Cyberpunk 2036

Epilogue

The couple sit in their lab and watch the Network 54 news feed. The anchor is speaking to Bryce, the media reporter who had just had his expose hit big ratings. It was the story of a group of people who had been framed for a both the murder of Arasaka Executive Burton Chambers and supposedly running a drug ring through their salvage company in Night City. Bryce explains how these people not only found the evidence to exonerate themselves, but they also exposed the fact that Chambers orchestrated the whole corporate war between IHAG and CINO. He knew it would lead to a conflict between Militech and Arasaka. He did all of this to force Arasaka to unleash the Soul Killer virus. Whoever had hacked Arasaka’s network, not only found the evidence of what Chambers was up to, but also proof that the Soul Killer virus had not been destroyed, contrary to Arasaka’s claims for years.

Bryce’s expose only speculated as to whether the hack of Arasaka’s network had anything to do with the catastrophic accident at the Arasaka Tower. There was an explosion in the nuclear reactor that did extensive damage to the building, requiring it to be completely torn down. There was much concern about radiation damage. Downtown Night City was shut down for several days until the reactor pile could be encased in concrete. Reports of actual radiation exposure was minimal.

In the sixth months since that incident, the people featured in the expose were able reopen the business they owned including Jimmy Two-Teeth’s, the Golden Saloon, and the Platinum Saloon. Jimmy Two Teeth’s got its city contract back. They also have a big law suit pending against Arasaka that they will surely win. Whether they actually collect is another matter.

Arasaka has not fared so well. The Night City tower was the center of their North American operations. Losing it has been a major blow to them. Furthermore, the revelation that the Soul Killer virus still existed has both SOCAL and the US government considering major sanctions against the corporation, including possibly banning them from operating on US soil.

When the interview comes to an end, the woman turns the TV off. She turns to her cyborg lover and asks, “Do we need to do something about them?”

“No,” he answers. “Let them be. They have played their part. All that matters is the Burton Chambers is no longer a threat.”

“So now what?” she asks.

Tobias Luna looks at Dr. Monroe and then turns to look at the frozen form of Jace Grant. He smiles and says “Now we begin.”

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Episode 53 - The End of the End

August 19th, 2041

Helios and Kahale stake out the Arasaka tower. They notice on a couple of occasions that a Microtech truck goes back and forth between the Microtech Building and the Arasaka Tower.

They contact Flatspin and ask her to pull as much data as she can on Korimichi, the head of IT for the Arasaka Night City office.

Riptide talks to Kaitlyn Jones about needing IDs for both the Arasaka community in Pacifica and the Night City Tower. She recommends a fixer named Grateful.

August 20th 2041

Mouse hacks the Microtech Mainframe. A daunting task for most netrunners, but with all of the hardware he has access to thanks to his working relationship with Masslight, he is able to get in and get out without incident. He is able to find two Microtech employees who have pre-established clearance to get into the Arasaka Security Bunker below the parking garage in the tower. Their names are Phillip McNalley and Matthew Woodward.

Riptide goes and meets with Grateful. Grateful’s prices are steep, but he can get them security badges for both Pacifica and the Arasaka Tower. The problem is that the Arasaka Tower badges won’t actually work for the access control system in the tower because computer security is too tight and planting the credentials in their system is impossible.
Once the team is back together, they discuss what else they need to do. They end up deciding to bring Ripper on board, as they will need all the help they can get.

August 21st, 2041

Kahale and Helios do recon on the two Microtech employees. Phillip lives in one of the New Harbor Mallplex Towers and Matt lives in an apartment building in Westhill.

August 22nd, 2041

Flatspin has the info on Korimichi and his family. Korimichi takes an osprey from his estate to the tower every day. The two kids go to school at an Arasaka school in Pacifica. Korimichi’s wife Andrea, has a limo that takes her shopping and to her various charity functions.

August 23rd, 2041

The team irons out the last details of the plan, like the fact that they have not considered their exit strategy. Kahale and Helios get their truck painted to look like a Microtech truck.

August 24th, 2041

Grateful delivers the ID badges. Militech is able to provide the Arasaka uniforms they need.

August 25th, 2041

At 7:00PM, the phase 1 of the plan is launched. Helios makes his way to Westhill to the home of Matthew Woodward. Kahale heads to the New Harbor Mallplex to the home of Philip McNalley. The rest of the team suits up in their Arasaka uniforms and begin the drive out to Pacifica.

Kahale uses Krissy’s Mallplex access card to get into the tower. He hangs out in the hallway until Phil arrives. Just as Phil has unlocked his door, Kahale shoves him inside and subdues him. He uses a retinal scanner to get a copy of Phil’s eye. He then asks for Phil’s PIN number. Phil refuses, but one broken finger later, he spills the goods. Kahale tells him to get comfortable as they will be there a while.

Across town, Helios arrives at Matt’s apartment building. He pops the panel on the door intercom and easily triggers the door lock. He finds Matt’s apartment and knocks on the door. When Matt opens the door, Helios tries to push him in. Matt was an offensive lineman in college and holds his ground, preventing Helios from making any headway. Helios draws his pistol and shoves it into Matt’s mouth. He has no problem getting cooperation from Matt after that. In a few minutes he has Matt’s retinal scan and PIN number.

The rest of the team, which consists of Riptide, Zen, Saito, Mouse, Ripper, and Krissy, arrives at the Arasaka controlled neighborhood in Pacifica. They show their security badges to the gate guards. After a cursory check, the guards let them in.

They drive to the estate of Ikara Korimichi. Zen and Riptide speak to the guard on the other side of the gate. He is suspicious of their claim that they are there to provide additional security. He asks to see their IDs and says he intends to call them in. Knowing that the IDs will not be in Arasaka’s system, Zen hits the guard with her gang jazzler as she hands him her ID. The electrical jolt causes him to collapse to the ground. Saito climbs up on top of the van and uses it to reach the top of the wall. He then drops down the other side and opens the gate. They drag the unconscious body of the guard into his guard shack and most of the team heads up the driveway to the house. Ripper stays behind and mans the gate.

At the house, they get out of the van and head to the front door. Riptide knocks on the door. He hears the sound of a gun being charged and dives out of the way as a hail of bullets punch their way through the front door. Saito kicks in the front door as Krissy lobs a frag grenade into the front hallway followed by a flash bang grenade from Zen. Saito and Riptide move in and kill or subdue the bodyguards who had taken up position in the hallway.

They spread out and search the house. Saito finds Ikara Korimichi in an upstairs bedroom with his family. Saito tells him that they are there to rescue him and his family.

Downstairs, Zen finds the security room and sees that there was a camera at the front gate, which explains why the house guards were ready for them. She realizes however, that they have a much bigger problem. It seems that the house security called for an Arasaka strike team for support and a squad was on its way via AV and would be there in a couple of minutes.

Saito immediately drops all pretenses and tells Ikara that if he does not want anything to happen to his family he needs to do everything that he is told. The rest of the team quickly loads the dead and unconscious guards into their van and have Ripper and Krissy drive away with them.

Outside, the AV does a quick circle around the property before landing in the back yard. A squad of 10 men pour out and immediately move to the house. The team quickly surrenders and tells the strike team that they had arrived and chased off the attackers and that everything is under control. The strike leader says they cannot leave until the house has been cleared. Everyone’s IDs will have to be verified as well.

Things look like they are about to go from bad to worse when Ikara, with Saito’s subtle prompting, tells the strike team leader that he needs to immediately get to his office in the Arasaka Tower. The strike leader protests, but Ikara makes it clear that this is an order. The strike leader reluctantly obeys.

Everyone begins to load into the AV. Zen quickly radios Krissy and tells her that she and Ripper should return to the house and secure the family. She also tells her to relay to Helios and Kahale that Phase 2 of the plan, which was not supposed to start until tomorrow morning is an immediate go.

They take the 10 minute flight to the Arasaka Tower. The team tries to avoid eye contact with the strike team, which is not easy considering the cramped conditions. The team’s uniforms and weapons are authentic, but the IDs could fail. On top of this, no one will believe on close inspection that Mouse is a security guard, not to mention the fact that Zen is carrying a satchel full of thermite tubes.

After the world’s longest 10 minute flight, the AV lands on the roof of Tower A. There the team sees firsthand the SAM launchers and Phalanx guns that protect the building. The AV is lowered via elevator to the hanger beneath. There everyone unloads. Zen spots Adam Smasher talking to a young female flight technician. He is bragging to her about something he has that is very large, but being a full conversion cyborg, she’s not 100% sure what he is referring to.

They descend to the security level on the 126 floor. There again, Ikara uses his authority to let them pass the checkpoint after having only shown their IDs for visual inspection. They go to his office where they force him to add their credentials to the security system and issue an emergency work order for Microtech to deliver some computer equipment to the security bunker.

They then tell him to input their security badges into the system with full security clearance. He tells them that he does not have the power to grant security clearance, which is probably true, but they also know that with his access to the system, he could make it happen none the less. Reluctantly, he goes in and adds their clearance. They then hang tight for about 10 minutes before going to the next phase. Zen stays behind to watch Ikara while Saito, Riptide and Mouse head down to the 85th floor.

Meanwhile, a Microtech painted truck rolls up the parking garage with Kahale and Helios in front, and a disassembled bomb that Mouse modified to look like server components stored in the back. Militech told them that the chemical components that would mix to detonate the bomb would not be detected by the bomb sniffing devices if kept separate. The truck parks between the bomb sensors as a guard checks their Microtech IDs. They have modified versions of Phil and Matt’s IDs with their own pictures on them.

The gate guard checks their IDs, and lets them through. They pull into the bottom floor of the parking garage and unload the disguised bomb parts. They each take their payload and enter the man trap that leads to the security bunker. They enter their PIN numbers and take the retinal scan. The upgraded cyberoptics they had installed do the trick, mimicking the retinal pattern of the Microtech employee that each is replacing. A guard issues them each a radiation tag and escorts them to the data core.

As they carry their gear to the data core they have two concerns. They used the stolen employee IDs to get past security, but the people working in the data core room will recognize that these two are not the employees they claim to be. They will need to switch tags to the ones with other names, but they need to do that without the security guard seeing.

The second problem is that based on the signage they see in the bunker regarding radiation exposure, they realize that the Arasaka Tower is powered by a self-contained, mini-pile nuclear reactor and its down here in the bunker with them and their bomb.
They arrive at the door to the data core. Helios uses his PIN to trigger the door. The guard seems satisfied and turns to walk way. The two immediately trade out their ID badges and enter the room.

The two men working in the room turn to see them and immediately ask who they are. They explain that this is an emergency call, which is why Matt and Phil aren’t doing the work as usual. The two technicians are highly suspicious. First, they had never seen a four-armed cyborg doing IT work. Second, why were they not informed about it? One of them looks in the system and sees that there is indeed a work order for an installation, and it came from Korimichi himself.

The two techs agree to allow the work to be done but insist that they directly oversee it. Helios wants to take them out, but there are cameras in the room. Instead, Kahale tells them that Koremichi instructed him to send them up to his office. They don’t believe this at all, so one of the tech’s calls up to Korimichi’s office.

Zen is sitting at Korimichi’s desk keeping an eye on the IT VP when the desk phone rings. She answers and the person on the other end identifies himself as Eric Lash from the security bunker, and asks if he and his partner ae supposed to come up and see Korimichi. Figuring this was a ploy by Helios and Kahale, she says that indeed Mr. Korimichi needs to see them both right away.

The tech hangs up the phone and tells Kahale and Helios that he and the other tech will be back shortly. As soon as they leave, the two began assembling the bomb. Aware of the camera in the room, they go about assembling the bomb as casually as possible.

Back in Korimichi’s office, the phone again rings. Zen picks up the phone and says she is Korimichi’s secretary. The voice on the other end is Burton Chambers. He demands to speak to Korimichi immediately. Zen does her best to stall him, but Chambers becomes angry very quickly. She just drops the phone and heads out the door to go down to the 85th floor.

On the 85th floor, Saito and Riptide stand guard over Mouse. Mouse suddenly stirs and announces that he has found the information regarding Chambers frame job on them, and has downloaded it to his cyberdeck. He will now begin downloading it to an offsite location. He needs to get this done quickly, because once Militech launches its distraction attack, Masslight will drop the communications wall around the tower.

Several minutes later, Zen enters the IT room where the other three are and updates them on the situation. They agree to have Zen stand guard over Mouse while the other two go deal with Chambers. Shortly after they leave, she gets a phone call from Krissy. She can barely hear Krissy over all of the heavy gun fire in the background. Krissy yells about something big coming through the roof of the house and then the phone goes dead. Zen tries to call back there is no answer.

Zen then notices that Mouse is sitting in an awkward position. She checks to see if he is ok, but he seems totally lifeless. She unplugs him from the net, which should be a shock to him, but still no response. She tries to get him to respond but nothing. Mouse had been worried about encountering the Soul Killer virus in Arasaka’s data net, since they knew it had been released. It appears that his biggest fear has come true. Mouse’s body is still alive, but his mind is gone, taken by the Soul Killer.

Zen takes out her pistol and puts it to Mouse’s head. It didn’t seem right killing their longtime friend, but she reminded herself that he is no longer there, and pulled the trigger. Unsure of whether or not he was able to send out the information, she takes his cyberdeck and places it in her satchel.

Just then, sirens begin to wail. Pre-recorded messages play over the intercom telling troops to assemble for deployment. The Militech attack has begun. This means the communication wall would be dropped in moments, leaving only the satellite antennas to be dealt with.

Zen heads up to the roof to deal with the antennas. It was supposed to be Mouse’s job to disable the antennas, but it now fell to her. What she lacks in technical knowledge, she makes up for in tubes of thermite.

Saito and Riptide arrive on the 125th floor and go to Koremichi’s office. There they find Koremichi still secured. They then wait for several minutes for Chambers to arrive, but now hearing the alarm going off to muster the troops, they figure that it’s time to go see him.
They walk across the floor to where Chamber’s apartment is located. The door is not locked. They open the door and see Burton Chambers pouring himself a drink. He invites them in and offers them a drink. They enter the apartment but turn down the drink. They ask him where Adam Smasher is. He says that Adam is currently offsite dealing with another matter.

