With the mansion's vault found wide open and its content gone April and Elisa are a bit irritated. Catching the vibe of impending temper tantrums, Jack escorts the contractor out the door and off the grounds. He's forced to pay the man for his time, however. The exorbitant price of which knocks him back a wealth point.
Down in the basement the two girls immediately start looking for clues as to what the hell happened to their inheritance. Elisa manages to detect faint mud stains on the floor that seem to more or less correspond to those they discovered on the ground floor when they first arrived. When Jack comes downstairs, complaining about the money he just had to spend, they set him to work on the vault door. After taking his time examining it and the vault itself he eventually concludes that whoever opened the vault didn't crack or blow it with explosives. There's no damage to the vault whatsoever nor any sign of forced entry at all. Clearly whoever did it had to have had the combination. Furthermore it seems the vault is time locked as well, so whoever opened it must have known that it was set for the 10:00am to 11:00am time period.
A quick look around the mansion for whatever else may have been tampered with by the intruder reveals a number of things. First, the mansion's security system was tampered with from outside. According to Jack this was either by someone very skilled or who, again, had at least some knowledge of the system. Second, the intruder didn't seem to have tampered with anything else in the mansion, so must have known the vault's location and went immediately there after determining that the butler was away. Finally, slight gouges in the lawn outside the mansion's front doors would seem to indicate a vehicle parked there recently, just outside the front door.
After wracking their brains a bit it occurs to the team that there should be a written inventory of the vault's contents somewhere and that they could use this to track the items down. This assumes, of course, that the thief intends to sell the items they've stolen. With that goal in mind the team ransacks the mansion for old documentation and finds the inventory readily enough. Taking a moment to look it over (having wondered for some time now) they find most of the items stored in the vault were merely works of art, mastercraft items and a few archeological artifacts. Nothing overtly magical as they had hoped. Still, the inventory lists a rather nice sum of cash and gold as well, though the team are a bit more discouraged at this. Cash and gold can be disposed of much more easily without leaving a trace than art and artifacts can.
Having been in the mansion for over a week they're fairly confident that some or even all of the loot from the vault should have been sold by now. They therefore set their sights on locating and tracking it.
Elisa immediately hits the internet looking for recent auctions, even checking Ebay, but turns up nothing specific. A call to all the local pawn shops proves fruitless as well. On a lark Elisa checks with the two art dealers in the area and scores a hit. One of them recently paid cash for a rare painting previously considered lost, getting it for a steal at $2000. She looks and finds the painting listed on their inventory. Elisa makes an appointment to meet with the man the next day, hoping for a clue to the identity of the seller.
April and Jack, meanwhile, have left Elisa to her research and gone to town. There they manage to track down some shady dealers to unload the pile of weapons they've managed to accumulate as well as making a few upgrades. April is finally able to invest in silencers and laser sights for both Elisa and Jack, finally bringing them up to speed by her estimations.
Surprised at how much they've netted with the guns and body armor Jack stops at the local car dealership, looking for something that can carry his bike in a pinch. He ends up splurging on a black Chevy Suburban with tinted windows, reasoning that it seems to fit their line of work and if civilians mistake them for government agents, so much the better.
When they get the call from Elisa to return home Jack gets to try out his new toy as they both head back to the mansion. There Elisa informs them of her success and they make plans to visit the art dealer the next day.
The team load up in Jack's new Suburban and April's Jetta, heading into the city. Once the team get into the city proper they've only managed to travel a few blocks before a taxi cab hurls out of control down an off ramp and plows into a newspaper stand, blocking the street in front of them. Jack is able to come to a stop before slamming into the wrecked cab and April, behind him, stops before hitting him. Elisa immediately jumps from the Suburban to see if anyone is injured and finds the driver already dead, a wooden board from the newspaper stand imbedded in his chest. Moans from the back of the cab are audible and she moves to open the back door and check on the passenger there. Elisa helps the woman out of the cab and checks her for injuries, treating her to restore a couple of hit points from bruising and otherwise determining she's alright. Nevertheless she advises the woman to remain still until EMT's arrive, which prompts April to make the call.
