Star*Drive 2525: Hunting for Fun and Profit

Session 7 -- Bodies and More Bodies

And a cage match!

Sinon elects not to head back to the ship to grab equipment as nobody else feels the need to. We proceed from Port Royal to Santiago via train, about 5-6 hours via high speed train. As we pull into the station we notice groups of well-armed, organized security forces run by the Jamaican Syndicate. The city is made up of a series of interconnected domes, several of them smashed and dead. Santiago itself is in poor repair, the capital heavily damaged after fighting with the Kroath several decades before. The exception is the HelixTech complex which was not damaged in the fighting due to their collusion with the invaders. A constant hum of combat and altercation pervades the air, making the heavily-armed security forces guarding the station stand out that much more. Despite patchwork armor and equipment used by the guards they do move as a coherent, organized force.

For the last part of the train ride Sinon closes his eyes and concentrates, reaching out with his mind to try and locate Tigerlord. As it so happens Sinon is able to discern that he’s within the city but can’t determine where exactly as of yet. He lets the rest of the group know. We query the local grid for mentions of Tigerlord, researching available media feeds to find mentions of him. We’re able to see that he’s been sighted a few times at the Bloody Weren, a fight club in the city. It’s in a subsurface area so we take a large elevator downward.

Stepping out of the huge lift we emerge into a large underground cavern. It looks like a shabbier, more lawless area of the surface. Aiden does his best impression of an intimidating person and manages to keep the vermin at bay, a number of street punks lounging around. Aiden discreetly puts us into a tactically advantageous formation for our transit.

While heading to the bar we discuss what we’re actually going to do once we arrive there with our target. We quickly agree that now isn’t the time for action, that we instead want to observe and size up the target. Sinon mentions that if we had something of his or one of his retinue’s it would be much easier for him to locate them.

The Bloody Weren is of recent construction, an amalgamation of several other clubs in the area. A massive Weren head is the entrance, built with scrap metal and other discarded materials. We note a camera system around the exterior of the building along with imposing-looking guards wielding human-sized chuurk’nahs as well as more modern weapons. The size of the club means no line to enter. A few street bums line the perimeter. One of them, a filthy street kid walks up to Blake begging for money and offering favors. Sinon talks to him briefly, asking him whether he knows who Tigerlord is; the kid doesn’t quite know. A couple of other urchins try to sneak up behind us; Sinon and Gargoyle manage to hear them coming. Sinon comments loudly that he can’t pay the urchin if his friends rob us. That scares them off. We go inside for now, leaving the kid.

Heading inside the club we emerge into a large open area akin to a stadium. In the center is a big cage, nearly 10’ by 10’, currently empty of combatants. In its place are hologrammatic images of previous fights. We discern from watching that the cage is electrified. A countdown of a few hours is displayed prominently, announcing the next fight in the ring. Some places to make bets are easy to pick out as is a dance floor and several actual bars to purchase drinks. A VIP area with an excellent view of the cage looks populated with a group; those of us with magnified vision can see a large group with tiger-themed body mods; we’re able to pick out the man himself as well as his crew. We also can see one of the tigresses in the area. As we look around a couple of us are able to see a couple of tigers in a lower-level VIP lounge; they seem to be in the middle of some kind of business transaction, taking a payment of some sort for a nondescript box with a bio-lock on the outside. The buyers look to be some kind of partygoers. We take a look around and try to identify as many tigers that we can see. Ten appear in the main VIP area. We also catch a glimpse of Tigerlord himself. He’s a human of Asian descent with a large mane of hair, heavily tattooed and sporting cat eyes, claws and fangs. He’s carrying a tray of some kind of beverages that he gulps down, one after another. He’s about 5’8, roughly 160lbs, and wears a duster, a heavy suit of armor, and a sword poking up above one of his shoulders. The tigresses look around alertly, not drinking anything and otherwise hang out looking attractive in a cat sort of way. All of his crew have some kinds of body modifications in a tiger style. Everyone in their group is well-armed. They seem to have brought in some sort of large trunk with them as well.

Suddenly a burst of gunfire erupts from one of tigerlord’s crew members. A random patron looks to have been making a run for the trunk but was dispatched by one of the guards. Little heed is paid. We decide to go and check out the recently-deceased body to see if we can gain any post-mortem information from him. Sinon mentions that we should not assume the man is dead yet, that we may be able to render aid.

Blake and Benton go to check out the body while Gargoyle and Sinon go to shadow the recent purchasers we just saw heading their way out. Aiden and Seamus stick around to keep an eye on the area. Apparently there are divisions of cage matches, mainly an unarmed and a mêlée division, unaugmented and augmented, as well as divisions by body weight. An “Open” unrestricted division also exists. Fights are to the death, although technically you can tap out of the fight before then. It seems that the crowd is the larger determiner of whether a combatant lives or dies.

