Shaking Down Shadows

A Night's Work

The two women strolled arm in arm from the parking lot towards the entrance of Dante’s Inferno. The line of glittering social elites waiting to get in was already stretching around the corner of the popular club. Tanya Marisart leaned over to her Chinese companion, Ni Ni Xiaolu, and whispered to her as the pair headed to the entrance for guests with special passes. They could feel the stares of those in the long line and could imagine what was being said about them. Tanya had spent enough time in similar lines to know that people were wondering who they were and how they rated special passes.

Two huge trolls stood guard at the red-roped special entrance. Tanya stepped up to one, offering her right wrist as she said, “Hello, Henry, Giles. Beautiful night.” The Troll named Henry nodded as his companion stared at the beautiful women, looking them up and down. Tanya knew the stare had nothing to do with desire and everything to do with security as the Troll’s specialized cyber eyes scanned them for weapons. Tanya twirled and her already very short skirt rode up almost to the point of displaying her underwear. “Does it look like I have any weapons?” Giles looked at her, finished with his scan. “No, Lady Marisart, but I have to do it.” He turns and nods to Henry, who speaks into the air in front of him. “Lady Tanya Marisart and companion Ni Ni Xiaolu are cleared to enter.”

The Troll moves the rope aside and waves the women on. The wave as they pass through and walk up the slight incline to the entrance to the club. Dante’s Inferno was the hottest club in Seattle right now, despite its naysayers, and the number of people inside gave testimony to that. The women snagged drinks from a passing waiter, sipping at them as they began trolling. They already knew many of the people here and frequently stopped to chat. The club caters to the best and brightest, and the wealthiest of Seattle’s upper class. The clientele here was all about the best; best dressed, best hair, best jewelry.

It was the latter that Tanya and her friend were interested in. Tanya knew a lot about jewelry, but could not hold a candle to the knowledge that Ni Ni had. The Chinese woman kept her arm on Tanya’s and used her fingers to tap in a pre-arranged code. Lots of no’s and a few maybe’s later, she finally tapped out yes. They were talking with an older woman who was escorted by a way-too-young man who was very interested in Tanya’s exposed cleavage. The woman’s necklace had caught Ni Ni’s eye. After excusing themselves, the women moved a short distance away before separating, Tanya staying to watch the target and Ni Ni moving back to the bar. The older woman drug her companion to the dance floor and Tanya followed, walking up to a man who appeared to be flying solo.

“Care to dance?” She asked. It turned out that the man was very willing and took her onto the floor. The music was Latin and Tanya allowed her body to move to the Salsa beat, at times flinging her skirt up and then moving in to cling to her dance partner. The man was smiling as if he felt he was going to get lucky later as he caught and twirled the woman who had picked him from the crowd. Tanya maneuvered the pair to be next to the target and her partner. Tanya grimaced at the woman’s choice of frock. It was certainly posh and had probably cost a fortune, but it was completely wrong for her. As Tanya danced, she considered her options for getting the necklace, or if it even seemed possible.

Suddenly the music changed and Tanya smiled broadly as she realized that the club was going to do half her work for her. The new song was from an extremely popular new artist and the dancing that usually accompanied it was nearly as frenetic as the beat. The people on the floor began throwing their arms up in the air and lowering them as the tempo picked up and the lights above the dance floor began to flicker in time to the music. Tanya used the motions of the people near her to hide her quick movement. The necklace was released from the neck, dropping into Tanya’s left hand. She lowered the treasure and used a silent mental command to open a small concealed compartment in her right arm, placing the necklace safely inside.

From there she deftly maneuvered her partner away in the crowd, staying for several more songs before begging mercy. The man laughed and escorted her to the refreshment tables, then asked her if she wanted some fresh air. The cool evening breeze was welcome after the heat of the dance floor and they walked into the rooftop gardens. Movement and soft laughter indicated that they were not the only ones out there and they had to look about for a place in the garden that would afford them a modicum of privacy. Tanya allowed the man his sense of good fortune; after all, he had been unwittingly very helpful. Her low moans punctuated his thrusts until release.

