Run or Serve

The End
The Devil Came Down to... Jersey?

Ryder turned on her vision, and saw that the pine barrens were covered in some kind of sticky residue. Waver astrally perceived, and found Xchotl. He was hundreds of feet tall, nude, standing a few miles away in the forest. The Bull jumped towards him, brandishing his axe. Xchotl grabbed the minotaur with a small tentacle, stopping him in place. Waver fried the Devil’s jewels, and Ryder opened a rift to slice his jugular. Screaming in defiance, Xchotl jumped into space. The team received a message on their commlinks moments later, some monologue about how they were insignificant pests. They called Watcher to ask for help in catching him, and he allowed them access to the Space Shuttle on one condition: if he could go up with them. He missed the adrenaline. They agreed, and they all strapped into the Shuttle a few hours later. Watcher pulled out a camera, and addressed the people of his nation as to the dire situation. He then launched the nuclear devices found in Building 7C, and the Shuttle took off. The nukes hit Xchotl a few minutes before the Shuttle caught view of him, but he was still weakened by the time he saw the runners. He slapped at the Shuttle, and everyone went spinning into space. Waver telekinetically stopped himself, Istasha righted Ryder’s body, and the Bull allowed Nyarlathotep to help. Xchotl closed his fist around Waver, only to have the mage explode in flame. Ryder ran up the Devil’s wang-chung, dragging her katana along behind her. The Bull threw a piece of the Shuttle , which Xchotl caught and threw right back. The Devil cursed Ryder, and Waver tossed a fireball in his mouth to shut him up. Cole jumped into the Devil’s eye, pulverizing his innards. Ryder warped up to his throat, slicing at the jugular and carotid. Cole noticed fire at the back of the eye socket, so he left the head. Vertically. The Bull blew the head off the Devil from the inside. Waver telekinetically pushed the body into the sun, and the group had an unassisted reentry. Ryder stepped down the atmosphere like a flight of stairs, the Bull dropped like a stone, and Waver conjure a surfboard and rode the wind.
After a celebratory dinner/orgy, Ryder made her way to bed. Waver said goodnight, and Cole departed for Georgia. Ryder woke up a few minutes later with a tightness on her chest. She felt a warm moistness on her face, and switched on her vision. Sitting on her was a skeletal dog. Istasha smacked the unholy thing into another realm, and explained that it was a Hound of Tindalos. These beasts were extradimensional killers, set upon those who were cursed. All night, Istasha helped Ryder keep the Hounds at bay. Waver woke the next day to find a tired Ryder, who explained the situation to him. Saeletra suggested a plan: the Hounds were after the body, not the mind. She could create a homunculus to transfer Ryder’s mind into, and let the Hounds take the original. Ryder agreed, and it began. Waver placed one hand on her head, one hand on the head of the homunculus. Ryder’s vision blurred, she saw a flash of purple, and collapsed.
The homunculus was empty.

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The White House
Now in tactical black!

Airlifted by Air Force One, the group landed in the rebuilt New DeeCee. Also, the Deep Resonance told them that Vegas was shut down because SE-ER-VE-EO had gained control of significant portions of the Matrix. The group dispatched him to take care of the lingering Horror. Doing a search on the SWAT teams that attacked them, Watcher told them they had all been contacted by Major Erich Zann a day or two earlier. Investigating the lead, they found him in the pine barrens and discovered him to be Xchotl.