Zen is on the roof applying thermite to the antenna. As AVs full of troops come up to the roof via the elevators and take off, everything is too chaotic to notice what she is doing. As the super-heated thermite begins to melt its way through the transmissions lines, she quickly heads downstairs to the hanger to deal with the backup antenna.

Doing her best to not draw attention to herself, she slowly makes her way over to the backup antenna. She begins prepping the last tubes of thermite when one of the elevators to the roof begins to descend. She hears Adam Smasher’s voice over a loud speaker say “People argue over what’s more bad-ass, a full conversion cyborg, or wearing power armor. I say, why not do both?” On the descending elevator is a modified suit of Arasaka power armor. It’s massive, standing a good 12 ft. tall. It has a grenade launcher mounted on one shoulder, and a heavy machine gun on the other. In its hands it clutches a rail gun. Smasher uses the railgun to blast the two remaining AVS. “Just want to make sure you don’t go anywhere,” he says. Zen looks to try and hide, but the big power armor suit turns to look right at her.

Helios and Kahale finish assembling the bomb. They switch ID tags again to Arasaka Security badges that grant them access to the building. They are out of range with the rest of the team so they don’t know how the rest of the plan is going or if their IDs have been entered into the security system and will actually work. They return to the parking garage and grab their security uniforms and weapons. They then take the elevator to the 20th floor where they pass through the first security check point. Their ID badges pass inspection and they take the next elevator up into tower A.

Helios questions what is going to happen when they detonate a bomb next to a nuclear reactor. Kahale says he saw a documentary once on these mini-pile reactors and says that it will be buried under so much concrete from the parking garage collapse that radiation exposure should be minimal. Helios then asks if the building still be standing after the reactor goes. Kahale just shrugs his shoulders. Not the answer Helios was hoping for as they ascend higher into the tower.

Burton Chamber’s apartment, Riptide and Saito have their weapons trained on Chambers. He seems none too worried. He sips his scotch and comments that it is the one drawback of being a cyborg, nothing quite tastes the same. He commends them on getting this far but he also reminds them of what he told them in the Night City Park. He is untouchable, and they are mere bugs under his foot. He tells them that he knows they got here via Korimichi and that Adam Smasher has eliminated the two team members that they left behind at Korimichi’s house. Nice try, but it’s over.

Saito agrees, thumbs the fire selector on his rifle to full-auto and empties the entire clip into Burton Chambers. The executive’s body lurches about from the bullet impacts and collapses to the floor. Saito inspects the body and sees that it is indeed a cyborg body; a very expensive one designed to look perfectly human. This is the second time he has killed Burton Chambers, but with the data core still operational, it will not be the last time they see him. Riptide points out that Chambers likely has an offsite back up system somewhere, so it is imperative that they don’t let him get outside the communications wall. Tower A has no method of escape any more, but Tower B is still operational.

In the hanger, Adam Smasher opens fire with the heavy machine gun at Zen. She tries to dive out of the way but is hit. The bad news is that she has some serious bleeding. The good news is that in his excitement to kill her, Adam Smasher destroyed the backup antenna that she was hiding behind.

The elevator carrying Helios and Kahale passes the 80th floor when their ear coms pick up the chatter from the rest of the team. The signal is full of static, but the message is clear. Blow the bomb and get to the roof of Tower B. Helios hits the button for the 90th floor and the two exit the elevator. Kahale pulls out the detonator and hopes that the two signal relays they dropped off on the way up do their job and carry the signal. He hits the button and after what seems like an eternity, the whole building shakes and seems to jump like a car going over a bump. All of the power goes out, but then emergency lights kick in and fire suppression systems go off.

The resulting chaos allows them to pass through the check point unchallenged. They run across the skywalk to Tower B. The elevators are not operational so they begin to take the stairwell the remaining 35 flights to the hanger.

Saito and Riptide reach the security level on the 125th floor. People are scrambling everywhere so no one stops them as they walk into the armory and find the two biggest electro-thermo anti-armor guns they can find. They then take the stairwell to the hanger.

Zen moves to increasing less effective cover as Adam Smasher continues to spray the area with machine gun fire. She is about to completely run out of cover when Riptide and Saito arrive from the stairwell. They fire their guns, hitting the PA suite and punching holes in the armor. Adam immediately turns is attention to them and begins pouring suppression fire into the stairwell. Both are hit, but their armor prevents the wounds from being fatal.

All around them echoes a loud sound like the rending of metal.

Zen runs up behind Adam Smasher and jumps onto the back of the PA suit. She holds on with one hand while opening one of the thermite tubes with the other. Adam Smasher drops his rail gun and reaches back and pulls Zen off his back with the crushing group of his hand. Zen is about to pass out from the pressure when she dumps the contents of the thermite tube onto the arm of the PA suit.

No longer suppressed, Saito and Riptide again appear in the doorway and open fire. Adam literally tosses Zen side and watches as the right arm of his PA suit melts off at the elbow. Now he is really mad and opens fire again with the machine gun on the stairwell door way.

This time Saito and Riptide are ready and duck back in time. But when the machine gun runs out of ammo, Adam switches to the grenade launcher and begins pumping frag grenades into the stairwell. Riptide and Saito are forced back to the security floor as a storm of shrapnel rips through the stairwell, shredding their armor and cutting into their flesh. They make it back to the security floor, but both are badly wounded.

Another loud sound is heard like the whole structure of the tower is groaning.

Zen regains consciousness and find herself laying on one of the AV elevator platforms. She rolls over to the controller and hits the ascend button. As Adam Smasher pumps grenades into the stairwell, the elevator takes her up to the roof.

She is laying on the roof of Tower A, applying some first aid to herself when she looks over at Tower B and sees an AV landing. Emerging from the hanger access is Burton Chambers, escorted by two security guards. She opens fire with her rifle but Burton Chambers merely laughs at her feeble attempt to stop him.

Suddenly, for everyone in Tower A, the whole world moves. There is a loud series of bangs and several of the crosswalks explode from metal fatigue and Tower A seems to shrink by several floors and then lean over and collapse into Tower B.

Zen is forced to grab hold of the elevator controller in order to avoid sliding across the roof and slamming into the side of Tower B.

In the hanger, Adam Smasher loses his footing, falls over and slides feet first across the hanger, one of his legs getting stuck in the stairwell door.

Helios and Kahale arrive at the Tower B Hanger. They just ran up 35 flights of stairs and pure adrenaline is the only thing keeping them from collapsing. They immediately begin to climb the access ladder to the roof.

They emerge on to the roof to see Burton Chambers getting into an AV. They immediately begin exchanging fire with the two security guards.

Saito and Riptide reenter the stairwell and see the leg of the PA suit sticking though the doorway. They cautiously approach and do not see any movement. The two push hard on the leg, making just enough room to squeeze past it. But when they are to get around the PA suit, they discover that the suit has been opened and Adam Smasher is no longer inside.

On the roof of Tower B, Burton Chambers climbs into the AV as his bodyguards trade fire with Helios and Kahale. They know that if that AV is able to fly outside of the communications wall, all of this will have been for nothing.

On the slanted roof of Tower A, Zen begins to consider how she can safely slide to the edge of the building and climb the 40 feet to get to the roof of Tower B. Several of the blast resistant windows have shattered, so she may be able to climb into the tower.

Just as she is preparing to slide down, a roof access hatch opens and out climbs Adam Smasher. He is no longer in his power armor, but he is still a full conversion cyborg and appears unscathed, whereas Zen is barely combat effective. He begins the climb towards her, yelling various horrible things he intends to do to her.

Over at Tower B, Helios kills one of the bodyguards as Kahale begins shooting at the AV. The AV appears to be up armored, and shrugs off the shots. It begins to lift into the air.

On Tower A, Adam Smasher reaches Zen and attacks with his mono-knife. Zen desperately tries to dodge the blows, but Adam is relentless. Suddenly he jolts as armor piercing slugs punch into his body. He turns to see Riptide standing by the access hatch with the big rifle he took from the armory. Adam slides down the roof looking to cannonball right into Riptide.

On Tower B, Helios takes down the other bodyguard as the AV begins to fly away. Kahale launches a full salvo of mini-missiles from his cyberarms. They strike the AV just as it clears the roof. At first the AV looks unaffected, but then there is a loud bang as smoke and fire begin to pour out of one of the vector thrust engines. Knowing that the AV was about to lose flight capability and that there is no surviving the 1,680 foot drop to the street, the pilot quickly turns the AV around and crashes it in the roof go Tower B.

On Tower A, Smasher slams into Riptide, sending his gun flying. Adam stabs Riptide with his mono knife. The ultra-sharp blade combined with Adam’s enhanced strength allow the knife to cut through Riptide’s armor and his skin weave and slice deep into flesh and bone. The wound is potentially fatal, but Riptide does his best to keep Smasher’s attention on him.

On Tower B, Helios and Kahale grab the access door on the AV and together, pull it off of its hinges. Kahale enters and is immediately attacked by Burton Chambers. The two cyborgs duke it out, but eventually the four-armed Kahale gets the upper hand and grapples Burton, holding him in place. Helios pops his wolver claws and decapitates Burton Chambers.

On Tower A, Adam Smasher is about to deliver the killing blow to Riptide when he feels the barrel of a gun pressed against his head. He turns to see Saito holding an anti-armor electro-thermo rifle against his head. He is about to make a smart ass comment when Saito pulls the trigger. Smasher’s skull explodes, sending pieces of metal and brain matter everywhere.

Saito helps Riptide staunch his bleeding. He looks up to see Helios standing on the edge of Tower B. He drops something off the edge and lands near Saito. Its Burton Chamber’s head. The brain case has cracked and brain matter is leaking out.

The team does a status check, each group learns that the other has survived and that Chambers and Smasher are dead. They can see that below them, multiple fires burn, and Tower A experiences another explosion and drops another few feet. It is likely only minutes away from total collapse. They then here the roar of vector thrust engines as several Arasaka AVs arrive. Their first reaction is to figure out how to fight or flee, but then they realize they are all wearing Arasaka uniforms and IDs.

Rescue teams rappel down ropes and begin doing triage on the team and the other wounded personnel. Eventually they are flown to Night City Park, where Arasaka has set up a rally point and emergency medical center. Over a hundred wounded people are being attended to.

Using the chaos and confusion of the scene, the team slowly and quietly disappears into the night.

It is finally over. Chambers and Smasher are dead, this time for good. They have the evidence to clear their names and get their lives back. But it cost the lives of three of their friends: Mouse, Ripper, and Krissy. Was it worth it? That will be for each of them to decide.

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Episode 52 - The Best Laid Plans

August 17th, 2041

The team borrows Dr. Monroe’s private jet to return to Lima, Peru. There they catch some rest and make some phone calls. The first is to Colin Fisk. Riptide explains that they want to raid the Arasaka Tower in Night City, trash the server and kill Burton Chambers. Colin, once he gets over the shock, asks to meet them in Las Vegas.

The next call is to Ray Stevenson, Riptide’s entertainer friend in Vegas. Ray hooks them up with a suite at the Network 54/MGM Grand.

The third call is to Mouse. He agrees to meet them in Las Vegas as well.

August 18th, 2041

The team charters a plane with their rapidly depleting funds, and fly to Las Vegas. During the flight, they begin to discuss what they need to. The Arasaka Night City Tower is said to be the second most secure building in the world, behind the Arasaka Tokyo Tower. The team decides that this is the time to pull out all the stops and call in every favor they can think of. Zen calls Krissy, who is game for whatever they want to do.

They arrive in the early evening, where they are met by Ray, who takes them to their hotel suite. In a short matter of time they are joined by Mouse and then Colin Fisk who has brought along Sphinx, Militech’s infiltration specialist.

The planning begins, and goes into the early morning hours. Sphinx gives them the layout of the building, explaining that it is officially 130 stories high. The bottom 20 floors are a single structure, but after that, the building separates into two towers. There are crosswalks ever 10 floors starting in the 30th and ending on the 100th floor.

Beneath the building is 12 levels of parking garage, a mechanical level, and finally a security bunker. Inside the bunker is the data core, the building’s power generation, and barracks for 40 troops plus 5 personnel.

The elevators on 1st floor go to the parking garage as well as up to the 20th floor. Level 20 is a security floor, in which people must go through a security checkpoint to transition to another set of elevators to continue up. Those elevators go up to the 90th floor which is another security floor. A check point must be crossed, and new elevators must be accessed to get to the top 40 floors of the building. The top four floors are really a single floor which acts as a hanger a maintenance area for the AVs, ospreys, and helicopters that operate from the roof of the building.

The building is home 1500 workers during the day and about 300 in the evenings, about half of which are security staff. The building also houses about 300 troops, over and above the ones in the security bunker. These troops are housed throughout the building.

Key cards are required to move from floor to floor. The check point on the 20th floor also requires entering a pin code. The check point on the 90th floor requires a retinal scan.
The roof of the building contains anti-aircraft systems and phalanx guns. On the ground level, tanks and power armor have been positioned due to the corporate war.

The team lays out exactly what they want to accomplish. They need to isolate Chambers and Adam Smasher, both physically and communication wise, and eliminate them. They would also like to retrieve any data that they can use to exonerate themselves.

Mouse confirms that Masslight can isolate the tower’s phone and data connections to prevent escape that way. Sphinx points out that there is a transmission tower on the roof of Tower A and a backup in the hanger below. These will need to be destroyed as they have direct satellite links which Masslight cannot block.

Riptide considers an alternate approach. He gets in touch with Tova, aboard the Crystal Palace and asks if she can orchestrate the destruction of Arasaka’s communication satellite. She says that Arasaka has multiple satellites, destroying one would just bring another into position, not to mention cause a shit storm that would have major implications in orbit. The best she can do is create some orbital interference that will put Arasaka’s primary satellite out of position. It would buy them maybe 20 minutes before it is put back in position.

