bottle of whiskey, but it wasn’t very good stuff, so she grabbed the shoddy-looking sawed-off shotgun instead. Hey, a shotgun’s a shotgun. The others set about smashing and slicing the bottles behind the bar apart, to spread the fire (or for fun). They left the burning building, and decided to head towards the watertower for a better view of the west to try to get a bead on the ghoul nest. The inferno was spreading to the other buildings and people started running around, but it would all provide a decent cover for the crew’s next bloody activities.

Up Next: Making Ghoul-ash. (Double entendres are fun, particularly when flamethrowers are involved.)

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