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New Beginnings
Heroes this World Deserves

The runners treated themselves to a congratulatory wine and dine and the Arcanum. After a few hours of rest and relaxation, however, they all felt an itching behind their eyes. The Bull’s eyes turned solid bright green, Ryder’s turned solid purple, Peter’s turned solid dark green, and Waver’s turned solid sky blue. The gods that they hosted were in control. Istasha teased Nyarlathotep for his cowardice during the fight, and the Deep Resonance brought up the contention of leadership. Not that the king was dead, who would replace him? Nyarlathotep thought it was obvious: him. Or if not him, then Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God and former king. Istasha thought she was fit to wear the crown, however. They finished their meal and wanted to head out and have some fun. She headed to the Great Library, and the rest followed her. She approached Lupinticus about the Necronomicon, and he summarily refused her. That kind of power could not be trusted to the likes of her. Also, they had to leave. People were looking for them, and he couldn’t have them found in his library. Disappointed, they teleported to Las Vegas to find it empty and powerless. The runners regained control of their bodies then, with no knowledge of what had happened. Without a Matrix connection, Ryder used her warp blades to try and get back to the Arcanum. What greeted her was a collection of guns, all pointed at the rift. She closed it.
After wondering what was going on, the runners decided to head to Innsmouth. Ryder warped them there, and they soon discovered several very fresh bodies. The Bull found five SWAT teams in the town, one of them directly above the group’s location. Cole walked into the room this team was scoping out, saw their positions, and closed the door. He saw them line up in formation around the door, and he ripped the wooden plank off its hinges and killed them all with it. That made some noise, so the rest of the group hunkered down in the room as a defensible position. The gods possessed their bodies again a few seconds before the next team turned the corner and saw them. One SWAT member fired a short burst at Istasha, and the bullets crumpled against her skin. She smiled and ran him through with a katana. Nyarlathotep calmed her down and tried to parlay with the rest of the massing SWAT team, and Saeletra flew out of the room into the sky. The SWAT leader stammered something about gods and monsters before his eyes turned white and he said, “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die”. He collapsed into ash seconds before Saeletra told everyone to duck and cover. She let loose a huge power blast, incinerating the town and everything in it. The runners regained control of their bodies.
The group walked to the edge of town to get a Matrix signal and called Watcher. He said he didn’t know about any of this, and that he would send a private security detail to pick them up. While they were waiting, Nyarlathotep realized that there was another Elder God on earth. That couplet was from the Necronomicon, and that meant someone had access to that damned book and enough authority to control a SWAT team or five. He pieced together the clues and found that it was Xchotl, the being most humans know as the Devil.

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Cthuhu Fallen
Season Finale

The god-emperor rose from his unholy sepulcher, and his body filled out to match the form of Cthulhu. He roared, and the Bull… well, Nyarlathotep… wet himself. The beast clawed at Waver, barely scratching him. Ryder responded by teleporting onto his head, stabbing her warp blades into his skull. Waver doused him in flame, and the Bull regained his composure and readied his machine gun. Cthulhu shook the assassin off of him, but she rolled to the ground harmlessly. Waver hit him with more fire, but he seemed to heal from the burns quickly. Cole perforated his head with ten bullets, and Ryder shot a crossbow bolt into each eye. The Bull inched closer, still firing, and the god-emperor walked toward Waver. More bullets to the head, more crossbow bolts to the eyes. The monster unsheathed his claws, and swung at the mage. Waver dodged the attack and flew up behind the thing, frying his wings off with two bolts of lightning. By now, Cthulhu’s head was leaking profusely, and he had to stay balanced to keep his skull from falling one way or another. He grabbed the Bull with his tentacles, and the minotaur tried to tear himself free. Waver burned the tentacles off, and the Bull fell to the ground heavily. Ryder cut at Cthulhu’s legs to give Waver enough time to get into position, and the mage let loose a massive thunderbolt. It split a few inches from Cthulhu’s face, hitting each crossbow bolt sticking out of his face. Electricity surged through the Elder God’s body, and his head exploded in a pulpy mess. He dropped to his knees, massive, and fell to the ground.
The group congratulated themselves on a job well done, and set off to meet this new world. The world knew that gods walked the Earth. They were forces of great power, of destruction and of peace. One of them was in the White House. They could solve problems, or they could hide. But they would never serve anyone else again.