When groans are heard from under the front of the cab Jack looks and finds a bystander has been trapped between the cab and the debris of the newspaper stand. The team work together trying to move the broken stand off the man, failing at three separate attempts. Finally they decide to move the cab itself and Jack goes to place it in neutral. After doing so (and not noticing anything unusual about the cab driver) the team works together to push the cab back, freeing the trapped man.
By then police begin to arrive, followed by EMT's. The PC's give their statements and a precise accounting of their activities since arriving. That done they breath a sigh of relief that they weren't involved in the accident and the police didn't have any reason to check their vehicles. They load up and back out of the busy street to take an alternate route to the art dealer.
At the art dealership the team finds the dealer still giddy with delight at his purchase, which he insists on showing them and monologue for several minutes about. Finally Elisa interrupts him and brings him to the business at hand: who sold him the painting. The dealer is more than happy to give a detailed description: a tall black man in his mid-forties, dressed casually and wearing sunglasses. Elisa pushes harder for any vague recollection that may seem insignificant to the dealer but he can recall nothing more. As he paid the man cash there's no paper trail to follow beyond the bill of sale. That, the team soon learns, bears the name "John Smith".
Frustrated, the team is about to leave when April notices the security camera and asks the dealer if recordings of the day in question still exist. The dealer considers for a moment before realizing that, yes, he should still have the tapes. A Diplomacy check and small bribe convinces the dealer to fetch the tape and play it back for them. They find the picture quality too poor to make out anything more than what the dealer already described, though. Nevertheless they purchase the tape from the dealer for a hefty sum and lay claim to it in hopes something might be done with it later.
Driving back to the mansion Amy Heseltine, their handler, checks in asking for a routine report. They tell her what they've learned about the vault and the thief, all of which she finds shocking. When they mention the tape she recommends they forward it to her and allow some of the techs at the Department work on it in their spare time. Some of them owe her favors, she says. Concerning the near accident with the taxi cab Amy expresses her relief that they weren't injured before reminding them to keep a low profile, even when off the job.
The team spends several hours looking over the mansion, examining blueprints and familiarizing themselves with the estate's security system. Checking through the paperwork they find that upkeep is going to be a bit more expensive than they thought. Already there are overdue property taxes and various other fines and fees that need to be paid. Elisa hits the phones and finds a good lawyer to put on retainer as well as an accountant, tasking him with dealing with all the paperwork. Catching up on all the overdue debts will cost the PC's at least a couple of Wealth points each soon, though.
Still the team unanimously agree that the mansion makes a fine base of operations and decide to invest in it for the immediate future or until it proves too difficult to maintain. With that they retire for the evening, each to their own concerns.
Waking early Elisa hits the net and the phone lines again trying to track down any of the missing artwork and artifacts from the vault. She has no luck. A call to Amy finds that she hasn't received the tape they FedEx'd yet but she promises to look into it asap once it does.
Though none of the team have any mentionable Knowledge (streetwise) or Gather Information skills, they hit the city streets nevertheless hoping to find out if there are any disreputable dealers in the area who deal in stolen art and/or artifacts. They spends four hours at it, having split up to cover more area, but uncover nothing.
Once the team is back together and stop for a late lunch they receive a call from Amy, their Department 7 handler. From her they hear some shocking news. First of all, and most disappointing, is that their private investigation into the theft of the family vault is to be put on hold. It would seem that the cab driver from the previous day's accident in town turns out to be a teenage boy who was reported missing some weeks ago. A routine forensics check by Department 7 personnel discovered that the boy, the very same driver who wrecked the cab yesterday, has been dead for nearly as long. Clearly he was a zombie of some sort.
Receiving their first mission for the Department they are to determine if there are any more reanimated corpses, how they've been trained to perform such complex tasks and who's behind it all. After all that they are to shut down the operation at all costs. Of course, they are to leave no trace leading back to the Department.
A bit disgruntled that their personal project has been preempted the team nevertheless seizes what little daylight is left and drives down to the local morgue. There Elisa manages to Charm the attendant into letting them into the backroom to examine the cab driver. She easily confirms that the driver has indeed been dead for quite some time. A check of the driver's personal belongings requires a little more finesse with the attendant, who's beginning to get a little nervous (especially since this is the second visit to see the corpse, the first being the mysterious "men in black" from the Department). The team is disappointed to find there are no personal possessions beyond a cheap watch and some casual clothing. The odd bandage that was wrapped around the boy's head catches their interest, however, and they note a variety of arcane symbols etched along it's length. Elisa identifies some as having to do with understanding language and others imparting skill and general calm.
