July 2071: Beljeet has taken a contract for the assassination of a Komun’go underboss in Seattle, choosing to snipe him as he gets in his limousine from a First Nations fliphouse in Everett. He manages this with a single well-placed shot, then books it to the speedboat he had positioned at the docks just below the warehouse.
As he goes home, Hit Monkey gets word that next week he will be sent by Evo (where he has his day-job) to Hong Kong to attend a convention for Dickens Program programmers about proper procedure regarding dealing with AIs (how to approach them, how to work with them, how to identify e-ghosts, etc.) His boss suggests that he use Evo’s subsidiary, CrashCart Clinics, to have a PensoDyne sleep regulator installed. He gets a discount! Obviously, being an adept, Darwish declines. Baljeet’s fixer, legendary pr0nstar Belletrix LeBangs, knows that he’s going to Hong Kong, and has vetted local Johnsons (or “Mr. Wu”s) for jobs while he’s in town. Being unable to smuggle his weapon of choice on an airline (his high-powered sniper rifle), he has Belletrix get him a WW Infiltrator pistol to bring along with his Morrissey Elan. Two days before the trip, “Mr. Wu” calls him to ensure his interest; HM tries to track his location but only finds that he was in a tea café. Before the trip, HM meditates to avoid jet lag. He concludes that the fact that he’s being physically taken there is a mark of respect. On the plane ride, he sits between his boss and a Hindu guru, who spouts wisdom. In Hong Kong, he’s to be given a three-day holiday to see the city.
The convention starts the day after his arrival, but HM decides to get right to his shadow work. The meet is at a fancy restaurant. HM assenses Mr. Wu for 6 hits. Wu says he suspects that a friend of his who works for Wuxing is hiding something from Evo, their partners in the Pacific Prosperity Group – he thinks he’s granting subpar exchange rates with the Malaysian Exchange Bank without authorization. He wishes to sever his social ties with the man, but this is socially unacceptable – first the man must be shamed. As payment to Hit Monkey, he offers some Yamatetsu NT weapons or augmentations. Wu also plays up the dire consequences for revealing his involvement in the run. Before HM leaves, Wu mentions that Belletrix arranged for a second runner – Lars, a cannibalistic albino Chinese goblin manipulation-specialist black magician.
The duo’s first task is to break into the target’s Malaysian Independent Bank (owned by Wuxing) office to re-arrange the furniture the night before a deal. Wu has very specific requests for the new position of the furniture; this is to disrupt the target’s feng shui. After they break in, they encounter two patrolling efreeti (Islamic guardian spirits). Lars has summoned a spirit of man, the soul of the last person he ate. The spirit fails with a stunball. Lars casts Mass Confusion on both of the efreeti (-7 to all tests), and raises a counterspelling barrier over both runners. Before being affected, one tries to hit Lars; the other terrifies HM into fleeing. The man spirit stunballs the one fighting Lars, and Lars Influences the remaining one to break into the vault. Hit Monkey calls his teammate Malachi Constant to deal with the security cameras.
The next job is to sour the target’s relationships with a few of his key contacts and embarrass him publicly. Wu has forged documents that make it look like he’s betraying his friends, HM just needs to plant them; this is to disrupt guanxi – his “interconnectedness”. HM decrypts the data, which describes involvement in people-shipping from Kowloon Walled City to Seattle and San Francisco. On the Hong Kong end, he’s supposedly selling to organleggers. Lars casts Mob Mind on the dock workers, commanding them to jump in the ocean. HM spots a rail drone – in VR, he sends his agent JARVIS (as Iron Man Mk III) to get an admin account on the drone. From there, it hacks into the security node, where it’s spotted by an off-site spider. After a long battle, the spider finally logs out just before he’s blasted with dumpshock. JARVIS deletes the spider’s account, and they plant the datadisc. Meanwhile, the warehouse manager – Fang Xi-an – shows up with some Wuxing security. The spirit of man knocks all of them out, overcasting at Force 30 and banishing. Blood trickles down their noses.
Lars leads Hit Monkey to a desolate slum street near Kai Tek Night Market. They take all three security and Fang along. Lars drains Fang’s Essence by 1, eating the meat off one of his fingers and addicting him to Lars’ essence drain. Fang awakens, pissing himself. They threaten him extensively, and he goes on to tell them the truth about his joint scheme with his old classmate Mr. “Wu” (Chen) with the Black Chrysanthemum Triads. He tells them that Chen wants to have himself extracted by Aztechnology, which has recently joined the Pacific Prosperity Group and is gaining power in the region. He’s been meeting with one of their headhunters, Rodrigo Gutierrez. Lars is disappointed when Fang says he’s not an organlegger. Eventually they get Fang to promise them 10,000 nuyen apiece to spare his life. After they part ways, Lars influences a chiphead to stumble over to his culvert squatter residence, where Lars devours his arms for 2 Essence, over eight agonizing minutes. He uses the intense terror to fuel a spirit binding.
Meanwhile HR hits up the black market and buys a silencer. Wu/Chen calls, asking how the run is going – HM wants to meet at Kai Tek, an offer which he rebuffs in favor of Evo Tower in the central district of downtown. HM tells Lars to stay at Kai Tek. HM and Chen meet on the street in front of the tower. Chen tells HM his new job: he is to wound Chen on Tower grounds. Chen has a CraschCart account, similar to DocWagon but a subsidiary of Evo. He will have a jammer activated to stop the retrieval signal – then he will be removed by a stolen or disguised CrashCart vehicle to be taken to a second runner team. Chen offers either a ceramic pistol or a Dragonfly drone; HM takes the latter. Chen goes inside the tower to the 30th floor. HM activates his Evo civilian ID, asking the receptionist what parts of the tower he can visit. He drops this commlink in a potted plant at the 25th floor programming sector, putting JARVIS into it to create a Matrix alibi. Meanwhile Lucy comes through on a data search about Chen, finding Evo internal affairs’ knowledge of Chen’s meetings with Rodrigo Gutierrez. HM puts the Dragonfly out a window, bringing Lucy through the Matrix to provide overwatch as he goes up five floors. He finds Chen’s door unlocked. He palms a 3D Evo logo off the desk, taking due time (two aiming actions), making a called shot to peg him in the temple. He’s dead. Hit Monkey has made his choice, placing the good of Evo over his shadowrunning credentials. HM plants the Gutierrez info on all his commlinks, and plasters it all over the wallpaper and window before escaping. The next day, HM goes to the conference, where he hears about the proper ways to approach AIs. This includes positive reference to the Scientific Values philosophy of Universal Omnitech – that a researcher’s ethical misgivings are merely human limitations. HM makes an angry call to Belletrix about setting him up with a demon-fueled cannibal. That night, HM snipes Rodrigo Gutierrez, the AZT corporate headhunter. On the return flight home, his boss asks what he was up to the whole time.