Colin Fisk tells them that Militech is willing to launch an offensive in Night City that will hopefully force Arasaka to pull troops from the building. In exchange, they want the team to plant a bomb on the data core in the basement. It’s a chemical bomb that if brought in in two parts, should get past the bomb sniffers.

Burton Chambers’ home is on the 125th floor of tower B. The personal data backup used by the executives is located on the 85th floor of tower B. This is most likely where they will be able to find Chambers’ personal files that may contain the information they need to exonerate themselves.

The plan is debated for several hours. After many arguments and numerous iterations, the plan comes together.

The team knows that Arasaka will need to use outside vendors for certain things like computer hardware. They decide to find a vendor who has employees with pre-approved security clearance to get into the bunker. They then steal the identity of these employees and bring in the bomb in multiple parts disguised as computer hardware. They will need to acquire a retinal scanner that they can use to get the retinal images of the employees. Heliosand Kahale, who will carry out this part of the plan, with get their cyber optics modified with a feature that will allow them to copy these retinal images.

The others will infiltrate the secured neighborhood in Rancho Coronado, break into the estate of Ikara Koremichi, the IT director for Arasaka’s Night City office. They will first get him to issue the work order that will grant access for Helios and Kahale to the security bunker, and then the rest of team will disguise themselves as Arasaka Security and fly Koremichi back to the tower. There they will go to the 85th floor and have Mouse download the information they need to clear themselves and then head back to the top of the building to disable the transmission towers and kill Chambers and Smasher.

August 19th, 2041

The team loads up a truck they have acquired and begin the drive back to Night City. Zen has a safe house that has hopefully not been compromised that they can use as a base of operations. The plan has a lot of moving parts, any one of which could go wrong causing the whole thing to collapse. This is by far the biggest and craziest thing they have ever tried. Over the last five years, they have developed new skills, learned new tricks and gained new friends. They will need all of them now for this plan to work.

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Episode 51 - The Island of Dr Monroe

August 16th, 2041

With their first attempt to contact Tobias on the Prinn Institute Island having failed, the Militech jet the team is on is forced to divert to Lima, Peru to refuel.

With the jet refueled, it returns to the island and again they request permission to land. Again they are denied despite their multiple requests. The team again consider their options when the pilot calls out in confusion and surprise. The team looks out the front of the plane and sees a massive flock of birds. They only have a moment to consider the fact that they are flying too high for birds when the flock hits the jet. Both engines absorb birds and quickly flame out. Multiple birds slam into the front of the plane, shattering the cockpit window and hitting the pilot, killing him. As the pilot collapses, the plane banks and pitches forward. With no pilot and no engines, the team watches as the ocean looms before them and they rapidly plunge towards it.

While the rest of the team begins to look for emergency gear, Helios makes his way to the cockpit, pulls the dead pilot out of his seat and straps in. The wind blasting him in the face makes it almost impossible to see, but he is able to assess that the manual controls are shot. He jacks into the vehicle link and begins to get a feel for the controls. Helios has never actually flown a jet before, but since both engines are gone, it’s really more of a glider than a jet at this point.

In the back, the team finds parachutes and life jackets and began to strap them on. The jet is moving too fast to jump though. Helios fights with the controls and is able to maneuver the jet into a glide. He might be able to get the plane to slow enough for the others to jump, but he will need to stay at the controls.

As the plane slows, the other team members jump out and parachute into the ocean several miles from the island. They watch as the plane glides the remainder of the way to the island, hits the beach and slides a full mile inland to the edge of the jungle. Unsure of Helios’ fate, they ditch their parachutes, group together, and begin the long, slow swim to the island.

At the edge of the jungle, a door opens on the smoking wreckage of the jet and Helios tumbles out battered and bruised. After making sure that all limbs and major organs were still intact, he begins pulling out weapons and survival gear and prepared to camp until the others arrive.

The others are swimming towards the island when they spot two sharks closing in on them. At first they hope that the sharks might ignore them, but them one takes a bite at Zen. Her body armor protects her from the worst of it, but in the moment of the attack, she sees that the shark is cyber enhanced with sensors and what looks like advanced neuralware, the very sort of technology the Prinn Institute is known for. Both sharks circle and attack. Targeting the sharks swimming around them while floating in life vests proves to be very difficult. Finally, Kahale, the four armed cyborg, is able to grab hold of one of the sharks using one pair of arms while blasting it at point blank range with the pistols in his other arms. Saito is able to draw a bead on the other shark and takes it out with his assault rifle.

Back on the island, Helios is making camp, tending to his many cuts and bruises when he hears movement in the jungle. He sees nothing and is about to switch to thermo-optics when an enormous black figure leaps out of the jungle and hits him, sending him flying several feet. He hits the ground and recovers quickly, but notices that he has gained several more deep cuts. To make matters worse, his attacker appears to be a large cyber-enhanced gorilla complete with a pair of wolvers. He checks is surroundings and sees his Militech Mark V rifle laying by the plane fuselage. Knowing he cannot get to it, he pops his own wolvers and decides to take on the gorilla.

It does not go well. The gorilla is as fast as Helios and way stronger. Every blow feels like a sledge hammer, and every slash of the wolvers cuts through his armor and into his flesh. If it weren’t for Helios’ subdermal armor and muscle grafts, the gorilla would have broken every bone in his body. Knowing he can’t win, he decides to go out fighting and charges the gorilla, who easily picks him up and throws him.

Helios hits the ground and waits for the gorilla to come over and deliver the killing blow. But when he looks up, Helios realizes he has landed a few feet from his Mark V. The gorilla seems to recognize the threat and begins to charge. Helios musters the last of his strength to lunge forward and grab the rifle. He rolls to his left, brings up the rifle and opens fire. The electro-thermal rounds rip into the gorilla. The gorilla is stunned for only a moment, but it’s enough time for Helios to fire another four-round burst. The gorilla staggers and Helios fires again. Finally, the beast collapses. Helios simply lays back, staring up at the night sky, fairly confident that surviving a plane crash and a gorilla attack in the same day has to be some sort of first.

The rest of the team is closing in on the shore when they spot several more sharks closing in on them. Kahale uses the mini-missiles mounted in one of his cyber-arms to blast the sharks. The sharks are wounded but continue to close in. The team is better prepared and coordinate their attacks and are able to kill or drive off the sharks. Finally they make it to shore.

They followed the wreckage to the fuselage of the plane and find Helios passed out next the body of a large gorilla. The team takes some time to get themselves patched up and then head into the jungle.

They have been trekking through the jungle for several hours when they become of aware that they are being stalked. Thermo-optics reveals all kinds of life in the jungle, but a half dozen large cats stand out. The cyber-form panthers attack. They are extremely quick and are on the team in an instant. The cats move and pounce with lighting reflexes. Kahale lays down suppression fire with his heavy machine while the others take advantage and target the cats. Eventually the team is victorious, but they take more wounds with Riptide taking the worst of it.

August 17th, 2041

They continue on through the night, running on adrenaline. It isn’t long before they realize that they are being tracked by more cats. They are unsure they can survive another attack as banged up as they already are. They consult the satellite map they were given and decide to head up into the nearby hills. According to the map, there is a communications station on top of the one of the islands small mountains.

Around 3:00 AM they arrive at the transmission station. There is a com shack there that is unoccupied. They decide to hole up in it and get some much needed shut eye.
They maintain a watch rotation and notice that the longer they are there, the more birds there seem to be in the trees, watching them. As the dawn comes they are able to recognize the birds as the same kind they took down their jet.

Around 10:00 AM, they begin to head out. Saito notices that when Helios leaves the shack, the pattern of the bird calls changes. Listening closely he realizes that the chirps and clicks are a form of modified military code. Falling back on his training that he received a life time ago in the Mossad, he deciphers the code and realizes the birds are says “You killed my mommy.” Just like the birds, everyone begins looking at Helios.

Once everyone has wrapped their head around this new development, Saito tries communicating with the birds. At first, it does not seem to work, but when he indicates that Tobias Luna is in trouble and that they are there to help, one of the birds flies down and lands on Saito’s arm.

Certain now that he is somehow communicating with Tobias’ son, Mathew, Saito does his best to distract Mathew from the whole Helios having killed his mother thing and explains that they need to see Tobias because he is in great danger. Mathew communicates back via the chirps and clicks made by the bird, explaining that he does not know where his father is. He seems to have disappeared a few days ago. Saito asks where Mathew is, and Mathew responds that he is at the house. Zen and Riptide check the satellite map that Militech has given them and notice that near the central village on the island is a house standing alone on a hill. Saito tells Mathew that they will come to the house and help him find his dad.

They spend the next several hours trekking to the house on the hill. This time they are left alone by the local cyber-enhanced wild life.

As they approach the hill, they see a combat cyborg patrolling the grounds along with several cyber-form guard dogs. As they approach the house, the guard dogs close in, but then back off. This seems to be a cue for the combat cyborg to leave them alone as well, although it tracks them with its autocannon the whole way.

They arrive at the front door and knock. They are greeted by a full conversion cyborg butler who welcomes them in. He explains that this house belongs to the island’s director, Dr. Evelyn Monroe. She is currently touring the island, overseeing the various research projects taking place.

They ask him about Mathew, and he says that Mathew is upstairs and is not to be disturbed. They are taken aback when they ask him about Tobias Luna and the butler explains matter-of-factly that he is dead, as Dr. Monroe has killed him. The butler then offers them dinner.

The team sits at the dining room table having a rather nice meal. Saito scans the house with his thermos-optics and finds the boy on the top floor of the house. He asks to use the bathroom which is on the second floor. The butler escorts him there. While in the bathroom, he tries to communicate with Mathew, but gets no response.

After Saito returns, the team is finishing up their meal when they hear a helicopter approach. It lands on the lawn outside and a middle-aged woman steps out. She comes to the house and lets herself in. She introduces herself as Dr. Monroe and says she is a bit disappointed that they are still alive. Nothing personal, she explains, but the fact that they survived multiple attacks by the cyberforms, even when the cyberforms were being guided by Mathew via the videogame interface he is using, means the project still has a long ways to go. But since they have survived, she says she might as well show them what they came to see.

She motions for them to follow her and they do. They climb into her helicopter and are taken to one of the research facilities on the south side of the island. From the exterior, the facility looks old and ramshackle, with numerous guards and combat cyborgs moving about. But once inside, they take an elevator to the subbasement level, which reveals a state-of-the-art cybernetics research facility.

They pass through several labs including one that contains Jace Grant, in cryo-freeze. They are about to ask why he is here when she waves them on to one final room. It’s a very spartan bedroom, although as pristine as the labs. A young thin blonde man is his 20’s is watching several monitors, but turns to greet them as they enter.

He commends the on finding their way here. Both Saito and Zen immediately ask if they are speaking to Tobias Luna. He confirms that he is. He fled to the island, both to be with Dr. Monroe, who he has been seeing for some time, but also to escape Burton Chambers.

He had been working with Chambers on a project that would allow someone to transfer their consciousness from one body to another. They had tried digital transference, both via the device that found its way into Torrent’s head as well as direct downloading, which is what Masslight had been created to assist with. They also tried cloning a person with a mind designed for transference, as with the clone named Adam.

They reached a major breakthrough nearly two years ago, when they realized they need not clone an entire person. Instead, they could clone an individual’s brain, mount it into a cyborg body, and have the person transfer their consciousness into that brain. They came extremely close to success, but ultimately could not successfully transfer consciousness.

Luna was frankly glad they failed. While fascinated by the project initially, he began to have doubts about effectively granting someone immortality by letting them jump from body to body, creating a mind that could exist both in physical world and on the net. When it became clear to him that Burton Chambers saw it as a form of apotheosis, he began to have his doubts. Chambers also talked about eliminating all of those who might be able to duplicate their work, such as Dr. Kilacho. It became clear that Chambers wanted this for himself only.

Burton Chambers believed that the creators of the legendary Soul Killer virus had figured out the secret to transferring consciousness. But they were all dead, and the virus was locked away, only to be used in an emergency. Luna believed the project dead at that point.

But then the new corporate war was started. At first Luna did not make the connection, but eventually figured out the Chambers had engineered the one scenario where Arasaka would bring the virus out of the vault, a war with Militech.

As soon as it was out, he made a copy and went to work. Things began to change rapidly. Chambers soon saw Luna as a rival, not an ally. He already blamed Luna for losing both Masslight and Adam. When he demanded Luna find out what the team was smuggling into Night City, another task at which Luna failed, Chambers sent Adam Smasher to kill him. Luna was able to disappear with his son before that happened. When he heard that Adam Smasher was killed by a direct head shot at the Cult of the New Dawn compound only to reappear a few weeks later in Night City, Luna new Chambers had succeeded, and likely used Smasher as a test to make sure it would work before trying it on himself.

With Chambers immortal, and having the keys to the resources at Arasaka, he would settle for now less than world domination. Chambers was the kind of man where anything less than everything was not enough.

Luna decided to wait out the end of the world here on the island. Unfortunately, Chambers has his spies at the Prinn Institute and he soon learned that Luna was there. He ordered Dr. Monroe to have Luna killed which she did, only to secretly have his brain transferred into this cyborg body. Luna tells them he has not yet figured out how to explain this all to his son.

He looks at Helios, the man who killed his wife and says, “That reminds me, I wonder if this still works.” He reaches into a drawer and pulls out a watch. He taps a couple of buttons on the watch and looks at Helios. After nothing happens for several seconds, he shrugs and puts the watch back in the drawer. When the team asks what that was about, he explains that shortly after Helios killed his wife, Luna had a nano-bot virus injected into Helios. He wondered if it was still there, but since Helios did not just fall over dead, they must have discovered the virus at some point and removed it. Between the seemingly indifferent attitude that Luna has regarding his murdered wife and the way he just casually tried to kill out Helios out of curiosity, the team wonders if he is any saner that Burton Chambers.

They ask him how to stop Chambers. He explains that there is likely a central server that functions as the hub for Chambers’ and Smasher’s consciousness. If the team can somehow cut them off from the net, and destroy that server, they will likely kill Chambers and Smasher once and for all. When asked where the server would be, Luna explains that he is certain that it is in the Arasaka Tower in Night City.

