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Children of Aurora

> This is an example of just how surprising those guys at KSAF can be. Seems that about five years ago, KSAF did an expose on a small religious group out in Hell's Kitchen of Seattle. Needless to say, what with the election scandal and the Chicago explosion, the KSAF report was one of their lowest rated newscasts. Weeks passed and the report, with the cult, disappeared into obscurity.

I'm sure that all of you have heard of both the recent assassination attempt on Ivar Lindstrom in Auburn after a little charity fund raising and the car bomb that was discovered in downtown Seattle by UCAS military minutes before it went off next to the Renraku arcology.

Another piece of this twisted little puzzle is the return of Haley's comet. Scientists are jumping over each other to get satellites out to photograph the cosmic traveler up close and personal, and every balcony of every coffin apartment has a Haley 2061X telescope pointed to the stars in hope and wonder.

Well to bring this all together I have confirmations from two reliable sources of mine that the assassination suspect and the group that planted the car bomb both belong to the same group of the KSAF exposé from 5 years ago. And to top it all off, my sources say that this group is pretty rallied up with the return of the 75 year solar traveler. Some of you may not know your history, but the past clearly shows that comets can have strange effects on the meta-human mind.

Now the shadows are abuzz with this fringe cult. The rumors are flying and everyday Lone Star and the FBI get closer to finding out what my sources already know. I'm also hearing that some of the bigger media fishes are circling round to find the bigger story that KSAF was on top of.

So I've put together a little "fringe" reading, so to speak. The first section is the original KSAF expose, download and watch at your own pleasure. The second part comes from one of my two sources. He used to work for Knight Errant back when they were first investigating the Universal Brotherhood, and he's also done research for Lone Star. Unfortunately my other source has refused to enter the spot light for fear of his life.

> Captain Chaos
    Posted: 6 February 2061

KSAF Report: Children of Aurora

[Trideo: Enabled]
[Audio: Enabled]

A KSAF Special Report
The Aurora Cult


WATANABE: On the outskirts of Seattle, in the depths of the furnace of Hell's Kitchen lies this, apparently, abandoned structure. But unbeknownst to the populace of the Seattle Metroplex, within those crumbling walls...


...a group, calling themselves the Children of Aurora, sits and waits. What are they waiting for? The Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights.


The group claims that they came from these lights and their power resides in them and they will, one day, return to them.


From the look of their compound it would appear that no one lives there. On closer inspection, it appears as if they just moved in or as if they have been here for an eternity.

The truth lies somewhere in-between.

[Fade Out]

SLADE'S VOICE OVER: In 2040 the plans for the Renraku arcology were in the early stages of clearing out Pioneer Square. Many of the local homeless were forced from the area. In this trideo clip we can see a small riot that broke out between Renraku security and several of the more indignant homeless on the morning of February 2nd.


With computer enhancement of the footage we can see here the yet to be leader of the Children of Aurora. Sources say this woman was once know as Jill Higham. A woman with no background, no SIN, almost as if she appeared out of the chaos of the corporate intrusion of an ancient urban habitat.

Jill Higham was taken in by Renraku security and transferred to the fledgling Lone Star. Lone Star issued her a criminal SIN after she was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in the Hollywood correctional facility for instigating a riot and damage of public and corporate property. With no prior arrests she was released after two years for good behavior. Jill Higham then dropped out sight, disappearing in the underbelly of the Seattle sprawl.


SLADE'S VOICE OVER: Seen here, in this 2046 footage, is the first public appearance of the Children of Aurora. A new self-proclaimed magical cult who's forms of worship includes dancing, chanting, and the sacrificing of small animals to their "god;" the Aurora Borealis.



SLADE'S VOICE OVER: The group lives here in this quiet Bellevue neighborhood on the border of the Redmond Barrens. The house is under the ownership of Jacob Yeltsin, a member of the cult.


Aurora Highstar. At first thought to be the sole leader of the cult from her name but it has been learned that all members of the group are titled Aurora as a symbol of their loyalties. From what local authorities have been able to tell us, Highstar has no criminal background, coming originally from Boston in the late 40's.



SLADE'S VOICE OVER: Although none of the group wished to speak to any of us here at KSAF we were able to retrieve the 2046 archive interview of a neighbor to the Bellevue home.