Straightening her clothes she left the man, never getting or giving a name or comm code. The tan line on his ring finger indicated that he would probably not be looking for more than this anonymous encounter and she certainly wanted nothing more from him. She proceeded to the exit, passing the bar and signaling to Ni Ni, who came over and took her arm. The pair left the club, waving to the Trolls as they did, and headed to the parking lot and Tanya’s racing Mirage. Tanya slid onto the bike and turned it on, pleased at the purr of the powerful engine. Ni Ni climbed on behind and put her arms around her friend’s waist. As Tanya moved the bike out of the lot and onto the busy street, Ni Ni said, “Let’s get that thing back to your place so I can get a better look at it while you shower off whatever man you were with, then some Champaign to celebrate.” Tanya smiled and nodded, knowing that the celebration would not end with the drinks.

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The game
Anyone can be played

Raiden straitened his jacket and smiled at his handson reflection. His long black hair draped over the shoulders of his top notch suit. For the billionth time he whispered ‘I love my job’

The Mall was nice even by Tir standards. Its every angle crafted to sooth and relax, an ecosystem of beautiful creatures thrived in the indoor gardens between shops and restaurants. But even in place where everything was lit, shadows found a way.

His contact was late, which too be expected most days but with the clean and perfec nature of this place it out him on edge. A moment before he stood and called it a figure walked up and smiled coolly.

“Mr Idris? Mr Corrota will see you now.” The women was short for an elf, dressed in flowing white and smiling with the perpetual calm of someone who’s spent fifty years in the service industry and plans to do it a while longer.

Still her news was another reason to be on edge. Corrota had said to meet someplace public, now he was changing the terms at the last minute, oddly savvy for a midrange lab tech.

Still the job counted on getting in a room with Corrota and if nothing else, that seemed like it was still the plan.

He followed the women through a door into the access isles between the stores, the behind them, down three floors which put them underground and into an office that seemed in every way typical. Another bad sign.

Sitting at the desk was another elf, he had a squarish jaw, was wearing a black coat and smiled as they entered, appearing pleased to see them. Raiden had never seen Corotta in person, but as the man behind the desk stood to shake his hand any chance that this might be him vanished.

He was at least three inches shorter them the mark, wearing lifts in his shoes to counter it, he was happy, and Corotta was here under duress, as they shook hands the mans grip was firm, his movements easy and totally controlled. Another agent.

“Nice to finally meet you Mr Idris. We met at the embassy last January, is that right?”

Corotta had met the real mr Idris in December and they both knew it. The agent was testing him.

“December, I think it was, you were wearing that new tail piece from Zoe.”

In truth he had no idea what Corotta had worn, but the Zoe tailcoat would have been at the end of its time and just the sort of thing a lab manager might still think was cool.

“Right, quite an evening.” Said the other agent, lying badly.

So he was a spy with more physical training then social. Probably a military background. That didn’t narrow it down much. No obvious cyberware, but the confidence of a man used to being better then others. Probably another adept. Still didn’t narrow it much, he knew of seven elven adepts in the Tir network with military history.

“Buisness though, I understand you were interested in one of the projects I’m working on.”

Raiden noted ‘one of’ with some interest. As far as he knew there had only been the one.

“All of them, actually, (what am I missing) particularly (what am I missing!)…”

THERE! The jaw was to square, once he was looking for it every sign was visible. The raised cheekbones, altered eyes, the false ears. This guy wasn’t just posing as Corotta, he was posing as an elf. Only one elf poser the Tir used often, Mayes Beluer, ex-military. He also had a wife named…

“…Maria.” Mayer’s face froze, clearly hiding the fact he’s been startled.

I HAVE HIM!

“I believe you were Telling me about your 3422 staffers (your home adress) your three prototypes (kids) and your military contract.”