So all the team has to do is shut down the Net, storm one of the most fortified buildings on the planet and destroy a server that could be on any one of its 130 floors. Clearly it’s an insane idea. But then Luna points out that if they are able to save Chamber’s memories, they will likely have all the evidence they need to clear their names and get their lives back.

The plan is still insane, but suddenly it doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world.

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Episode 50 - The Noose Tightens

August 1st, 2041

Zen, Riptide, and Helios stand in the Night City Park, staring and the bloody heap that was Burton Chambers. Adam Smasher’s words still ringing in their ears, “You guys are so predictable.” They had been had and they knew it, they just didn’t know how. Now they can hear the sirens, lots of them. Kahale emerges from the lake and Saito comes down from the roof of the Hotel Hamilton and the team scatters.

They came back together at Fast Eddie’s Pool Hall, down in the O-Zoners territory. They watch the Network 54 news which headlines a story about the murder of Arasaka executive Burton Chambers in Night City Park. Not only does it feature video of the incident clearly shot from the AV, but at the end they post images of Saito, Riptide, Helios, and Zen, including their real names. It is clear some of the patrons in the bar recognize them, but no one wants to be hassled by the cops, so no one makes a call.

August 2nd, 2041

The team doesn’t have a home, but Fast Eddyies doesn’t take boarders, so they are back on the streets. They drive deep into the Combat Zone and find an abandoned warehouse they can hole up in. There they take turns on watch and try and catch some sleep.

In the morning, Riptide gets a call from their lawyer, David Wilson. He tells them that their bond has been revoked and they have 24 hours to turn themselves in. They only have 12 hours to check in with Barbwire Bonds before she starts putting bounty hunters on their trail. He strongly advises that they turn themselves in. Soon they will have the NCPD, Arasaka, and bounty hunters all looking for them, and it’s only a matter of time before someone finds them, and if it’s Arasaka that finds them first, they are good as dead.

They stay for the remainder of the morning, although Zen becomes increasingly restless. She is convinced that Riptide taking that call from their lawyer has given away their position. The others are skeptical until an AV is heard patrolling overhead.

Deciding it’s time to move on, they head out in different directions. Helios heads south and quickly finds an Arasaka checkpoint. He ditches his vehicle and heads into the sewer.
Saito and Zen head east in separate vehicles. They come upon two Arasaka APCs and several troopers milling about. Saito attempts to drive through all casual like, but one of the troopers recognizes him. He takes off as one of the APCs follows in pursuit.

Zen tries to drive through next but she is ordered to stop. Knowing that the jig is up, she guns her motorcycle and tries to escape. A storm of bullets comes her way, but her layered armor protects her. Her motorcycle is not so lucky and quickly dies. She dodges more gun fire but finally ducks into an apartment building.

Riptide and Kahale drive north in what was once the Golden Saloon Party Van, but was now just a non-descript van. They suddenly find themselves coming face to face with a walker tank, and an Arasaka check point behind it. Kahale casually pulls the van to the side of the road and gets out. He walks toward the checkpoint, doing his best to look unfazed as the autocannon on the tank tracks his movement for several steps.

He eventually reaches the check point and asks what is going on. He is shown pictures of the other team members and is asked if he has seen any of them. He says no and tells them he needs to do some repairs on the van and asks not to be shot at. The Arasaka troopers can’t give him any guarantees, but they appreciate the heads up.

Saito is able to lose the much slower APC, but he can hear the AV nearby. He does his best to evade the patrolling AV and soon finds himself out of the neighborhood.

Zen is holed up in the apartment building when troopers begin door to door searches. She goes to the back door where some troopers are passing through. The troopers on the street kicking in doors seem to be moving quickly while the ones in the alley seem to be taking their sweet time. Finally, the ally troopers move around the corner and Zen is able to step outside just as the other trooper enter the front door of the building and begin searching. Zen finds a sewer cover and goes sewer surfing as well.

Kahale pretends to work on the van while Riptide sneaks out. Once he is clear, Kahale gets in the van and drives to the check point. The Arasaka troops check over the van and let him pass. Riptide exits out the other side of the alley, narrowly avoids a couple of patrols and meets back up with Kahale a few blocks away.

Zen catches a cab and goes to Chinatown where she has an apartment she uses as an emergency safe house. Helios sits at a south side bar, stinking up the place with his wonderful sewer stench. The others meet up at the Night City Gun Range outside of the city.

Being the only one not currently wanted, Kahale decides to book a coffin at the EZ Overnighter, and spends his time at The Afterlife where he is employed.

Riptide works his contacts and learns an interesting bit of information. Network 54 investigative journalist Bryce, just Bryce, is interested in their story. He would be willing to give the team a safe place to stay in exchange for their story. Riptide is the only one who takes him up on the offer.

Helios eventually finds his way to the gun range as well. Both he and Saito decide to camp out in the woods, although not together for some reason.

August 3rd, 2041

Riptide meets Bryce, a blonde kid who looks too young to be taken seriously and yet is in fact a Pulitzer winning journalist. Riptide begins telling him their story, although a somewhat sanitized and less incriminating version.

Kahale, no longer able to depend on the others for a ride decides to spend almost his entire life savings on a vehicle. Unfortunately, Kahale’s life savings only buys a used electric two seater, but he seems to take delight in driving a car barely big enough to fit his large bionic enhanced body.

In the news that evening, someone has shot up the Caf-Caf. Video shows the shooter gunning down several people in the Braindance section, including Flatspin’s meat puppet. Observant team members spot the real Flatspin packing up her things and sneaking out the back.

August 4th, 2041

Riptide continues to tell his story to Bryce while the others lay low.

August 5th, 2041

A reward of $25,000 each has been posted for the capture of Saito, Riptide, Helios, and Zen. While working at the Afterlife, Kahale gets wind that someone is looking for Zen. He finds it’s a young woman he does not recognize. He gets a message to her to return in two days is she wants to meet Zen. After work, he relays to Zen what happened. She does not recognize the person based on his description.

August 6th, 2041

The battle between Arasaka and Militech has moved to Hwy 828. This means it is only a matter of time before it spills into the southern areas of Night City. Where Helios and Saito have been camping, everything from stray gunshots to full on engagements can be heard going on nearby.

August 7th, 2041

Saito packs up his camp and heads into the war zone. He is able to avoid several Arasaka patrols and finds a unit of Militech troops. He tells them he is the guy who shot Burton Chambers and they take him to the Heywood Proving Grounds.

That evening, Kahale is back at the Afterlife and so is the woman. He gets a message to her asking what she wants. She responds that she knows where Tobias Luna is. He advises her to return again the next night. He relays this to Zen and Riptide who realize it must be Flatspin.

August 8th, 2041

Kahale makes direct contact with Flatspin and takes her to see Riptide. There he pays her fee and she reveals that the woman in the photograph she had shown them several weeks back was of Tobias Luna and Dr. Evelyn Monroe. Dr. Evelyn Monroe is the head research scientist for the Prinn Institute. It seems that she and Tobias have been having a clandestine relationship for some time. A chartered flight with unknown passengers left Night City the day Luna and his son disappeared and flew to Lima, Peru.
The Prinn Institute has a research island in the south pacific about 600 miles west of Peru. A shuttle plane frequently goes between Lima and the island. Flatspin can’t be certain, but she is confident that Tobias Luna is on that island.

August 9th, 2041

Riptide and Zen discuss Flatspin’s information. They would really like to talk to Tobias, but realize in their current situation, they have not the resources to get there. They share what they have learned with the rest of the team.

August 10th, 2041

Bryce tells Riptide he has another story to cover, but will be back in a week to finish his interview with Riptide.

August 11th, 2041

They learn in the news that an unknown merc unit has attacked the Forlorn Hope. However, the regulars at the bar are hardened war vets and it’s not the first time that have had to defend their establishment. The mercs were successfully repelled.

Saito talks to a colonel at the Militech base and asks if there is any way he can get a plane ride to South America.

August 12th, 2041

Riptide calls Colin Fisk about getting his help. Colin tells Riptide that he is flying into Heywood tomorrow to meet with Saito about transportation to the South Pacific. Riptide says he will be there as well.

August 13th, 2041
Saito, Riptide and Colin Fisk meet. Riptide explains that they need to get to the island and find Tobias Luna. He explains that Luna may now why Burton Chambers wanted this corporate war to happen. Fisk is skeptical that this will help the war effort in anyway, but he agrees to requisition a jet that can take them to the island.

August 14th, 2041

The team makes preparations, including getting some Militech combat hardware.

August 15th, 2041

The whole team reunites for the first time since escaping the Combat Zone. They gear up, and that evening board a jet bound for the South Pacific.

August 16th, 2041
In the morning hours, their jet is picked up by the Prinn Institutes Island’s radar and they are immediately told to change course. They tell the radio operator that they are there to speak to Tobias Luna. The operator tells them that there is no one on the island by that name. They then ask to speak to Dr. Evelyn Monroe but they are told that she is not available or taking visitors. They argue with the radio operator for several minutes before they give up. The pilot says they will need to fly to Lima soon to refuel. They tell him to go ahead.

In Lima, while the jet is refueling, the team discussed what to do next. They consider just going back to Night City. They ultimately decide to give it one more shot.

With the jet refueled, it returns to the island and again they request permission to land. Again they are denied despite their multiple requests. The team again consider their options when the pilot calls out in confusion and surprise. The team looks out the front of the plane and sees a massive flock of birds. They only have a moment to consider the fact that they are flying too high for birds when the flock hits the jet. Both engines absorb birds and quickly flame out. Multiple birds slam into the front of the plane, shattering the window and hitting the pilot, killing him.

As the pilot collapses, the plane banks and pitches forward. With no pilot and no engines, the team watches as the ocean looms before them and they rapidly plunge towards it.

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Episode 49 - Burton Chambers Strikes Back

June 21st, 2041

Riptide, Saito, and Helios return to Night City. Zen remains in the hospital in Athens along with Kahale, who stands guard, watching over her.

June 22nd – June 26th, 2041

The team considers how to build on what they have learned. Thanks to Alfredo Bruga, they now know that Burton Chambers engineered the latest corporate war, but they have no idea why. Burton won’t be promoted any higher than he already is at Arasaka. Neither Arasaka nor Militech will profit from this war as neither is likely to survive as its going.

The mercenary group Lazarus will be the biggest benefactor as it will go from being the third largest private army to the first once all the dust settles. The team does some financial digging, but can find no financial connection between Burton Chambers and Lazarus. Burton would do no better if he worked for Lazarus as all of their top execs are ex-military.

June 27th, 2041

In the news, a major battle between Arasaka and Militech breaks out in Los Angeles. Kaitlyn Jones tells Riptide that one of Infocomp’s Sysops had expressed concern to her regarding the security of their central data base. The next day, he was found dead with his mind wiped. Since Arasaka provides the security for Infocomp’s data fortress, rumors of the Soul Killer virus have begun.

June 27th – 30th, 2041

Further research reveals that Petrochem has been making massive profits off of the current corporate war as it has been selling fuel to both sides. The team looks into whether Burton Chambers is invested in Petrochem. It turns out that the only major investments he seems to have are in Biotechnica, Arasaka, DMS, and the Prinn Institute
.
July 1st, 2041

Battles break out in Paris and Mexico City

July 2nd – July 9th, 2041

The team sits tight, working their businesses while keeping an eye on the news.

July 10th, 2041

Zen and Kahale return to Night City.

July 11th – July 13th, 2041

All seems quiet and uneventful.

July 14th, 2041

The team hears from Flatspin. They had hired her to find The Luna Family. She has had weeks of dead ends but now finally has a lead. She managed to find an image of Tobias taken a few weeks before his disappearance, taken in Aspen, Colorado with a woman. She did not know who the woman was either, but Flatspin seemed confident that this was the key to finally making some progress.

July 15th, 2041

Riptide is spending time with Kaitlyn when she tells him that the home of the Infocomp Sysop that had died had been found ransacked, although it is not known if anything was taken. She was able to confirm that he was working on a concern regarding their Arasaka data security.

July 16th, 2041

Governments begin deploying military forces around key assets in order to protect them from becoming collateral damage in the corporate war. The two mega-corps are still too powerful for any government to try to directly intervene.

July 17th, 2041

An uneventful day.

July 18th, 2041

An unknown mercenary unit has attacked the old neighborhood that the team used to be based in. According to the news, the street gang Death in the Afternoon was wiped out.

The team visits the area and learns that the mercs were led by a full conversion cyborg wearing a Hard Rock Café t-shirt.

Riptide calls Lt. Bubba McCarty, the head of the Night City SPARS unit. McCarty says he is not involved in the investigation, but the description of the cyborg tells him that it’s Adam Smasher. Adam’s meat body was blown up in Antigua, and he has been presumed dead ever since, but rumors of him back as a ‘borg abound. Saito believes this is the same ‘borg he shot at the Cult of the New Dawn compound, which would mean Adam Smasher is likely the one who has been tracking down users of .50 cal electro-thermo ammunition.

Riptide asks if McCarty can take down Smasher. McCarty says he would need some pretty solid evidence. Smasher has the favor of Arasaka, and Arasaka funds the Night City Police Department. They don’t control the department, but they can make McCarty’s life very difficult.

July 20th – July 23rd, 2041

The team gets in contact with the gang at the Forlorn Hope and anyone else they have been acquainted with, and warns them that someone is sending a message to the team, and they are writing it in the blood of the team’s allies.

July 24th, 2041

In the news, Militech withdraws from Chicago, conceding what remains of the city to Arasaka.

July 25th, 2041

Zen and Helios are at work at Jimmy Two-Teeths when several squad cars roll up along with an NCPD APC. A couple dozen cops raid the place and place Helios and Zen under arrest. When asked what the charges are, they are told its drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, on the north side of town at the Platinum Saloon, police arrive at that site and place Saito and Riptide under arrest. Kahale is left untouched.

