Ghost Cartels

Episode 11 - Chasing The Dragon

Week Commencing 6th April 2071

The team was asked for by name – specifically Baron, Leto, Mercury and Stars. You were invited to a meeting at a sleazy dive bar in Tacoma that evening. It turned out that the Johnson you were to meet was Lady Jade (from The Grab), who offered you 45,000¥ as a team to find out who killed Catherine Westmore, capture them and deliver them to her. She was offering half the pay up front, and half after the job – negotiation led to an offer that she would provide some or all of the second half of the payment in the form of a weapons shipment, provided to you at cost. She also suggested Takeshi Modori as an initial suspect.

Legwork revealed Catherine Westmore’s father to be someone called Kazuya “The Dragon” Hotomi, a Yakuza hitman who worked for the Shotozumi-gumi. He murdered his best friend’s family in retaliation for said friend giving up lots of sensitive intel to Lone Star about the Yakuza drug trade in the city. This friend was none other than Takeshi Modori, and this is apparently a long-standing blood feud. Takeshi Modori is also Lady Jade’s former lover – she left the Yakuza because they ordered the death of his family. The relationship between the two of them ended at that point, however.

Brahms hacked the Central Home Node of the Westmore residence; it had been unoccupied for three and a half weeks and had little or no useful data on it. Brahms was able to get Donna Westmore’s commcode but she was not taking calls from commcodes she didn’t recognise.

You were also able to find out that Takeshi was holed up with a talismonger called Tsurayuki in the International District. After scoping the area out, and noticing how a) Japanese and b) human everyone seemed to be, Chase went in – aware that the lore store was under Shotozumi protection. Tsurayuki was initially very evasive, but eventually invited Chase and friends (in the guise of Leto and Surge) upstairs to meet Takeshi. He made them promise to hear Takeshi out before doing anything.

Takeshi was in bed, grievously wounded. His chest was bandaged – the dressing caked in dried blood. Takeshi looked white as a sheet and seemed devoid of joy. He explained that he had been present when Catherine Westmore died, but that he was not responsible for her death. He had planned to kill the girl, in vengeance for her father murdering Takeshi’s family – but he couldn’t bring himself to end a child’s life. As he was lowering his rifle, he heard another shot ring out and saw Catherine crumple to the floor. He ran to where the shot came from and encountered Kazuya “The Dragon” Hotomi (Catherine’s father) leaving the same place. Kazuya pulled out his pistol and shot Takeshi three times in the chest, leaving him for dead.

Takeshi’s belief is that a “mutual friend” of his and Kazuya’s had the girl kidnapped to get at Kazuya. Rather than capitulating to whatever demands the mutual friend might have made, Kazuya’s pride drove him to kill his own daughter in order to remove the leverage. Takeshi was able to provide a video-only (no audio) recording of the whole thing; Chase checked with some contacts and his story seemed to bear up against the facts.

As you left, Tsurayuki took you to one side and told you all that he believed that Kazuya had holed up with the Vory v Zakone. He also asked that you not be kind in how you treat Kazuya – it turns out that Takeshi is Tsurayuki’s nephew and Tsurayuki is quite protective of his family, aside from being a powerful Shinto magician. Surge called in a favour from a contact and got the details of Piotr, a teenaged ork shestiorka (bag-man or gopher) for the syndicate.

Leto went into the Westmore residence again with Brahms’ micro-tapper bug, so Brahms could place a call to Donna Westmore from her CHN. He pretended to be a plumber sent to deal with a leakage there, and was quickly shouted off the phone, but got enough information to hack her commlink later if he was so inclined. Leto retrieved the bug and got away clean.

The team decided to go ahead with the extraction…

After more research and much caution, including Leto and Surge disguising themselves as Japanese women, Chase (disguised as someone of Russian extraction) arranged a meeting with Piotr. The scrawny teenaged ork was grateful for the hot meal Chase provided, as well as the 100¥ he was paid. He told Chase that the Dragon was under the protection of Vasili (from Episode 01 – Freedom) and one of Vasili’s gangs, called the Red Hand, on Pier 46 in the Tacoma docks. Using Chase’s spirits and Surge’s and Leto’s recon capabilities, it was established that Kazuya was essentially as far away as possible.

Pier 46

There was a kind of “checkpoint” consisting of four gangers with AK97 carbine SMGs about halfway along the pier, another four wandering the pier as a mob/clump, and a couple of gangers on the second rooftop from the top. Piotr’s intelligence put the entire gang at about 20 people.

The team successfully extracted the Dragon from the warehouse, making good use of Neuro-stun grenades and gel rounds to incapacitate the guards; Chase scared several gangers into running off the pier and into the sea. With minimal fuss and basically no muss (except for Chase, who had been badly shot up), the team got away with the target.

Brahms contacted Lady Jade for a rendezvous location whilst Stars tended to Chase’s wounds. Jade replied in text format rather than voice, giving the location as the warehouse where Catherine was dropped off in The Grab. Getting closer, Stars, Leto and Surge spotted the signs of a Federated-Boeing ambush and so resumed communication with Jade, which sparked an attack led by Frost and the Trinity.

Chase set his storm spirit to crash the helicopter, and thus it set about engulfing Deimos, the onboard rigger, in its noxious aura. Diva, the Trinity mage, cast a Lightning Bolt at Stars’ van before appearing with an HMG in the helicopter’s side door, whilst Jackhammer dropped out of the helicopter to engage Surge. Simultaneously, a van full of F-B security personnel moved in to engage Stars’ van. Brahms tried to hack into the helicopter, determined to claim it as his own.

One of Stars’ drones dealt with Diva in straightforward fashion, leaving her to be flung out of the helicopter when Deimos was knocked out and the storm spirit caused an electrical fault to develop, which led directly to the chopper’s tailspin and crash. Stars’ other drone swapped its gel for regular ammo and poured twenty rounds into the enemy van’s engine block, causing it too to crash. Surge took Jackhammer on personally, dropping him with Stick’n’Shock, before having to switch to regular ammo to strike at a retreating Frost. Leto managed to sneak away under a hail of suppressive fire.

After the team had fled with the Dragon still in the boot of Chase’s hired car, Brahms reported a communication from “Lady Jade” which indicated that Jade had been rendered incommunicado and her commlink usurped by Donna Westmore, who had presumably organised the ambush. After much deliberation about whether to rescue Lady Jade, take money for killing the Dragon, or deliver him to the Star, the team opted to hand him over for arrest. Although the financial reward was meagre, they had a clear conscience.

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