Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 40 - Sweet Revenge Redux

July 6th – September 8th, 2040

The team gets roughly two months of peace and quiet between jobs. It gives them plenty of time to work on their personal objectives as well as improve their towing and salvage business. But there is such a thing as too much quiet, and the itch for some action begins to grow.

Riptide checks in with Colin Fisk to see how things are going with Harvis Renaldo. Collin says that he has run into a bit of an issue as Mr. Renaldo seems to have disappeared.

SHelios takes to regularly watching the news and he hears about the Mountaineers nomad clan has taken over a neighborhood in Heywood, much to the chagrin of EBM, the corporation that owns the neighborhood. Having run with those nomads a few years back, Helios considers paying them a visit,

September 9th, 2040

Riptide gets a visit from a man named Klaus who is looking for some assistance on a job. He has an asset retrieval job, and the team comes highly recommended. They agree to meet later that day with the rest of the team.

A few hours later, Klaus meets with the whole team, except Saito, who had to go to Los Angeles for reasons unknown. Klaus explains that he is looking to retrieve some black mail materials for his client, materials that are currently in the hands of the North American President of Tsunami Arms. They are in a safe in his office, which is located on a large, heavily guarded campus just outside the city.

Klaus has managed to secure an AV-8, and has had it painted to look like Tsunami Arms security. More impressive, he has the identity codes that will allow him to fly onto their property without getting shot down.

His plan is to fly the team to the office, drop them off and then leave as not to draw suspicion. The team goes in, secures the materials, and then signals him to return. He flies in, picks them up, and everyone gets paid. The team’s share of this little adventure is $50,000. They have to act in two days, otherwise Klaus’ ID codes for the AV-8 expire. Zen points out that they need to be careful as this reminds her too much of the Kalnier theft.

They agree to meet in two days at the old Brock Facility, an abandoned facility owned by DMS where Klaus has the AV stored. They then go their separate ways.

September 10th, 2040

The following day, the team begins immediately doing some research and recon. They are able to get blue prints for the office. They learn that there are numerous armed guards at the office, plus armed guards patrolling the campus. A response team is also on the campus on standby, and can be on site anywhere on the property in two minutes. There is at least one other armed AV-8 somewhere on the grounds.

The access control in the office building uses thumb print scanners. They manage to acquire a printer that can forge thumb prints. They pay Mouse to hack the Tsunami Arms network, where he is able to download copies of the thumb print records, allowing them to forge prints that give them full access to the building.

Riptide gets his hands on some uniforms and Ripper buys lots of explosives and remote detonators. They also get their hands on an expensive but handy signal jammer, which will hopefully keep the armed cavalry from showing up.

September 11th, 2040

The next morning, they have a plan in place and the equipment they need to pull it off. But then the phone rings. Riptide gets a call from a past client, Nasami Namura, the Yakuza man who hired them to retrieve a stolen horse back in April, though they never met him or even knew he was the one that hired them. The most memorable thing about that mission was Wilbur, the retired edgerunner, telling them to get out of the business before they have too many enemies haunting them. He told them this right before taking a bullet to the head from one of his old enemies.

In the early afternoon, Riptide heads over to Warehouse 123. This time there is no two-way mirrors, or go between spokesmen. He speak directly with Namura who points out that due to the success of their last mission, he now finds himself assigned to Night City indefinitely, rather than getting to return to Tokyo as he had hoped.

None the less, he was happy with the work the team did for him last time, so he has a new job for them. He wants them to steal a vinyl record collection, and they need to do it this evening. Riptide is about to decline when Namura points out that the collection is held by Ricardo Alament, the North American President of Tsunami Arms.

Riptide has been in the game far too long to believe in such coincidences, and demands to know what is up. Namura explains that he has tried to purchase the collection from Alament on several occasions, but has been rejected every time. He has since managed to get a man on the inside of the operation, to get some sort of leverage.

That man informed him early this morning that Tsunami Arms plans to be raided this evening and are setting a trap. The team member’s names were mentioned. It seems that someone has spilled the beans. He tells Riptide that rather than abort the mission, which would be the sane thing to do, they could use this fore knowledge to their advantage allowing them to complete their original mission plus get Namura his record collection, for which he will pay $100,000.

Riptide meets with the others and gives them the news. They call Klaus and insist that he meets with them. An hour later, they meet at the Golden Saloon.

Klaus denies their accusations and insists that he has told no one about the job. He tells them that is client is Sarah Lexington, a popular socialite. She dated Alament briefly and she wants some embarrassing photos back. They asked him about how he found the team, and Klaus says that Lexington’s body guard used to be an edgerunner and new the team by reputation and suggested them.

They did some background checking, and sure enough, Alament did date Lexington for a while. He was known to socialize with a number of starlets, including Shauni Kalnier, the Braindance star whose career was recently ruined.

So they still do not know how Tsunami Arms knew they were coming, but the extra pay day is too much to pass up. Plus, they realize they only have to make some small modifications to their plans in order to make them fit the new circumstances.

At 7:30 pm, a couple hours earlier than originally planned, they meet at the old Brock Facility and load their gear into the AV-8. The vector thrust jet launches into the air and flies the 10 minute journey to the Tsunami Arms facility.

The AV-8 slowly flies over the property, its ID code keeping it from being greeted by surface-to-air missiles. As they fly over a couple of the manufacturing buildings, Ripper drops a couple of large satchel charges onto the roofs.

The AV-8 then lands in front of the office building. The new plan calls for Klaus to remain parked there until they are ready to leave, something he is not happy about but has agreed to.

The team disembarks in their security uniforms, uniforms that have a lot less armor protection than the kind of body armor they are used to wearing on this kind of mission. They bring with them a wheeled cart to carry some of their gear, including the jammer, which they switch on.

They stroll into the office building and are greeted by a couple of security guards. Riptide explains that they are there to reinforce security for the raid that is supposed to happen later tonight. They security guards know nothing about it and gripe about being the last to be told anything.

The team uses the forged fingerprints to gain access to the upper level. They emerge from the elevator to see several offices. Ripper’s thermo-imaging in his cyber-eyes reveals about a dozen individuals waiting in one of the VP offices. They decide to not go to that one.

They go to the President’s office. They carefully inspect the door and see that it has a screamer alarm attached to it, but has an old fashioned key lock. After some meticulous work, they are able to bypass the screamer alarm and pick the lock. They enter the office and find the wall safe. Ripper has a safe cracking skill chip installed that feeds him the information he needs to defeat the safe lock. The safe door is opened and inside is an envelope.

They open the envelope and expect to see provocative pictures of Sarah Lexington. Instead there are several photos of Harvis Renaldo, who appears to have been beaten to death. They are not sure what to make of this development other than it explains how Tsunami got their street names.

While Helios and Riptide monitor the office with the people inside, Ripper and Zen roll the cart into the VIP lounge and begin loading record albums onto the cart.

The door to the office with the men inside suddenly swings open, revealing 10 security men. In the back are two other individuals, a male they do not recognize, but also a female that Riptide recognizes as Shauni Kalnier.

In that instant, it all comes together. They had ruined her career when Harvis Renaldo hired them to steal her master tapes from DMS. Ricardo Alament was a known friend of Kalnier’s. The people who hired Klaus pointed him in the team’s direction. The facility that Klaus parked his AV-8, which he somehow got the Tsunami codes for, was a DMS facility. As Zen had pointed out, this mission objective was similar to the Kalnier theft.

Tsunami Arms knew they were coming not because someone had leaked the plan. This was the plan all along. Alament was helping Kalnier get some payback for what they did to her.

This revelation doesn’t stop Riptide and Helios from acting as planned and throwing several flash bang grenades into the room. While everyone in the room stumbles about dazed, Riptide and Helios use needle guns armed with sleep drugs to sedate everyone.

Then they hear the unmistakable sound of the AV-8 taking off. This is then followed by the sound of the 14mm cannon roaring to life. They look out the window and see multiple squads of men trying to approach the building, but Klaus is keeping them pinned down.

Zen and Ripper emerge with the cart full of albums. They grab Shauni Kalnier and decide to keep her as a hostage. They head back down the elevator, and are immediately shot at by the two first floor guards. They outnumber the security men and easily drive them back.

Ripper turns off the signal jammer and uses his remote detonator to set off the charges on the manufacturing buildings. That should keep some pressure off of them for a while.

Suddenly, the AV-8 drops quickly and hits the ground. Not sure what has happened, the team quickly runs from the building to the AV, dodging fire from the security teams. They quickly load up into the AV. Helios checks the cockpit and finds Klaus dead with 3rd degree burns on his hands and arms.

Helios pulls the body out of the AV and jumps into the pilot seat. He is glad he had thought to buy an AV piloting skill chip just in case this sort of thing happened. He is about to take off when suddenly a massive jolt of electricity rips its way through Helios. The skin on his hands and arms quickly blister and burn away. The jolt only lasts a couple of seconds, but it leaves Helios unconscious, his hands and arms burned black. He is lucky to be alive at all.

They pull Helios’ smoking body into the back of the AV, administering what first aid they can to keep him alive. As the security teams begin to move in they quickly consider their options.

Inspecting the pilot’s seat, they can see the controls are rigged to deliver the electrical shock. They can see no physical trigger. Perhaps it is triggered remotely. As this occurs to them, they remember that the AV went down right after Ripper turned off the signal jammer. They quickly turn it back on.

Zen pulls the AV pilot chip from Helios’ chip reader and plugs it into her own. She then sits in the pilot’s seat, bracing herself for a possible lethal shock, but none comes. Using a piloting chip she has not had time to acclimate to, using controls she has not had a chance to familiarize herself with, she begins to pilot a vehicle that was damaged in the fall. Despite all of this, she gets the AV off of the ground and pointed in the right direction.

They begin to fly way, and begin to feel a sense of relief. It is short lived however when warning sirens begin to go off. Looking around they see another AV-8 closing in. Ripper climbs into the gunner’s seat, and takes control of the cannon and grenade launchers.

A dog fight ensues, but the other AV-8 pilot clearly has the advantage. The team’s AV takes multiple cannon hits while Ripper is unable to get a bead on their opponent as the other AV pilot knows how to stay in their blind spots.