WATANABE [OFF CAMERA]: Mr. Tanaka, how do you feel about living next to such an eccentric group?

TANAKA: Eccentric my ass! These kids is crazy. Some nights they stay up chanting and singing. Worse than the neighborhood dogs, frag damn'it [CUT EXPLETIVES]

WATANABE [OFF CAMERA]: Have you felt threatened by the "Children of Aurora?"

TANAKA: Threatened? Hell no. All these street punks could ever hurt is one of those god damn snakes or cats or squirrels they're always sacrificing. It sure as hell stretches the meaning of freedom of religion.

WATANABE [OFF CAMERA]: But do you ever feel that they could move on to sacrificing meta-humans?

TANAKA: I couldn't say. But they better not, er they'll be sucking on Remington slugs!

WATANABE [OFF CAMERA]: Thank you for your time, Mr. Tanaka.


SLADE'S VOICE OVER: Mr. Tanaka was soon to be proven wrong.



SLADE'S VOICE OVER [BLANK SCREEN]: For our more attentive viewers they will already have glimpsed at the conspiracy within.


As we can see the similarities between the two women are more than just coincidence.


The images of the two women match to a 99.99% certainty. But as of 2040 Jill Higham had no awakened talents, which can be confirmed by Lone Star records and Hollywood Prison records.

While members in the cult and other eye witness have observed Aurora Highstar casting various spells and summoning spirits.



SLADE'S VOICE OVER: One month ago there was the bizarre ritual murders at the home of Eric Simmons. Mr. Simmons, his wife, and two of his three children were slain, their bodies gutted like a fresh fish, or a sacrificed snake. Simmons was one of the original lawyers who worked for the city in dealing with the building site of the Renraku arcology.

That night two suspects were found at a bar near the residence. One of the suspects was shot and killed while resisting arrest. Autopsy later confirmed what the stool samples of the living suspect pointed at; the Simmons family had been partially eaten. No names have yet to be released.

Although all links from the suspects to the cult are circumstantial, Lone Star is still investigating and trying to find solid evidence that will prove Highstar ordered the slayings. The living suspect has gone through his preliminary hearings with his lawyers pleading insanity.


WATANABE: What does this all mean for the Children of Aurora? We shall have to wait and see. Although no charges have been brought against the cult in relation to the Simmons murders, sources have informed us that charges are being brought against the group for several misdemeanors. Also an eco-friendly group, who's identity is being legally withheld, is bringing charges against the cult for the unethical treatment of animals.

This is Michael Watanabe, signing off, for KSAF.


> That's about it for the KSAF report. With that being about five years ago, and nothing concrete pointing to the cult, and with all the other drek hitting the fan, the Children of Aurora slipped from the public eye.

Until now that is. Three weeks ago, after a public fund-raiser, gun shots sprayed the side of Governor Lindstrom's limo as he was getting in. The weapon was left at the crime scene although it appears that no one witnessed the shooter. But everything in the shadows is pointing towards the Children of Aurora, or at least to one of its members.

And just five days ago our military liaison, if you can believe that one folks, leaked info to us that the UCAS military was just 10 minutes away from being apart of a downtown crater. Seems a perceptive little private noticed "something strange" about a Ford-Canadian Bison parked as close as possible to the Renraku arcology and called in the bomb squad. By the time they found the box, which was hidden by an illusion, and defused the bomb they realized it was set to explode at midnight. The last wire was cut at 11:52 p.m.

Other sources are telling us that the Hell's Kitchen compound has seen a lot of activity. Well compared to the usual bleakness of the landscape it is considered more than usual. People coming and going at all hours. Strange lights and spirit sightings around the complex. When usually it has been very quiet around the compound. Word has it that the Children of Aurora are gearing up for something big when the comet comes flying by.

Our military man declined on posting any information himself, and with all the security surrounding the arcology I can understand his decision to stay in the shadow of the monolith.

My other source, an acquaintance with ties to Lone Star and Knight Errant, has agreed to post what he knows. Please understand that he has ties to both and works for neither. You'll see soon enough that there is no way in hell that he would have gotten past day one of the psych-tests. This isn't to discredit him. He's done work for us in the past and the security big boys still use him on occasion, so he must be doing something right.

