Shysters and Shelterbelts
After the chaos at the fund-raiser concert ended and order was restored, it was very late, and everyone agreed to debrief the next morning.
At the McDougall centre, they meet with ANWPP and ASSI representatives. The ANWPP reports, with considerable regret, that the gang captured at the concert included, unbeknownst to them, a teleporter. The gang has escaped. The security camera footage shows Umbra (the bassist), oozing through the shadows between cells, picking up the gang one-by- one, and then moving on to the next cell. Once he has all four, they all blend into the shadows and disappear.
The hacker who took the Ethereum left a “digital signature” behind. It matches one reported by Interpol to belong to a nefarious hacker going by the handle “Cyberian Tyger”, AKA Anton Seritov. He was recruited by the Russian FSB out of university for their cyber espionage program, and proved to be a very talented asset. However, he wanted more than what the Russians were paying him, and started freelancing on the side. It turned out one of his customers was China, and the FSB found out, and he went on the run. First Hong Kong, then Johannesburg, London, Amsterdam, New York, and on and on. It was initially thought that the FSB caught him and killed him, but recent intelligence reveals that the FSB sent a team after him in Madrid in 2016, and they all wound up dead, with horrible wounds possibly inflicted with claws and great strength. The FSB concluded he had been transformed by the Mutation Virus, and should be considered extremely dangerous.
Another report, from Interpol, indicates his obsession with cryptocurrency includes counterfeiting it, and that he has crossed at least one Swiss organized crime syndicate (fronted by a major Swiss Bank) with large amounts of it. They, too, have sent assassins after him.
The final tally on the heist was equivalent to about a quarter-million Canadian dollars. Ethereum has promised to cover the loss, so the charity is not out anything. The ANWPP speculate that his goal was to embarrass Ethereum.
The team also learns that the Griswold house, in Edmonton, is listed for sale, and was vacated just last week. An interview with the realtor by Edmonton Police revealed that Mr. Griswold had reportedly been promoted and transferred to Toronto. The house was bought by his company as part of the transfer, and the realtor is selling it on behalf of the company, Peterborough Pharmaceuticals. The paper trail for them leads to a GTA address, and friction with federal authorities is impeding progress.
The ANWPP announce that they have acquired two Police Armoured Response System suits, from a vendor down east. They have been available in small numbers to eastern police forces for a few months, but for some inexplicable reason they have been unable to close a deal with any western police forces. A “brass hat” in the ANWPP has an old friend at that firm, and was able to arrange a deal to get two prototype units, that do not require federal approval. The units will be on display on the ANWPP float in the upcoming Stampede Parade. The Posse is invited to join them in the parade.
Stick, Polly, Jazz and Psyclist (the group that had been quarantined) then have a follow- up appointment with doctors at the South Health Campus. On arrival they learn that they “just missed Polly’s doctor”. A Dr. Heywood Floyd had been in a couple of hours before, asking about Polly’s health, and looking over her records (including genetic scans and observations about her new powers). He made copies. His credentials checked out through the Health Canada database, which was automatically included in their query to Alberta Health. The duty nurse identifies Ben’s picture of Clark W. Griswold as Dr. Floyd. Threats of legal action over the privacy breach cause the incident to be elevated to a supervisor. Ben leaves the poor duty nurse with the comment “the last time we saw this guy he was spreading an airborne virus”. She departs to get checked. Ben calls ANWPP to report the incident, they send a team. Alberta Health sends a team to scan for live Mutation Virus. Every one present when “Dr. Floyd” was there is identified, and swabbed. Eventually, all the tests come back negative.
Polly asks Ben to paint her vest. They spend some time co-ordinating colours and patterns. It turns out that Polly has atrocious taste in colours.
Back at the farm, Polly laments the lack of livestock. She looks around at neighbouring properties, and discovers no small, mixed farming operations. Properties are either acreages (with a McMansion), owned by a larger commercial operation (and either farmed at commercial scale or lying fallow), or abandoned (either owned by a developer waiting for services, or by someone looking for a developer with deeper pockets).
Polly hatches a plan to rent out the “back forty” (it’s nowhere near that large) as horse pasture. She also plans shelter belts to separate the horse paddock from the house, and to screen the house from the road. Someone (Sarah?) mentions Green, and Ben invites Agatha and the Brat Pack down to the farm for dinner, and to meet Polly. Polly and Green hit it off, and Green wants to grow the shelter belts right now, and take them to full size overnight. Polly talks her around to doing a little bit each day, using the possibility of ponies and a visit to the farm every day as incentive. Polly also arranges for a few mature Columnar Aspens to be delivered over the next several days, to help disguise the unnaturally rapid growth that is sure to ensue. Xiang thinks that painting the house would go along nicely with the shelter belt, and help explain the comings and goings.
Parade morning arrives. It starts early, with a pancake breakfast, and then the participants begin lining up. They occupy parking lots, side streets, and every available space that leads onto 9th Ave from the East Village. The Posse is in with the ANWPP, between their float (showing off a mocked-up highway patrol car, uniformed officers and the two PARS suits) and the ANWPP marching band. In front of that is a float from the SAIT culinary arts department, featuring a decorated cake. Ben is surprised to see it, as he would have expected to have been included in constructing the float. He is a bit miffed by the slight.
Jazz takes a seat on the front of the float (so she doesn’t have to walk), and Ghost takes up position on top of the mock patrol car, invisible (so she doesn’t have to be seen). The others walk in front of the float, except for Psyclist, who is zipping around doing stunts on his bike. As they pass the official reviewing stand (with Premier Notley and other prominent figures) the SAIT float transforms itself (operation “Cut the Cake” — did nobody get the Animal House reference?) to promote “Free Elections Now”, “Canada is Not a Dictatorship”, etc. There is some commotion among the ANWPP brass in the parade. After a minute or two the Deputy Superintendent comes over and says that they won’t do anything about it during the parade, but when it ends they will be investigating, and probably issuing tickets for the subterfuge (some might call it “fraud”, but they are waiting until they collect statements).
A bit later, as the parade is approaching the first turn, Stick spots a high-Chi individual entering the parade route through the crowd, coming in off a side street. He is dressed like a C&W singer – western shirt, jeans, cowboy hat and boots. He is growing, reaching 10’ tall. Beside him is another high-Chi individual, dressed more like a working cowboy (leather chaps, vest and gloves) and carrying a bullwhip. The tall one calls out “Traitors! You are traitors to our kind, aiding the Oppressors!”, and the one with the bullwhip calls out “Mutant Rule NOW!”.
Looking further, Stick sees yet another high-Chi individual in the crowd, further back, perched part-way up the back of the bleachers, and aiming a large-bore rifle at the Posse. Unseen to anyone except Psyclist, there is a mounted horseman coming in as well, spinning his lasso over his head.
And we are at the top of twelve.
Next gaming session is next week, Aug 3.