They almost make it to the suburb of Heywood when the AV takes a crippling hit, and Zen is forced to make a crash landing. The other AV hovers about getting ready to make the killing blow.

Realizing that they are just outside of Heywood, they get an idea. They disable the shock device and turn the jammer off. Ripper gets on the radio and informs the other AV that they have Shauni Kalnier on board. This has the desired effect, and the AV gives them some space.

At the same time, Riptide goes to work on his phone. While he never ran with the Mountaineers like Helios did, he did get to know some of them during his days in Las Vegas. He begins to work some old contacts.

The other AV continues to hover outside. The team is sure that more Tsunami security is on the way. Riptide gets a call from a Mountaineer in Heywood. He tells them that several nomads are on their way and will be there in a few minutes to pick them up. They have to hurry though as word has already reached the media that Shauni Kalnier is being held hostage and the cops and media are on their way as well.

They let Shauni know that they are going to release her and if she even thinks about coming after them again, they will not hesitate to flat line her. The nomads arrive in large numbers right before the media gets there as well. Mass chaos ensues.

When the dust settles, Shauni has been rescued and the team finds themselves in Heywood. They activate Helios’ trauma card and wait for an ambulance AV to arrive and take them back to Night City.

Helios is in the hospital, minus two arms. The team collects their bounty for the record collection. They barely survived what could have been a total disaster. Old Wilbur’s warning about getting out before they have too many enemies seems more poignant then ever.

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Episode 39 - Chasing the Dragon

July 4th, 2040

It’s barely been a week since the team’s last job when Zen gets a call from a technician at Trauma Team. He tells her they have the body of one of their customers that they were unable to save. The account is under an assumed name so they can’t identify her. They found a burner cell phone on her that has two names in the speed dial. The first had no answer and the second one is what got them in contact with her.

Zen heads down to the Trauma Team center and sees the body. To her shock, it belongs to Roxie. The body is badly burned and riddled with shrapnel. It looks like the work of a well-made IED.

Zen asks where they recovered the body and she is told is was found near the corner of 34th Ave and 230th St, which is right in the heart of the worst part of the Combat Zone. Roxie’s Trauma team card had been automatically activated, but by the time the team got there, she was already dead. There were no other bodies present.

Zen informs the others. Their first suspicion is that this is retaliation for the tech they stole from Block One, which was a job they got through Roxie. They try calling Krissy, but get no response.

The team heads over to Roxie and Krissy’s place at the Mallplex. They break-in and do a quick search. They learn that Roxie and Krissy apparently left no traces of their activities lying around the apartment. They find a wall safe and pull it out of the wall.

Remembering that the girls kept their gear in a custom built armored van, they head down to the parking garage. All they find however, is an empty parking space.

Back at the shop, they torch the safe. Inside, they find $15,000 in cash, some passports and a contact list. Nothing in there tells them about the girl’s last job.

Riptide works his contacts and hears that the girls were doing a job for a man named Rico Diamonds, a pimp turned corporate fixer. He must be small time, because little else is known about him other than he has diamond studded teeth. They do figure out that other number on Roxie’s speed dial belongs to this Rico.

That night the team heads to the Forlorn Hope and tells the regulars the news. They spend the rest of the night, drinking, telling stories, and toasting their fallen friend.

July 5th, 2040

With Mouse’s help, they prepare to triangulate and trace Rico’s cell phone. Zen places a call and does her best impression of Roxie. It may not be good enough to take on the road, but it’s good enough to fool Rico.

He is quite upset because he has just learned that the girls did not deliver the brief case he was paying them to deliver. Zen tells him that something has gone wrong and that they need to meet. Rico agrees and tells them to meet him at the usual place. He won’t say what that place is and they can’t ask him. But when he hangs up, they turn to Mouse who confirms Rico’s location as Medina, a hookah club over on the west side.

The team drives over to the Medina. Rico isn’t hard to spot as he is the only guy in the club with diamond studded teeth. They approach him and reveal that it was actually Zen that he had talked to earlier.

Once the usually posturing is out of the way, they explain that Roxie was found dead, and that she was a friend. Since she was doing a job for Rico, it might be mutually beneficial to find out what happened.

Rico tells them that he paid the girls to drop a brief case off at an address right near where she was found. What was in the case, he did not know, and the girls did not ask either. He even agrees to pay the team $30,000 to recover the case and complete the delivery. The recipient of the case is a Nanotech Industries lab operating clandestinely in the Combat Zone.

After the meeting with Rico, they do a little research on the part of the combat zone that the lab is located in. They find out it is currently a warzone. Two gangs, the Klash and the Razor Boys are in an all-out battle for territory.

July 5th, 2040

In the morning, they get into their van and head deep into the Combat Zone. There area they are heading into has been clearly ravaged by drugs. Most business are closed, homeless and strung-out individuals litter the sidewalks.

They come across Roxie and Krissy’s armored van parked on the curb. They get out and investigate. It looks like several people have tried to get into the van, but the armor and security system have held.

As they check out the van, they notice that they have drawn the attention of several Razor Boys. The gangers tell them that the van was left in their territory, so it belongs to them. The team tries to negotiate for the return of the van, but the Boys say that only their leader Ice can make such a deal and he isn’t seeing visitors right now.

Just then a car that had been slowly coasting a couple of blocks away begins to speed up. Several gang members recognize what is about to happen and hit the dirt.

Sub-machine gun fire bursts from inside the car, hitting several of the slower Boys. Zen empties a magazine into the car Saito calmly grabs his rifle out of the van and snipes the driver of the vehicle, causing it to swerve and hit a telephone pole. The Razor Boys run up and fire enough lead into the vehicle to ensure that there are no survivors. As they tend to their dead and wounded, the Razor Boys agree to take the team to see Ice.

They are taken a couple of blocks south into a warehouse where they meet Ice. He agrees to turn over the van for $5,000. Helios surprises everyone by pulling out a large wad of cash and counting out $5,000. The Boys clearly aren’t sure what to make of a guy that would carry that kind of cash into the Combat Zone.

The team makes arrangements to get the van towed back to their salvage shop. Hazard pay bonuses are offered in order to get anyone to come this far into the Zone. Riptide calls Mouse and asks him to do some digging and see what he can find out about Roxie and Krissy as of late.

They then talk to Ice about Roxie and Krissy. He tells them that they had heard an explosion in an alley a couple blocks east of here, but when they got there, no one was around. He believes that it is the work of The Dragon, a mysterious vigilante who operates in these parts. Rumor is that The Dragon is a former Razor Boy who now has it in for all gangers. Word has it that he hangs out at a drug den called the Shooting Gallery, which is located inside Klash territory.

They next decide to head over to where the incident took place. Once there, they begin to inspect the damage. They determine that someone set up multiple anti-personnel explosives in the alley. Anyone caught in the middle of that blast was likely shredded pretty badly. The hopes of find Krissy alive are suddenly diminished.

Saito climbs a pipe attached to one of the buildings to get a bird’s eye view. While up there, he spots a blood trail from that very same pipe to the middle of the roof, where it disappears. Someone was wounded and either climbed or was carried up to the roof, where they disappeared from that point.

Once back on the ground, he and Zen head into the narrow ally off shoot and make their way to its end. There they find a non-descript steel door. They knock, and a minute later someone opens the view window and asks what they want. As suspected, this is the Nanotech lab. Once they establish why they are there, the man behind the door states that he is still waiting for his package as it was never delivered. He had heard the explosion as well and he sent some men to investigate. They found no bodies, but did not search long as the Razor Boys were starting to show up.

They return to Roxie and Krissy’s van to oversee it being hoisted on a truck to be towed out of the Combat Zone. It was now 6:00 PM, which means they still have a couple hours of daylight left.

They load into their own van and head north into Clash territory. They soon find the Shooting Gallery. Helios stays with the vehicle as the other head in. The scene inside the drug den looks an awful lot like the scene outside, except that all of the people laying around strung out look a lot more comfortable.

They inquire as to who is in charge and end up talking to a guy named Ace. He says that contrary to what they may have heard, The Dragon doesn’t hang out here. In fact, he is pretty sure the Dragon is a myth. He heard that the Dragon is supposedly Japanese, an ex-yakuza guy who is taking out anyone who is connected with that organization.

They ask him what the popular drug is in the neighborhood. He tells them that it is Crystal Lace. It’s distributed by the Jamaicans, who operate somewhere southeast of here. There have been some synthetic drugs showing up as of late, but he doesn’t know where it is coming from.

Mouse gives Riptide a call with some information. Krissy’s Trauma Team account was more than 10 days past due, so her account was suspended. That means that even if she was there and dying right alongside Roxie, they would not have picked her up.

They next head southeast to find the Jamaicans. They find two men guarding an ally who seem to fit the profile. These guys look like “shoot first, say hi later” types, so they approach very carefully. Things are quite tense at first, and it seems like bullets could start flying at any second, but eventually the team is able to talk their way into seeing the gang’s leader, Ras.

They are taken into the back alley and through a loading dock door into what is clearly a drug lab. Ras has little patience for them but is eventually convinced that it is in his best interest if the team is able to track down The Dragon. Ras says that he heard that the Dragon is a Hispanic man, a retired Federali. He hangs out at a club called Apocalypse, but they have never been able to catch him there.

The team then heads off to the Apocalypse. They pay the $10 a head cover charge and head on in. On stage a band is playing something that might be called music in the loosest sense of the word. The “singer” is howling out lyrics between bouts of spitting on fans and pissing on the stage.

They inquire as to who is in charge and they are told it’s a man named CC, who not only owns the club but also happens to be the guy relieving himself on stage. Reluctantly, they ask to speak with him.

A short time later, CC arrives at their table wearing only a spike jock strap. He asks if they enjoyed his performance which he calls “Reality Sucks”. They lie and say it wasn’t completely horrible.

CC tells them that The Dragon is a Corp from uptown. A real Bruce Wayne type who likes to come into the slums and play super hero. He’s been at it for two years now, taking out drug dealers with a vengeance. If they want to find him, they should check out a brothel on the west end of the neighborhood called Tokyo Rose’s.

