St. Andrew's Finders

First Score

Firebirds and Lightning Bottles at the Gaddoc Rail Station

Joining the first big SCORE of the St. Andrew's Finders are:

Joshua Ward, "Black Shuck"
J.J. Johnson, "Johnson"
and Riley Vasilek, "The Surgeon"
a Ravkan WHISPER and widower to a deceased wife and daughter. Can always sense the presence of supernatural entities. Takes powder from a dealer to put himself in a STUPOR to forget the past. Friends with Scurlock, a vampire; rivals with Flint, a spirit trafficker.

The first score's target is one of the lightning-rail trains coming in at Gaddoc Rail Station. These ironclad behemoths always bring in large hauls from the mainland, but do so by traversing a highly dangerous stretch of deathland in which the mercenaries and rail jacks fend off vicious tides of demonic vocra. The client's offer came through via secure drop off — offering 6 COIN for the job of lifting a crate marked by the brand of a flaming bird before Bluecoat inspections see it. Simple enough.

For preparation, Black Shuck scouts the rail yard unseen to gain a sense of the layout and of the Bluecoat patrol patterns. While there, he also notices another gang known for its explosives, the Lightning Bottles, digging shallow holes and filling them with devices. The Lightning Bottles have strong ties with the factory workers and rail unions in the area, so The Surgeon checks up with some old patients and finds out that the Bluecoats have disallowed local workers from unloading the incoming train, instead only allowing "their own men" to do so. The anger has resulted in picketing at the rail station, as well as a deal with the Lightning Bottles to cripple and maim the Bluecoat's intended workers. Johnson prepares some easily installed wheels to use on the crate to make it easier to lift.

On the day of the score, Joshua arranges for some friends among the Bluecoats to let him and the crew in. However, they soon discover who is working with the Bluecoats — every worker allowed inside is of Shu Han descent, and these workers have mercenary escorts on horseback with them. It becomes clear that whatever is happening here is political in nature.

Crouched on the top of a small building near the warehouses, the crew watch as the Shu hurriedly unload cargo from the gargantuan train cars. To find where exactly their mark is, they watch the boxes coming out on the gangway, and The Surgeon also calls forth the spirit of an old patient of his via a watch that used to belong to the man. The ghost of Robert, a former nightwatchman of the rail yard, emerges as an unspeaking apparition of coal-smoke; he died of coal lung back before the trains began running on spark-craft electrical engines. Unfortunately, being in Robert's presence also inflicts The Surgeon with over an hour of inhaled coal-fumes, but Robert comes through with news after some reconnaissance: the crate the Finders seek is in the third car, but there are two crates with the same symbol of the firebird on them.

The luxury of waiting for the crate to be unloaded off the train vanishes when the first explosions ring out across the expansive rail yard. The scream of horses and of Shu coolies losing their legs and getting crushed under crates fill the air. Shu men in sharp suits scream out to the mercenaries to find and fix the problem. The Finders try to use this opportunity to seek safer ground, but they are spotted by frightened coolies who flee when Johnson throws a smoke grenade their way.

Seeking refuge, and a quick way out with their intended cargo, they seek refuge in the third car of the train. It's clear now that the situation outside will draw down the full attention of the Bluecoats, so they have to work fast to not get caught in dragnet. Sure enough, in this car there are two boxes with the firebird stamped on them — which The Surgeon now recognises as the national crest of Ravka. Given the size and weight of the crate, they decide to stick to their contract and just take one. Before they can finish preparing, a pair of Lightning Bottles enters the train, and an awkward standoff begins between the two factions. The Finders' task: to remove a crate with the Firebird; the Lightning Bottles': to destroy the crate with the Firebird. After tense negotiations, The Surgeon convinces the two Lightning Bottles to allow the Finders to leave with one box, while the Bottles blow up the other, with the mutual agreement that neither will mention the existence of a second box.

Rolling their crate out the other side of the train, away from the warehouses and toward the river to where Johnson has arranged a Dandy Lion barge in getaway, the group run afoul a Shu Han mercenary on horseback. Joshua outdraws him and shoots him off his horse, and the crew lash the horse to their crate to make a swifter escape. The horse kicks Johnson in the arm, nearly shattering bone. However, in trying to unload the crate down to the river without the help of a harbour, they have to fend off two more mercenaries, one of which kills the horse and nearly causes the crate to fall and be lost in the river. Thankfully, The Surgeon manages to keep the spirit of the horse from leaving just long enough for Johnson to drive sturdy iron piles into the slope, saving the merchandise. The Dandy Lion ferryman arrives wearing what a rich person would imagine poor people dress as, and they float down with the current toward the drop-off point in Brightstone, where they relay the added difficulty of the mission to the waiting white-masked agent. Finding the information that another crew was hired to destroy the cargo, he gives the crew an additional COIN for the trouble.

After the score, the Finders gain 5 REP for succeeding at a job with stacked odds. Their total take is 7 COINS, of which 1 COIN goes to paying off Black Shuck's Bluecoat friends who are now suspended for being seen speaking with suspicious persons, and 3 COIN stored in the Crew vault. Because of the high profile nature of the explosions at the Gaddoc Rail Station and the multiple deaths that occurred, the crew gains 5 HEAT. Worse, it looks like the Lightning Bottles blew out the interior of the train's cargo carriages, generating an immeasurable amount of lost revenue and embarrassment for many of Ketterdam's large trading conglomerates and the government. The Crew gains 3 XP.

For Downtime Actions, Black Shuck trains in Prowess, Johnson completes an articulated "Lion statue" for the Dandy Lions to pay for the use of their barge, and The Surgeon deals with most of the new spirits now haunting the Finders' lair — only the spirit of a horse is left to whinny and stamp around the house. Everyone indulges in their Vice to bleed off stress.

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