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The specific case I'm wondering about is dealing with my Free Spirit character. From the Runner's Companion, page 91, it states:

Each free spirit has a home metaplane. While no longer a permanent address, the spirit still has ties to this home and may travel from astral space to its native metaplane with a Complex Action. It may return to astral space at any point on Earth that it has previously visited with a Complex Action

What were to happen if a fully-enclosed mana barrier had been erected around that location in the meantime? Does travel from the metaplanes to the astral plane happen, essentially, right then and there in that exact spot, thus circumventing the barrier (though then being trapped inside)? And, if that were the case, could an astral entity capable of going to the metaplanes simply escape a mana barrier cage using such methods?

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Yes, an astral entity capable of going to the metaplanes can simply escape a mana barrier cage using such methods.
The entity can leave the astral plane from inside the barrier cage and return to its metaplane. From its metaplane it can go where it wants in the astral plan, and vice versa.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This was my interpretation as well. Is there any reference that solidly supports this as being the case? \$\endgroup\$ – Mike Guthrie Jul 11 '14 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I read a scenario with this interpretation, but I don't remember which scenario. \$\endgroup\$ – Archaos Jul 11 '14 at 14:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ in SR5, this is explicitly mentioned as a way a spirit can get around mana barriers. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Aug 9 '14 at 19:01

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