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Cthulhu Rising
Merger

The Bull had a prophetic vision. In it, the runners saw a rift open up over the Atlantic Ocean. They traveled there with a submarine and explored an underwater city. Ryder led them to the center of the city, and they realized it was R’lyeh. Waver astrally perceived Saeletra within the cabin of the submarine, and she told the group that Cthulhu could sense within a one-mile radius of any mention of his name. The Bull woke up to see a news broadcast of the rift opening, and heard Saeletra within his mind. He told the Arcanum about his dream, but the vision was flawed. The broadcast continued recording, showing a massive shape rising from beneath the waves. Cthulhu broke the surface of the ocean, and destroyed the news crews recording him. The runners dithered, talking about what to do, and heard several explosions outside. Ready for battle and holding the bas-relief, they ran outside to see what happened. A small aspect of Cthulhu was stomping through the streets of Seattle. It grabbed the Bull with its tentacles and invoked some sort of spell. Ryder and Waver both got in a few good shots, and the Bull broke free, but Saeletra was banished. The aspect faded away, and Waver noticed that Hastur had left the bas-relief and been replaced by Nyarlathotep. Waver and Cole remembered the spell the aspect had used, and expelled the Elder God from the tablet. He was very, very worried. If Cthulhu walked the earth, a great event was nigh. The Bull heard a whisper from Saeletra, urging him to come to the Tomb of Horrors. Nyarlathotep warned the group that something important and dangerous was approaching. They would likely bond to a greater being. The runners entered the Tomb, and the door shut behind them. Nine more gods appeared and gave the runners a choice. Waver bonded with Saeletra. Peter bonded with the Deep Resonance. Watcher bonded with Gaia. Ryder tried to kill herself rather than choose, but eventually chose Istasha. The Bull chose Nyarlathotep, and Cthulhu entered the body of Acererak…

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Globetrotting
Around the World in 80 Days

Istasha was very confused as to why the Bull would waste a perfectly good sword. A door opened up in the space behind her, and Lobon’s head popped through. He seemed to be wearing a yellow cape, and he called her over. They both left, and the door briefly disappeared. It appeared again after a few seconds, and the Bull carefully walked through. Waver followed, and felt something behind him. He turned to see a vaguely attractive elven male. His name was M’Nagalah, and he had been watching Waver for some time. He promised to show the group a way out of the void for fifteen minutes of Waver’s time… so the team gave them some privacy. Some time later, Waver told the group to think about a location they’d like to visit, then pass through the door. It would act as a teleporter. They used this to travel to the Rhode Island School of Design, the last known location of the bas-relief. Exploring the campus, they found the sculptor’s original dorm room. There were a few odd phrases on the wall, but the Bull found a large packet of papers underneath the floorboards. It was made up of excerpts from the Necronomicon, including the phrase “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming” over and over. While discussing this at length outside, Ryder noticed a large dead tree. Waver dug out the bas-relief from beneath the roots. It held a pictograph of Cthulhu, and that phrase in Elderspeak.
Checking in with Lupinticus at regular intervals, the group checked out every possible advantage they might have against the Great Old Ones. They visited the Tomb of Horrors and found it to be untouched by the blast. Inside was Bast, another cat goddess, keeping watch over the body of Acererak. She claimed that the runners were not the Chosen Ones, only incidentally marked by the greatness of the God-Emperor. She said that the Aurora had chosen Acererak to be its host, but he had atrophied in his sleep. The light had seeked out refuge in the runners’ bodies until he could be awakened. Also, she claimed Nyarlathotep had lied about everything. They absconded before she got any crazier.
Checking why the Necronomicon had ended up in the Great Library in the first place, the team did some digging on Shiawase . They had undergone a severe power shift six years ago, and the new CEO was named Charles Ward. Waver recognized the name as a reference to a Lovecraft novel, so they checked him further. Peter found that his entire background was a lie, fabricated to appear bland and boring. The whole team remembered Nyarlathotep’s about Mr. Smiley. They resolved to meet him. They hopped a ride to Neo-Tokyo and found their way to his office. He reluctantly answered their questions, and challenged them to a game before they could leave. He won, but admired the way they played. Dirty and cheap, just the way he liked it. He let them go with a warning to never come near him again.
Outside, Waver noticed a banner with his name on it. It hailed him as a dragonslayer. Lobon chose this moment to open up a door in front of the team. It was now evident that he was wearing a yellow cloak, and the Bull remembered the inscription on Acererak’s sepulcher. He made the connection that Lobon wasn’t Lobon, he was Hastur. Hastur agreed, and the Bull walloped him in the head with the bas-relief. The Elder God disappeared, absorbed by the tablet. Anyone touching it could still see him however, as Waver found out, so they stuck the tablet in a sack before using the door to get to Seattle. They returned to the Arcanum, unsure of their next move.