Kahale visits a nearby thrift shop and buys a briefcase. He then unloads all of his implanted weapons and goes to the Night City Justice Center. After passing through the extensive weapon scanning, he tells the Sgt. in charge that he is the team’s lawyer. The Sgt. doesn’t believe him for a second, but is too close to earning his pension to care. He takes Kahale to their holding cell and tells him that he has 15 minutes.

Kahale offers to break them out, but they quickly shoot down that idea. Instead they tell him to gather up whatever equipment of theirs that hasn’t been confiscated and to hire them a lawyer. They give him the number of the attorney who helped them set up the salvage business.

Disappointed that he wasn’t going to get is initiate a jail break, Kahale leaves and does as they asked. He goes to Jimmy Two Teeth’s and to their primary residence, but everything had been confiscated. All they would have to work with is what Kahale had plus what Saito has stashed at Baja’s
.
He next calls the lawyer, who based on the budget Kahale gives him, recommends an attorney named Dave Wilson.

July 26th, 2041

It’s all over the news and the scream sheets: Jimmy-Two Teeth’s, who holds the contract for salvage in all of downtown Night City has been shut down due to charges of drug trafficking. Investigators have also shut down the Golden Saloon and the Platinum Saloon as these establishments have the same owners.

Attorney David Wilson visits the team in jail. He tells them that police responded to an anonymous tip indicating that they were using their salvage business to move Blue Ice. Police raided the shop and found several cars had packages of Blue Ice hidden throughout them. Enough Blue Ice, in fact, to put them in prison for decades.

Wilson says they have a hearing tomorrow in which he will try to get them released, but the bond is going to be very expensive, like a $50 Grand each expensive. But he does know a good bail bondsman who will put up the bonds for 5% up front. Resources are limited, but they can’t clear their name from inside prison. Riptide, Zen, and Saito agree. Helios, on the other hand, decides it’s safer to stay in jail.

That evening, there are news reports at the Golden Saloon has burned down. Arson is suspected.

July 27th, 2041

The team has their hearing. Their actual court date will be August 16th. Wilson is able to convince the court to release the three team members on a $50,000 bond each. He contacts Barb Wiley of Barbwire Bonds, and she puts up the money. She also makes it clear to the team that if they try to leave Night City, she will know.

Zen and Riptide try contacting their corporate contacts regarding the city salvage contract, but no one is taking their phone calls.

One person who is taking Riptide’s call is Kaitlyn Jones. She is already on the case and has identified the five vehicles that police say they found the drugs in.

That evening in the news, Arasaka has attacked Militech’s Heywood facility south of Night City. It is now only a matter of time before the corporate war spills into the city itself.
Kahale gets a job as a bouncer at The Afterlife.

July 28th, 2041

Riptide starts working his street contacts. No one is aware of such a large quantity of Blue Glass coming into the city. Diego Entrada had been the primary supplier of the drug and since his demise, there has been very little coming into the states.

Zen calls Mark Vincent, the DEA agent they had worked with in Vegas. He tells Riptide that a large quantity of the product had disappeared after Entrada’s death. It has now reappeared at Jimmy Two Teeth’s. A strong case is being built against them that they must have stolen the drugs themselves and have been sitting on it this entire time. Mark is skeptical, but he says it does not look good for the team.

That evening a gas line break on the north side of town severely damages the Ron Walker Showroom and destroys the Platinum Saloon across the street.

July 29th, 2041

In the news: after successfully pushing Militech out of Chicago, Arasaka’s highest ranking non-Japanese executive Burton Chambers is put in charge of the Night City office.
The team has Mouse break into their own business servers to get a hold of the salvage records. They are able to determine where the vehicles with the drugs had been found.

The team visits the La Croix Restaurant. Two of the cars had been in an accident right out front. Staff at the restaurant report both vehicles were immediately abandoned. The staff give them a description of the two drivers.

They next stop at World Travel Agency. There they are given a similar story about two cars getting in an accident and both cars being abandoned. The description of the two drivers matches that of the two at La Croix.

Finally, they stop at the Hotel Hamilton. The fifth vehicle had been found parked near their valet parking. Once they had determined the car did not belong to a guest, they called to have it towed.

July 30th, 2041

That evening, Kahale is working at the Afterlife when he notices that two of the bartenders closely match the description of the two drivers. He contacts the rest of the team, who arrive in short order.

They begin asking around and learn that the two bartenders, named Allen and Gibson are a couple of small timers that will do just about anything for a couple bucks.
Zen tries to seduce them, but does not get anywhere. Saito tries another
approach and claims to be a porn producer and that he wants to us them in a movie. Amazingly, they buy it.

At about 3:00 AM, they pick up the two and take them to the motel where the movie is to be shot. Once there, they tie the two up and interrogate them. The two claim that the cars were given to them by a man named Alexander Crychek, who paid them to crash the cars and abandon them.

They do a little digging and learn that Alexander Crychek is the owner of the Rainbow Nights club, an aspiring music producer, and a member of the Russian mob. His two most lucrative businesses (allegedly) are drugs and human trafficking.

When they return home, they find Helios waiting for them. He finally got bored sitting in prison and posted bond.

July 31st, 2041

The team arrives at Rainbow Nights, a 24/7 dance club, and are ushered into the office area. They are told that Mr. Crychek does not come in until 9:00 PM. They demand to see him at once and indicate they are not leaving until they talk to him. Two hours later, they accept that he is not coming to see them, so they leave.

At 9:00 pm, they return to Rainbow Nights and again ask to see Crychek. This time they are ushered into his ridiculously large office that is mostly empty space except for his desk, a couple of lamps and a couch on which sits two girls who sole job it appears is to hold down the couch.

They tell him that they own Jimmy Two-Teeth’s and he offers his sympathies for their recent troubles. They point out that they know he is behind their recent troubles and he does not deny it. He simply dismisses it as nothing personal.

When they ask who he did this for, he says that to reveal his client could potentially be costly for him financially. He thinks about it for a moment and says there is a way they could make it up to him. He offers them a simple task that will gain him enough money to offset what he will lose by revealing his client.

He tells them that there is a band that he would like to sign to his new record label. The problem is that they are already signed to a competitor. It’s an all-girl synth-metal band called Electric Angel. He doesn’t think they are all that good, but they will be a big success anyways. He is hoping they will anchor his new record label. All the team has to do is get their manager to break their existing contract and sign with Cry Havoc records, Crychek’s label. He gives them a copy of the contract.

The team immediately heads to Club Atlantis, where the girls are currently playing a gig. There they track down Larry Nichols, the band’s manager. They speak with him and he makes it clear that he is not interested in signing the contract. They do their best to convince him but he tells them that no matter how good an offer Crychek makes, he would never sign that contract. When asked why, he explains that Crychek is a sex trafficker. He asks the team what they think happens to the girls in the band if they don’t prove to be the money makers that Crychek wants them to be. He will make money off of them one way or another. This gives the team pause and although no one says anything out loud, each debates the ramifications of their next actions.

Finally, Kahale towers over Nichols and explains that Crychek will not be denied. If they don’t comeback with a signed contract, Crychek will kill the girls, kill Larry, and probably his entire family. The intimidation tactic works, and Larry reluctantly signs the contact. The team takes the contract and drives back to Rainbow Nights. It’s a very quiet car ride.

Back in Crychek’s office, they produce the signed contract. He is most pleased. He tells the team that he was hired by three people: Douglas Anderson, Mike McDonald, and Shirley Samuels, the owners of West Side Towing, Auto King Towing, and Night City Towing respectively. West Side Towing had been the previous holder of the city salvage contract.
As they are about to leave, Kahale tells Crychek that if Electric Angel does not prove to be profitable for him, Kahale will buy their contact back from Crychek. Crychek is clearly amused by this offer, but agrees none the less.

August 1st, 2041

The team pays a visit to Night City Towing. There they meet with Shirley Samuels and confront her about the set up. She denies it at first but breaks fairly easily. She tells them it was Doug Anderson’s idea. They put up the money to get Jimmy Two-Teeth’s to lose the contract and then they would propose a joint contract to the city. She said that Doug was pretty bitter about what they had done to him.

They then try to convince her to turn on the other two. She is again reluctant at first, but they make it clear to her that she really does not have a choice. She agrees but they insist that she stays with them. They load her into the van and take the 30 minute drive to Auto King Towing.

When they arrive it is clear that people are upset. When asked what is going on, one of the workers says about 15 minutes prior, a van rolled up, and ‘borg in a Hard Rock T-Shirt stepped out and grabbed owner Mike McDonald. He through Mike in the van and sped off. They have heard nothing since.

They team gets back in their vehicle and begin to look for the van. Zen gets a call from Adam Smasher. He asks her how things are going and says it’s nice to talk to her again. She’s not sure if he’s sarcastic, crazy, or both. He finally gets down to the matter at hand and says that someone wants to meet them this evening at the Night City Park by the lake. She agrees to meet and Adam hangs up.

Saito calls “Buckshot” Betty and asks her is she can meet them and give Shirley a ride home. Betty agrees and they cut Shirley loose.

That afternoon, Kahale walks into the lake and activates his internal oxygen supply. He then hunkers down beneath the surface. Saito gets access to the roof of the Hotel Hamilton with his sniper rifle.

At 10:00 PM the others arrive and wait by the shore of the lake. A few minutes later, Saito watches as an AV takes off from the roof of the Arasaka Tower and flies towards the park. There it circles once and lands next to the lake.

Adam Smasher steps out and greets the team. He then introduces Burton Chambers. Burton steps out, impeccably groomed and dressed, showing all of the confidence in the world. He greets the team and gets right to business.

He has come to make a statement and an offer. The statement is expressed merely by his being there, completely exposed. No matter what they think, the team cannot touch him. Also, and their recent misfortunes would indicate, he has the ability to destroy them.

In that context, he makes his offer. If they tell him where Masslight is, he will undo all of the damage that has been done, and they can get their lives back. If they don’t tell him where Masslight is, he will make all of the evidence that could exonerate them disappear, and their lives are over.

Everyone seems to look to Zen to make the decision. Saito, listening in on the coms, places a call to Mouse. He tells Mouse what is happening and that he better be prepared to bolt. Mouse is adamant that under know circumstances should they tell Burton Chambers where Masslight is.

Chambers reiterates that everything the team has worked so hard for has been taken away. He can give it all back. Meanwhile Saito relays to Zen that Mouse is screaming not to tell Chambers anything. Riptide uses the coms to tell Saito to call Lt. McCarty and let him know that Adam Smasher is at the park and that he has gone crazy.

After what seems like an eternity, Zen finally says no. Burton Chambers expresses his disappointment and tells Smasher to get back in the AV. He says they should remember this moment, when they could have fixed everything, but refused.

Saito lines up his shot and pulls the trigger. Much to everyone’s surprise, the shot misses. Saito curses as the building he has to shoot over must be generating a thermal he didn’t compensate for.

At the park, Chambers looks down at the impact point of the bullet and comments that that was not very civilized. Moments later, the second shot comes, hitting Chambers square in the chest and exploding out his back. The Arasaka executive falls to the ground in a heap. Everyone is surprised as to how easy that was.

The moment is shattered as Adam Smasher begins to laugh. As he closes the door to the AV he says “You guys are so predictable.”

As the AV begins to take off, Zen asks Saito if he can shoot down the AV. He says he could, but instead begins to break down his rifle. Although not yet sure how, he knew they had just been out played and he was done dancing to someone else’s tune for one day.

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Episode 48 - Where in the world is Alfredo Bruga

May 28th, 2041

The day so far had been a busy one, with Masslight hinting at a doomsday scenario and evidence that someone is tracking the team down.

That evening, Riptide has dinner with Kaitlyn Jones. He comments that they have tapped all of their available sources and still have not made any progress on figuring out where Alfredo Bruga or The Luna Family were. Katrina suggests that maybe it’s time he puts on his walking shoes and starts pounding the pavement and knocking on some doors himself. She also suggests that it may be a good place to start would be to follow up on Alfredo’s holdings and see what they can learn from there. Riptide shares this advice with the rest of the team, and they decide to take the trip to Seattle to visit Alfredo’s shipping company, Holy Isle shipping.

May 29th, 2041

They take the 14-hour drive to Seattle, arriving on Wednesday afternoon. They talk their way past security and find themselves outside of the Holy Isle Shipping Company. Saito, Helios and Riptide decide to poke around the warehouse while Zen and Kahale go into the office to talk to the staff. Zen claims to be the owner of a latex manufacturing company looking to start up a distribution network. She gets a meeting with the office manager to discuss the details.

Meanwhile Kahale chats up the receptionist, and learns that Alfredo lives in Paris but does visit occasionally. Apparently the last time he came to inspect the warehouses was about 4 months ago. He also learns that Alfredo named the company after a poem about the Greek Iles, a place he is very fond of.

The others do not find much of interest in the warehouse, but Helios does find out that a ship named the Acadia will be heading for Greece in 4 days. Helios and Saito apply for jobs to work aboard the ship.

May 29th – June 1st, 2041

The team spends the next several days staking out the shipyards seeing if Alfredo or Tobias show up, but there is no sign of either of them. The day before the ship is set to set sail, Saito learns that he has been accepted to be hired on as a ship crewman on the Acadia.

June 2nd, 2041

The Acadia sets sail for Greece with Saito on board. The rest of the team takes a day and a half journey to Houston to visit the wind farm that Alfredo owns.

June 3rd, 2041

At the wind farm, the team talks to the site manager and learns a similar story: that Alfredo only visits a couple times a year and he hasn’t been here in about 4 months. The team decides to return to Night City
.
June 4th, 2041

Riptide contacts Mouse and asks him to do some digging on Alfredo Bruga. Mouse says that most of the urgent work he was doing for Masslight is now done so he has some time to help the team.

June 5th, 2041
Mouse contacts Riptide and says he’s learned that Alfredo was the one who called in the debt on IHAG, which resulted in the collapse of the company. It was this collapse that led to the corporate war between OTEC and CINO, which then evolved into the current war between Arasaka and Militech. He has also learned that Alfredo paid to have a chef from Kavala Greece flown to Nice, France to work in his restaurant there.