While Elisa distracts the attendant with some blatant flirting April attempts to pocket the cloth but the attendant spots her. Elisa immediately grabs the man by the collar and gives him a good shake, threatening various horrors involving the nearby stryker saw. Astonished at her change in demeanor the man is instantly cowed and the team departs with the bandage before he comes to his senses and calls the cops.
A few blocks from the morgue Elisa hits the net again and manages to access the police report on the accident. From it she gets the cab license number and the name of the cab company (which none of them can recall off hand), Metro Cab. Accessing their information she finds she can't get any further than the company's internet security. Jack at last gets to pitch in and turns over the Suburban to April. He takes Elisa's laptop and soon slips past their access. Handing the laptop back over to her she finds that Metro Cab consists of a single dispatch headquarters and several "yards" around the city. Tracking down the cab number she pinpoints the yard in question within moments. The team drive there to stake the place out.
Parked across the street from the cab yard April and Jack watch the place with binoculars through the tinted glass windows of the Suburban. Elisa, meanwhile, digs deeper into Metro Cab to find that it's a privately owned company. Unfortunately that means there's no publicly accessible evidence of its financial status and thus no way to trace any deeper. Elisa, however, digs into Metro Cab's past and discovers their initial funding came from none other than Umbra Corp, at which neither she nor April are especially surprised considering zombies are involved.
When Jack asks after their reaction they give him a brief summary of their previous run-ins with Umbra Corp. Naturally, it does not inspire him with confidence when he learns his predecessor's fate.
Continued surveillance of the yard soon reveals that the night shift drivers are all zombies. Immediately after the 10:00pm shift change the team watches the next three drivers leave the lot, each quite clearly either very dead or unusually ugly. The team takes a moment to marvel at just how powerful the Shadow effect is that none of the cab passengers likely notice anything unusual.
Having answered the first question, "Are there any more zombies" this leaves them with "How they've been trained" and "Who's behind it all". For that it seems they'll need to get inside the cab dispatch. April takes a moment to look the place over and point out what security measures she can spot from their position. She also notes that the main gate always stays closed until a cab comes and honks there, at which point it opens to let them in and then closes again. With this standard procedure and their security cameras there doesn't seem to be any way to simply walk onto the grounds, which makes their approach much more difficult.
With that Jack suggests the best way onto the grounds is to take over a cab, which would also give them the opportunity to study one of the zombies in action. April and Elisa, having long since had their fill of zombies, immediately nominate Jack for that task. The team then drives down the street a couple of blocks to a nearby bar and April phones into Metro Cab for a taxi.
When it arrives Jack waves it down and is surprised to find the zombie at the wheel simply pulls over and waits. Entering the cab hesitantly he gives an address just a block away. The zombie not only doesn't turn and attempt to devour him but simply puts the car into gear and drives on to the next block. When they arrive the zombie rolls down the window and sticks his decayed hand out, obviously waiting for Jack to exit and pay him.
Jack then draws his Desert Eagle, silencer attached, and pops the zombie in the back of the head. Unfortunately, this not only fails to destroy the zombie but it rips through the enchanted cloth wrapped around its head. Already aware of Jack in the seat behind it, it now moans hungrily and turns to attack.
Jack gets the initiative, realizing that the zombie is suddenly going to try to eat him. He fires again but misses, the shot glancing off the zombie's skull. The Zombie Cab Driver attempts to grab Jack, reaching over the cover provided to both of them by the intervening seat. It fails to grab him and Jack swings at it's grasping claws with his handgun, missing.
April and Elisa, in the Suburban across the street are not yet aware that anything has gone wrong.
Jack fires again and misses again. He's starting to get a little nervous at being in such close quarters with a flesh-eating zombie. Though the seat provides some cover his position still leaves him a bit exposed. The zombie swings and connects, landing a ear ringing blow to Jack's cranium. A follow up attempt at a grab fails, though.