It’s starting to get dark out as the team once again follows another lead on The Dragon. Tokyo Rose’s ends up being the nicest place they have been to today, though the bar has been set pretty low. It clearly caters to clientele who live no where’s near here. The décor is nice, the women beautiful, and the muscle well trained.

They speak to Tokyo Rose herself, a short elderly Japanese woman. She tells them that she heard that The Dragon is a woman who is on a crusade to destroy the drug trade in this area. Unlike everyone else they have spoken to, Rose has a positive opinion of the Dragon. Of course, she is also the only person they have spoken to who hasn’t directly contributed to the drug problem. She tells them to seek out a fence name Le Fez. The Dragon uses him to sell the loot she gets off of dead gangers.

Now having heard five different versions of who the Dragon is and four different places where he or she supposedly hangs out, the team sets out once again. The sun is now down and they have reached the time of day where anyone in their right mind would have headed back home. But Rose told them where to find Le Fez, so off they go.

They make their way over several blocks. The destitute daylight denizens begin to give over to more nefarious nighttime nasties who watch the team from dark alleys like wolves in the woods. They find themselves standing outside another alley door. This one is heavily reinforced with a suite of cameras and sensors monitoring it. A crackly voice comes over an intercom and asks them what they want. They plead their case and the door opens with the sound of heavy motorized bolts retracting.

They are greeted by a seven-foot tall full-conversion cyborg. He speaks in the same crackly voice they heard over the intercom, apparently a glitch in his voice modulator. He confirms Tokyo Rose’s story that he helps fence the items that the Dragon takes from her victims. He gives them the sixth version of the Dragon, stating that she is a Japanese woman, roughly 5’10’ with an athletic build.

She was most recently at his shop the other night looking to sell a secured brief case. He was able to get the case open and found it full of materials for manufacturing synthetic drugs. Le Fez does not deal in narcotics, so he refused to purchase them from her. He instead sent her to a man known as The Doctor, who may have an interest in purchasing the drugs.

Just them, Helios radios that a group of Klash gangers are starting to congregate outside and they are armed and on the hunt. Le Fez offers the team a combo deal. He will tell them how to find The Doctor and allow them to make use of his personal bolt hole, all for the low price of $5,000. It’s a ridiculous price to pay, but they don’t feel much like arguing.

So money and information are exchanged. Le Fez leads them to the back of his shop where he shows them a tunnel leading out on the other side of the block. Helios drives around to meet up with them, and they head for yet another destination.

Clusters of gangers are beginning to walk the streets. The team is forced to zig-zag around before reaching their destination.

The Doctor lives on the third floor of a relatively intact apartment building. He lets them in and seems friendly enough. Looking about, they quickly realize he is a body-scrapper. He takes the dying and freshly dead and harvests their organs for sale on the black market.

They ask about the brief case. He tells them that a Japanese women showed up the other night with the brief case and a critically wounded woman. The case contained a chemical catalyst commonly used in the production of synthetic narcotics. He bought the case from the woman for $20,000, and they sold the contents to some uptown contacts for $75,000. As to the wounded women, she is still in the back.

They run to the back room and find Krissy on a table on life support. She is missing a leg and an arm and much of her face and torso is covered in blood soaked bandages. The Doctor says he was going to give it another couple of days before he started scrapping her for parts. They contact Mouse to hack Trauma Team and reinstate her account. Once completed he would activate her card and a rescue unit would be on its way.

With that taken care of, the subject again returns to The Dragon. The Doctor explains that she can be found at Tokyo Rose’s. They tell him that they have already looked under that rock, but he assures them that she is there. Rose herself knows this.

Once more, the team is back on the streets. As they head back to Tokyo Rose’s, they can hear the sound of the approaching Trauma Team AV.

Back at the brothel, they tell Rose that they want to see the Dragon, and this time they are not taking “no” for an answer. She gives in and directs them to a door in the back. The door opens into an alley. Cautiously, the team moves toward the other end.

A woman awaits them on the other end. The alley is covered in shadow but they recognize her from Le Fez’s description. She readily admits to laying the trap and detonating the explosives. She knows they have been here in the Zone all day and have seen first had what the drug trade has done to this neighborhood and the people who live in it. She finally decided to take a stand. She is the guardian of this neighborhood.

Zen points out that Roxie and Krissy were not drug dealers, but simply doing a delivery job. The Dragon dismisses this. She knows the team are edgerunners, just like the two ladies were. She admonishes them for thinking that a “no questions asked” policy somehow washes their hands clean of all the harm their work does. Maybe they don’t harm the innocent themselves, but they are fools if they think the work they do for others doesn’t lead to the innocent being harmed.

The team suddenly find themselves in a moral quandary. They came here hell bent for revenge, but the truth of the matter is that she is one of the good guys. They are the ones working for the dark element of society. Killing her would be doing a favor for the drug pushers who are destroying lives.

They decide to leave without killing her. They found Krissy, and she is on her way to get real medical help. The briefcase has already been sold so there iss nothing to be gained there. That’s the life of an edgerunner: sometimes the only thing you gain is to not lose any more than you already have.

So they decide to call it a day and head for home, but not before one slight detour. They swing by the Jamaican’s HQ and let them know that they can find The Dragon behind Tokyo Rose’s. They don’t like the Jamaicans any more than they like The Dragon, but sometimes you just have to let the Combat Zone sort itself out.

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Episode 38 - Block Party

May 18th, 2040

Riptide inquires with Katrina Jones regarding buying a full dossier on Harvis Renaldo. Turns out Infocomp charges $50,000 for that kind of information, more than the team is willing to spend on revenge.

Riptide than calls his old pal Colin Fisk, who is still working for Militech in Detroit and still bored. Riptide offers him the job of eliminating Harvis. Colin agrees for $25,000, but will need a few weeks before he can pay a visit to Night City.

May 19th – June 1st, 2040

All is quiet. The team devotes time to developing their now legit towing and salvage business.

June 2nd, 2040

The team learns that they have been awarded the city contract for all municipal towing needs. This single contract will triple the size of their operation.

June 3rd – June 13th, 2040

They quickly learn that legit businesses don’t pay nearly as much for all the work, but you get shot at less.

June 14th, 2040

Zen gets a call from Roxie. After some brief catching up, Roxy says that business for her and Krissy has been so good that they currently find themselves overbooked. She has a job they would like to pass on to the team if they are interested.

It seems that a night club called Block One opened up on the west side six months ago. A cybertech company called Hawkeye has been dumping tons of money into it. Roxy’s employer wants to know why. An easy $15,000 just to find out what Hawkeye’s interest is. But they could earn ten times that, if the team comes up with something tangible that the employer can monetize.

The team immediately begins some preliminary research. They learn that Hawkeye is based in Boston and specializes in neural-ware. Block One is owned by Cyrus Redblock, a low ranking mob man whose minions the team have recently tangled with. Word on the street is that Block One hosts some illicit gladiator fights.

That evening, Saito takes his friend Baja , the exotic prostitute, out to Block One. The front of the building is all darkened glass with “Block One” in giant purple neon letters. The music being played inside is blasted out of external speakers so that everyone within a five block radius can hear it.

The line is long, but eventually they get in. The first floor of the two story structure is one large dance club. A stage for live bands is on the far end.

After an hour of observation, Saito notices people handing cash to a doorman to be let through a non-descript door. Noticing that people seem to be paying $50 a head, he walks up to the doorman with Baja and hands him $100 cash. The doorman lets him through.

Beyond is a set of descending steps. Down in the basement they traverse a poorly lit hallway to a small arena where two men are duking it out. Bleachers surround the platform. On one side is a glass wall behind which more viewers watch. One observer sits in a most prominent chair. It is a woman who watches the match with a disinterested look.

One of the combatants gets the upper hand and stuns his opponent, knocking him to the ground. As he stands triumphant over his defeated adversary, all eyes look to the woman beyond the glass. She gives a thumbs down, at which point the winner fighter kills his opponent.

They head to the room beyond the glass and see that it is another bar area. The dress of the patrons and price of the drinks indicates that this is where the big spenders watch the fights. Saito speaks with some of the patrons and learns that there are 5 tiers of fighters. The top tiers only fight on Fridays and Saturdays. The current reigning champion of the ring is a man known as The Beast.

June 15th, 2040

The following evening, the team heads to Block One. Helios hangs out in the back to observe the comings and goings at the service entrance. The others head inside. When the time comes, they pay their fees and head to the lower level.

As they watch the fights, they mingle with the crowd to learn what they can. They learn that they club is managed by a man named Kristoff Masters. Cyrus Redblock has never actually been seen at the club. The team suspects that he owns the club on paper only.

They learn that the woman who judges the fallen fighters in called Lady Death. Rumor has is that she is the widow of one of the fighters who was killed. After some observation, they begin to suspect she does not particularly enjoy her role.

Saito runs into Kristoff Masters and speaks with him. Kristoff fits the role of congenial host well and tells Saito of how he moved to Night City from Boston to manage the club for Cyrus Redblock. He even openly tells Saito that the rumor about Lady Death is true and she works for the club as a way to pay off her husband’s debt to the club. How her husband acquired that debt is not explained.

June 16th, 2040

In the early morning hours as the last of the club staff are heading home, Saito watches the parking lot. When he sees Lady Death leave he approaches her. She is very reluctant to be seen talking to him, but agrees to meet him at the Mallplex later that day.

In the early afternoon, Riptide, Saito, and Zen head to the Mallplex. There they meet Lady Death whose real name is Laura.

She tells them that there is clinic on the upper level of the club. She has never been up there, but is told it is for providing first aid to the fighters. Her husband had some neural-ware installed in that clinic including an experimental reflex booster. The booster seemed to work, but made him emotionally unstable. Getting the implants is how he incurred the debt.

They offer to give Laura the money to pay her debt in exchange for her silence on the matter. She agrees.

The fighters are ranked by five tiers, Tier Five being new fighters and Tier One being their best like The Beast. Her husband wasn’t offered the implants until he reached Tier Two. If a fighter wins two fights in a row, he improves one Tier. If he loses two in a row, assuming he survives, he drops one tier.

