Nomusa Iblis, Qualicus Bloodspiller, and Horza Kazmirov get a decent sense of where the ghoul nest is supposed to be by looking from the water tower. QB is concerned about the fire, which is starting to seriously spread and threatens the general populace. The valve to open the pipe is missing (and they don’t exactly have a hose to work with) so he decides to simply fell the thing with his mighty sledgehammer. HK quickly descends from the tower so as not to be in the pileup, and hides fearing their actions will be noticed. A couple of mighty blows start the thing to tipping, and a quick followup slice from NI cuts through one of the main legs.
Success! The tower is falling. Failure! It’s falling the wrong direction.
The mass of water spills down the steep street of the slums, annihilating many of the flimsy shacks, and doing absolutely nothing to the fire itself. Oh well, at least it’s a firebreak.
Thinking that news helicopters may be arriving shortly, the trio head to where they believe the nest to be. A row of shacks reveal some magical activity when assensed, and it’s clear that this is where the entrance to the nest is. HK gets up on the roof of a shanty across the alley to provide covering fire, and NI and QB get into position to take on the ghouls headfirst. Two ghouls are making their way up the hole, but are quickly cut down by a mix of flames and shotgun blasts by the two. They prepare to go down the hole.
HK notices a peculiar dust trail behind them, and turns her rifle outward to check it out. The cloud is being made by a technical (a light truck with a mounted machine gun) making its way up one of the wider avenues. Sensing that the Mountain Boyz could pose a threat to them on their way out, she informs her teammates that they’d be on their own for a bit as she deals with the technical. An amazing shot (a moving target through the thick, random cover of shanties) rips out the engine, stopping the vehicle. The Mountain Boyz get out to survey the damage, but it’s clear that they don’t know where the shot was fired from. One of the Boyz starts talking on a walkie, and HK knows that this should be her first target. She ends the conversation abruptly with a short and quiet bark from Zarathustra. Since the MG on the truck is the next biggest threat, she destroys it with a single shot. One of the Boyz starts firing an AK futilely in her direction, and her next bullet fells both him and the ganger behind him. The remaining three Boyz crouch behind the truck, hoping that it would keep them safe. Three quick, blind shots through the body of the truck itself put an end to their foolish dreams. The threat neutralized, HK quickly disassembles Zarathustra and leaves a geodot note that says “SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS.”
Meanwhile, NI and QB drop down the hole. The dim light from outside quickly gives out, and the pitch black renders QB’s low light vision useless. The two argue briefly about the possibility of using QB’s flamethrower as a light of some sort, but QB says that it’s absolutely impossible, and is not worth trying. He and NI head down a passage carved out to the right, with Nomusa leading the way. The tunnel opens into a fairly large room, with an exposed water pipe slowly dripping from a jury-rigged tap. NI can see a ghoul standing in the back of the room, gnawing on an arm. His sharp eyes notice another lying in ambush in a pile of trash. It looks like these buggers are at least somewhat intelligent. NI can hear sounds from another corridor, coming from behind them. QB attempts to shoot his flamethrower, but manages to squirt gel fuel all over the place and extinguish his pilot light. (“But still, where did the lighter fluid come from?”) NI injures the ghoul in the trash pile, and it starts running towards the party. Another ghoul leaps out of a different pile, and it and the chewing one also start running in. A shotgun blast from QB drops a ghoul and manages to ignite the fuel that had been sprayed all over, just in time to be able to see the two remaining ghouls closing in. NI heads back to deal with the ghouls coming from behind. QB kills the two ghouls with his sledgehammer, and NI takes out the three that are coming up from behind with his shotgun.
HK drops down the hole and joins the others. They three struggle around briefly in the dark, until NI finds a power generator. Dim lights illuminate the place, revealing a different scene from what was anticipated. Rails run down a long tunnel, and a pair of rudimentary carts are next to the rails. There is a makeshift living area that had been abandoned (presumably before the ghouls moved in). A search of the living area reveals a small datastick that had apparently been lost in the move. The unencrypted portion implies that there is some connection between the Mountain Boyz and a corp of some sort, and that the smuggling operations were to be put on hold so that these ghouls could prevent the Omnitech-DeBeers subsidiary from developing the area. The party decides to hold on to the stick to see if more information can be gained later.