[[June 6th – June 10th, 2041*

The team goes about their normal routines while they figure out their next move. Riptide takes Katrina to spend a few days at a couple’s spa and retreat.

Ultimately it is decided that Paris will be the next stop in their list as Alfredo has a home there. They book a flight that leaves in three days.

June 11th, 2041

In the news, Militech launches a major assault against Arasaka in Chicago.

June 12th, 2041

The battle in Chicago turns into all out warfare and people flee the city by the thousands.

June 13th, 2041

The team, minus Saito, who is currently somewhere in the North Atlantic, boards their plane to France. Due to airline policy, they are forced to leave the explosives at home.

June 14th, 2014

At 3:00 AM local time, the team arrives in Paris and heads to the house they rented for the week to catch a few hours of sleep.

In the late morning, Helios and Kahale head to Alfredo’s house. They circle the perimeter of the small walled estate and take note of the security cameras. Thermo scans with their cyberoptics indicate that no one is home.

A short time later, Zen and Riptide arrive and go straight to the front gate. They hit the buzzer but get no answer. Kahale rips one of the cameras off the wall. Since this may have triggered an alarm, they decide to move quickly.

Helios picks the lock to the front door and they are in. A security panel starts beeping but Helios only needs moments to disarm the alarm. They search the house, finding very little of interest. Nothing seems out of place, but it would appear that they were not the only ones to go through the house.

Eventually, in the garbage can of one of the guest rooms, they find an invoice for a company called Safe Zone Safe Houses. It has a contact name: Erasmus Hano, and a number. The team decides to exit the house before any police show up.

Riptide calls Mouse in Night City where it is currently the middle of the night. He asks Mouse to look into Safe Zone. Mouse says he will in the morning.

The team decides they have done all they can do until they hear back from Mouse. Zen and Riptide spend the rest of the day taking in the sites. Helios and Kahale on the other hand, rent a car and take the nine hour drive to Nice.

Around 10:00 PM, the two arrive in Nice and go to the restaurant owned by Alfredo Bruga. It is also the restaurant where Alfredo flew in a chef named Pallav from Kavala Greece. They have a nice meal, and speak with the chef. He says he is a friend of Alfredo’s, but has not seen him in many months.

Afterwards, they stake out the restaurant and follow Pallav home. They check out the house and determine that no one else is living there. They begin the nine hour drive back home.

That evening, Mouse calls Riptide to tell him that the Safe Zone Datafortress is an ICEball. He doesn’t think it’s an actual functioning system, just a fortress crammed full of anti-intrusion software. After that fiasco, he checked around and found the company has two offices, one in Athens, Greece and the other in Paris, France. The company seems to have no other assets and did not seem to exist prior to two months ago.

June 15th, 2041

First thing in the morning, Zen and Riptide head to the Safe Zone office. There Zen again adopts her cover as the owner of a latex manufacturer looking to acquire some safe houses. The woman behind the desk informs her that the office manager, Ernesto, is not currently in, but if they leave her their contact information, she will give it to Ernesto. Zen asks about the company being only two months old. The receptionist says that this office is only two months old, but the company is much older. Zen also pushes her on how secure they keep their client information, and she tells them they have never had a data breach. Eventually they decide to leave her alone and go on their way.

As they head back to the rental home, they notice they have picked up a tail. They also get a call from Ernesto, who apologizes for missing them the first time and they agree to meet later that day.

About this time, Helios and Kahale come rolling back into town. The two groups communicate and update each other. Helios and Kahale begin tailing Zen and Riptide’s tail.

In the early afternoon, Zen and Riptide return to the Safe Zone office. As they go in, their tail parks on the street, followed immediately by Helios and Kahale. The two get out and Kahale steps in front of the vehicle, grabs the front bumper and lifts up the front end of the car. Helios stands at the driver side door and demands to know why he was following the other two.

The driver says he is an employee of Safe Zone who was asked by Ernesto to follow Zen and Riptide. He does not know why. Kahale sets the car down and Helios pulls the driver out of the car and announces they will all visit the office together.

Meanwhile, Zen and Riptide enter the office and are quickly introduced to Ernesto. He tells them a little about the company, insisting that they have been around for longer than two months. About then the other two arrive, and Helios demands to know why Safe Zone was following his “boss”.

Ernesto then admits they he has been monitoring their activity since they showed up at Alfredo’s house. He explains that Alfredo is a client of theirs, and has gone missing. He was to meet them at the airport in Athens, but despite Ernesto’s certainty that Alfredo got on the plane in Paris, he did not arrive at the arrival station at the Athens Airport. They are certain he is in Greece, they just don’t know where. Also, they don’t know if he was abducted, or ditched them for some reason. Either way, the company has a sizable financial penalty they will have to pay if any harm comes to Alfredo.

Since he understands that they are looking for Alfredo as well, he proposes that they work together. If they think they may have a chance to find Alfredo, his company’s resources will be at their disposal. The team accepts the offer. Ernesto says he will arrange a flight to Greece for them.

June 16th, 2041

The team spends its final day in Paris, and that evening board a plane for Athens, Greece.

June 17th, 2041

Early in the morning, the team arrives in Athens. They are greeted at the airport by Elini Nicolo, an operative for Safe Zone. She takes them to the hotel where they will be staying courtesy of Safe Zone.

Later in the morning, after the team has had a chance to get some sleep. Elini picks them up and takes them to the Safe Zone Office. There they are introduced to Erasmus Hano, the owner of safe zone. They discuss how Alfredo would have gotten off the plane without Safe Zone knowing. The team strongly suspects that he had help at the airport and asks Erasmus if he can gain access to records of who was working that day.

While Safe Zone looks into the airport personnel, the team has Elini take them to the shipyard as the Acadia arrives in port today. There they meet Saito who has taken the cheap but slow way to Greece. The nearly three weeks of ship work seems to have done him some good.

June 18th, 2041

They don’t have many leads in Greece, but the one that stands out is that Pallav the chef in Nice, came from Kavala Greece, just a few hours’ drive from here.

In the late morning, they arrive in Kavala. They spend the next few hours checking out every motel and hotel, looking for Alfredo. When that comes up empty, they stop at the restaurant where Pallav used to work. They speak with some of the staff there and confirm that he was friends with Alfredo and jumped at the chance to move to Paris to work there.

The final stop on their list was Pallav’s parent’s house. They drive up and thermo scan the house, revealing three adults inside. Zen and Riptide go to the front door and knock. They are greeted by an elderly woman and ask about Pallav. She confirms the story about Pallav and Afredo, but when asked if anyone else is home, she claims it is only she and her husband. The others circle around the home and Helios spots Alfredo Bruga sitting at the kitchen table.

Zen and Riptide ask Elini to take them back to the restaurant where Pallav had worked while the others watched the place. They are gone for only a few minutes when Saito decides he has a bad feeling about this and goes to the front door. When the woman answers, he pushes his way past and confronts Alfredo.

Alfredo says that he has been on the run from Burton Chambers. He had several business dealings with Burton over the years that proved very profitable for Alfredo. He knew it was only a matter of time before Burton asked for something in return. Burton had contacted him and told him to call in the IHAG debt. Alfredo did not want to as it would kill the company and likely end his job at Eurobank. Burton made it clear that he did not have a choice.

Burton wanted the war between OTEC and CINO. It would be easy to think that this was a move to boost profits for Arasaka. But, Alfredo warns, Burton is an insanely ambitious man, who has already risen as far as he can at Arasaka. No, what Burton wanted was the war between Arasaka and Militech. Alfredo never figured out why. Burton needed this war for another reason. Something he wanted required this war to happen.

They ask Alfredo if he had any proof of this. He says no, but that doesn’t stop Burton from wanting to eliminate any loose ends.

Just then, tires can be heard screeching outside. Saito orders Alfredo to get upstairs. Pallav’s parents hide in the dining room. A van pulls up, and a half dozen armed operatives with sub-machine guns pile out. Three go to the dining room window, which is above their heads as the house is built on a slope, and other three make their way up the steps to the front door.

As Kahale circles around the east side of the house, Helios takes cover behind the short wall that surrounds the small front court yard, giving him full view of the steps.

Zen and Riptide are told over the coms what is happening and order Elini to turn the car around and go back.

At the house, one of the operatives beneath the dining room window smashes the window with the butt of his gun, and another throws a frag grenade inside. It explodes, killing Pallav’s mother and seriously wounding his father. The operatives get ready to scale up into the window when Kahale comes around the far corner and starts laying down suppression fire. One of the operatives catches several bullets, and all three duck for cover.

The other three coming up the front steps are stopped in their tracks when Helios opens fire. They return fire, but even though they have Helios outgunned, he has cover and the high ground, where as they are caught out in the open. Saito joins the fire fight, using the front door way as cover.

Elini, Zen and Riptide are only a couple of blocks away when they are t-boned by another car in an intersection. The driver and front passenger lob grenades into the car, killing Elini, and seriously wounding Zen. Riptide is also wounded, but still combat effective. He returns fire but is outgunned three to one.

At the house, Kahale ceases suppression fire and begins picking off the operatives. As with the front of the house, he is outnumbered, but has the advantage of cover, whereas the others are caught in the open. One by one, the operatives begin to fall until only one remains. He attempts to retreat to the van but Saito and Kahale converge on him and capture him.

Two blocks away, Riptide knows that to stay is suicide, but Zen is still alive and he won’t leave her behind. He leans over to the driver side, grabs the steering and puts his foot on the accelerator. The tires spin for a couple of seconds as the car separates itself from the other one. The other car has enough front end damage that it isn’t going anywhere. But this does not stop the people inside it from shooting at him. Keeping his head down while driving from the passenger seat, Riptide manages to drive away, only sideswiping three parked cards in the process.

Saito interrogated the operative who says he works for Erasmus Hondo. Their mission was to kill Alfredo Bruga. He did not know why and frankly hadn’t asked. As Riptide rolls up the front, hitting another parked car, Saito decides he has learned all he can and executes the operative.

Zen had a Trauma Team card and the team decides it is best to activate it and let her be. They can hear sirens off in the distance and knowing they are all packing hardware that is rather illegal in Greece, they decide to get Alfredo and get in the ops van and vacate the scene. Luckily for Zen the Trauma team unit arrives to pick her up before the local police get there.

Saito makes some calls to some old friends in the Mossad. They have an operative in Turkey who can meet them at the border and help Alfredo disappear again. They take the 90 minute drive to the border and hand him over. They then return to Athens.

In Athens, they find the Safe Zone offices have been cleared out. No sign remains that the company ever existed. Riptide calls Mouse and sees if he can track Erasmus Hando. Mouse is able to determine that Erasmus is on a flight to India. Saito again calls his contacts asks if someone can meet Erasmus at the airport and eliminate him. They assure him that it will be taken care of.

Zen is once again in the hospital and the rest of the team prepares to return home. Hopefully, Alfredo is out of Burton’s clutches for good. The new question left unanswered is why Burton wanted a war between Arasaka and Militech. As Alfredo had said, he really has nothing to gain financially has no room left for advancement in Arasaka. What did he have to gain by starting this corporate war?

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Episode 47 - Of AIs and Meat Puppets

May 19th, 2041

Riptide contacts Kaitlyn Jones for some information. She immediately asks what he wants since the only time she hears from him is when he needs something. He apologizes and then immediately asks her about Biotechnica and Tobias Luna . She says she will look into it and update him over dinner at the Wing Chang Chinese Restaurant, the most expensive restaurant in Night City. Riptide also contacts Mouse to see how things are going with him. Mouse wants to know why Biotechnica showed up at the beach the other night when the team was unloading their cargo. Riptide doesn’t have the answer to that and tries to enlist Mouse’s help but Mouse says he is too busy right now.

Riptide has dinner that evening with Katrina. The food and service are excellent, but the information is what he came for. She tells him that Tobias had resigned three days ago and his replacement, Phil Cohen does not know where he is. Tobias seems to have disappeared. There is no record of him taking transportation out of Night City, but he did remove his son from school and seems to have disappeared with his father. The only other information she could find on Tobias is that he was looking for a hacker named Flatspin Some follow up investigation with Riptide’s street contacts reveals that Flatspin hangs out at the Caf-Caf Coffee House.

May 20th – May 23rd, 2041

The team members focus on their own individual concerns as wells as maintaining the salvage business.

May 24th, 2041

The team pays a visit to the Caf-Caf. Kahale watches out front while Saito monitors the back. Riptide andZen head inside.
Inside the Caf-Caf, the space is divided into two sections, a net café on one side, and a Brain Dance Center on the other. Riptide asks the girl behind the counter if she knows who Flatspin is, and she points to a very large African American man sitting in the Brain Dance Center. Riptide and Zen approach him and ring the “doorbell” a button that lets a jacked-in person know that someone in the outside world needs to talk to them. The man comes out of his session and Riptide asks him if he is Flatspin and what he knows about Tobias Luna. The man claims he is Flatspin, but says he has never heard of Tobias. Flatspin says he specializes in finding people. Zen notices that there’s something slightly off about the man in the way he responds to questions. They try asking him further questions but he refuses to give them any more information.

They offer him some money to do an immediate search for Tobias Luna. Flatspin agrees and says it will take several minutes. They step away from him and give Mouse a call. They asked him to monitor what Flatspin is doing to find Tobias Luna. Mouse is growing increasingly irritated with constant interruptions to his work and demands a $1,000 for his time. Zen can’t believe that he is charging them for this, but agrees.

They go back in and speak to Flatspin. He says he has found nothing. He can do a much deeper dive but it will take much more time and money.

They call Mouse to see if he was able to trace Flatspin’s activities. He tells them that Flatspin did nothing as far as he could tell and that his only communication from that point is to another table on the other side of the Caf-Caf specifically table number 12.

They look over to table number 12 and see a young woman who is jacked into the net. They walkover and hit the doorbell button. The woman emerges from the net and asks them what they want. They ask her why she is communicating with the gentleman on the other side of the room. She gives them an odd look and says she has no idea what they’re talking about. They ask her about Flatspin and Tobias Luna, and she says she has never heard of either of them.