Fighters are recruited at the club by a small Chinese man named Koda. He watches the crowd and picks out potential fighters. Everyone immediately looks at Helios, whose stature and grafted muscle makes him look like a cage fighter. He is not too thrilled with the plan that everyone is thinking of, but eventually agrees.

She tells them that also in the crowd are numerous solos on the payroll. They blend in and only act if there is trouble. In addition, the lower and upper levels have corporate security types keeping an eye on things.

They decide to take a two-fold approach. Helios will go inside and see if he can get the attention of Koda. Zen and Saito intend to scale the building to get to the roof access. The problem is there are a lot of people who hang out outside the building. They will need to create a little chaos first.

That evening the team returns to Block One. Helios arrives early and is the first on the scene. He is there a couple of hours before he is finally approached by Koda. Koda tells him about the fights and explains that at the bottom tier, he gets paid $2,000 per fight plus a $500 bonus if he wins. Tier One fighters make $6000 a fight plus winner bonus.

Around 10:00 PM upstairs, Riptide sets off some smoke pellets. People quickly notice the smoke and a panic begins to break out. Security tries to calm everyone down, but Riptide “panics” and riles everyone up again.

As a stream of people begins to emerge from the club causing much confusion, Zen and Saito on the opposite side begin their ascent. They use a grapple gun and rappel their way to the roof.

Once on the roof they find the roof access. It is a hinged metal door secured by a padlock on the inside. There also appears to be a magnetic switch sensor that will alarm when the door is opened.

Down in the basement, there is no panic. No one seems to be aware of the chaos going on above them. The final fight of the night featuring The Beast takes place. He is clearly cyber-psychotic, likely drugged to maintain some level of self-control. He is a hulking figure with grafted muscle and skin weave.

Right before the bell rings, he seems to go into a trance. When the bell rings, he launches at his opponent with frightening speed. He is incredibly fast for a man his size and begins to beat his opponent. Helios recognizes the effects of a reflex booster, but one more effective than he has ever seen before. A few moments later, the fight is over and The Beast chalks up another win.

Up on the roof, Zen and Saito realize there is nothing more they can do tonight. The crowd outside is already settling down and they don’t have the tools to get past the door. They quickly rappel back down to the ground and disappear into the night.

June 17th – June 18th, 2040

A little follow up planning is done as the team considers their next move. They are certain that Hawkeye is developing a new form of advanced booster-ware and is using the fights to test it out. Technically this is enough information to collect their $15,000 pay check, but after some debate, they decide to collect the big payday by getting their hands on some design data.

Helios is on the schedule to fight next Tuesday. They decide that he will attend his fight and try to get a tour of the clinic.

June 19th, 2040

Helios has his first fight before the smaller Tuesday Night crowd. His opponent is another bottom tier fighter having his first fight as well. The bell rings and Helios levels his opponent with a single punch.

Koda is clearly impressed. He shows Helios around the facility, including the clinic upstairs. The clinic seems pretty straight forward although there is a surgery bay which seems a bit much for a first aid clinic and a number of corporate security types hanging around. There is also a room with reinforced walls and a door with a high security lock on it. Whatever secrets this place holds are in that room.

June 20th – June 26th, 2040

The team plans their next move. After days of debate about whether to just let Helios work his way up the ranks and possibly get the booster-ware himself, or break in and steal what they are looking for, they decide to go with the latter.

They discuss how to get through the roof access. Saito has a line on some thermite they could use to burn through the door. They then realize that if they are going to use thermite, they might as well burn through the roof right into the vault.

Helios fabricates a mount and anchor system to hold a section of the roof in place as the thermite burns around it. The others acquire the thermite along with Demolitions and Electronic Security skill chips.

June 27th, 2040

Its fight night again for Helios. Zen and Riptide decide to be the ones to scale the roof and burn their way into the vault. Getting up there without a crowd detraction will be difficult but pulling another stunt like the smoke bombs will likely draw too much suspicion.

Saito finds a comfy spot on a warehouse room a half mile away and sets up his sniper rifle. Zen and Riptide will exit back through the roof and Saito will cover their exit.

Down in the basement, the bell rings and Helios second fight begins. This time it takes him a full 30 seconds to drop his opponent, but he is none the less victorious.

Up on the roof, Zen and Riptide set up the anchor system and attach it to the roof. Zen begins pouring the thermite but loses control of it. An unanchored chunk of roof falls through to the room below making a loud noise.

They quickly pour the rest of the thermite, cutting out a section of the roof. They jump down as they hear men approaching the door outside. It sounds like they are waiting on someone with a key code. The men outside don’t seem too alarmed, but time is short

Zen scoops up the detachable hard drives while Riptide grabs two glass cylinders with some type of Neural-ware mounted inside. They hope they have what they came for because someone has begun punching in the access code to get into the room.

They begin rappelling to the ceiling when the door opens. A woman in a lab coat followed by two security men enters the room. There is a moment of shock as they unexpectedly see two people climbing through a hole in the ceiling. The security men quickly draw their weapons and open fire, but Zen and Riptide are already clear of the hole.

They run to the back of the roof and quickly stow away the items they stole. As they begin to step over the roof edge to rappel down, the roof access swings open. A security guard steps out, spots them and aims his weapon. Before he can open fire, he is brought down by a head shot from Saito’s sniper rifle. The two quickly zip down the ropes and make a run for it,

Helios has won his second fight and has made some more easy money. He can’t help but feel that due to the theft of the tech by the others, this club’s days are numbered.

June 28th, 2040

Zen turns over the data and devices they stole to Roxy who in turn gives it over to her employer.

June 29th, 2040

Zen gets word from Roxy that her employer will pay the full $150,000. Everyone is happy about the big pay day, but Helios can’t help but feel he is being denied a lucrative career as a cage fighter.

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Episode 37 - Old Business, New Business

May 5th, 2040

The team gets some information on Harvis Renaldo, including his daily schedule and habits. Saito spends some time in the park monitoring the Network 54 Tower. Getting to Harvis will not be easy.

May 6th – May 17th

The team is in need of a new base of operations after the old one was leveled. They decide that Jimmy Two-Teeth’s would be the ideal location. They approach Jimmy about selling his business to them. They settle on a price of $280,000. It puts a sizable dent in their financial resources, but the set-up is ideal for them, including their salvage work which they decide to go legitimate with.

Riptide decides to call his contact at the Night City impound yard to see about getting some towing business from the City. His contact tells him that West Side Towing has a contract with the City to do all of the towing. The good news is that the contract is up for rebid. The bad news is that West Side Towing is owned by Eurasia Bank, which has a seat on the city council. In Night City, only the mayor is elected by the citizens. The City Council is made up entirely of corporate representatives. Because of this, the rebid is only a formality; West Side will get the contract.

Considering how profitable that contract could be, the team decides to take measures to improve their chances of getting the contract. Saito tries to get a job at West Side but they are not hiring. They pay Mouse to hack into West Side’s system and do some sabotage. Towing the wrong cars is bad for business, especially if those cars belong to City officials and their families.

Riptide goes to work lobbying the other banks that have representatives on the council, offering them super cheap repo-rates as well as a chance to hurt their competitor. They agree.

Zen, Riptide, and Helios begin calling every corporate contact they have, looking for some help. Most agree to see what they can do. Tobius Luna can guarantee a vote from the Biotechnica rep, but of course they will owe him a favor.

May 18th, 2040

Tobius calls in that favor surprisingly soon. Riptide gets a call from Luna stating that Luna’s niece is in trouble. She needs help and Riptide is going to help her, no questions asked. If they get the job done, he will call it even on the city vote. Her name is Holly and they are to meet her at the Western Bar at 7:00 PM.

The team assembles and travels to the Western Bar. Holly, dressed in red leather and sporting short black hair, is waiting for them. She tells them they need to head to the west side on 29th Ave. They ask her why, but she gives little information.

On the car ride over, she asks how they know Tobius. Riptide simply states that they have done some work for him before. She asks their opinion of him. They try to be diplomatic, but she makes it clear she has little love her uncle. She tells them that Tobius hated his wife and if someone hadn’t murdered her aunt, Tobius would have likely done it himself eventually.

They arrive at their destination, which is two apartment buildings sitting close together, In between is a rundown park area, which features a rusty slide, a broken swing, and at this moment, a young man getting curb stomped by four men. Unfortunately, the man getting his ass kicked is Huey Green, the person they are there to see.

They approach and one of the men tells them to turn around and go the other way. They refuse and continue to approach. The one who warned them off pulls his pistol. Saito out draws him and shoots him in the shoulder, causing him crumble. Zen and Helios charge the other three.

A brief melee ensues, with the punks easily defeated. They question the punks and learn that they work for a man named Cyrus Redblock, a minor player in the Mob’s limited presence in Night City. Huey owes him $500. Holly pays the men the money owed, and the punks take their wounded and leave.

They get Huey to his apartment, which is littered with electronic parts and not a small amount of drug paraphernalia. Once he is patched up, Holly explains exactly what kind of help she needs.

A couple of years ago, she was with a crew that raided a property owned by Lantech Data Security. Huey and a Netrunner named Spatz Marino were also part of the team. The Raid had complications and Spatz was killed. They know this for a fact since they were able to recover his body

However, early this morning, Holly got a call from Spatz. It seems that Lantech had some sort of ICE that downloaded Spatz, or at least some part of him. Holly wants to get him back. Huey has a plug’n’play box that can download Spatz’s construct.

Spatz is being held on the server at Lantech’s Night City office. Spatz warned her that trying to get in from the Net is a no-go. Lantech’s data fortress security is near impenetrable, and would likely result in his deletion. They would have to download him onsite, in either the president’s office or one of the vice-presidents’ offices. Those offices are on the twelfth floor. All of the floors are locked out, but Spatz can disable the twelfth floor lockout. He can also disable the alarms but not the landline that summons an Arasaka tactical squad.

The team hatches a plan. Helios and Zen will go in and get themselves detained by the security guards. Hopefully the guards will detain them in the security office, which is where the Arasaka red phone should be. They will make their escape and disable the red phone while Saito, Holly, and Riptide secure the guards. Once that is done, it’s simply a matter of getting to the twelfth floor and doing the download.