The trio decide to head down the tunnel on a cart (after some hemming and hawing) fully expecting obvious trap. Their fears are unfounded, it turns out, and the terminus of the makeshift railway is approximately a mile south, well into one of the more middle-class areas of Capetown. A couple of pallets indicate that this was a fairly well-run loading area, confirming the underground smuggling operation theory. A peek around an L intersection reveals three ghouls (gnawing on some bones) and two cameras inside of a well-made basement facility. HK’s caution stays the party while she reassembles Zarathustra to take out the cameras. A dramatic diving shot does just that, with two incredible shots in the space of a heartbeat. The party charges the ghouls, and the ghouls do likewise. One of the ghouls is wearing body armor, and he shrugs off a mighty swing by QB. He’s cut down by NI, however, and in the ensuing fight two more ghouls show up. They are little match for the team, however, and they quickly dispatch the undead menace. The basement facility warrants some investigation, however.
The party sees an elevator door that has apparently been welded shut and reinforced. QB doesn’t even make a dent, and NI’s monofilament whip doesn’t seem to be well-suited to the task of opening the thing. Assensing doesn’t reveal much, as the elevator shaft seems to be astrally blocked, but there are a couple of powerful auras high above them. Clearly the building above them belongs to the corp that was involved in the smuggling, though they are still not entirely sure who it is. They decide to leave, reasoning that getting paid might be a better option than sticking around.
The team decides to try to use their commlinks (which get no reception this far underground) to try to triangulate the entrances to the ghoul nest, and they manage to get a reasonable result (considering the relatively limited technical skills of the group) giving them a decent search area should they decide to press the investigation. They all sneak out of the slums under cover of chaos and confusion, with helicopters dumping flame retardant on the shacks, and residents running around everywhere.
At home, HK edits the video that NI shot to clear out any indication of corp involvement. It’s best to keep the Johnson in the dark about his ultimate adversary for now. She does a decent job, but unfortunately is unable to get usable footage of two of the ghouls. 2000 nuyen is the price of caution, apparently.
NI and QB meet with a hacker friend of QB’s to get the encrypted info from the datastick. He’s a little bit weirded out by NI, and accidentally lets slip QB’s real name and some of his background info to NI. He takes the job, and contacts QB a couple of days later, saying that the danger of dealing with the data on the stick means that he’s going to have to charge 2000 nuyen for the job. (that really is the going rate for caution, it seems.) He promises that it’s worth it, though. QB agrees, and sets up a meet for after they get paid by the johnson.
The trio meets at the nightclub again (HK sneaking past everyone and freaking out the bouncer a little bit) and the waitress brings over the cube again, a little less friendly this time, knowing she won’t receive a tip since they aren’t paying for anything. The holographic image of the Johnson comes on, and they upload the evidence. He’s pleased with their work, saying that he’ll be promoted for it. (He’s really not very good at dealing with shadowrunners. What a rookie mistake, giving away personal information like that…) He tells them that his client (haha, yeah right) was disappointed by the public nature of the fire, and would have preferred it to have been done more quietly, but the circumstances ended up working out in his employer’s favor, so he will not be punitively reducing their pay or anything. In fact, he offers them whatever they want to eat or drink at the bar for an hour, saying he regrets not being able to give them a better bonus.
NI just orders water, and HK orders another glass of the magically-infused whiskey. He orders a shot for the waitress, too, and she’s considerably friendlier to the group. QB asks them if they have pork, but is disappointed to discover that they only have manufactured meat. (Growing up in an Iowa Orthodox Larp Community means that he’s been rather spoiled by real pork, an extremely pricey rarity in this part of the world.) He orders a beer instead, and grumbles about pork. (I mean, come on. Pork tae york. PORK TAE YORK.) HK inquires about the box that the Johnson used to communicate with them, but the waitress doesn’t really have any ideas, just suggesting that it’s a basic holoprojector.
The team enjoy their free meal and head home. QB pays his friend, who gives him the data on the stick. There’s a fairly well-kept log of the smuggled goods, and it’s clear that the Mountain Boyz were working with Shiawase to keep the smuggling operation going.
Wondering how to make best use of the information, the team await their next adventure.