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Fallout
End of the World as We Know It

Following the discovery of Ryder’s impairment, Waver got her out to the rest of the team. Not before she saw twin black pits in Herr Skulltenstein’s eye sockets, though… and everyone had some kind of opinion as to what that might mean. Waver decided to ask Lupinticus for help, but the advice he could give was to run. So far away. The skull was going to explode and open a rift in time and space, as Kaltenstein had seen the world of the Horrors while he was alive. Waver wasted no time in getting the skull out of the Arcanum, and Ryder checked out Goddy to make sure he was safe. Meanwhile, the Bull was snatched by Nyarlathotep. The god had little advice on how to stop the bomb, and simply wanted to see how the Bull was doing. Waver managed to attach the skull to the landing gear of a plane taking off from Seattle Airlines, and Ryder joined the Bull so Nyarlathotep could get a better look. The plane, unfortunately, flew east instead of west. Waver joined the group, and they all asked the god about Saeletra. She is very powerful and not supposed to contact humans. A few minutes later, the skull exploded somewhere over the Great Lakes. Niagara Falls was destroyed, as was most of the surrounding area. Nyarlathotep remarked that this meant the Great Old Ones, a more powerful type of Elder God, were able to walk the Earth. He deposited them in the library and ran.
The team started research on a ‘bas-relief’ Nyarlathotep had mentioned. He had listed it with the OZ as one of the few things capable of stopping an Elder God. Waver found references to it in Lovecraftian lore, but nothing else. It was last seen in Rhode Island over a century ago. Ryder felt something tap her shoulder, but nothing was there. Waver felt the same thing, and then the Bull. Ryder and Waver both flicked on their vision and saw a cat-girl standing behind the Bull. Ryder fawned as Waver asked her questions in Sperethiel. They determined she was Istasha, an Elder God. She didn’t know where she was or what the Matrix was, but she knew the names of the Chosen Ones. She gathered them up and scratched each of their chests, and the group was in a white void. She asked if that was everyone, and Waver told her about Peter and Watcher. She blinked away and returned with the others. Watcher was noticeably angry, but the Bull cut him off by asking Istasha what she planned to do with them. She responded that she didn’t know, but that they were chosen for a reason. It seemed better for them to be out of the way while the Great Old Ones were around. Cole swung his sword at the Elder God, but she caught it between two fingers. She smiled, and the OZ shattered in the minotaur’s hand.

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Burning Down the House
Herr Kaltenstein

