Our story begins in the summer of 2075 in Tir Tairngire. The Sixth World has been rife with turmoil and the elven nation is no different. Following the treaty of Denver and the fragmentation of the United States of America, the elves of the Sinsearach tribe consolidated in the Salish-Shidhe region formally known as Oregon. They seceded from the Native American nation and formed the Land of Promise, Tir Tairngire.
The Tir was run by an autocratic monarchy of powerful elves and their allies who enforced a rigid caste-system that prevented social mobility. This infuriated the modern-minded populace. Following the second global computer Crash of 2064, a revolutionary movement culminated in the abolition of noble rule. The new government was democratically elected and led by an ork named Larry Zincan. During his 10-year term, the High Prince became surprisingly popular for his policies of increased trade and tourism. As such the borders have become more open and security more discrete.
There are some who work outside of the city lights and corporate enclaves who would take advantage of the decreased security. Our tale focuses on 4 such individuals who call the wilderness borderlands of Tir Tairngire home.
Our story opens with the foursome sitting together at a diner during the lunch rush. The place was called Rockies Diner and was located within the Tir-controlled portion of Boise. Down the block they could see the border checkpoint with cars and trucks slowly entering and leaving. Outside the diner was parked their 4-door Toyota Gopher pick up truck with “oversized load” placards affixed. The team was hired by Chiba’s contact, Flatline, to meet and escort a Telestrian Industries shipping truck after it cleared the border checkpoint. The rig was smuggling two medium crates. The team planned to lead the semi truck down International Highway 84 to a rest stop 30 km west of Boise. Once there, they could offload the crates into their truck and deliver them to Cara’Sir (still called Portland by some). If successful, Flatline would pay each person with a Rating 2 fake SIN (or upgrade an existing fake by 1 rating)!
The four metahumans felt out of place. The busy lunch crowd of elves, dwarves, orks and even a few tourists only somewhat diminished the unwelcome glares and deliberate attempts not to look at the large booth containing a midnight blue skinned elf, a Cascade Ork troll, a human(!), and an unnaturally beautiful dryad.
The group ordered food and passed the time chatting about how they got into this biz. Halfway into their soyburgers, the room quieted as six Ancients gangers walked in. Crow, the nocturna, sized up the leader, a bulky elf with a green mohawk and the jerky movements of wired reflexes. Chiba, a human technomancer, recognized the green anarchy gang symbols and filled the team in on the famous elven motorcycle gang. The gangers sat down and ordered lunch and the din of the place returned. As they finished lunch, Chiba also noted that the gang leader was glancing toward the border crossing.
Crow and Willow, the gorgeous dryad magician, went out to the truck. As Chiba and Tzane, a hulking Cascade Ork troll, paid for lunch, the technomancer received a text from his rigger contact. The human texted, “My rig has just cleared customs.”
The group climbed into their pick up truck and pulled in front of the slowly approaching semi. It was a massive teal Conestoga Trailblazer with Telestrian Shipping logos. The rig pulled an oversized flatbed carrying an enormous excavator. Both vehicles drove through Boise and entered the ramp onto I-84 West.
Twenty minutes later, the convoy exited at the Oregon Trail rest stop. Several tourists and truckers were parked in the lot and wandering about.
The Telestrian driver directed Chiba toward a pair of smuggling compartments. Tzane opened the hatch and found a 50 kg crate within. He slid the heavy plastic case out and secured it in the back of the team’s pick up. As he stepped back toward the semi, Chiba and Crow simultaneously yelled, “Incoming!”
Half a dozen green and black crotch rockets raced into the parking lot. The Ancients had arrived!
The air filled with the rising crescendo whine of Mirages and Rapiers only to be replaced with staccato reports of submachine gun fire. Bullets sprayed wildly but several ricocheted off the team’s Gopher and the huge tractor-trailer.
Tzane dove under the flatbed to get to the other crate on the opposite side. Crow jammed the Gopher into reverse to help stow the crate faster. Unfortunately, the Telestrian rigger didn’t want to be the center of a firefight. The big rig jolted forward. Tzane held extremely still as the massive trailer rumbled over his bulky troll body. He barely exhaled as the trailer cleared him. When he stood, the gangers raced by and tested his armor with several bursts from Ingram SMGs.
Crow targeted the green-haired gang leader. He sighted perfectly to correct for speed and wind, using his smartlink reticle for assistance. He held his breath and eased the trigger. The barrrapp of six rounds flashed from his Ultimax carbine. As the rounds cleared the barrel, the ganger leaned hard to the side. His foot peg nearly scraped the asphalt and the shots flew over his shoulder. The rider popped the bike back up with a yell. Crow groaned and was not impressed.
The Ancients separated into a pair of three-elf groups and flanked the pick up truck. When their SMG rounds failed to penetrate the cab, the gangers targeted the truck’s tires. With two simultaneous bursts, the passenger side tires blew out and the Toyota leaned on its rims.
The Conestoga was out of sight, having returned to the highway. Three gangers sped in pursuit. Chiba sent his sprites after the gangers’ bikes and hoped the rig would escape.