April and Elisa have since glanced over and seen the action. They now pile out of the Suburban and prepare to come to Jack's aid.
Jack is already in bad shape and decides to fight smart. He simply opens the door of the cab and steps out. He easily dodges the zombie cab driver's attempt to claw at him and now finds himself out of the creature's range. Unfortunately the zombie had already rolled down the driver's side window to receive its pay. It twists around in the front seat of the cab and begins crawling out the window after Jack. Jack takes the opportunity to club the beast on the back of the head with his handgun as it does so.
April and Elisa glance up and down the street for witnesses and see none at the moment. They both draw their silenced Desert Eagles and open fire on the zombie. They both miss.
Jack moves back to where April and Elisa stand and fires on the zombie as well. He hits but the creature is still sliding out of the cab window. It hits the ground and stands up, staring at the smorgasbord laid out before it.
April draws her Glock in her off hand, then she and Elisa fire again. Both hit once and the thing is still standing.
Jack fights the urge to run hide in the suburban, if only to keep the zombie from smearing gore all over his new SUV trying to get to him. He fires and misses.
The zombie finally has its footing and shuffles forward after Jack, engaging him. Jack, however, swings out with his handgun and connects with the zombie's head. He scores a critical hit and smashes it's head in, destroying it.
The team takes a moment to be sure the cab driving zombie is truly dead before retrieving the cab keys, opening the trunk and dumping it inside. Jack then takes the enchanted cloth from April and wraps it around his head. While Elisa checks up and down the street for witnesses April watches Jack to be sure the cloth doesn't effect him in any strange way. Jack shakes his head and just shrugs, claiming to notice no difference. With that they retrieve their range packs and gear from the Suburban, lock it up tight (it's a bad neighborhood) and stow them in the back seat of the cab. April and Elisa then crouch low in the back while Jack drives around to cab yard, doing his best zombie cab driver impression.
Honking at the gate and trying to look undead for the security camera, Jack is relieved with the gate slowly rolls back. Taking his cue from April he pulls the cab slowly around to the front doors of the place where they hope they can scoot inside without being spotted by whomever is monitoring the cameras.
Once Jack parks the team don ski masks and gloves, draw their pistols, exit the cab and move rapidly into the Reception area. There they can see the two dispatchers at work and likewise are seen by them.
X - During these rounds the PC's are unaware that security has detected them and is responding.
The office worker monitoring the security cameras spots the trio of strangers exit the cab and enter the building with guns drawn. He stands and rushes to the door of his room and locks it. The team, unaware that security is already on to them, throw up their weapons and order the dispatchers to show their hands, threatening to shoot anyone who twitches suspiciously.
The worker in the security office phones Umbra Corp to report the break in.
Jack and April move quickly and quietly to take hold of the two dispatchers and pull them out of their chairs. Elisa covers them.
The worker in security receives an answer and begins to report.
Jack and April force the two dispatchers to their knees, hands behind their heads, and draw zip-tie handcuffs from their packs.
The worker in security receives instructions from Umbra Corp HQ to secure the premises and wait for Good Shepherd Security Services to arrive.
Jack and April zip-tie the two dispatchers. Lacking anything handy to gag them with they simply warn them not to make a sound or get shot in the head.
The worker in security calls the garage to warn the mechanic/security guards that there are intruders in the Reception room. They notify the third mechanic in the Break Room via radio. He then stands and moves to the door, opening it and preparing to go to the garage.
The shift manager hears something strange going on in the Reception room and stands up to go see what it is. Jack pulls another zip-tie from his pocket, preparing to link the two dispatchers together and limit their movement further.
The shift manager in the office adjoining the Reception room opens the door to see what's all the commotion. Elisa immediately trains her weapon on him and orders him into the room as well. Jack moves over and grabs him.
The third mechanic reaches the door to the garage.
While April and Elisa cover the two dispatchers Jack shoves the shift manager toward them. There April forces him to his knees and pulls out a zip-tie for him as well.
The third mechanic enters the garage and they wait for orders from the worker in security.