In the late evening, they head to the Lantech building. Zen, dressed in a night club outfit runs into the lobby of the building claiming that a man is chasing her. One of the two security guards comes out from behind the desk and tries to calm her down.

Helios then comes charging in claiming that she has stolen his wallet. A heated argument ensues with Zen trying to hit Helios. The security guard tries to restrain her at which point Helios tries to hit her back. Soon both security guards are involved, restraining the two. Helios gets tased.

As they had hoped, the guards decide to detain them in the security office while they wait for the police to arrive. They hit their first complication as when they are taken into the security office, they discover two more security guards, who have been clearly enjoying the show via the CCTV system. Zen and Helios are handcuffed to a post.

When the guards in the security office return their attention to the monitors, Helios takes the lock picks that were concealed on Zen. He removes their cuffs. They see the red phone located in the center of the console, in easy reach of both guards. Zen indicates that they should grab the chairs that the guards are sitting on and pull them away from the phone.

At the same time, Zen and Helios jump up and grab the guards’ chairs. Zen pulls one just out of reach of the phone while Helios’s grafted muscles sends the other guards flying into the opposite wall.

While this is happening, Riptide, Saito, and Holly walk into the lobby. Saito draws his weapon on the two guards at the front desk. The guards surrender and are detained.

Inside the security office, Zen and Helios are able to disable and secure the two guards. Helios pulls the cover off of the red phone and disables the phone. Zen puts on her body armor and all but Riptide head up the elevator. He stays behind, and borrows one of the guard’s uniforms and credentials.

On the twelfth floor, they find that all of the vice-presidents’ offices have their doors wire with screamers. They also hear voices coming from one of the offices. The president’s office appears to not have any security on the door other than a very good lock. That lock is so good however, that Helios is unable to pick it. Instead he pops his wolvers and cuts off the door strike.

Saito takes a peek into the room and spots a defense laser mounted in the ceiling. The laser has a 360 arc of fire and will burn a hole in anyone who enters the room. Outside the office, Saito boosts up Helios, who sticks his head up above the drop ceiling. He is able to identify the conduit that powers the laser. He is confident that he can disable it.

Unfortunately, as he is working on disabling the laser, a piece of the drop ceiling frame breaks off and falls to the floor making a loud noise. He quickly finishes his work as one of the office doors down the hall opens.

Saito and Holly move into the president’s office. Zen remains around the corner by the elevator. Coming down the hall is what appears to be a body guard. He sees Zen and immediately attacks. Helios rushes back out of the office to help her.

Holly plugs the box into the president’s computer and the box does its job and begins to download Spatz’s construct. Saito takes aim from the doorway and headshot’s the body guard from the middle of the melee.

Just then the door down the hall again opens. Another bodyguard yells to someone they cannot see to go hide, and then opens fire on the team. Shots are exchanged. The body guard then dives across the hallway into another office where he closes the door. The team monitors that door while Holly continues the download.

Downstairs, Riptide hears a siren followed by a squad car pulling up. He figures the cops wouldn’t run lights for a disorderly conduct so whoever is holed up on the twelfth floor must have called the police.

Two police officers come into the building and ask about what is going on up on the twelfth floor. Riptide, dressed as the security guard says there is no problem that he is aware of, but they can check the twelfth floor cameras from the security office. Riptide takes his time fumbling for the keys.

As Holly completes the download, Zen changes back into her night club attire. They head into the elevator with Saito and Holly hiding up on top of the car and Helios hiding off to the side. The elevator drops down to the first floor. As another siren can be heard approaching, Zen stumbles off of the elevator pretending to be a prostitute having just been quite busy at the raging office party on the twelfth floor. One of the officers tells Riptide to come up with him while the other stays behind.

After they head up, Zen tries to exit the building. The remaining officer tries to get her to stop. When she refuses, he tazers her.

The elevator that the team came down in still held Holly, Saito and Helios. They rig the elevator car so that it would to return to the first floor and then the door would open and remain open.

Riptide and the officer exit the elevator on the twelfth floor and immediately spot the body of the bodyguard. Riptide acts suitably surprised. The cop orders Riptide to return downstairs while he clears the floor. A police AV hovers outside shining a light into the
building. Riptide heads back down.

Back on the first floor, he steps out and speaks to the other officer. The first elevator then arrives and the door opens and remains open. The police officer steps into the elevator and looks around. Saito jumps down from the scuttle hole and knocks out the guard. Just then a second squad car pulls up.

A few moments later the two more officers enter the lobby. Riptide again finds himself fast talking the cops. Eventually they grow tired of his stall tactics and demand to be let into the security office. They also tell him that SWAT is only moments from arriving.

Just then another elevator opens and Saito steps out in the officer’s uniform and tells the other two that they need to assist the officer up on twelfth floor. They jump in the elevator and head up.

The first elevator again opens, and Holly and Helios hop out. They pick up Zen and beat a hasty retreat out of the building. More squad cars begin showing up, but the team fades into the shadows as they go to their vehicles to leave.

They rendezvous at Huey’s where the drug addict is able to verify that Spatz’s construct is safely inside the box. Holly thanks them for their assistance. For once, her uncle came through for her. How nice that he gets the credit.

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Episode 36 - Sweet Revenge

April 28th, 2040

Riptide gets a call from a man calling himself John Coral. He calls Riptide “George” and says that he has a procurement job that he would like to hire the team for. He says to meet him at the Carter Lounge in the Highcourt Plaza Hotel at 10:00 PM.

Riptide, Ripper, and Saito go to the hotel. They are stopped by security, but are waived through once they verify who they are there to meet. This is very surprising since normally Ripper would not get in with his implanted weapons.

They go to the Carter Lounge and are escorted to table six, where they meet a middle aged, well-dressed man, who introduces himself as John Coral. When Riptide asks how John knows his real name, John simply says that he paid for top quality information. Although he buys a round of drinks, he skips the small talk and goes right to the deal.

John is the talent agent for Shauni Kalnier, a popular brain-dance star, number one in fact, according John. Her contract is coming up for renewal, and negotiations will soon begin. The problem is that DMS has gotten their hands on some early videos that John describes as “embarrassing”. He believes DMS intends to threaten to release these videos as leverage to get her to agree to a contract that greatly favors DMS.

John wants to pay the team $90,000 to break into DMS and steal the videos. In addition to the cash, Shauni is willing to let them use her fashionable West Hill condo for a year. He gives them 24 hours to think about it, while he works on getting some security info on DMS. They agree to meet back at the Carter lounge the following evening.

April 29th. 2040

Zen goes to her cubicle at Infocomp and does some research. It turns out that Ms. Kalnier is actually number two in the brain-dance ratings, behind Network 54’s Catherine Bergenox. Records on Kalnier make no mention of her having an agent named John Coral. Kalnier is getting ready to shoot the next season of her brain-dance releases.

Mouse, who has been talking non-stop about his newly acquired Microtech military-spec combat assault cyber-deck, that he spent most of his life savings on, jumps at the chance to use it. He dives into the Net, and easily cracks into the Highcourt Plaza Hotel’s data fortress. There he discovers that table six was reserved by a man named Harvis Renaldo, who was staying in room 2020. The billing address for his room is in the name of S.K. Holdings located in Night City.

Apparently John Coral is not who he says he is. They debate what the man is really up to, but decide that as long as the pay is real, they don’t care.

The debate is interrupted by the return of Helios, who has been gone for several weeks, trying to sell the helicopter. He tells the condensed version of a story involving a lesbian biker gang, the Church of Elvis, and a cyborg who thought he was a toaster. Most importantly though, he returns with $165,000 from the sale of the chopper. They fill him in on what has transpired so far, and they get ready to go meet Harvis.

That evening, they return to the Carter Lounge. Riptide is all too happy to turn the tables and greet Harvis using his real name. Harvis does not seem phased and dismisses any questions regarding his intentions with the tapes. He says that all that matters is that he wants the tapes, and he will pay them an increased price of $100,000 to do it. They agree.

They also agree that the job will go down the following evening. They will meet at the park that is a couple of blocks from the DMS building and hoof it on over. Harvis insists that he comes along to make sure they grab the right tapes.

April 30th, 2040

As per the plan, they meet at the park at 11:00 PM. They head over to the DMS tower, which features a public mall on the first floor. In the back of the mall is a row of security elevators that each contain one guard and requires a security key to get to the DMS levels.

Right on cue, a group of girls from the Golden Saloon start getting rowdy by the water fountain, causing the mall guards to become engaged in the situation. Unfortunately, one mall guard near the elevators does not move. They are not sure what his story is, but apparently checking out hot chicks frolicking in a fountain is not on his list of interests.

Zen approaches him and tells him that she saw one of the girls take someone’s wallet. That gets him moving, and he heads off toward the fountain.

They call one of the elevators and when the door opens, they bum rush the guard inside. He tries to trigger the alarm, but Mouse has been hanging out in the building’s computer network and has disabled the alarm. He has also disabled the floor lockout, so with the push of a button they head to the 27th floor.

When the elevator door opens, Riptide steps out wearing the uniform of the elevator guard. He sees a 3rd shift receptionist looking very bored. He strikes up a conversation with her. Now she is bored and annoyed. The others emerge from the elevator and head to one of the secured doors. The receptionist tries to get Riptide to stop hitting on her for two seconds to find out what they are doing up there, but when the secured door opens for them, again thanks to Mouse, she gives up and goes back to trying to give Riptide the brush off.

The others pass through a series of offices. All are empty save for a few programming execs working on scheduling.

The security information that Harvis acquired lets them steer past a couple of occupied rooms as well as a high security corridor. Eventually they are in the tape vault. Harvis uses a code he has somehow procured to have the automated system bring up the tapes he wants. Once secured, they make their way back out.

On the way back through the programming room, one of the workers questions what they are doing there, but they fast talk their way out of it. When they get back to the receptionist area, she again considers questioning them, but realizing that their leaving means Riptide goes with them, she decides not to hinder their hasty exit.

They return to the park where Harvis makes the bank transfer that ensures that they get their money. They then part ways.

April 31st, 2040

The day is quiet, although towards the end of the day, word on the street is that some valuable Shaunie Kalnier tapes were stolen and DMS is out for blood.