>Captain Chaos.
    Posted 6 February 2061

Children of Aurora

    by Anonymous.

Okay, just to start this out right. No, you don't get to know my fragging name. No I'm not some pansy running around in the shadows playing at being some corporate snuggle bunny. And No, I don't like any of you. I prefer more nurturing pursuits than to spend all my time trying to make a drek load of cred only to spend it on removing bullets from my brain pan. Captain Chaos wants my rantings so that's good enough for all of us.

>Happy guy he is, yes?
>Bodega Bay Hermit

I had a friend that got caught up in the Children of Aurora deal about three or four years ago. That was when the group was at its peak. Right after KSAF aired with its little program. Of course the only freaks that watched that one were pathetic souls that enjoyed snake eating so all it did was bolster the cults membership. My friend had a loose tongue and so over a soy-beer or two I learned what I could from him about the group.

>Great that's just what I want in a source. A drunken cultist, a pillar of honesty and objectiveness.

In my experience (and that's quite a bit kiddies) I've seen a good handful of cults, up close and personal. And they all need a strong leader. If there isn't one to fill the void after the original one kicks off then the cult is sure to follow.

With the Aurora kids its almost no different. Jennifer (that's the name she goes by with her close friends) Highstar has been the leader and spokes person for the group going on sixteen years now. That's one hell of a long time for a cult to hang in. If a cult can pull through the first two years then it's a guarantee that it is here to stay. Also, just before the KSAF report (about the time of the murders), the cult got another leader but the news hounds never caught on to him. He's a reclusive fellow. Goes by the name of Icarus, and I hear that he's behind the terrorism that the cult is partaking in. Icarus is also the true magician of the CoA.

>You know you've hit the big time when they give you an acronym.
>Lil' Marcus

>I've seen this Highstar on occasion. She visits a shopping mall just outside of Auburn about every month. She picks up mostly water and preserved soy products. With the amount she buys I figure there are at least thirty people out there in Hell's Kitchen. Maybe less if they're stockpiling.
>Auburn Babe

From what I've pieced together, Icarus is always around whenever Highstar is seen casting magic. He's usually in the background with his eyes closed, meditating or something, which points to Icarus being the reason for Highstar's new found talent. Although there are other magicians in the group, no shamans as far as I can tell, none of the others have shown the degree of talent that Icarus or Highstar has shown.

>I had a friend of mine do some astral scouting out in Hell's Kitchen a few weeks ago, nevermind what for, and he said he saw the Children of Aurora doing some kind of ritual. He said that they were all in a circle, as if conjuring or something, but that less than half of the group was magical and there wasn't any real casting going on. He stuck around and watched for a moment but then he realized that one of the members, who I am assuming is this Icarus guy, wasn't meta-human. My friend said that his aura was different, almost as if Icarus was being possessed or was a shapeshifter or something. What ever it was, my friend said it wasn't human.

>Node-man your sources are just about as dreked as this Anonymous fragger.

>You're one to talk POALI. "No, my contacts assured me there is no zero-zone at this sight." Sure. You still pulling 30 cal. out of your hoop?

>Hurts to talk, eh POALI?

The CoA is a small time cult of fanatics that have been around almost as long as the Universal Brotherhood. I know what a lot of you stupid fraggers are thinking but these kids ain't insects. But they ain't a warm bunch of tree huggers either.

>I bet that's where this guy got his start. Knight Errant was using a lot of outside talent in the early stages of the UB investigations. I remember seeing this one guy always coming out of conferences with KE. Disheveled and erratic. Looked like a field mouse junked up on kamikaze. Foul mouthed. Always asking me if my breasts were real, or if he could sit in my lap to warm up before his meetings. Everybody was real sorry that he was the one the higher-ups picked to help out.
>Debbie Decker

>Well, are they real?

>Slot off.
>Debbie Decker

One thing's for certain. Any group that thinks they were "Born from the fiery firmament to work celestial miracles on earth," have to be a bit out of their gourds. And since this whole Haley's comet deal is coming round again the cult has been raising their collective voice.