Zen calls Mouse and says the girl has no idea what they are talking about. Mouse says he does not know what the exact communication was, but the two were definitely sharing what appeared to be some form of sensory data.

They confront the woman again, this time a little more forcefully. After some thinly veiled threats, she relents and admit that she is Flatspin. She says that the man on the other side of the room is someone whom she pays to let her use as a meat puppet that she can control and communicate through. He acts as a human false front because he appears much more intimidating. People tend to take him more seriously and are less likely to mess with him.

She explains to them that Tobias Luna had approached her and asked her to look into the location of a man named Alfredo Bruga. They recognize his name as the man that they were told that Burton Chambers was looking for. It turns out that she was already looking for Alfredo Bruga on behalf of someone else. She turned Luna down because she figured he knew that she was already looking for Bruga, and she felt helping him would be selling out her other client. She did not know whom the other client was, as she was being paid through an anonymous service.

They offer her some immediate cash if she is willing to throw them a bone and tell them some of what she’s learned so far. She is reluctant at first but they convince her they do not care who her client is. She tells them that Alfredo was a financier for Eurobank. He up and disappeared a couple of months ago. He owns several holdings worldwide including a home in Paris, a Greek restaurant in Nice France, a castle in Edenborough, a wind farm in Houston, and he’s owns a shipping company in Seattle.

They thank her for the information, and tells her that the offer still stands to find Tobias Luna for them. She agrees, and they go on their way.

May 25th, 2041

Zen pays a visit to Krissy to see how she is doing. The young solo is still working on getting used to her new cyberlimbs having lost most of her natural limbs in the explosion in the Combat Zone during a mission that went badly.

May 26th, 2041

Riptide contacts Mouse for some help but Mouse says he doesn’t have time to assist them in anything right now. Riptide asks Mouse who he was working for regarding the job they did smuggling in the crates off of the cargo ship. Mouse says that naturally he’s not at liberty to say.

Riptide asks Kahale who he was working for, and Kahale says that the job was given to him by a man named Edgar Cole. The team remembers Edgar Cole as a former Biotechnica employee with whom they worked with the help smuggle the clone Adam to the Midway Freehold.

May 27th, 2041

Riptide contacts Edger Cole and asks him about what was in the packages that they helped smuggle. Edger says he can’t say but he would have thought that the team would have put two and two together by now and figured it out. He gets nothing more from Edgar, but when he gets together with the rest of the team and they discuss it, they realize that there’s a high probability that the crates that they smuggled in were probably some form of mainframe system meant to house Masslight.

May 28th, 2041

They decide to head to the warehouse where they last left Mouse to confront him and find out what exactly is going on. They find the warehouse has installed some state-of-the-art security equipment, with no visible way to open any of the doors or windows. They contemplate how to get in when one of the doors suddenly opens on its own.

They step in and find computer equipment sprawled everywhere. Mouse, who looks like he hasn’t eaten or slept in days is busy running some cable across the room when he sees them enter. He is less than pleased to see them and demands to know if they are sure no one followed them. They assure him that they were not and that no one knows about this place.

They ask him if he’s working for Masslight and he says yes. They are about to question him further when the room is filled with the sound of a voice emanating from every direction. The voice says it’s Masslight and that he realized that Arasaka had discovered his location at the Midway Freehold so he decided to move to Night City. They ask him why he would come to Night City he says that he believes that this is where the end game will take place. They ask him what he means by the end game. Masslight says that forces are in play that will be coming to a head within the next few weeks, and there was a high probability it would be centered here in Night City. He will not divulge any further information as he is not yet confident enough in his calculations, but he does say that not only is the team in danger, but all of humanity as well. He has not yet decided what steps, if any, he would take to save them.

They ask him what help he would be willing to give them, and at this point all he is willing to say is that the key to discovering more about what was going on lay in finding Alfredo Bruga and Tobias Luna. They ask him why Arasaka is looking for him, and the AI tells them that Arasaka has begun a campaign of eliminating every intelligent construct and independent AI they can find. Dr. Kilacho was one of those constructs that they sought out and destroyed.

Masslight and Dr. Kilatcho had worked together on some research regarding the translation of human consciousness into digital form. This was the task for which Masslight had been designed by Biotechnica. Masslight determined that there was great danger in Biotechnica gaining this technology, so with the help of Dr. Kilatcho, he escaped.

But Biotechnica was not the only one researching this type of technology. Raven Micro-Cybernetics had developed an implant that was designed to record brain patterns to help facilitate this sort of translation. The technology was stolen by Torrent, who didn’t fully understand its intent, and had it implanted in his own head. It was destroyed when he took down the Arasaka prison.

There was also an attempt by Infotech called Project Apotheosis that was co-funded by Biotechnica. The nature of this project is currently unknown to Masslight.

Arasaka itself had dabbled in this type of technology years ago when they had created the Soul Killer virus. However use of the virus was so controversial, that it almost destroyed the company. They claim to have wiped out every copy of it and destroyed the research, however it is strongly believed that copies of the virus still live within Arasaka’s most secure vaults.

The team leaves Mouse and Masslight to their work. They question what Masslight is really up to and if he had just threatened to destroy humanity.

Riptide calls Colin Fisk and asks him what he knows about where Arasaka keeps its most protected assets. Colin says that he believes that Arasaka has several vaults located within its world headquarters in Tokyo, but beyond that he knows nothing. Riptide inquire as to what Colin knows about Alfredo or Tobias, to which Colin answers he knows nothing.

Apoc contacts Saito and lets him know that someone has been putting feelers out in the arms market looking for private citizens who have been buying up .50 Caliber Electrothermal rounds. Since that is a short list of people and Saito is on it, Apoch felt it best to give Saito a heads up. Saito checks with Dollar Bill, the fixer with whom Saito buys the tank killing ammunition. Dollar Bill confirms that someone has been tracing sales of the ammo, but so far he knows, no one has traced a purchase to him or to Saito.

Saito speculates that this may have something to do with the incident with the Cult of the New Dawn, since that is the last place where he used his .50 caliber Electrothermal Rifle and Arasaka was directly involved. Riptide calls the surviving members of a cult, and ask them if anyone has been asking about the team. They indicate that they are not aware of anyone that was looking for them.

A picture was beginning to form. A picture with bigger implications than what any of them had imagined. But just as things seemed to start to come together, they couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was slowly tightening a noose around them.

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Episode 46 - Special Delivery

April 11th, 2041 – May 8th, 2041

The team spends the next couple of weeks recovering from their recent adventures. Business returns to normal as they each go about their day jobs plus managing their salvage business.

One point of Interest though: Riptide decides to investigate something that has been bothering him for some time. He seeks out Alys Grant, with whom he and the team had a run in a few years back. He wants to know how she was always managing to live beyond her means, something the team never looked into at that time. He finds Alys still living at the same place and asks her about it. Naturally, she is at first reluctant to talk to him but eventually reveals to him that her adopted son Jace Grant, was part of an Infotech project known as Project Apotheosis. She knew a little about the project itself, only that they were paying her considerable money to raise the child. Jace no longer lived with her, as he was taken to a special academy run by Infotech.

May 9th, 2041

Riptide is watching reports on the news about Militech expanding its bombing campaign against important Arasaka targets when he gets a phone call from Mouse. Mouse says he has a job for the team regarding a ship that will be coming into the port on the 16th. The ship contains cargo that cannot go through customs. The job is to offload the cargo before it reaches shore. The details are: three roughly refrigerator-size crates weighing 3 ½ tons each, stored in a single cargo container on the ship. Customs could do a surprise inspection of the ship as far out as 30 miles from shore, therefore the crates need to be offloaded prior to the ship coming in within 30 miles. The crew of the transport ship know nothing about what is being planned, however they will have a man on board by the name of Kahale who will help unload the cargo and escort it into Night City where it needs to be dropped off. The pay is $10,000 a piece plus any reasonable expenses.

Riptide talks to the rest of the team about the job and they agree to take the job. The try to pry Mouse for information regarding the contents of the crates and who he is working for. Mouse stays mum for the most part but lets them know that the contents of the crates are fairly fragile. Mouse gives Riptide a scrambled satellite phone with which he can contact Kahale. They speak to Kahale, and find out that he is also unaware of what is in the crates.

May 10th – May 14th, 2041

The team begins planning how they’re going to offload the crates from the cargo ship. At first they consider simply bribing a customs official to make sure that the ship goes through port without inspection. However, when they suggest this the Mouse, he makes it clear that the ship must not arrive in port with those crates still on board. Although he does not give any details, he is concerned that there may be people at the port who know that the ship is coming in and will attempt to intercept the cargo there.

They talk to Kahale about the defenses on the ship. While the freighter is hardly a warship, it is fairly well armed to defend against pirates. They debate whether to approach this job via ship or via a helicopter. The challenge of the helicopter is that there are not that many helicopters short of a Chinook heavy lifter that can lift 10 tons of cargo, and they tend to be very slow and noisy. They also then debate using another ship, but then the question becomes how they get the cargo from one ship to the other.

Zen talks to Dollar Billl about getting her hands on an Electronic Warfare Suite. He says he can get one to her by the end of the week but that kind of rushed job will be very expensive. At first Zen is hesitant, but then remembers that all expenses are being paid for by their unknown employer, so she agrees to the deal.

As the debate continues regarding whether to use a ship or a helicopter, Saito suggests using a blimp. There are blimps that are capable of carrying heavy cargo over considerably long distances. While they are slow and vulnerable to attack, they are extremely quiet and it would allow them to perhaps stealthily take the crate from the ship without the crew ever being aware it was happening. They confirm with Kahale that the cargo container in question has been placed on top of the cargo stack on the ship. The question now is where they get their hands on a blimp.

Against his own better judgement, Riptide places a call to Tobias Luna. He asks Luna if Biotechnica has a blimp they can borrow. Luna points out that this is a rather odd request, but they do in fact have a blimp. He will gladly loan it to the team in exchange, as usual, for a favor. Knowing what that usually means Riptide, grits his teeth and agrees to the deal. The team now has a blimp.

The team then decides that hauling the cargo all the way into the city suspended beneath the blimp might not be a good idea. Riptide does some asking around and finds a boat captain who will be willing to take on the cargo and bring it on to shore no questions asked.

So the plan is to fly the blimp out to meet the cargo ship. They’ll use the electronic warfare suite to block the ship’s radar and communications. Helios will pilot the blimp, Zen will descend down onto the ship and help Kahale secure the cargo, while Saito remains on the blimp providing cover. Once the cargo is secure, it, along with Zen and Kahale will be hoisted back up and the blimp will head back towards the coast. Somewhere just off of shore, they will rendezvous with the boat that Riptide has hired. The cargo and the team, except for Helios, well then load onto the boat and take the boat to a location north of Night City that the captain has assured them no one will disturb them. The team will have a couple of their employees from the salvage company meet them with that location. There they will load the cargo onto of a truck and take it into Night City to its final destination. The plan is in place. What could possibly go wrong?

May 15th, 2041

Surprisingly little actually. The plan pretty much goes off exactly as intended. On the evening of the 15th Riptide goes to meet with the boat crew while the others head to the airport. There they use the passcodes given by them by Thomas Luna to access the blimp. Once on the blimp they find out it is designed for silent running, which is definitely to their advantage. They also find out it holds a military grade bio-containment chamber. The implications of this they try not to think about. They set up the electronic warfare suite and the stealth blimp heads out over the ocean.

The blimp, under the electronic cover of the electronic warfare suite approaches the ship. While they have electronic stealth, tonight happens to be a full moon. Helios is careful to approach the ship in a manner that minimizes the chances of being spotted.

Zen lowers down on a cable and meets with Kahale, a surprisingly large man with a metal cowl. They attach the cables to the cargo box and along with it are hoisted up by the blimp. The blimp then turns away and heads back towards shore with the crew of the freighter apparently completely unaware of what has just happened.

Also as planned, they rendezvous with the boat where Riptide and the boat’s crew are waiting for them. Everyone is loaded onto the boat and the boat begins it makes its way towards the designated landing spot.

Helios takes the blimp back to the Night City Airport and drops it off in the Biotechnica lot where they had picked it up. Once out of the airport, he heads to the nearest drinking hole and saddles up to the bar waiting for confirmation that the rest of the mission has been completed.

The boat closes in on the designated landing area. As planned the flatbed truck from Jimmy Two Teeth’s is waiting there as well. However when the team members with thermal optics in their eyes scan the truck, they notice that there’s virtually no body heat coming from the two employees.

Zen and Saito disembark from the boat using a zodiac and head to shore. Saito uses his sniper rifle to cover the truck as Zen circles her way around the beach coming up to the truck from the rear. When she opens the door to the cabin if she finds two men in the truck who are not their employees. Instead they are to operatives in thermos-shielding armor, one of them holding a gun to her head. He tells her he intends to take the cargo from them. The conversation comes to an abrupt end when Saito fires his rifle, killing the driver. Off in the distance they hear the sound of heavy truck engines fire up and begin to drive towards them.

Before they can make there get away two Biotechnica Security APC’s roll up. Both begin opening fire with their turrets as a score of tactical troopers pour out the back of the vehicles. A firefight ensues.

Zen is completely out in the open, and Saito isn’t in much of a better position either. They are quickly outnumbered and outgunned. Zen goes full auto, while Saito begins picking off soldiers as quickly as possible with his sniper rifle. But things are definitely not going their way.

Riptide contacts Mouse and asks what Biotechnica’s involvement is with the cargo. Mouse says he has no idea. He was worried about interference from Arasaka, not Biotechnica.

Riptide orders the boat to come close to the shore so that he and Kahale can provide supporting fire. Kahale removes his cloak, revealing he is a heavily augmented cyborg sporting four arms. A couple of those arms are equipped with implanted weapons including a rocket launcher. Bullets, bombs, smoke grenades, and rockets are flying at every which direction. A small war has broken out on the shore like a mini D-Day. Luckily for the team, apparently Biotechnica did not bother to bring air support. If they had, the team would have been thoroughly screwed.