Benton and Blake make their way over to the body, confirming that the man has in fact expired. Benton examines it briefly and covertly takes a blood sample. He’s able to locate what look like hypospray injection points all over his arms. Blake goes over the body but finds nothing. The man is in poor physical condition with some discoloration and translucense around his skin, hair falling out and teeth rotting. Aiden observes from a distance to see if anyone takes an unusual interest in them but doesn’t note any. Benton indicates that if they could get the body away for more examination that could provide valuable information. Nobody seems to be paying much attention to them so Blake heft the body himself to take the man away on the pretext of a cleanup job. Benton indicates that if they could find an abandoned medical facility of some kind that might have the necessary info, apart from returning to the ship. Aiden does some electronic research and is able to locate some old buildings that we might be able to utilize with some repair to the technology. As it turns out Benton is incredibly skilled in all of the necessary areas.

Meanwhile, Sinon and Gargoyle shadow the group of recent purchasers from Tigerlord. One of them clutches their box closely while the remaining three gather around closely, moving away quickly to what looks like a crumbling building out of the way. The two follow them as they make their way into the building, sneaking behind. The building is old and is in very poor repair. Faded lettering indicates this formerly was some kind of Solar colonial administration building. The four revelers ascend an internal staircase and head to an internal room with no windows.

From a nearby location Sinon attempts to project his vision into the room but fails the first time, taking a minute. Meanwhile Gargoyle is able to see that they are taking some kind of objects out of the box, apply them to their arms, twitch slightly and then lay back, now relaxed. Gargoyle goes over to the room and opens the door, getting no response from the people as he does so. Sinon abandons his attempts to see inside the room and instead sneaks over by the stairwell to listen, providing security for Gargoyle as he investigates. The box is a container for some kind of disposable injection devices, now laying next to the people. He’s able to take one of the devices easily; the people seem to have no awareness of his presence. They look in poor shape, similar to the dead body from earlier, with skin that’s slightly translucent. By the light of a small portable source they brought in Gargoyle is able to discern that this is probably where these people live from various objects strewn around. A dead human woman is also present, decomposing. He pokes it slightly and the skin looks a bit odd, almost slightly hardened unnaturally. He pulls out a small vibroknife and takes a sample, cutting it with difficulty. He notes the same injection marks on the body as with the others. It also seems as though only a section of its skin was hardened.

Back at the club Benton and Blake egress by the main entrance. As they prepare to carry out the corpse they notice that it’s bleeding heavily still. Blake talks him into applying spray bandage to the corpse while Blake jokes that the guy might pull through.

As Blake and Benton walk out Aiden notices one of Tigerlord’s crew watching them exit with the body. The crewman, after awhile, taps Tigerlord on the shoulder and points them out, looking over at the corpse-haulers. We coordinate to meet at an abandoned hospital we’ve located about a quarter-mile away. The dead body is unnaturally heavy, however, so Blake and Benton have to carry the body together. Gargoyle and Sinon approach a bit later, keeping an eye on anyone who comes after to follow Benton and Blake. The group makes it to the hospital just fine. Sinon packs a good vantage point across the street from the hospital, conceals himself and keeps watch. Aiden and Seamus decide to head back to the Bloody Weren so that Seamus can sign up under the moniker “Sharknado” for a fight in the unarmed, augmented division. He’s scheduled for a fight in 27.5 hours against Ivan, a Narac cybersoldier.

Benton, Blake and Gargoyle head over to the hospital to take a better look at the body. The hospital building looks to be partially repaired, power being active in some sections. Two guards in shabby uniforms stand at the entrance as Blake and Peter walk up to them carrying a dead body. The guards immediately inquire what they’re doing. Benton and Peter explain they’re trying to do an autopsy on the body but the guards don’t seem to care much. Gargoyle and Blake try to talk some sense into them but they eventually respond by drawing their pistols. They state that the building is people’s residences and that we can’t just walk in carrying the body.

Finally Gargoyle asks what it takes to get a room in the building. The two guards indicate that they might accept a one-day payment of 100 Concord dollars per person, which sounds relatively reasonable to them. They fork over the sum and are allowed in. Benton, Blake and Gargoyle head to the lift, which they find doesn’t actually reach the floor that has the medical equipment on it (floor 19). Benton does some quick hotwiring and is able to rig the elevator to take them up to floor 19, which the elevator does. The door opens to a completely dark and emptied floor. They’re able to locate a small medical office; Gargoyle turns over the samples he procured earlier. In the office is a diagnostic bed but it’s currently unpowered. About two hours of work fix that by hacking into the floor and locating a live power feed and another couple hours pass before the diagnostic bed is operational. Aiden and Seamus come back to join the rest of the group and meet with much less resistance at the door. They have no problem meeting with the others, encountering a deconstruction of the floor in progress.

Benton is finally able to activate the bed, bypassing initial analysis that the person is actually dead. He’s able to see many large tumors around the body at the main nervous system joints. He extracts one and takes a look, analyzing it over the course of a couple more hours.

Towards the end of that time Sinon, from his vantage point across the way, is able to see a group of humanoid figures moving towards the building who don’t look like they belong. One is tall and balding with pasty white skin while the remaining three look to be standard humans. A fifth looks like a Weren with too-long arms, wearing a hooded cloak as are the rest of the men. They’re headed straight for the guards, pulling some kind of weapon about 20 yards away and shooting the guards with some kind of well-placed shots from quantum weapons – pistols, from their appearance.

That’s the end for tonight; we all receive four character points.