Peter came to Waver to talk about the Saeletra message the technomancer had found on FastJack’s commlink. Peter proceeded to gather up the team to talk about it, because this had world-altering ramifications. Sitting in a backroom of the Arcanum, they heard a knock at the door. Waver opened it to see a faceless man dressed in a dapper suit. He spoke in a German accent, and asked about hiring the runners for a job. They had to steal blueprints from an Ares warehouse, burn it to the ground, and make sure they weren’t seen. The Bull was wary of this, but the group dragged him along. Seeing several guards inside, they sneaked to a back entrance. The Bull convinced the security guarding the door to let him in through his fluency of Or’zet, and Waver made the other guards inside think some critters had gotten inside instead of a minotaur. He took the plans and left, allowing Waver to fire off a huge fireball inside the warehouse. It was cinders before too long. Waver did manage to grab a small box from the storage area, however, and opened it inside the car on the way home. It was filled with anthrax, and he promptly fell unconscious. Ryder threw the poison outside, and was knocked out herself. Getting them to the Arcanum quickly, the Bull explained what had happened to Herr Johnson. The man seemed to understand and gave them the payment. However, the Bull wouldn’t leave him alone about the whole ‘lack-of-face’ thing. Herr Johnson snapped his fingers, and the runners found themselves in a dark room.
Waver sustained a fireball to light the way, and saw they were in a large labyrinth. The walls were made of screaming faces and rent flesh made stone, and the passages seemed to move and shift with the movement of the group. Gravity changed as well, opening up new paths, until the runners came across a stone face that could talk. He called himself Goddy, and the group determined he was a paladin of the Fourth World. Waver pried him from the wall and tred to carry him out, but Herr Johnson appeared in front of them after a short while. He peeled off his ‘face’ to reveal himself as Kaltenstein, the Troll King and a great dragon. This place was his domain, the souls his hoard. He asked the group to leave, as the labyrinth had cauht their auras. They would become part of the maze once they died, they no longer needed to be there. Waver realized they were in a metaplane, and asked Kaltenstein how he had shaped it. The dragon lied, saying he had created it from his own thoughts. He offered to show the mage around, and sent the rest of the group back to Earth. Waver wasted no time in pulling his dragonbone wand on the beast, hitting him with a substantial flamethrower. Kaltenstein responded with a breath of flame which Waver barely dodged, and was hit by another flamethrower. He delivered the third prophecy, saying, “You think you can survive? Still, after all you’ve seen? This was only the beginning, there is still so much more to come.” The dragon’s skin sloughed off, and his skeleton was clearly visible. Waver took Kaltenstein’s skull and Goddy back to Earth.
Goddy, upon arrival on Earth, was transformed into a regular paladin again (complete with sword and armor). He has taken up semi-permanent residence at the Arcanum. Waver will take the time to mount the skull, with a plaque that says ‘Herr Skulltenstein’. However, while he and Ryder were cleaning off the skull, her Aurora-powered vision turned on, and she found she couldn’t turn it off…

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Five Years Later...
Time heals all wounds

The Bull raised his family. Elsy moved out and joined the army, and Cole had a son with his wife. They live a comfortable suburban life.

Waver bought the Arcanum, an information hub for shadowrunners in the heart of downtown Seattle. It has a bar, library, Jackpoint hub, several magical lodges, a few fences, and rooms for anyone who needs them. He’s started using his skills to teach newcomers.

Peter has been training himself to fight S3-ER-V3-3O, and has spent his idle time researching the artifacts they uncovered from the museum. Upon hacking into FastJack’s personal commlink for fun, he’s discovered something…

Ryder aborted Lobon’s unborn child. She continued to run Tempest until several moles that rose high in the ranks destroyed the organization from the inside out. She’s now on the run with a few close friends and operatives.

And Watcher won the presidency. Twice. His first act of power was to enact a variant of Stand Your Ground: if anyone sees anything that isn’t a metahuman, they are allowed to empty their magazines into it (and then some). This was simply basic defense against the Horrors that were let loose, and his subsequent demeanor and actions have made him very popular with both the youth of the country and the NRA.

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Unfinished Business
Dragonslayers

