Big Sticks & Biggest Guns: Report of Black Hearts #5 part 1

Given my busy schedule, desire for quality and simply the sheer length of it, the Black Hearts finale recap will be split into five posts: Two for each run and a fifth part revealing what was going on behind the curtains. The second post of each run’s recap will of course include a link back and a short summary of what has happened.

These five posts will be written and published over the coming week, so I’ll see ya when I see ya. 🙂

The Run: Big Sticks

The Agents:

  • Templar, a human sneak with slick hands and a vicious mind
  • Visage, a charming socialite doing what, why. when and who
  • Bubbles, a pseudo-elven girl who makes resort staff cry

Their Mission, should they choose to accept it:
To infiltrate a Wellness Resort and extract Daniella Mirando against her will

While in town for some shopping, Templar noticed he was being reverse-pickpocketed. Looking around he spotted a fellow Black Heart, the B&E Expert Ghost, giving him a knowing glance before disappearing into the crowd. In a more secluded area Templar observed the device, but soon discovered he could not open it, nor was it wirelessly active, so he stored it at home for now.

A few days later both Visage and Bubbles had suffered the same without realizing, causing them to be far more surprised than Templar when the device suddenly started playing the song “Thunderstruck”. From behind a couch Bubbles sent her actionman drone to check out the device for her and push its button, while Visage and Templar were less careful with the device. Once the button had been pressed, a message from their handler Mr. Smith began playing.

The mission they received from him was to infiltrate a Wellness Clinic and kidnap Daniella Mirando, daughter of the boss of the Mirando cartel. They would receive support from Bluepin, another member of their team. He’d need their help setting up ways to circumvent security, which they had two days for. On the second night of their stay, they had to extract Mirando no matter what.

As the commlink sparked and popped out a credstick, the teammembers quickly realized Mr. Smith had misspoken at the end of the speech, mentioning neither the self-destruct nor the disavowing of their actions. Bubbles even realized that he had not stated the run was from the UCAS Government… In a mild panic she had her actionman doll use a payphone to contact Mr. Smith and figure out if he was under duress. The sole response was his assurances that if they did their job, he would be alright…

During their planeride the teammembers debated their cover-story with each other and their Decker support. The anonymous clinic they were going to was one with two purposes: Actual rehab treatment for celebrities, and being a place where celebrities could just hang out and enjoy a vacation without paparazzi. Of course they went for the second purpose, because why go to a luxurious place if it wasn’t going to be a blast? And as a few months back, Templar would shapeshift and travel in a dress.

One unfortunate downside of the clinic’s dual purpose was its strict security. There were chemsniffers built into every room, disallowing the use of any drugs, toxins or explosives and even guns. Even worse, security was at such a level that a straight hack was impossible for more than a few seconds. The only way to hack in would be to directly plug into any devices on the scene. For this purpose the team was supplied with a massive supply of datatap dongles: Just get them into devices their Universal Data Port and Bluepin would be able to hack them whenever desired.

Bubbles decided to put her disguise skill to good use, turning her Steel Lynx into a dog. While everyone could see it was truly a drone, noticing the owner wasn’t mad as a hatter would be harder. She then decided to traumatize their rented limo-driver by demanding she’d be allowed to drive, while Templar complained the car was dull. Putting the pressure on the driver and offering a bribe as well, the poor man was about to cave and asked if Bubbles could show her driving license. Which she did. Her stuntdriver license. The driver fainted right away.

On their way to the resort, Bubbles went completely nuts with the driving, even drifting underneath a trailer and driving on two wheels as to not let speeding cams get footage of their license plate. Visage managed to keep his food inside, while Templar’s thrillseeking involved much rejoicing and a single finger out the windows, aimed at the speeding cams. Of course Bubbles didn’t forget to pop the trunk and release her Roto-Drones when they got close to the resort, after which she drifted through the security roadblocks and entered the resort, followed by a lot of pissed security.

While security surrounded them and the team got busy misleading and manipulating them, the team was quick to notice metahumans weren’t the only security patrolling the resort grounds. A bit removed from the buildings they could see quite a few guard dogs wandering around in groups. So while Visage and Templar kept smoothtalking Security, Bubbles decided to make things worse by sending Mango to ‘play with the cute other dogs’. Much to the chagrin of their handler, a bulky Cascade Ork.