Mayer’s face could have been plastic, he might as well have thrown himself on the desk and begged. Instead he leaned back a little and reached for something under the desk saying “I think I have the paperwork on that right-” he glanced down to grab the weapon for barely a second. When his eyes rose he was staring down a silencer and a comms jammer.

“Listen and they live, don’t and they die.”

Realization came to quickly to Mayer’s. He wasn’t a piece in the game anymore, he was a pawn.

Raiden pocketed the jammer and hauled Mayer’s up by the coller, steering him out of the room with one hand and keeping te pistol against his kidney with the other, their bodies blocking any idle view of the weapon.

“How many? How long?” He said, keeping his voice low.

“Two HTR Teams, sixty second from alert.” Replied Mayer’s. He might be a bad spy, but so far he was a decent hostage.

Raiden started counting. Three seconds since the jammer, fifty seven till the HTR.

“Kitchen, left or right?”

Mayer’s stared to question but got a shove and answered “two lefts, then right.”

Raiden walked him along into a large lunch room, a few people were eating in one corner but paid them no mind as they made a beeline for the sink. Raiden pushed Mayer’s into a chair and started rummaging through the cleaners under the sink.

“How did you bust me?” he asked pulling out what he needed.

“If you live, my family lives, your not going to kill your laverage over something you could learn on your own.”

“Not as useless as you seem.”

40 seconds. He started mixing the chemicals together in a pair of plastic bottles.

Thirty seconds.

“Fastest way out?”

“Back door into the sewer s covered, jumping off the roof is the only way. It’s teo stories and slanted, you can slide if your lucky.”

Twenty seconds.

They pushed up the stairs though a few alarmed looking people, subtly was no long as important with the window of escape closing.

They made ground floor and were half way to the next staircase when the HTR came into view.

Raiden leaned into his prisoner, summoning up the Mana and letting it carry his words deep into Mayer’s psychy “get them” and he obeyed.

Raiden didn’t wait to see what happened next. He darted up to the roof, dropping the bottles I the landing. He sprinted to the edge and jumped as he heard his chemical cocktails explode.

He landed hard, dusted himself off and joined the concerned crowd commenting on the blast and troops and all. He shut off the Jammer and called his handler.

“Knight to bishop, I need-”

“Sorry wolf, word just came in. Your burned. Good luck.”

And his girlfriend hung up without another word.

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The Trouble with Solo Work

Calico gripped the wadded up bedsheet in her hands tightly as she strode purposefully down the street, the night breeze whipping her hair playfully. She hoped she’d be able to find a pawn shop open this late; she was eager to unencumber herself of her loot as quickly as possible. As she walked she allowed her mind to wander, replaying the evening’s events in her head, and smiling with satisfaction.

The Scumbag of the Week had been a real gem, a pretty boy haughtily showing off all the trinkets and opulence his daddy’s wealth could buy him. She’d ooo’d and ahhh’d dutifully, mentally selecting the most portable items of value for later. After the brief tour, which she supposed was meant to leave her starry eyed, he’d launched into his pitch. A real smooth talker, this one.

“Why don’t you slip into something a little more… naked?”, he’d said with a confident grin. Good grief, had this really worked for him in the past? She’d put on her best faux scandalized look.

“But I hardly know you …”, she’d whispered shyly. He’d given her a long look, and finally sighed with impatience.

“Look, normally I’d be willing to do this whole back-and-forth thing, but let’s be honest. You’re a street girl. You’d probably be sleeping in the gutter tonight if it weren’t for me. I would say that entitles me to some… compensation. It’s just how the world works, sweetheart.”

“Ok.”, she’d breathed as she glided towards him, head down as if defeated. She’d pressed herself against him and looked up into his face, her hand stroking his cheek. “Except …”

And she’d slammed a nice, heavy Punch spell right into his stupid, smug face.

It had knocked him out cold. And while it WAS satisfying to drop them without even the beginnings of a fight, it did deprive her of seeing the look on their faces, which was priiiiceless.