The security worker informs the mechanics in the garage that he's called Umbra Corp HQ and that they've been ordered to secure the premises until the security team arrives. He hasn't heard gunshots or movement outside the door so he assumes the intruders are still in the Reception area. The mechanics move out, eager to wrap this up before the security team arrives. One moves down the hall toward Reception while the other two exit out the vehicle bay and moves stealthily toward the front doors.
The security worker in the monitor station unlocks the locker next to him to get at the shotgun there.
The two mechanics outside approach the front doors while the one inside reaches the end of the hall and opens the door to the adjoining hall.
Jack uses his zip-tie to link all three of the worker's cuffs together. Elisa then checks the office for any more workers while April covers Jack.
The security worker in the monitor station wields the shotgun and stands ready to shoot anyone who enters his room.
The two mechanics outside take up positions on either side of the doors, prepared to go in and subdue whoever is inside. The third mechanic reaches the door to the Reception room, prepared to burst in when he hears the other two enter.
April and Elisa hear movement outside the front doors while Jack and, again, April hear the third mechanic approach the nearby door.
April and Elisa ready an action to fire on whoever comes through the front door armed while Jack does the same at the Reception room door.
When the two mechanics at the front door barrel in with guns in hand April and Elisa open fire. April hits her target, clipping him on the shoulder. When the mechanic in the hallway hears the commotion he flings open the door and charges in. Jack fires and hits him point blank.
April moves to half cover in the shift manager's office doorway and fires both guns at the mechanic on her left, hitting twice. Elisa isn't willing to take cover behind the dispatcher's consoles because the tied up dispatchers and manager would be in the line of fire. She kneels where she is and fires at the same mechanic but misses.
Badly wounded, the first Mechanic takes 1/4 cover at the reception counter and fires at April but misses while the second simply knees and fires on April as well.
Jack takes half cover behind the door to the manager's office, which is still flung open near him. He fires on the third mechanic coming in from the hall and miss. The mechanic, already hurt from Jack's first shot, drops back to the half cover of the doorway and fires back, missing.
April spends an action point on one of her two shots and hits, dropping the first mechanic. Elisa fires and misses the other who's still shooting at April.
Jack spends an action point on his shot as well and hits the third mechanic but when he returns fire and hits Jack is disabled.
April and Elisa fire on the remaining mechanic kneeling at the front door but only April hits him. He returns fire but still can't land a shot on April. Jack ducks behind the door, taking full cover. The third mechanic tries one time to shoot through the door at Jack but finds it useless.
April, Elisa and the second mechanic all trade shots with no one hitting anyone else. Jack attempts to treat injury on himself and succeeds but restores only 1 hit point. The mechanic in the hallway turns his fire on Elisa and hits her.
April and Elisa fire on the mechanic at the front door but miss. He returns fire again and finally manages to land a hit on April. Jack feels bold with his 1 hit point and slinks over to half cover. He fires again at the third mechanic and drops him.
April fires at last mechanic, spending an action point. She hits him hard and drops him dead.
Elisa immediately goes to check on Jack and tend to his injuries while April checks the bodies. Elisa finds she can't do anything more for Jack than he's already done.
With the three bound employees on the floor utterly terrified Elisa begins to reassure them until Jack nudges her. She then threatens them some more, hoping to ensure they'll remain compliant while they're gone.
The team then reloads and moves out to quickly check the rest of the building.
Through the door from the Reception room and into the hall the team finds the Security room to their immediate left. Moving as quietly as possible April tries the knob and finds it locked. She then moves across from it and readies an action to fire on anyone opening it too quickly. Jack knocks, standing to the side of the door, and attempts to Bluff whoever's within that he is one of the mechanics and that the intruders have been killed. The security worker inside sees through the ruse easily though and shouts back through the door, warning the PC's that he's already called the contracted security firm and they'll be there any minute.
Cursing their luck the team leaves the Security room behind them and moves on, trying to clear the building before backup arrives. Through the Break Room they move on and check out the Locker Room and both Bathrooms, including all the stalls. After verifying the door near the Locker Room leads to an empty Garage they check the other door, passing beneath the stairs.
On the stairs are two zombies, freshly animated by the Umbra Corp Occultist Annet Antczak. She in turn has already chanted scrolls of invisibility and mage armor on herself and now stands at the head of the stairs with a scroll of spider climb and a SITES M9 pistol in hand.