After hearing Peter’s tale, the group remarked upon his newly green eyes. Lobon turned his head at this comment, his own eyes green, and said, “Well, I guess that’s my cue.” The dragon dive-bombed and flipped over, dropping the team 4,000 feet in the air and flying away. Waver levitated everyone to safety, and they floated to DeeCee to control the damage. Buy the time they arrived, much of the city was destroyed. Waver astrally perceived to find the people still left alive, and the group helped rescue 290 civilians from the wreckage. At dusk, the runners reconvened on Pennsylvania Avenue to discuss the next course of action when the entire scene shifted. The group was in Hypnos’s amphitheater, and the Bull’s story was explained. The Lord of Dream was also revealed to be Oukranos, as he controlled the ‘stream of unconciousness’ of every sentient being. Leaving the Elder God’s domain, the Bull appeared to be very, very angry. Ryder attempted to comfort the Bull while the rest of the team explored the burbs. They found a car and rigged up a gun-mount, and used it as a way back to Chicago. Waver had remembered something.
Lupinticus greeted the runners in the library, and they privately asked him if he knew why the Unmortals would have attacked the location. The Outer God admitted he didn’t know, but helpfully pointed out that the corps that were bombed were the same ones that donated books. The runners set to work looking through the stacks of donations to try and find anything Lovecraftian. Waver stumbled upon the Necronomicon, a wholly evil book that forced itself into his hands. He began mindlessly chanting something in elderspeak, and the Bull knocked the book from his hands. Not, however, before everyone caught a snatch of what the mage was saying. Ryder realized that all the shadows in the world were watching her, literally, and Waver’s mind was shattered after the experience. His abilities were augmented beyond extremes, though, so the group wasn’t too worried. The Bull took the book and the team left.
They headed to the Tomb of Horrors to check out some unsolved mysteries. The Tomb was exactly as they had left it, sans flooding. They entered, and Peter entered the angel room for the first time. he recognized the feeling… it was a Resonance Realm, a sort of natural outgrowth of the Matrix. The team examined the room of stone circuitry, and Waver noticed they all led to the west wall. They coalesced into a large cylindrical indentation, and Waver postulated that the OZ might fit into the notch. Calling the academic Johnson, Peter determined that the OZ was on display at the American Museum of Natural History. Peter and Ryder staked out the museum during normal hours, and Watcher came by after closing to request a transfer of the magical artifacts. He got not only the OZ, but a dragon-bone wand, a bandolier of high-caliber bullets and an early twentieth century grenade launcher, a pair of small blades, and an icosahedron. These went to the Bull, Waver, Watcher, Ryder, and Peter respectively. Freshly armed, the team headed back to the Tomb. The Bull inserted the OZ, and the indentation transformed into a doorway to a massive room. Inside was a titanic sepulcher, with images of a great war between gods and men inscribed on the sides. Waver also found the words “The King in Yellow sees all” carved in Serethiel. The Bull opened the sepulcher, and saw the huge skeletal body of Acererak. Waver saw it too, and desperately wanted to touch the ruby standing in for the god-emperor’s eye. The Bull prevented him until the mage disenchanted the stone, and levitated the massive gem outside. Peter knew a good jeweler in Boston. Travelling there, the group received 2.5 million nuyen each for the sale. Content in their future, the group returned to Seattle.
On the way in to the city, Ryder noticed that all the lights behind them were out, and this outage was at a constant speed with the runners’ movements. Suddenly, claws wrapped around the car and Lobon dragged the group into the sky. He looked at Peter and ripped his door off, prompting the Bull to put his whole body over the elf to prevent him from falling. Ryder, however, saw that within Peter’s eyes were more eyes, eyes within eyes within eyes within eyes. She screamed and ineffectively shot the dragon. However, her shots made a purple scale fall off his body. The Bull stabbed Lobon with the OZ, and it seemed to burn him. Waver let loose a massively powerful acid stream on the weak spot, and the Bull slashed again. Lobon fell to the ground, dead, and Waver levitated everyone in the car. They watched as the dragon’s body disintegrated into a green light, and that light split. Half of it flew east, and the other half shifted to a purple light and was absorbed by the runners.
Once landing, the Bull confronted Waver. He remembered that his memory had been wiped, and the minotaur challenged the elf. Waver summoned the spirits of the dead girls in response… and they forgave Cole. They surrounded him, hugged him, praised him, and the Bull finally felt a sense of closure. He was still angry, but no longer murderous. He left the group, and Ryder followed. Things were simply getting too weird for her. Waver weighed his options, and resolved to use his newfound wealth for a good purpose. This left Watcher to go back on the campaign trail, and for Peter to return to his battles with S3-ER-V3-3O.

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