She snapped out of her reverie as the pawn shop came into view, the short, middle aged shopkeeper busily locking up for the night. She put on her patented pouty face, “My PPF!” she dubbed it with an inward smile, and hurried forward.

“Sir? Sir …” she began.

“Closed.” he replied brusquely without turning around.

“But …”, she protested innocently, dropping her makeshift bag on the pavement and stepping closer to place her hand on his arm, “I just have a few things …” He turned to face her and his hard expression softened upon seeing her innocent, pleading face. “My landlord says if I don’t pay my rent tonight I’ll be out on the street! I promise, it’ll be really quick. Pleeease?”

As she exited the pawn shop, once more unencumbered and a little bit richer, she started to consider where she’d be sleeping this evening when her comm began ringing, and she quickly answered.

“Hoi, little miss!”, came the familiar voice of Manny, her fixer extraordinaire. “Up to no good this evening?”

“You know me well, sir”, she quipped in response.

“I want to hear all about it, later. Right now I’ve got a little job for you. Unless you’re too busy having tea with Lofwyr, of course.”

“That’s next week.” she said with a sardonic grin.

“Excellent. I’ll send you the info now, standard encryption. And …. sooner is better.”

“How about now? Is now soon enough?”

“That’s why you’re my star. There may be more qualified operatives out there, but nobody gives better results for Johnsons on a budget.”

“Thanks, Manny,” she said, rolling her eyes, “you really know how to make a girl feel special.”

“It’s one of my many talents. Contact me when the package is delivered.”

  • * *

Patches, the completely normal and thoroughly harmless calico housecat prowled around the periphery of the estate, having had no difficulty slipping between the iron bars of the front gate. She wore an inconspicuous matte black metal collar with tiny runes carved into it. It was roughly the size of a bracelet, and it fastened with magnets that were easily strong enough to keep it clasped, but would release if her neck were to suddenly expand to the size of, say, a 19 year old girl. It was difficult, but not impossible, for her to put on without opposable thumbs, and doing so always reminded her how much she used to take those little appendages for granted.

Two guards, Patches noted, one in front, one in back. But they were Centurion, and that meant there would be a backup team of another 2-4 inside. Still, it could’ve been worse; Centurion charged an exorbitant fee for magical security, and anyone willing and able to pay it could usually do better with one of their competitors. She wondered idly if Manny had known this when he’d chosen her. Magical security caused her problems, and if there was any, she might find herself in a tight spot, possibly with little or no warning. Fortune favors the bold, she told herself, and put the thought out of her mind.

First, to get inside. Only one guard at the front door, ok. She sauntered toward him, mentally channeling the magical energy she required. When he saw her, he was impassive for a moment, and then her spell took hold.

“Theeere you are.” he said, eyeing her with mild exasperation. “I don’t know how you got out, but you need to stay inside. The last thing I need is to get my ass chewed because the boss’ frickin cat ran off.” She scurried over to the door and looked up at him expectantly, waiting for him to open it, which he did. She hurried inside, and he closed the door behind her.

Now to find the item. She crept slowly through the lower floor of the large house, hearing the low murmur of several voices apparently playing cards further back. That would be the backup team, best to stay clear of them, harmless kitty cat or not. Seeing a room to her right that looked promising, she quickly darted through the door, which was slightly ajar.

Library. Jackpot. Deciding she needed some privacy, she leaned all of her weight against the door and pushed. With a bit of effort, she managed to get the door closed, stopping just shy of needing to reach the handle, which was roughly 10 miles up at the moment. Turning to look at the rows of ancient, actual paper books, she scanned the titles. And there it was. Two thirds of the way up. Of course.

“Well, you didn’t think you were going to drag it out of here in your teeth, did you Callie?” she thought to herself. “Time for some streaking, I guess”. She dropped her shapechange spell and became a naked girl on her hands and knees, in a stranger’s house. She suddenly wondered if perhaps she hadn’t thought this through very well.

