Sailing at a leisurely 10 knots, the cruise ship New Horizon made its way out of Puget Sound. As a floating grand hotel its clientele were largely well-to-do corporate types that wanted to experience a veneer of the region’s rich Tsimshian culture and history—from a distance, of course. The cruise provided a unique opportunity to witness the area’s natural splendor as it motored up the coast of what was once called British Columbia, without foregoing the posh amenities and conveniences of 2070 life.
Largely keeping to themselves, a small group of passengers didn’t fit in with the voyage’s usual fare—instead of using the cruise as an escape from work, they were using it as a most uncommon commute to their next job. Having passed through security without careful inspection, thanks to well-placed contacts and generous bribes, the amount of equipment they intended to bring caused a large snag. While they could convince one or two amenable guards to look the other way when the scanners revealed they had dangerous or illicit cybernetic enhancements, there was likely no way to successfully slip large-caliber, unlicensed firearms and a significant cache of unlawful surveillance equipment through baggage checks.
The cruise ship had been their best option, with no realistic way to carry their gear over the international boarder between the Seattle Metroplex and the Native American Nations. They didn’t have long to plan their ingress, and knew they wouldn’t be able to source the necessary equipment once in-country. The only option was to find another way to cross the border.
“How’s the view down there, Kaz?” one of the steely-eyed travelers tapped into his commlink, smirking as he watched the last vestiges of UCAS territory sail past from the lounge deck.
“Dark, cold, and miserable. How are you?” the response came, causing a chuckle among the group. When the ordinary cruise passengers surmounted the gangplanks that would lead them to their temporary home away from home, Kaz had navigated the murky water depths to attach a specially-made, magnetized, waterproof carry bag filled with the team’s most dangerous—and questionable— gear. Gifted with powerful control over his own metabolism, he could go days without eating or drinking, meaning he was perfectly suited to baby-sit the important cargo while they sailed up the coast.
“Engineering has noticed the unexpected drag. They’re planning on launching a drone in the next half-hour to investigate,” the team’s hacker reported from his personal cabin, having carefully inserted wiretaps in the crew’s internal communications networks, for just such an opportunity.
“Any way you can convince the drone that everything’s okay?” the team’s resident weapons specialist chimed into the group chat, well aware that he had the most to lose if they had to abandon the concealed bag.
“Already working on it. I’ll find out soon enough.”
With any luck the team would be able to blend in with the crowd long enough to move farther up the coast, slipping overboard with the help of a local fixer they contacted before departing. Once ashore, it would be time to hike inland, complete the mission, then return to the coast in time to catch the cruise on its way back. If they could slip back onboard with none the wiser, there’d be no indication they were anything other than regular travelers during the week-long voyage. No alarms, no suspicion, no one the wiser.
Planning such a perfect plan was one thing though—executing it was quite another.
This story showcases the type of “mirror shades” style of Shadowrun gaming which is preferred by some players. Header image by Irina Kostenich.