>This whole comet thing is a cack. Like the moon landings and the Zurich-Orbital. Its all a conspiracy. You can't leave the atmosphere, let alone walk on the moon. The governments and corporations have been feeding us this bull-drek [2.4 Mp deleted by sysop]

>Take it to the "Space: the fake frontier" node, or I'll have to make your day.
>Captain Chaos
    Transmitted: 7 February 2061 12:32:58 MT

From what I've been hearing from my contacts is that with this being the lull in the northern lights but the comet coming Icarus has been declaring that the "time has come" and other such biblical rhetoric. It seems that at least some of the members are listing to him, i.e. one assassination minus the assassination and one car bomb minus the explosion.

>What I don't get is if these guys are so hung up about the borealis then why don't they up and move to where you can really see it. Head to Athabaskan territory or the T-PA. You can't even really see the lights down this far, even in the forsaken barrens, the lights of Seattle practically block the view.
>Mark Question

>Although I agree with why don't they move the hell out I think there is the real reason that the CoA stays: The Renraku arcology. Highstar hates it.
>Jason K.

>The Aurora, both in the south pole and the north, have grown stronger in the past thirty or so years. Has to do with the increase in sun spot activity. Seems that there was a 400 year lull in the sun spots between the 1400's and the 1800's. That was about the time for the "mini" ice age that plagued the Europeans. Since the late 1800's the sun spot activity, and hence the aurora activity, has increased slowly. So even in the last century, if the activity was high enough, the aurora borealis could be seen as far south as Portland. The last sun spot high was in 2056 and the next high is predicted in 2067.

And if you watched the KSAF report you can see the lights faintly. KSAF did a good job of getting them in the picture.
>Ion the sphere

So what are their terms or goals? The only official decree is that they wish to return to the heavens on the wisps of Aurora. What ever the hell that means. Unofficially its Jill Higham/ Jennifer Highstar's call and she still carries a grudge against Renraku and the city for ousting her from her squat so many decades ago. You can sure as drek bet the slitch was rolling on the floor laughing when she heard that Renraku lost control of their precious arcology. And I have even heard that Renraku had the CoA on their list of possible causes to the shut down.

>I smuggled some gear in from the S-S to the CoA just after the Arcology went down. I won't say what I smuggled but it wasn't soybeer and salsa-chips. Unfortunately I arrived just before some kind of sermon so I had to wait around to collect my pay. Let me tell all of you. These guys hate Renraku. This download is an audio recording that I took during the sermon. The first voice is that Highstar slitch and the second is Icarus. The other discernible voice is mine.

[Download: Audio]
[Download Complete]

VOICE 1 [Resonant and soothing]: The Aurora has sent its holy light dealing our enemy a mighty blow. We stand on the brink of a new sky. The Aurora, so beautiful, has given us the wings to fly.

VOICE 2 [Deep and grating]: We are the rebels against that corporate despot, that monolith of pain. Pain that has for so long taken from us our right to live. Our time is at hand. We will take back that precious land and rebuild it anew!

VOICE 1 [Growing excited]: We the Children of Aurora will preserver. For those of you that were with me during our fall, you will see the rebuilding of our glorious age! To the hellfire's with this Ren-ra-ku! For those of you that came unto our fold after; your hearts will soar with new purpose. We will take back our Eden, our sacred garden!

VOICE 3 [Whispering]: What the frag?

VOICE 2 [Loudly]: Soon my children, soon! That angry giant will tumble into the sea. We are gathering our stones to throw at that glass house!

VOICE 3 [Whispering]: Frag this.

[End Audio Download]

I started feeling tired and sick. Not just from the damn rhetoric, but I actually felt like I just woke up to a night of tequila. So I left. The meeting went on for about half an hour. After that I met with both Highstar and Icarus. Highstar seemed scattered. I'm no psychologist, but I figured her schizo. It was Icarus that scared me. Just deep down frightened me. Maybe it was his cold gray eyes and the fact that he was built like a troll. But I've been around big fraggers before and this was different.