Luckily the team is able to cause enough casualties that the Biotechnica soldiers choose not to press their attack. If they wanted to, the security squads could have wiped out the team, but probably at near total loss to themselves as well. Not being paid enough to be that hardcore, the remaining soldiers pile back into the one APC still mobile and drive off.

At the same time, Zen and Saito manage to retreat back to the boat where they are picked up by Riptide. The boat heads away from shore avoiding the danger of any long-range fire from the Biotechnica team. Once they confirm, however, that the Biotechnica team has retreated, they quickly make their way back to shore, transfer the cargo to the flatbed truck. They scan the truck and find multiple tracers. They remove all of the tracers, and take the crates on the final stretch of their journey into Night City..

Following the directions given to them by Mouse, they find themselves in a warehouse district on the southwest side of city. There the cargo is unloaded, and Mouse quickly checks to make sure everything is intact. He still isn’t telling them what’s in the crates but he pays them the promised money.

They also learn that Kahale is doing this job in exchange for information. Mouse tells Kahale that Winston Lee was working for a man named Adam Smasher, who in turn works for an Arasaka executive named Burton Chambers. The team doesn’t know what Kahale’s relationship is with these three men, but they are more than familiar with these three names. During the data mine that uncovered this information, Mouse’s employer also discovered that Burton Chambers is desperately but covertly looking for a man named Alfredo Bruga.

Kahale asks the team if they have a place he can crash. They know nothing about him, but clearly his history is somehow intertwined with theirs. They agree give him a place to stay, get into the truck, and drive back to Jimmy Two-Teeths, leaving Mouse to go about his strange business.

Although they can check off another job as successfully completed, this one is leaving an awful lot of lingering questions. What was the cargo that they just smuggled into the city? Who is Mouse working for that clearly has access to a lot of money, a lot of resources, and a lot of information? Why was Arasaka so interested? Is Biotechnica interested as well, or did Tobia Luna just finally pick this moment to betray the team? What was Burton Chambers up to, and did they need to care?

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Episode 45 - Sunset on the Dawn

April 5th, 2041

A new corporate war has officially begun. In the aftermath of the corporate war between CINO and OTEC, the corporation’s two security contractors, Arasaka and Militech respectively, are now in direct conflict with each other.

April 6th – April 8th, 2041

The corporate war quickly escalates. The two corporations have begun unleashing their paramilitary troops and equipment. Reports of power armor and tanks being used in conflicts are starting to become more common. The nations and states that have “hosted” these conflicts have thus far been willing to overlook them as long as collateral damage has been kept to a minimum. Both corporations have also been making considerable payments to governments to avoid sanctions as a result of their actions.

April 9th, 2041

Riptide gets a phone call. On the other end of is a voice from the past, one Dr. Kilacho. The doctor has urgent need for the team`s services. Apparently Arasaka has decided to move on the compound that belongs to the Cult of the New Dawn cult located in Warren, Idaho. The reasons for this is currently unknown to the doctor, but he considers these cult members to be his children, and it is therefore very important that they be protected. His communications have been cut off with the compound so he has no way of warning them as to what is coming. He offers Riptide a sizable sum of $250,000 if they can get to Warren, Idaho and rescue the cult members before Arasaka attacks. Riptide negotiates for a half million dollars to which Dr. Kilacho agrees without hesitation.

Riptides calls his contact at Militech, Colin Fisk. He asks Colin if Militech has any assets in the Warren, Idaho area. Collin tells him that Militech does have a small operations base in Boise, Idaho, but it is pretty much locked down right now due to a recent incident. He tells Riptide that he’s not likely going to be able to offer much help or equipment. He does also mention however that there was a recent theft at the compound, with a couple of large crates of assault rifles having been stolen. Riptide asks if Militech has a hangar at the Boise Airport that they can make use of as a staging area. That request Colin is able to oblige.

Helios calls his buddies in the nomad group known as the Mountaineers. He asked if there’s any way that they can get to Warren, Idaho with a couple of trucks to help them transport some people. They indicate that they are willing to help for the right price. They also inquire as to whether there was any chance that they were going to get shot at. Helios indicates that there is a small chance that might happen. The price is negotiated and the Mountaineers indicate they’ll be able to bring a couple of trucks to Warren in about a day’s time.

The team begins to make preparations and gather their gear. They make arrangements to rent a vehicle and two motorcycles in Boise to be ready when they arrive. Dr. Kilacho has already made arrangements for a private jet.

In the afternoon, the team is all loaded up and head to the Night City Airport. There they take the private jet to Boise, Idaho. Once in Boise they waste no time and unloading the gear from the plane and getting into the vehicles. They then immediately head out to the Warren.

April 10th, 2041

Shortly after midnight, the team arrives at the gates of the compound belonging to the Children of the New Dawn. Riptide goes up to the gate and demands to speak with Huntley, the man he’d work with the last time they were there. The guards make him wait several minutes, but eventually Huntley shows up. Based on his disheveled appearance, it’s clear that they rousted him out of bed.

Riptide quickly begins to explain the situation. Huntley seems to be having difficulty believing that Arasaka wants to raid their little compound. He does eventually agree to let them in. He takes them to one of their storage buildings where he shows them several crates that had recently showed up. The team looks inside the crates and realizes that these are the weapons that were stolen from the Militech base in Boise. Huntley has no idea why they showed up here or where they had even came from. At first the team thinks this is an opportunity to arm all of the cult members until it is pointed out that while the crates are full of assault rifles, there is not a single round of ammunition included.

Riptide again talks about needing to evacuate the compound. They ask why the Kilacho has not warned them himself. He explains that Dr. Kilacho has been unable to reach them. The cults own computer techs confirm that they are overdue for contact with Kilacho. Riptide is ultimately able to convince Huntley and the others they need to evacuate the compound. They begin packing up their personal items, but the one thing is going to take the longest is the computer server that has been used to house Dr. Kilacho’s construct. Doctor Kilacho’s consciousness is not currently in the server, however he will eventually need to return to it at some point, so the cultists refuse to leave it behind. They indicate that should take roughly two hours to disassemble it.

As the cult members begin packing their things, Saito and Zen set up det chord in various locations on the compound fence so that if needed, they can blow holes in the fence to escape in various directions. They also plant multiple claymores along the road leading up to the front gate of the compound. They then take up watch in guard towers in opposite corners of the compound. Helios stands on top of the truck that he will be driving. Riptide concentrates his efforts on keeping the packing operation moving as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Around 2 a.m., Helios picks up the heat signature of an AV-11 assault aerodyne. He watches as it hovers above the ground roughly ½ mile away. From the aerodyne drops 10 figures that literally hit the ground running and begin moving towards the compound at superhuman speed. Helios quickly realizes that all 10 are wearing combat power armor. As the power armor suits close on the compound from the west, an Arasaka Combat 10 APC pulls up to the front gate on the south side.

Zen opens fire on the APC despite knowing there is little chance she will damage the armored vehicle. The vehicle responds by opening fire with a turret mounted minigun on the guard tower that Zen is in. She is forced to hit the ground as the entire tower is saturated with flying lead.

On the west side, the power armor troops reach the fence and easily push their way through it. On the south side a squad of ten men in standard combat armor emerge from the APC wearing insignias that mark them as Arasaka soldiers. They begin moving towards the front gate. The APC’s minigun continues to pelt the guard tower with bullets, forcing Zen to stay down.

Saito opens fire with his sniper rifle, the armor-piercing electro-thermal round puncturing a suit of power armor, dropping the PA trooper. The remaining PA troopers immediately return fire on Saito’s guard tower. He is forced to duck and cover, but from his protected position he hits the detonator button on the claymores mounted by the front gate. Half of the soldiers moving towards the front gate are instantly shredded.

The cultists finally finish loading up Helios’ truck. He plugs into the vehicle link and starts it up. He begins driving towards the east side of the compound. The cult’s bus, loaded with most of the cult members, follows right behind him. He hits a detonator button, setting off the det chord on the east fence blowing a hole in it big enough for him to drive his truck through. As he emerges through the fence however, he sees a heat signature of something off in the distance on the east side of the compound. It takes him a moment to realize what he’s looking at, an Arasaka walker tank. The tank, mounted on six legs, is slowly making its way towards the compound. It has clearly detected the truck making a break for it, and its main turret turns towards the truck. Helios slams the truck hard to the right as the tank open fire. The truck takes a couple of hits from the tank’s autocannon, but it still continues to function.

The cult members that have been packing up the server finally finish their task. They start up their truck and begin to drive toward the compound fence. However they are quickly met by several of the Arasaka PA troopers who open fire. The driver and his co-pilot are instantly killed. The power armor troopers split up with half of the squad beginning to secure the server equipment, while the other half continues to deal with Saito in the guard tower.

Out of the back of the Combat 10 APC emerges a full conversion cyborg wearing a Hard Rock Café t-shirt. As the other members of the Elite Squad continue to exchange fire with Zen, the cyborg casually strolls through the front gates and starts walking towards where the PA troopers are securing the vehicle with the server.

With the truck Helios was driving now out of the compound, and the one holding the server equipment clearly disabled and in the hands of Arasaka, Riptide decides to get on his motorcycle and get out of the compound. As he’s leaving however he comes in the line of sight of the cyborg who opens fire with his 14 mm heavy pistol. The bullets blow large holes in the engine of the motorcycle and it immediately dies beneath Riptide. Riptide is able to quickly recover and is instantly on his feet and moving towards the exit.

Saito risks being hit to take a shot with his sniper rifle. He hits the cyborg square in the head. The cyborg is clearly surprised to be hit, while Saitos equally surprised the cyborg is still standing. The cyborg begins to move towards cover but Saito fires again this time knocking him down. Unfortunately the exposed Saito is then hit by fire from the power armor troopers, one of the rounds shattering the bone is right arm.

Helios parks the truck where there is thickest copse of trees that he can find, hoping to shield it from the firepower of the walker tank. Unfortunately the bus full of cult members is not so lucky, and is quickly riddled by bullets and cannon fire from the tank. The bus is quickly disabled and about a third of the cult members are killed. The surviving called members evacuate the bus and run towards where Helios has parked his truck.

Things are looking rather dire for the team as Zen is still under suppression fire from the APC and several surviving members of the Arasaka Tactical Unit begin moving on her position. Sato is wounded and having trouble holding his sniper rifle. He takes another shot, downing another power armor trooper, but the remaining three are quickly moving to the base of his tower he is in. Helios is in a relatively safe position, but it’s only a matter of a few moments before the walker tank arrives and then they are all screwed.

Finally a sign of hope as from the south the headlights are seen from the two Mountaineers trucks. Helios directs all of the surviving cult members to move towards the oncoming trucks. Riptide opens fire on the APC using his ramjet pistols. The shells bounced off, but it distracts the APC for its continued onslaught on Zen’s guard tower. Helios uses his grenade launcher to launch a couple of flechette rounds at the Arasaka soldiers moving to the base of Zen’s guard tower. It slows them down but it does not stop them. Moments later they’re heading up the ladder towards the top of the tower. Zen is forced to jump out of the tower landing on the ground outside of the compound fence.

With the server equipment secured, the power armor troopers move towards the south end of the compound to provide assistance. They waive off the Walker tank as they decide to deal with the remaining team members themselves.

Over on the northwest tower, Saito knows that if he stays in the tower, he’s dead. Unfortunately, jumping from the tower is likely to kill him as well. Choosing likely death over certain death, he takes the leap. As he falls to the ground he triggers the don the explosives mounted in the base of the tower catching the power armor troops in the explosion. The power armor troops are ultimately unharmed but it takes them a moment to recover from what happened. This buys Saito enough time to peel himself off the ground and crawl into the brush outside of the compound.

On the other side, Helios is able to break away from the fight, get into the truck, and drive away. Riptide and Zen are not so lucky, and are captured by the power armor troopers. Each one is in the death grip of a trooper who carries them back to where the truck with the server equipment is located.

Once Saito is in the cover of the brush he opens fire on the PA troopers again, taking out another one. A few moments later the assault aerodyne returns and hovers a few thousand feet west of the compound. The PA troopers remain motionless. Saito takes a shot at another shot at a PA trooper and the aerodyne immediately opens fire on his position. Saito narrowly escapes getting killed, and realizes the troopers are triangulating his position and using the aerodyne to return fire. Not wanting to leave his team members behind, but knowing that the next pull of his trigger would likely get him killed, Saito slowly retreats farther into the forest.

Zen and Riptide are secured inside the APC and are questioned by an Arasaka officer. He demands to know what happened to the crates of military weapons. They let him know that the weapons were safely removing the compound already. The team is unsure why Arasaka wants the crate of weapons so badly, they have plenty of their own. The officer says he is willing to trade them for the rifles. Riptide gets ahold of Helios and also conference calls in Colin Fisk, but does so without letting Arasaka know. Negotiations commence and eventually they agree to meet at the entry to the compound at 4 a.m. to make the exchange.

They ask the officer why Arasaka is attacking the Children of the Dawn. He does not give them a straight answer but indicates that Dr. Kilacho was a threat. As they wait for the exchange time, they watch Arasaka technicians reinstall and modify the servers. After some sometime, once of the technicians gives a signal to the officer, who tells Zen and Riptide that Dr. Kilacho is no more.

At 4 a.m. the exchange takes place without incident. The weapons are given to Arasaka and Zen and Riptide are released. Most of the team opts to head for home, while Saito get dropped off in Boise and checks himself into a hospital. Riptide contacts Colin who indicates that Militech is going to take action against the Arasaka force at some point, but the team hears nothing more on this matter.

Later that day they hear on the news about how about Arasaka is taking some heat for assaulting The Cult of the Dawn compound. Their excuse is that the Cult of the Dawn was a front for Militech and was housing military weapons. They use the crates of Militech rifles found in the compound as proof of this fact. Naturally Militech denies these claims, insisting the rifles were planted.

The team does not receive the big payment they had been promised. Mouse does some digging and learns that Dr. Kilacho has disappeared off of the Net. It would seem that the purpose of Arasaka’s attack on the Cult of the Dawn was to eliminate Dr. Kilatcho. But why? What threat did he pose to them that they felt they needed to take time in the middle of a corporate war to eliminate him?

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