Realizing the danger, as well as embarrassment, that would result from being discovered in this state, she quickly snapped her bracelet on her wrist and stood, removing the book from the shelf. A Treatise On The Migratory Patterns Of North American Geese. Jesus. Still unable to comprehend why anyone would go to such lengths to get such a ridiculous book, Callie shook her head in disgust. Idiots with money to burn. Whatever, no time to worry about that now.

Time to get out. Unable to come up with any other options on short notice, and feeling uncomfortably exposed, she decided that she would just have to go through that guard by the front door. Who knew, maybe they would think he was crazy when he recounted what had happened. She hurriedly cast a spell to bolster her combat awareness, and steeled herself.

She cracked the door slightly, listening carefully to see if anyone was wandering nearby. Everyone seemed to be right where she had left them a few moments ago. Clutching the book tightly to her chest, she slowly crept out into the foyer, stopping by the front door. She carefully set the book down, and gathered more magical energy. This time she placed a magical sonic barrier by the door, ensuring it would encompass several meters in all directions. This one she felt; it sapped her of some energy, but not too badly. And now, as long as she or her adversary didn’t step outside the barrier, the rest of them would remain blissfully unaware of whatever ruckus she raised. She opened the door.

The look on his face was spectacular. She almost wished she had cybereyes so she could capture it for posterity.

“Help!” she cried, rushing towards him. His utter confusion and consternation gave her plenty of time to touch him, which was all she needed to do. The magical punch slammed into him, flinging him backwards. But this was no pretty boy. He didn’t go down like a sack of potatoes, though he did look thoroughly shaken.

He clearly still had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on, but after that punch, he HAD figured out that it was bad. The gun was coming out. But she was faster, though just barely. She hit him hard with a ranged version of the punch, and that one did the job, crumpling him in a heap. Not interested in standing around naked any longer than she absolutely had to, she quickly stepped back inside, grabbed up the book, and crept quickly off into the night.

  • * *

She entered Hank’s home without knocking, as she always did. Two wounded gangers lay on cots in his living room. They must have been REALLY messed up when they’d come here if Hank hadn’t been able to patch them up.

“You need any help here?” she asked as he came into the room, her eyes darting meaningfully at the wounded figures. He smiled sympathetically, seeing the fatigue in her eyes.

“Naw, Kitten … I got it.”

“Good!” she said, and walked heavily into a spare room, the one she had used when she had stayed with him years before. No sooner had she entered the room than she collapsed on the bed. After retrieving her clothes and delivering the package, she had caught a cab directly here, dozing sporadically on the ride. She was tired, too tired to sleep with one eye open as she normally did out in the cruel world. But here she was safe, here she could ….

She passed out.

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A Night Out

Mother stared at themselves in the vanity mirror. they turned their face to each side looking at their wide ebony lips and nose. They tried to do their makeup and ignore the sound of arguing from the living room. They applied deep purple eyeshadow color matched to their gown over freshly plucked eyebrows. They rearranged their dreads. Mother looked at their room in their “new” apartment the size of their old walk in closet and sighed. They admired the armoire behind them they had levitated away on the way out of their last run.

“You are all the same. Come in and just take what you want.” shouted a high voice in the livingroom.

“I don’t know where you put it but I know I wouldn’t touch it!” said someone in a lower voice with a nasal whine.

“Don’t make me come out there yall.” said Mother applying foundation.

The voices in the living room raised and Mother stood up. They took a gun out of a drawer and pulled the clip out. Seeing it was loaded, they put the clip back in.

“What in the hell is going on in here?” asked Mother throwing open the door and chambering a round in her pistol.

Nigel and Terry stood in the livingroom of Mother’s small apartment. It was filled with things from the various people living in it in shifts. Things were stacked in organizers from floor to ceiling as neat as possible given the circumstances.