>From the sound of things I would say that the recent car bomb attempt was the CoA trying to clear the ground, so to speak, of their arch-nemesis.
>Mr. Insightful

>That and the attempt on Gov. Lindstrom. He did have a large part in the original Renraku-Seattle negotiations.
>Ol' Law-yer Man

>So if everyone has it out for the CoA then why aren't they just wiped out?
>Mark Question

>It's not as easy as that MQ. There still is this thing called freedom of religion in UCAS and the government has made enough mistakes in the past to play it carefully with each and every small time cult that rears its head. But with all the problems that the UB caused you can bet it won't be long until someone bears down on the CoA.
>Bill O'Rightly

>Two words: Black-Ops.
    "Nuke'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

>I've already been approached by one Johnson to break into the compound. He smelled corporate so I figured him Renraku, but I couldn't trace his tail. Needless to say, it wasn't my cup of tea so I figure he's still looking for the right boys for the job.

As far as Icarus goes. He seems more interested in control of the group from the shadows. Right at the groupís peak another member got angry at the way Highstar was doing things and attempted a small coup. In jumps Icarus and squashes the usurper, literally. A two ton concrete block fell on him. Quite the accident I must say.

>So who, or what, is this Icarus guy?
>Mark Question

>From what I've gathered is that Icarus is either a powerful initiate that is masking his aura, or he is some kind of free spirit that has possessed a body. As far as I can tell he's not HMHVV infected, as that would seem obvious from the cannibalistic nature of the Simmon's murder, but none of the members that I've assenced seem to be infected either.
>Astral decker

>I'm sorry, but this Icarus has to be a ghoul. He smells, he's ugly, and I've seen him chow down on an elf.

The group has been careful not to store anything illegal in their Hell's Kitchen Compound. Or at least they've been able to hide it well enough to escape two Lone Star raids. They're gearing up for something big, but it sure ain't gonna be a mass suicide. They've been around for 16 years and they haven't had the suicidal urge before; only homicidal. And that makes me feel so much better.

I know for a fact that Lone Star wants the Aurora cult out of town. And I know they know Jennifer Highstar is Jill Higham. But it seems that all records of Jill Higham have been "misplaced," both from the Lone Star offices and Hollywood correctional facility. More than the murders or the sacrificing of small animals, deleting their precious files is what erks Lone Star the most.

>And let me tell you, Lone Star databases are not an easy nut to crack. Sure it can be done but not without a very good decker. Who ever these Aurora guys are they sure must be more than a few wacked out neo-hippies.
    I live at 24 Grovetree Ave. Everette.

>Speaking from experience, Herm?

>Experience and psycotropic conditioning. Who loves the Star?

>Look I hate the Star and everything that it has done to me and my family. I'll bring it down one way or another.
    I live at 24 Grovetree Ave. Everette.

>What ever psycho boy.

>Erik "Herman" Rhodes was taken in by Lone Star officials yesterday for illegally decking into their databases on four occasions. Lets all wish Herman a nice return stay at Hollywood correctional facilities.

Understandably Mr. Lindstrom is also angry with the cult. I guess he doesn't take well to being shot at and has been breathing down the FBI's neck to do something about it. But the FBI hates being shouted at so they are taking their time on this one.

>Rumor has it that a special agent overheard Lingstrom bad mouthing the bureau and now there is a rift growing between the acting governor and the FBI.

The military is looking into the car bomb incident as well. They've narrowed their list down to about twenty groups. 14 local and 6 based outside of Seattle. The CoA are damn near the top of that list, but the military hasn't been able to trace the magic or the bomb back to the kids and they have a lot of other troubles slowing down the search.

All in all this next year is sure to see the CoA in the headlines. Either because two leaders in a cult is usually one to many or because they'll manage to blow the whole fragging sprawl to the heavens. My prediction is the first. Either Highstar or Icarus will want total control and that will take up most of their energy. After that, if the cult doesn't destroy itself first, then the attention will go back to Seattle and Renraku.

Game Information

In 2040 Jill Higham was forcibly removed from Pioneer Square to make way for the Renraku arcology. Then, just a charismatic twenty year old transient who had found somewhat of a home, Higham was given a purpose. From her cell in the Hollywood correctional facilities she would watch the Aurora lights and that was when the voices started in her head. At first they soothed her to sleep, but over time the voices started sowing the seeds of revenge. These voices gave her the blueprint to create the Children of Aurora. Although the penal psychologists diagnosed Higham as schizophrenic the voices in her head were originating from outside her mind.