Said handler quickly voiced his severe objections to this ‘provocation’, his language laced with profanities. He easily recognized Visage as a Cascade Crow and immediately labelled him the likely culprit, while also making very clear to the receptionist that he would not tolerate this kind of behaviour from the guests: Either she’d keep the guests in line, or he’d keep his dogs in line while walking out with all hundred-some of them. With a sigh Bubbles called Mango back to her.

While Templar and Bubbles went to check out the building and scan for security loopholes, Visage went to talk with the dog trainer. Given the bad blood between the Cascade Crows and the Cascade Orks, what with the latter separating from the former because of being fed up with racism, he had some hostility to overcome.

His sincere curiosity regarding the animal training, combined with his animal handling and excellent social skills, managed to win over both the dogs and their owner. Visage even managed to land an invite to check out the attack training in half an hour. The handler, blinded by his like for the man who was even eager to use live pigs, never realized his new friend was simply looking for info on the dogs and how to call them off, should a nightly escape involve getting past the dogs.

Visage joined the others at the bar, where soon they were confronted by an angry businessman. The man took offense to Bubbles her fake elven ears, which made her team members realize Bubbles was in fact not a real elf but an Elf Poser. Templar’s response was to covertly shape his ears like elven ones , then show them to the nuisance. Said nuisance sputtered and got mad, resulting in security escorting them away from the team.

A while later Visage left for the attack training, while the others ordered some good whisky. When they got their drinks another guest pushed them aside, scoffing at the poor quality the resort dared pour. He instructed the bartender to give the lovely ladies some from his own private stash, with whisky 1000 nuyen the glass rather than the bottle. He then introduced himself as Richard William Dickens IV. During the resulting conversation Rich made it quite clear by innuendo what his goal was at the resort: Hunting. And not for wildlife.

Spotting a likely easy mark, Bubbles tried distracting Dickens with idle conversation while Templar secretly swiped the man’s keycard to copy and return. Unfortunately, as both noticed, during this a faint smile endorned the man’s face. Hinting that he knew what they did, Dickens left soon after but not before Bubbles invited him over to their quarters in the evening, so she could offer him a drink herself.

Covertly armed with their Fly-Spies and dongles, the girls decided to check out the inside of the resort as well. Their first destination? The reception. Here Bubbles distracted the receptionist by enthousiastically asking about the dogs and deciding to go outside to pet the lovely beasts. While the receptionist and security frantically chased her, to make sure their precious insane guest didn’t get herself mauled to death, the dongle was easily planted. Bluepin gave some bad news though, the guestlist was in code so he’d need some guest’s information to crack it. Fortunately the group knew exactly what room to start with: The one belonging to Dickens.

The girls then went for a tour of the facilities, allowing Templar to intensely memorize another possible escape route, using the landry system. Eventually the girls, employing a lot of pressure, badgered their guide into letting them see the private garage. Here they got to see the cars stored by a lot of guests, allowing Bubbles the car fanatic to identify two cars as popular with Mexicans. She then caused another distraction by going fangirl over some other cars, allowing her drones to sneak under the Mexican cars and bug them as well. Afterwards the team was ‘tricked’ into attending the restaurant for an exclusive dish by now-relieved security.

While the girls were on their tour, Visage participated in some pig shredding and picked up how he could easily call off the dogs. Afterwards he returned to the bar. Here he ended up chatting with a male guest who boasted about his profound love for the resort, especially the presence of ‘exotic cuisine’. What the man meant was quite clear, as was the fact he was a greasy slimebag.

Still he was a possible information source so Visage tapped him for all he was worth. This paid off when the man mentioned a meal he’d have ‘loved to enjoy’, namely a gorgeous Mexican lady who unfortunately travelled with bodyguards. Through the conversation Visage found out that Daniella Mirando had the habit to stay at a pool during dinner times until shortly before Resort Curfew hours, before going for a massage.

As one of the few guests who was allowed to ignore curfew, she would then only return to her room after a very lengthy massage. Apparently Daniella and her bodyguards had separate connected quarters, though the slimebag noted he suspected her of having a ‘healthy appetite’ and sharing her bed with at least one of her bodyguards.

To be continued…

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