The team hear a disembodied female voice order the zombies to attack but the two zombies have already spotted them and started to moan hungrily.
Zombie1 moves to engage April while Zombie2 is stuck on the stairs behind it. Jack immediately fires on Zombie1 but misses due to its proximity to April. April has nowhere to retreat to so she opens up with both pistols as Zombie1 swings a clawed hand and misses her. She hits with both shots and drops Zombie1.
Elisa fires at Zombie2 and hits hard.
Oddly a thick, brown sheet of paper appears in mid air at the top of the stairs to float down to the floor.
Zombie2 moves to engage April. She fires again and hits, dropping the second zombie.
Jack rushes up the stairs to check out the mysterious floating paper and runs head-on into someone or something he can't see. He hears a distinctive "oof" from whatever he hit that sounds human and feminine but the space in front of him appears to be completely empty. On instinct he reaches out the grab whoever it is but grasps only air.
At the foot of the stairs April yells out that she heard something dash into the room next to Jack, though neither Jack nor Elisa heard anything. April then sprints up the stairs and into the apartment, pistols at the ready and seeking whatever she heard moving around up here. Elisa runs up the stairs to chase the phantom and enters the apartment as well. She sees nothing unusual.
Annet throws open the window to her apartment. April and Elisa see the window open without any discernable cause.
Jack enters the room, still badly wounded and Elisa tells him something opened the window. Trusting his instincts he runs to the window to attempt another blind grab. Again he gets a handful of air and nothing else.
April runs to the window, looks out and sees the roof of the first story below. She vaults over onto it, thinking the invisible creature has already leapt out. Elisa moves to follow her but brushes past something unseen getting to the window. She reaches out to grab it but comes away with nothing.
Annet moves as quietly and carefully as she can to the door of the apartment but both Jack and Elisa hear her movement across the room. Jack, fed up with all the hide and seek, runs over and leaps over the couch to slam the door shut.
April hears the commotion back in the apartment and curses herself a bit for being such a daredevil. She moves to the edge of the roof and jumps down, making a Tumble check to avoid any possibility of injury.
Elisa warns whoever or whatever is in the room to show themselves or she and Jack will start shooting blindly.
Annet considers her options, then moves quietly to the door to the Animation Lab.
Jack decides to wait a round and give he/she/it a chance to make up their mind. He readies an action to fire at any movement or sound of movement. Elisa keeps her pistol ready to open fire and waits with Jack, readying to fire at any movement.
April sprints around to the front doors of the Metro Cab office and opens it.
Annet yanks open the door to the Animation Lab, ready to jump through. Jack and Elisa both open fire but hit nothing. She enters the lab and jumps for the door to the stairway.
Downstairs April jogs through the Reception room, threatening the zip-tied office workers on the floor as she passes.
Annet throws open those doors, dashes down the stair and around the corner into the hall. Jack hears the doors fly open, yanks open the door near him and runs down the stairs chasing something he still can't see. Elisa follows a bit behind, having started near the window.
April hits the hallway and sprints to the door at the end, still trying to get back and support the team.
Annet races down the hall, reaches the door and tries to hurry through. However, with April just on the other side reaching for the knob this doesn't work so well. April fails her Reflex save and gets whacked in the face for 1 point of damage by the door and Annet loses the rest of her turn.
Jack is still running after Annet and sees the door open and slam into something on the other side. Figuring that the invisible person must still be in front of it he tries to bulls rush down the hall and into them. Annet sidesteps him, though, and he rebounds off the wall.
April hears the ruckus and yanks open the door. Seeing Jack bounce off the nearby wall she draws her pistols and stands ready to hold her hallway come hell or high water.
Elisa is close behind Jack and when she sees him fail to grab their elusive target again she simply fires a shot off down the hall next to him. She hits nothing.
Annet moves to the door to the garage and opens it, moving inside and reaching the vehicle bay door. Jack takes off after her, having seen the door open, but doesn't know which way she went once he gets in there.
April holsters her pistols and digs in her range pack for the portable fire extinguisher and yanks it out.
Elisa digs in her range pack for her gas mask, then pulls it out and slaps it on.