“There’s no need for violence.” said Nigel a blond blue eyed former Telestrian executive in an expensive grey suit.

Mother pulled up her dress and put the gun in a holster on her thigh. Adjusting the holster she smoothed her dress out.

“He started it!” shouted Terry pointing at Nigel.

Terry was a relatively short full figured androgynous latin orc with a beard and a high voice. Ze wore a studded leather armor jacket covered in Anarchy patches, a pink triangle, jeans, and black leather boots.

“That is simply not correct.” said Nigel placing his arms akimbo.

“Out with it. I ain’t got much time before my date.” said Mother.

“How can you speak of dates at time like this? The PLA is routed, our assets have been seized, Tir ghosts are right now searching for us…”

“Exactly. They seized our assets so someone has to get out there and make us some money.” said Mother.

“You don’t mean…” said Nigel.

“What are yall arguin about?” asked Mother cutting him off.

“He took our grenades. We need those for the tincans when we rally tonight.” said Terry.

“Terry the grenades are under the sink. I moved them because they were sitting in the middle of the floor. Also I don’t think you have thought this through. Fire bombing random cops is just going to bring more heat down on our cause.” said Mother.

“Animals.” said Nigel.

“Nobody asked you.” said Terry going under the sink. She pulled out a small box of grenades and put some in her purse.

Everyone jumped as Mother received a comm call.

“It’s just Jeezus.” said Mother answering.

A thin latino man in an armored jacket, jeans, and a duffel bag came in.

“Hola Jeezus.” said Mother smiling. They frowned “You’re not wearing the suit I bought you.” said Mother.

“It’s Hay-soos. It’s right here. I didn’t feel comfortable…” said Jesus.

“Go in the bathroom and put it on so I can get a look at you sweety.” said Mother.

Jesus frowned but complied.

“I’m going to motor.” said Terry. “Sorry about causing a ruckus.”

“No doubt.” said Mother.

“It is forgotten.” said Nigel.

“Wasn’t talking to you.” said terry walking out.

“You have changed so much Malcom.” said Nigel.

“I told you not to call me that.” said Mother.

“My apologies. Must you associate with these ruffians? They will only get you arrested or worse.” said Nigel.

“When I came out…when I left…when we were all compromised and on the run…they took me in. I’d be on the street if it weren’t for them.” said Mother.

“How do I look?” asked Jesus coming out of the bathroom in a purple suit.

“Handsome.” said Mother.

Jesus led Mother by the hand up to the hostess.

“reservation for Rubens, Reynaldo.” said Jesus.

“Right this way Mr Rubens.” said the hostess leading them through a velvet curtain.

“May I take your coat?” she asked smiling.

Jesus backed up a step shaking his head. He clutched his overcoat to himself.

Walking past a table with a silver haired gentleman and a young women in a low backed dress.

“That’s Mr Well’s, our target.” said Mother into their subvocal mic.

Jesus nodded his cold eyes playing over the older gentleman, the young trophy wife or mistress and the two body guards standing nearby. The guards scanned the room pausing to stare at the two of them.

Mother blew them a kiss and they looked away.

“Your table is right here.” said the hostess.

“I’m just going to powder my nose.” said Mother heading to the women’s restroom.

“Uh…me too.” said Jesus awkwardly.

They saw a woman in the restroom applying lipstick who frowned at them. The woman turned and left and Mother pulled a pipebomb out of their purse and a fuck you note and set it on the counter. Chuckling to themself they walked out. Collecting Jesus’ arm they led him back through the restaurant.

A woman screamed running in terror from the restroom.

Mother and Jesus stopped abreast of the two body guards near Mr Well’s table. The guards stared at the back of the restaurant hands reaching for their weapons.

Jesus pulled a short barrel shotgun from under his coat and shot one of the bodyguards. His armor took the impact but he went down unconscious.

The other went for his gun but Mother raised their hand and laid him out with a stunbolt.

“Mr Wells is it? May I see your commlink?” asked Mother smiling.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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