May 1st, 2040

Early before sunrise, everyone is asleep except for Saito who is milling about in his room. He hears the distinct sound of an AV approaching and goes across to the hall to wake Zen. She is barely out of bed, when the AV begins firing rockets into the building.

Mouse’s room is the first to be hit, followed by Riptide’s. Both are badly injured in the strikes, but manage to stay mobile. Everyone makes it into the center hallway as the AV begins to swing around the building.

Helios, who sleeps in the garage, opens up the manhole cover in the center of the shop floor that leads down into the sewer. They begin to climb down, except for Zen and Riptide who decide to make a break for it on their motorcycles.

The AV opens fire with rockets into the garage area. The heavy garage doors make for better protection than the apartment windows, and they avoid any further injuries.

Zen and Riptide race out of the shop and head down the street. When the AV pursues, they split up. The AV follows Zen and fires its front cannon, shooter her motorcycle out from underneath her. She slides along the pavement, but is able to recover in time and disappear into an alley before the AV can find her.

The team members in the sewer decide to double back. When they get close however, they hear the sound of many boots up above. They decide to again move away from the building, which proves to be a wise choice as several frag grenades are dropped down the manhole.

Zen finds her way to one of her safe houses. Saito stays at the apartment of his exotic prostitute friend Baja, Helios stays at Jimmy Two Teeth’s, and Riptide rents a coffin. They also inform Jarvic and Ripper to be alert for trouble

They eventually get in touch with Death in the Afternoon, who inform them that a team of DMS security men searched the building before thoroughly destroying it with several satchel charges.

In the late afternoon, they meet at Fast Eddie’s Pool Hall, the pool hall that Ripper has taken a financial interest in. He has his friends in the O-Zoners gang watch the neighborhood.

After much discussion, they decide that they need to make peace with DMS. But in order to do that, they need something to leverage. Zen heads off to Infocomp to do some research, while Saito decides to check out S.K. Holdings. Riptide, meanwhile, makes a date with Katrina Jones.

Saito arrives at the address and finds it to be a small multi-tenant commercial building. He enters and heads up to the fourth floor and finds the office for S.K. Holdings. It looks like there is security on the door so he heads up another flight of stairs and goes out the roof access. He free climbs down to the fourth floor window of S.K. Holdings. It appears that both the door and the windows have screamer alarms, with the door also having stun strobes.

Saito shimmies his way over to the neighboring suite. This one appears to be empty, so he breaks the glass and enters. He then goes to the wall that is adjoined to S.K. Holdings and begins to kick a hole in the wall. The drywall and aluminum studs don’t offer much resistance, and in a few minutes he is inside the suite.

At Infocomp, Zen does some research on Harvis Renaldo. She learns that he is a Network 54 executive who lives on one of the residential levels of the Network 54 Tower.

Back at S.K Holdings, Saito finds a treasure trove of interesting paperwork. He finds a document listing the main stars of the braindance market and their market share. Catherine Bergenox holds 44% of the market, with Shauni Calnier in second place with 29%.

He also finds a document from a Jonathan Baker-White, an investment advisor stating that if DMS were to experience an unexpected set back in the Brain Dance market, it could cause their stock to drop enough to be bought up at a bargain price. Once the stock rebounded, which it inevitably would, a substantial profit could be made. The trick would be knowing when the setback would occur.

Saito finds a dossier on all of the team members, which includes their real names and lists the address of their former home. The assessment portion of the file describes them as “resourceful and well-connected, but not too intelligent.”

There is a voice on the answering machine from a man named Stromberg telling Harvis that the teams, including Ms. Bergenox are in place and waiting the green light.

Finally, in the garbage can, he finds a pistol and a note listing that “Plaza Concord, by the statue, $9,000.”

Saito heads over to the plaza, on the south side of the city and finds the statue. There is nothing to see, but he does spot a homeless man who has set up residence in a large box across the street.

The homeless man tells him that a few nights ago, a helicopter landed and a man matching Harvis’ description got out. He met a woman by the statue, and they exchanged envelopes. They then turned and walked away from each other. The man, however, before getting into the helicopter, turned and shot the woman in the back. The man left via the helicopter, and within an hour, body scavengers made off with the woman’s body.

It is clear that the homeless man is hiding something, so after a little bribery, Saito gets him to admit that he had checked over the body and found an ID on the woman identifying her as Theresa Malcolm, a DMS employee. He also admits to taking the envelope which turned out to contain $9,000 in cash. The homeless man wonders aloud what kind of person pays someone, and then kills them and doesn’t take the money back.

The team gets back together and discusses their options. They believe that Theresa was Harvis’ source for the DMS security information. It was time to get in contact with DMS.

May 2nd, 2040

Zen does some more research and learns that the DMS CEO is Donald Sizemore. Mouse hacks the DMS network and drops a message into Donald’s terminal telling him that they are the ones who stole the tapes as part of some contract work for Harvis Renaldo of Network 54. The message details the letter regarding the potential stock hit DMS would take. The message gives a contact number for a burner phone.

May 3rd, 2040

Riptide answers the burner phone when it rings and finds himself talking to a DMS security operative named Terry Neuman. Riptide fleshes out the information regarding what happened, and explains that he is sharing this information because Harvis screwed them after the job. All the team asks for in return is that DMS stops going after them. Terry thanks him for the information, but says that DMS doesn’t know who they are and so has not made any move against them.

Death in the Afternoon had said that the security men who attacked their HQ had DMS uniforms on. This does not mean they were really DMS, and assuming Neuman wasn’t lying, they just wanted people to think they were DMS. This points everything back at Harvis, who they established as having a record of paying people for jobs and then killing them.

May 4th, 2040

The team decides that they need Mouse to hack into the Network 54 datafortress and find an itinerary for Harvis Renaldo and Catherine Bergenox. Mouse knows that the datafortress has an AI, multiple sysops and serious Black Ice, but after spending the last week bragging on how awesome his new cyberdeck is, he can’t hardly back down on the challenge.

He dives into the datafortress, and after a few close calls, including an almost fatal run in with a Lich program, he returns with an interesting document. He found a memo indicating that Harvis intended to hire a team of mercenaries to steal the master tapes for the next season of Shauni’s braindance dramas. They would then have Catherine Bergenox tape new versions of the plotlines. Bergenox would have twice the content while Calnier would have none. He would then leak to DMS the identity of the mercs, which would have DMS chasing after the mercs. By the time they realized what happened, the new content would be released and Bergenox would be ruined.

Things apparently did not go as planned, since the men who attacked the team were not actual DMS guards. Mouse suggests that since they had revealed to Renaldo that they had learned his true identity, he could not afford to give them up to DMS so Renaldo tried taking them out with a fake DMS unit.

It is also noted in the memo, that he was using Infocomp to find an edgerunner team. Zen asks to see the dossier that Saito had taken from the S.K Holdings office, and immediately recognizes its format as an Infocomp report. This report could only have been written by one person, Katrina Jones.

Running on the assumption that she has sold them out, Riptide makes another dinner date with her. When he picks her up however, they don’t go to a restaurant. Instead, he takes her to a building owned by the O-Zoners, where Saito and Helios are waiting.

She realizes that something is up and demands to know what is going on. When they confront her about the dossier, she admits that she wrote it, but the idea that she sold the information to Harvis is ridiculous. She works for Infocomp, an information gathering company. Buying and selling information is what they do and her job is to gather that information. They knew her specialty is gathering info on edgerunner teams. She wrote the report on them, submitted it to Infocomp, and they then sold it to Harvis Renaldo.

They quickly realize that what she is saying makes sense. She demands that Riptide take her to dinner like he promised. Saito and Helios are both glad they won’t be attending that meal.

The pieces are falling into place. It becomes clear that if they want payback, they need to get to Harvis Renaldo.

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Episode 35 - A Slow Boat to Chiba

February 19th – April 8th, 2040

The team has had six weeks to recover after the “terrorist” incident at the Night City Harbor. Zen has spent most of that time in the hospital. Helios is still off trying to sell the helicopter. Riptide has taken over management of the Golden Saloon and Ripper finally returns from the Crystal Palace.

April 9th, 2040

Riptide gets a call from a restricted number. Using a voice modulator, the caller says to meet him at Warehouse 214 at 11:00pm if interested in some work. The job is to find someone and the pay is $50,000. The caller then hangs up.

Riptide informs the others. Saito heads to the warehouse a couple of hours early to scope things out. It looks like a typical non-descript harbor warehouse.

About 10:45 pm a solo arrives and enters the warehouse. At 11:00 pm, Riptide and Zen show up.

The solo who got there early used to go by the name Crusher, but now just prefers his real name, Wilbur. Wilbur says he retired from edgerunning several years ago. Now he has a wife and a couple of young kids, and has never been happier. He gives the two some advice, saying that they should get out before they make so many enemies that they have to spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders waiting for someone to seek some payback. They ask Wilbur why he is here if he is retired. He says he owes someone a favor.

Outside, Saito watches as a short, well-dressed Japanese man arrives and enters the warehouse. Once inside, the Japanese man explains that this is just the rendezvous point. The meeting will take place in another warehouse.

He leads them to a back entrance and motions for Wilbur to lead the way. As Wilbur is about to open the door, the Japanese man pulls out a pistol and shoots Wilbur in the back of the head. The others stand in stunned silence as Wilbur’s body hits the ground. The Japanese man apologizes and says that Wilbur had been asked here on another matter, which has now been resolved. As they step over his body and head outside, Wilbur’s last words echo in their minds.

They travel in the dark, narrow walkways between the warehouses until they come to Warehouse 023. A cursory inspection reveals that this warehouse is armored and has some expensive security installed.

They are lead inside and taken to a room in which one wall is a large mirror. The modulated voice from the phone call comes over some hidden speakers and thanks them for coming.

The voice says that they are looking for a courier that they have been following all over the world, who has now apparently come to Night City. His name is Fredrick Wells, and they would very much like to speak with him here at the warehouse. They are hiring the team because they want some local talent looking for him, and the team comes highly recommended.