In the rest stop parking lot, the pick up continued to take fire from the other three gangers. Willow zapped one with a stunbolt but felt her magic weaken upon the defenses of an enemy mage. With three quick shots from his Colt Government heavy pistol, Tzane dropped the gloating ganger. The rider rolled off the back as the crotch rocket leaned over before circling to a stop with a spray of sparks. The remaining two Ancients sped away to join their chummers.
Willow said, “It won’t be long before the Tir cops comes to investigate.”
Crow replied, “With two tires gone we need at least one spare.”
“I’ll find an extra,” rumbled Zane.
Crow jumped from the pick up and ran to the fallen motorcycle. Willow climbed on the back and the two sped off down the highway. Maybe they could catch the semi truck in time to help fight off the gangers.
Tzane returned with an extra pick up truck tire before Chiba could even finish putting the spare on. When the human looked quizzically at the troll, Tzane just grinned.
As the pair got their pockmarked pick up truck rolling, Chiba got a call from the Tellestrian rigger. He said, “The gangers stopped following me. I don’t know why. Just as they were closing in, one of them crashed. The others broke off. I just turned off I-84 onto Highway 7 through Baker city. This connects up with 245 near Unity. I’ll meet you there for the drop off.”
By the time Tzane and Chiba arrived, Crow and Willow had already caught up to the semi and found no sign of the Ancients. The team unloaded the last crate and headed back toward the road. They traveled westward on highway 26 into the Umatilla National Forest.
Halfway through the Ponderosa pine covered hills, they passed a café and country store. Willow was enjoying the fresh, pine-scented air while Chiba was bemoaning the lack of decent matrix signal. Crow gripped the wheel tightly as a Tir-marked one-man attack chopper dropped into view blocking the road. From its load speaker, the team heard, “This is the Tir Peace Force Border Patrol. Stop your vehicle and prepare to be inspected.”
Crow slowly brought the vehicle to the shoulder. The team quickly considered their options. Crow said to Chiba, “Can you hack a chopper?”
When the technomancer searched for its matrix icon, he found it hidden – along with 2 other nearby choppers! Chiba also saw a large group of motorcycle icons at 100 meters and closing fast!
As the roaring whine of many sport bikes rapidly approached from the east, the two additional helicopters rose over the tree line flanking the road to the west. Before the team could act, a rocket contrail from the bikers slammed into one chopper. The tail exploded and the black and red craft suddenly dropped. Its main rotor whacked a tall pine, causing it to flip and bounce through air like a rubber ball before crashing into another tree and exploding in a fireball.
The choppers lined up their nose guns on the inbound bikers, so the team decided to focus fire. Willow dropped a stunball on a large group who managed to keep their balance. Her second spell was much less effective. She swore and ordered her earth elemental to “geek the mage”! (Unfortunately, the spirit was disrupted moments later.)
The choppers strafed the bikes with machinegun fire but they had to evade as another rocket nearly struck one. The team was dismayed as both helicopters broke off and retreated from the heavily armed Ancients.
Crow used the distraction to gun the pick up truck engines. The 2-lane highway was long and straight and favoring the racing bikes. Both sides of the road were heavily treed and nearly impassible. With so many bikers quickly closing the gap, the nocturna yanked the wheel hard to the right and plowed over the rough terrain crashing through underbrush. He climbed over a small ridge and skillfully avoided boulders, stumps and trees. As he dropped onto the other side of the ridge he spotted a small dirt road that paralleled the highway.
The route was far too rough for the Ancients to follow. Tzane let out a roar of enthusiasm as the truck jerked onto the dirt road.
Willow turned her gaze to the astral realms to watch for magical pursuit. Within moments the form of an astral mage wreathed in greenish flames crested the treetops. She summoned another earth spirit to engage her foe. Then she started slinging mana spells. Before the mage could be defeated, he fled in the direction he came from.
The team found an overgrown gully to hide in for several hours. Once they were confident there was no pursuit, they rejoined Highway 26 and traveled the rest of the way to Cara’Sir.
Chiba made contact with Flatline and arranged a drop point for the crates. Despite the City of Promise’s elven architecture and magical flourishes, Willow’s skin was crawling from the pollution. She urged the team to return to the wilds as quickly as possible. Flatline agreed to provide the SINs as promised and suggested future work might be available.
Loot: Used Toyota Gopher (Requires 300 nuyen per month to maintain or medium lifestyle, breaks down unexpectedly with a glitch, totaled on a critical glitch; currently needs bullet holes repaired not to attract attention), Rating 2 SIN (or +1 Rating SIN)
Karma: 8 (Survival 2, good feelings 1 (no innocents injured), delivered both crates 2, escaped Ancients 3)
Reputation: Tzane only +1 Notoriety (shootout in parking lot); everyone +2 Street Cred (escaping Ancients and completing job)
Contacts: everyone except Chiba gains Flatline (Connection 4/Loyalty 1 ID manufacturer)