Annet pulls on the sliding vehicle bay door, opens it and heads out into the parking lot. Jack runs after her.
April runs for the garage, then the parking lot when she sees Jack swinging at the air out there. Elisa digs in her range pack for a tear gas grenade then runs after April.
Annet heads for her car, moving quietly again now that she's in the open.
None of the PC's hear her moving. Jack scours the immediate area randomly, sticking close to the main gate. April sprays the area around her with the fire extinguisher, hoping to hit the invisible creature. She doesn't see any indication that she has.
Elisa runs out with the tear gas grenade in hand. With Jack searching the area around the main gate and April spraying the area with her fire extinguisher she sprints for the personnel gate to toss her tear gas grenade in front of it. Although she doesn't know it, she's running right upon Annet.
Annet steps to the side to let Elisa pass without detecting her, then continues sneaking quietly towards her car.
Jack takes his cue from Elisa and digs in his range pack for a tear gas grenade. He pulls the pin and prepares to drop it and fall back on his next turn. April digs in her pack for her gas mask and dons it.
Elisa swerves around the parked limousine, pulls the pin and tosses her tear gas grenade directly in front of the personnel gate.
Annet finally reaches her driver's side door and reaches carefully into her pocket for the keys.
Jack drops back near April and tosses his grenade in front of the main gate. April readies a tear gas grenade of her own.
Elisa digs for another grenade and pulls the pin, preparing to toss it into the parking lot.
Steeling herself a bit first, Annet quickly unlocks her car door and slides inside. Though Elisa doesn't notice with her gas mask obscuring her vision and hearing, April and Jack do even from across the lot.
Jack draws and fires at the Acura who's driver's side door just opened and closed. He spends an action point and still manages to miss the car.
April tosses the primed tear gas grenade she's holding towards the car, hoping the smoke will distract or even blind the driver. She draws both her pistols.
Elisa sees Jack fire at the Acura and tosses her primed tear gas grenade in front of it, then draws her own pistol while she moves out of the cloud of her first grenade.
Annet starts her car and jams it into drive, flooring it. With the forty feet in front of her already filled with tear gas, she is forced to make a Drive check to avoid losing control of the car. She fails the check badly, slams into the limousine and comes to a stop in the middle of the tear gas cloud.
Jack digs for his gas mask and puts it on while April rushes forward to block the car door before the invisible driver can escape. Elisa fires point blank at the passenger side of the car's front windshield, shattering it and letting the tear gas pour in.
Annet makes her Fortitude save and immediately scrambles out the shattered windshield onto the hood of the car. She is quite determined to escape.
Jack rushes up to level his pistol at the space above the car hood and demand the invisible person surrender. April runs around the car to the far side, blocking Annet's escape from that direction. Elisa does the same from her side.
Annet still doesn't dare to use the pistol she's holding and lose the advantage her invisibility has given her so far. On the other hand she can't read any of the scrolls she has in her purse. Having made her Fortitude save against the tear gas again, she jumps onto the trunk of the limousine and runs across the roof, still hoping to lose her pursuers.
Jack loses his patience again and fires blindly at the seemingly empty space where all the noise is coming from. He hits nothing. April runs around to the front of the limo, listening intently so as not to lose her target. She prepares to try another grab attempt. Elisa makes a blind grasping sweep over the top of the limo but comes away with nothing. She runs for the front of the limo as well.
Annet leaps off the side of the limo, recovers her footing and sprints for the garage again. Jack moves after her and fires off another shot, spending an action point. He's shocked when he finally lands a hit and sees a splatter of blood hit the ground. April immediately draws her pistols and opens fire, figuring if Jack can hit the invisible target then so can she. She misses badly with both shots. Elisa races ahead toward the garage, digging her last tear gas grenade out.
Annet, now wounded and seeing Elisa sprint past her with a tear gas grenade, is truly becoming desperate. She fishes out a random scroll (since she can't see what they are) and fires a shot at Jack. She misses him and is now perfectly visible to the PC's.
Jack, April and Elisa immediately draw down on her, readying to fire if she attempts any aggressive action. They order her to drop the pistol and surrender.
Annet drops the pistol and looks at the scroll she's holding. Finding that it's a light spell she throws it down in disgust and digs out her cause fear scroll.