They are to bring Wells back here in the next 24 hours. The pay is non-negotiable, but they do agree to pay $20,000 up front. The employer does not give them much to work with. The Japanese man gives them a photo of Wells and explains that he has one known associate, a solo named Lorenzo, who was last seen in Italy.

Saito heads out to The Afterlife where he runs into Krissy and Roxie. They mention that they remember Wells, and that he used to have a girlfriend named Katrina Jones. Saito also places a call to Apoc who promises to do some digging,

April 10th, 2040

The team continues to work their contacts. They learn that Katrina Jones is an Infocomp employee. Zen does some digging at the office and finds Katrina’s personnel file is classified. Apparently she is one of their top operatives, specialized in gathering intelligence on local edgerunner teams.

Saito hears from Apoc who says that Frederick Wells used to be in U.S. Intelligence until he got kicked out for embezzling. He speaks a half dozen languages and has a knack for blending in. He was last known to be doing some corporate work in Japan.

Word on the street is that in the old days, Wells used to hang out at Fast Eddie’s Pool Hall. Saito and Ripper decide to head down there and take a look around. Fast Eddie’s clearly has seen better days. It’s run down, with only a couple of tables that aren’t all ripped to hell. One of those tables is being used by the only two people playing.

Saito and Ripper play on a neighboring table before striking up a conversation. One of the men is the owner, Fast Eddie, and the other in known as Toothpick. They talk about the old days and Ripper brings up Wells. Eddie says Wells is supposed to be in Japan. He did come back for a bit a couple of years ago. He had a Japanese girl with him named Michiko. Wells also used to hang out at a nasty solo bar called The Garbage Pail. Wells hasn’t been seen in years however.

Zen and Riptide head to the address that they were able to get for Katrina Jones. It’s a rather nice looking secured apartment complex. They hit the buzzer and a woman appears on the screen. She looks older and pretty rough. She also sounds less than pleased to be talking to them. It takes some cajoling, but she agrees to let them up.

When she opens her apartment door, they find that she looks nothing like the image on the screen. She is tall, slender and attractive, and comes across quite friendly. She tells them that she and Wells dated years ago back when he was still with U.S. Intelligence. She says that he thought she ratted him out to the feds which is why he dumped her. She seems a little bitter about it yet. She also confirms what the guys learned at Fast Eddie’s as well.

She recognizes Zen from work and keeps things professional. She seems to hit it off with Riptide however, and a bit of flirting, the two exchange contact information.

They have Mouse dig around the airline databases to see if Michiko’s name appears. Sure enough, it does. It seems she flew into town a few days ago. He can’t find what hotel she is staying at however.

Early in the evening, the team heads over to The Garbage Pail. True to its name, the floor is covered in garbage, some of it reeking badly. A metal band screams away behind armored glass on one end of the long narrow establishment.

With Helios out of town, Riptide fills in as the wheel man and remains outside in the van. Ripper hangs out at the front door, Zen sits at the bar, and Saito finds a dark corner.

Around 10:00 PM, Zen spots Frederick Wells sitting at the bar. She heads over to him and strikes up a conversation.

She barely gets past hello when he suddenly has a surprised look on his face. A moment later a bullet hole appears in the middle of his forehead. As he collapses a large Arab man pushes passed Zen as he puts away his pistol.

Ripper starts to move in as he spots two more Arabs moving from the front of the bar towards Well’s body. Riptide moves the van into the alley preparing to pick them up from the service entrance.

The Arab checks over Well’s body and takes a key and places it in his pocket. Saito walks up to the Arab and greets him in Arabic. During that moment of distraction, Zen tries to lift the key from the Arab. Although she is able to get the key, it is not without him noticing. When he turns to grab her, Saito grapples him. The other two Arabs see what is happening and draw their weapons.

Ripper decides that what this situation needs is some chaos, so he chucks a flash-bang grenade into the middle of the crowd.

Being a solo bar, most of the people immediately draw weapons. Nobody wants to be in the middle of a close range free-for-all, so the crowd starts moving towards the exit. Saito disables the first Arab and Zen moves past the other two.

With the sudden change of plans, Riptide pulls back out of the ally and pulls in front of the bar as people begin pouring out. Riptide looks in his mirror just in time to see a SUV come rolling up clearly intent on pushing him out of the way. He engages the parking break as the SUV rear ends him. He immediately gets out and begins yelling at the driver for hitting him. The two Arab men in the SUV produce submachine guns and order him to move his van. Riptide gets back in, and tries to move the van, but having intentionally left the parking brake on, he is barely moving.

Inside the bar, a mass of bodies has begun trying to squeeze out the front door. Zen and Ripper find each other and try to blend into the crowd. Saito jumps over the bar and heads toward the service entrance.

The driver of the SUV slowly pushes Riptide’s van out of the way as the man in the passenger seat scans the crowd coming out. When Riptide sees Ripper and Zen emerge, he releases the brake and rolls away. The men in the SUV fail to spot the two edgerunners.

Ripper and Zen make their getaway. Riptide is only able to get so far with the van before the wrecked rear end makes it undriveable. He eventually meets up with the other two. Saito calls Buckshot Betty and asks her to pick him up.

Riptide calls their employer to explain what happened. The voice on the other end is clearly unhappy and says he will call back shortly. A few minutes later, he calls back and says they can still earn their pay. Wells had stolen some “genetic data” from their employer, and if they can retrieve this data, they will be paid the remainder of their fee.

Zen checks the key that she took. It’s for coffin 246 down at the EZ Overnighter. Once they have everyone back together, they head over to the Overnighter.

While the others remain on watch, Zen heads to the coffin. An inspection of the door reveals that it’s rigged with a bomb. Although trained in demolitions, she lost much of her memory of that training when she had her memory scrambled at the Biotechnica facility. So she radios Saito and he comes up to disable the bomb.

Once inside the coffin they find a security briefcase and a carry all with an ugly suit in it. They take the two items and head back home.

Saito contacts Apoc again and asks if he has any intelligence on some Arabs that have come America recently. Apoc says he will look into it.

Once at home Zen inspects the suit while the others work to bypass the biometrics lock on the briefcase. The suit contains a business card for Ralph’s Rock Emporium. Other than that, it’s just an ugly suit.

Once the briefcase is breached, they take a look inside. They find a broken battleglove, a credit chip, a voice scrambler, and a locker key for the Night City Metropolitan Airport. They decrypt the information on the key card and figure out which locker it’s for.

They look at the business card and notice something written on it that they can’t quite make out. Saito switches his cyberoptic to ultraviolet and sees a message written on the card that says “April 11th, 7:00pm, Elvis 2”

April 11th, 2040

In the early morning hours, they head down to the Airport. There they find the locker and open it up. Inside is another garment bag full of an odd assortment of suits. They find another credit chip, an envelope with $3,000 cash, a passport for a Frederick Du Boise from Paris, with Well’s picture, and a box containing a pair of diamond earrings.

They leave the airport as Riptide makes some calls. He is able to find a fence who is willing to look at the earrings in the middle of the night. The fence inspects the earrings and runs them under a spectrograph. He says the diamonds are artificial, but high quality. Other than that, there is nothing of interest about them.

Later in the morning, Saito hears from Apoc. Apoc says a Saudi prince has sent some men to Night City to acquire a clone. Whether the intent is to buy the clone or steal it, or what it is a clone of, Apoc does not know.

In the late afternoon, they head to Ralph’s Rock Emporium. There is a sign outside the lobby forbidding weapons, weapon implants, or body armor. As Ripper has implanted wolvers, he opts to wait outside.

The others walk in, buy their tickets and wonder about the emporium. The place is made up of vid screens showing old rock performances and documentaries, while numerous small stages about the place contain animatronic versions of rock bands playing their classic hits. One end of the main hall is dedicated to The Beatles, while the other end is dedicated to Elvis Presley. There are three versions of Elvis, depicting the three eras of his career.

Saito guesses that the middle Elvis is Elvis 2, and begins to look about. He sees nothing out of the ordinary about the display. Then at 7:00 PM, a Japanese woman walks up to the middle Elvis, and waits there. Saito approaches her and says he is there on behalf of Fredrick Wells. She asks for the money and he gives her the envelope of cash. She in turn hands him an envelope.

While this is happening, Riptide and Zen spot two Arab men approaching from the office area of the Emporium sporting submachine guns. When they spot the woman that Saito is talking to, they open fire. She and Saito dive behind the Elvises for cover. Saito manages to avoid being hit, but the woman is not so lucky.

Riptide and Zen are able to get behind the men and grapple them. However, a third Arab emerges from the office.

Ripper enters the lobby when he hears the gun shots. As people begin to flee the building, he decides to risk all of the warning signs and enter the showroom with his weaponry. The moment he crosses the warning line, an alarm goes off. There is a sudden flash of light and his head is hit with a jolt of pain and the room spins. He is able to shake off the worst of it as he sees people collapsing around him from the neural scrambler he just triggered.

He stumbles into the showroom and attacks the third gunmen. Saito comes from behind his cover and helps Zen and Riptide deal with the two they engaged with.

As the police sirens are heard in the background, the Arabs are either disabled or fleeing. Saito goes to check on the Japanese woman and finds that she is dead. He grabs her purse and they flee the scene.

Going through her purse, they find her passport identifying her as Michiko. She has a guest card for the Highcourt Plaza Hotel located downtown. The envelope contains a registration code for a ship in the harbor, but there is no way to tell what those numbers represent.

Mouse says that the Highcourt is one of the best secured hotels in town. Getting into her room requires the card, a PIN number and her voice imprint. Plus, hotel security has her picture on file. When the person carrying her key enters the hotel, the system grabs an image from the security camera and displays it next to her photo so that the guards can see if the right person is carrying the key card.

Ripper has the gear to get past the PIN code and voice ID. Zen puts her makeup skills to use and after an hour she bares a passing resemblance to Michiko. Hopefully it is enough to fool hotel security.

She goes to the hotel with Riptide. They enter the lobby and make it the elevator without being stopped. Swiping her hotel card, the elevator takes them to the eighteenth floor. As Riptide keeps a look out, Zen uses Ripper’s decrypter to bypass the lock.