Icarus was once in service to a magician. The magician had conjured up his earth elemental in 2039 using ground from Pioneer Square in the ritual. Ill treated by his master Icarus bid his time as only a spirit can. When his master died in 2040 Icarus was born free as a Guardian and spent most of his time in the park. When Renraku started building, Icarus tried to rally the locals to fight the intrusion. He lost. The rape of his mother-land drove the spirit mad. With three nuclear reactors now in the place of his "roots" Icarus became a Shadow spirit intent on finding a way to destroy the despoilers. Icarus sought out Higham. Using Mind Probes Icarus built his plans on Higham's reverence for the northern light.

When Higham was released she used the plans given to her by Icarus and her natural charisma to form her cult. Using magic, Icarus convinced a decker to erase all records of Higham and then killed the decker. This was Icarus' first murder as a free spirit and it awoke something dark in him. From the sidelines Icarus would have the newly named Highstar secretly order a few members to commit ritual murders. Icarus would possess a member and take part in the slayings, gaining temporary power in the process. Icarus found a way to temporarily drain essence by installing fear in his victims and eating their entrails while the victims were still alive.

In 2046 the group made its way into the public view. It was also at this time that Icarus and Highstar began their first moves against Renraku. Highstar sent two members to kill the Simmons family. Icarus possessed one of the killers and persuaded the other to take part in the cannibalism. Icarus left the body he possessed just before Lone Star gunned the man down.

2048 and 2052 saw two more slayings of former city officials that took part in the arcology deal but there was no evidence, other that the cannibalism, to link the killings to the group.

In 2056 KSAF received one of their mysterious downloads instructing them to cover a public ritual held by the CoA. Unknown to KSAF, and the public, the ritual was one of many designed to give Icarus Karma. The karma award gave Icarus enough power to raise his Force rating and receive the power of Human Form.

Upon attaining human form Icarus appeared within the folds of the CoA and began acting as co-leader with Highstar. Highstar is the only member of the cult to know of Icarus' origin and even with that, Highstar still believes Icarus to be a "child of the Aurora.

Icarus now leads, with Highstar more as a side-line coach, in the cults' sermons. But uses his power of Temporary Essence Drain to gain power from the members and addicting them to his leadership.

All the while Icarus and Highstar make patient plans to kill all the players of the Renraku Arcology. For the time being they are sticking to killing city officials that were apart of the arcology plan. Although they see the shutdown of the arcology as karmic retribution, they are at a loss as to how to get into the arcology to assassinate the corporate players.

Using the Chidden of Aurora

The cult is patient and calculating. Most of the members are unaware of the hidden agenda that Icarus and Highstar peruse. As of 2061 there are only 30 or so members of the cult living in Hell's Kitchen. Half of which are families where cultists became lovers and are now raising children in the compound. Other than Icarus there are only two other magicians in the cult. Both of which are low, if at all, initiates and are loyal to Icarus. The other half of the members tend to be ex-gangers or other barren's lowlife.

The cult has used shadowrunners in the past to gain information on impending targets, but for the actual wetwork Icarus prefers to use his followers as they are more receptive to his possessions. With the complications that have arisen from the arcology shutdown the cult is looking for information on residents inside and how to enter the building to achieve their ends.

On the other end; Lone Star, the FBI, Renraku Security and UCAS Military Intelligence are all looking into the cult at some level or another. Any one of these organizations could hire shadowrunners to find out more about the cult. And if the cult steps up their assassination attempts there may be some shadow prices on Highstar and Icarus' heads.


Highstar is the fanatic leader of the cult. She believes in the mythology of being a child of the Aurora that Icarus has fed her. Her skills and abilities are relatively average save for her charisma and leadership skills which are both above rating 5.

Icarus is a twenty one year old free spirit that has collected as much power as possible over the years. He started out as a Force 4 Earth Elemental and he is now defined as a Free Shadow Earth Elemental with a force of 7 or greater and a healthy reserve of Spirit Energy. Aside from the base powers of an earth elemental, Icarus also has the powers of Possession, Aura Masking, Human Form, Sorcery and Temporary Essence Drain.

How it is possible that Icarus received the power to drain essence is up to the GM, but the only time that Icarus is known to have used the power is either in his sermons or in the consuming of his prey. Both of which give the free spirit little time to use the benefits from the temporary drain (see Critters Sourcebook pg. 10).