The PC's decide that digging in a purse is all the provocation they need and open fire. Jack lands a hit but with Annet's mage armor still in effect April and Elisa's rounds both shy off.
Annet isn't beaten yet and grits her teeth against the pain of her bullet wounds. She chants out the spell on the scroll at Elisa who shakes off the effects with hardly any effort. Seeing this Annet dives for her pistol. Jack fires again and hits.
Now shot three times, visible to her pursuers, tear gassed and really, really stressed out Annet finally tosses up her hands (as best she can in her condition) and surrenders.
The team immediately descend on her, stripping her purse full of scrolls away and slapping a zip-tie on her wrists. Elisa glances over the scrolls in Annet's purse but can't make heads or tails of them, so she stores them in her pack. Taking a moment to consult the team decides they need to bring the Suburban around for their captive, which will probably require getting into the security office to open the main gate. They also need to check out the second floor of the building since they didn't get to see much of it when they were chasing Annet around.
As Jack is badly wounded the girls leave him to watch Annet while they go and contend with the security worker. Moments later they return with the trio of office workers, still cuffed together in a clumsy bundle, and shuffle them over for him to watch too.
At the security office door, taking care to stand to either side of it, the PC's talk with the security worker within. Elisa attempts to coax him out of the office with her Diplomacy skill but with the security worker's Hostile attitude the best she can hope for is to improve that to Indifferent. She attempts it anyway, spending an action point, and manages to come very close to bumping it to Friendly. In the end, though, the security worker just wants to hunker down and wait for backup to come and rescue him.
When April decides that simply breaking the main gate and sliding it back might be easier than assaulting the security room the two decide to leave the poor security worker alone and head on upstairs.
In the Animation Lab April immediately spots the computer there and digs out her multipurpose tool to start working on it. Elisa checks the rest of the lab, finding only the safe of any further interest. After considering it for a while she decides they have neither the skill nor the explosives necessary to crack it. She steps over to Annet's apartment to check it out while April works on removing the hard drive from the computer.
In the apartment Elisa soon finds the place isn't very well lived in and that Annet kept most of her meager belongings in one bedside dresser. There she finds an appointment book that would otherwise be of little interest except for a notation concerning a toll-free number she is to call the next day. When Elisa returns to the Animation Lab to show April she finds her already snatching the hard drive free. They spend a minute snapping digital photographs of the lab but both soon decide it's time to get out of dodge before the cavalry comes.
Down the stairs and out into the parking lot again Elisa updates Jack while April gets to work on the gate, easily disabling the hydraulics and pushing it back on it's tracks. Jack runs to fetch the Suburban and drives around to pick up the two other team members and Annet Antczak.
Giving the place one last look the team discuss simply burning it down but with the worker squirreled away in the security office they finally decide against it. They aren't happy leaving the animation lab intact but eventually begin loading up to leave. After assuring the three tied up workers sitting on the concrete of the parking lot that a security team is only minutes away, coming to rescue them, the team departs and hustles back to the mansion.
On the drive home Elisa attempts to question Annet, spending an action point on her Diplomacy, but doesn't accomplish much. Questions about the phone number in her appointment book go unanswered.
Once they arrive home and drag their prisoner into the den a quick phone call to Amy has Department 7 scrambling to come interrogate their prisoner. A team arrives within the hour, which the team finds surprising as it seems to suggest there's a Department 7 facility somewhere relatively nearby. Turning over their prisoner to them they spend the rest of the evening with Amy in debriefing. After which, once Amy has consulted with her superiors, she informs them that she'll be staying on at the mansion overnight as they'll likely be expected to make Annet's mysterious phone call appointment the next day.
In the meantime Department 7 takes Mrs. Antczak into custody and take the strange scrolls they've recovered as well. They'll will be running down the phone number for the team overnight and Amy expects an update from them by tomorrow afternoon.
Jack Spade takes another level of Tough, choosing Brawl as his bonus feat and improving his Constitution.
April Wallace takes another level in Fast, choosing Uncanny Dodge 1 for her talent and improving her Dexterity.
Elisa Alvarado Morales takes another level in Charismatic, choosing Dodge for her bonus feat and improving her Charisma.
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