Once inside they do a quick search. It appears that Michiko was packed and planning to leave right after the exchange. There is a copy of an invoice for Shift It movers to provide a truck tomorrow night at the west harbor. The purchaser is listed as Jean Martine. There is also a voice mail on her room phone. It’s from Lorenzo stating that he is moving the package tomorrow night whether Wells shows up with the buyer or not.

They exit the hotel and head to the west harbor. Mouse contacts them and says that after hacking the harbor master’s computer, the registration number belongs to a yacht called the Lollipop 5 located at Pier 47. The ship is registered to a Jean Martine. They arrive at the harbor to see that Pier 47 is located in the commercial ship zone. There is no getting in there without the proper paper work.

They stop at home to do a little forgery work. With the proper paperwork generated, they drive to the harbor. Once inside they head to Pier 47. There they see a guard posted at the gang plank and another on the deck. Riptide does a thermo-imaging scan of the yacht and sees five more people on the yacht as well as what appears to be a large horse.

They approach the ship and ask to be let on board. The guard refuses and after a few minutes of arguing, one of the people in the cabin emerges. They recognize him by his voice as Lorenzo. They say that they are there to pick up the horse, but Lorenzo says that until he has his cut which he says is $10 million, the horse doesn’t leave the ship. Furthermore, if he does not have the money by midnight tomorrow, he is leaving the city to find a buyer on his own.

Riptide calls their employer to advise them of the situation. He says if they can provide a truck to transport the horse, his team will get the horse out from the custody of the men guarding the ship. The employer agrees.

April 12th, 2040

The better part of the day is spend spent planning how to get the horse off of the boat. A frontal assault is initially proposed, but concerns about getting the horse killed shoots down that idea. Eventually a more stealthy approach is agreed upon.

In the evening they rendezvous with the truck. Once inside the harbor, Ripper dons some scuba gear and dives into the water. When they get to the edge of the Pier, Saito gets out and gets into position with his sniper rifle. Riptide and Zen remain in the truck as it slowly drives down the pier.

Ripper emerges from the water and climbs the mooring lines to get to the deck. Doing a thermo-scan he sees that two of the people inside are on the upper deck while three are below decks. One of the people above deck is awake while the other appears to be sleeping.

He sneaks into the upper cabin and knocks out the patrolling guard which turns out to be Lorenzo. He then drugs the sleeping guard to make sure he stays asleep. He then secures the two doors to the lower decks to make sure the three down there stay down there.

He then emerges on to the deck and tries to sneak behind the guard on deck. Unfortunately, the guard hears him and turns to attack. Before the guard can get off a shot however, his head explodes as he is hit by an electro-thermo round from Saito’s rifle. A few seconds later, the guard on the gang plank suffers the same fate.

Riptide and Zen get out and board the ship. The three make sure that the three guards below decks are secured. They then go find the horse. The horse is an Arabian Stallion. If it is indeed a clone, that would explain the high selling price. It’s also very stubborn and they are unable to get it to budge. Luckily their employer seems to have anticipated this and the driver they sent is able to coax the horse off the ship and into the truck. With the horse secured, they make their exit.

They take the truck back to warehouse 023. There they are congratulated on their success and are paid the remainder of their fee. Overall, the job is a success. However, considering that Lorenzo’s cut alone for this sale was $10 Million, they can’t help but feel this job should have been a lot more lucrative.

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Episode 34 - Cabin Fever

February 6th – February 17th, 2040

The team isn’t dirtside for very long when Riptide gets an offer he can’t refuse. The owner of the Golden Saloon says he’s ready to call it a day and offers to sell the business to Riptide. The team pools their money and buys the business for $50,000.

Helios finds out that he finally has a lead on selling the helicopter. He heads out of town to make the deal.

February 18th, 2040

Riptide is approached by a fixer named Shark who offers him a quick job. The pay isn’t great, but it should only take a couple of hours, and compared to their last couple of jobs, it should be a walk in the park.

There will be a Petrochem ship parked out in the harbor later tonight, and his employer wants a sample of whatever is in the cargo hold.

Riptide gets the team together. With Helios out of town, and Ripper still in orbit, he brings in Jarvic, who has also invested in the Golden Saloon.

They meet with Shark at 1:00 PM and get all of the details. The ship will be in the harbor at midnight. Shark has an associate named Ariel who has a small boat. She will transport them to the boat, and then back to shore. Their job is to get a crate from the hold onto the boat.

The ship is called Arabia’s Wish and lists a crew of about 15 – 20. There are usually four guards topside and five men on duty on the bridge. Although the ship will be parked out in the harbor rather than in dock, it will be close enough to the shore to be seen from the harbor. Lucky for the team, the weatherman is predicting fog.

Shark emphasizes that this is to be a stealth mission. If this turns into a shootout that ends up on the news, they can forget getting paid. Shark is savvy enough to know that things rarely are as simple as they seem. He lets them know that if they get into the cargo hold and find it either empty or containing cargo far too dangerous to transport, then they need to bring him evidence of the fact and he will make sure they still get paid.

They spend the rest of the afternoon meeting contacts and visiting stores to purchase some extra gear that they may need. As the clock closes in on midnight, they head down to the harbor.

February 19th, 2040

At the harbor, they meet with Ariel, and get in her boat. Her boat is not the fastest thing on the water, but it has a low profile and the engine is surprisingly quiet, perfect for moving about the harbor without drawing attention.

They silently pull up alongside the ship where a ladder is mounted to the hull. Zen begins to climb. When she is halfway up, Saito begins to climb.

He only gets a few rungs up, when the ship explodes. He and Zen are thrown into the water. They others dodge flying, flaming debris. Zen is floating unconscious in the water, bleeding out from several shrapnel wounds. Everyone else has cuts and bruises, but are for the most part okay.

They see a gaping hole in the ship, with its cargo spilling out. The cargo is a mountain of cylinders, most of them punctured or ripped open. The content of the cylinders spills out into the harbor and immediately turns to gas. Not having any idea what type of gas it is, they pull Zen and Saito into the boat as quickly as possible, and make for shore.

As they make their way towards the harbor they can see the pale gas expanding outward and mixing with the fog. To make matters worse, the exit out of the harbor is filled with emergency vehicles approaching to investigate what has happened.

Ariel changes course and heads towards a small light on the harbor. As they got close, they see it was a bar called Paradise Lost She recommends they hide out in there until the heat dies down.

They exit the boat and run into the bar. Inside there are three bar employees, several patrons, and Shark. The patrons had heard the explosion, and since half of the team was now soaking wet, they put two and two together.

Shark demands to know what happened. Jarvic tells everyone that they need to leave the bar and run for safety. But when he opens the door, he sees the gas cloud rolling up over the harbor.

Changing plans, they begin to seal up every door and window as best they can. Jarvic looks at some brief video he managed to take of the ship damage. He realizes that what he is watching is hydrogen fluoride escaping and turning into hydrofluoric acid.

Greg, a United Express courier demands they let him go. He intends to hold his breath and make a break for it. Jarvic explains that the acid is so corrosive, even if he makes it, Greg will likely be blind and covered with chemical burns. To support his point, outside they could hear the strangled cries of the emergency response crew that drove right into the cloud of death.

Jarvic then instructs Mack the bartender to turn up the heat, and shut off anything that pulls in outside air. He asks if Mack has any charcoal, which he does not. He does have an old fish tank in the back with a charcoal filter. Jarvic sets about building a crude air scrubber. Just to make things more complicated, the acid cloud is starting to etch the window glass. Javic figures they have several hours before they have to worry about the windows failing.

Zen decides to use her own air supply. She pulls out her emergency bubble, which she had bought for her trip in orbit, and activates it. It inflates into an oversized grey beach ball. She climbs in and begins to make use of its two-hour air supply.

The bar is now sealed up. Neither Greg nor a jacked up solo known as Razorhead seem to be dealing with it well. Greg is a minor threat, but Razorhead looks like a human semi-truck with two big 14mm pistols strapped to his hip. The rising temperature isn’t helping either.

Several people begin to try and make phone calls to let emergency services know they are trapped in the building. Both land lines and cell phones only get a message stating that everyone should remain indoors, keep calm, and that everything is under control.

Riptide strikes up a conversation with the bouncer, a surprisingly calm man named Eddie. When asked why he is so calm, Eddie simply states that no good ever comes from panicking. Riptide asks him who are regulars and who is new.

Eddie says that Shark, Greg, and the drunk at the bar named Bob, are all regulars. The jacked up solo and the corp are not. Since the corp doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would hang out in a place like this, Riptide and Saito decide to ask him a few questions.

He says his name is Simon, and that he is in sales with a company called Hewlitt Fuels. He is here to drown his sorrows as his wife has thrown him out of the house.

Around 12:30 AM, there is a Network 54 newsbreak stating that the Petrochem cargo ship was attacked by a terrorist group and that the terrorists used an unknown chemical to mix with the otherwise harmless chemical on the ship to create hydrofluoric acid.

They then cut to a reporter in an AV circling the gas cloud. He explains that the gas cloud now covers much of the marina district. They try to get in for a closer look when the pilot begins to complain that the windows are clouding up on him and he cannot clear them. The news feed cuts away and a few moments later, the denizens of Paradise Lost hear a crash in the distance.

Razorhead has heard enough and starts to get antsy. He starts arguments with just about anyone who comes near him. Jarvic gives him a beer that he has dosed with enough sedative to put a horse sleep. Even so, it still takes almost a half hour before the big solo finally passes out. Saito removes the firing pins from the 14mm pistols, just in case.

A short time later, they hear the sound from outside of cybernetic legs slowly limping towards the door. Someone begins banging on the door and begging for help, his voice raspy and wet. Greg tries to go to the door to let him in, but Saito tackles him first.

When the man outside begins banging on the glass, Jarvic uses his pulse rifle to send an electromagnetic pulse through the wall and disable the man’s legs. Both Greg and the waitress demand to know why he would do that. Jarvic explains that the man was already dead, and if he broke the window, they would be too. Jarvic gives Greg the last of the sedative that he has on him.

At 1:00 AM, another Network 54 report begins. The same anchor as before rehashes the details of the incident, but this time adding that the gas cloud has covered several neighborhoods in Night City. She also explains that the recorded message that people get when calling in the affected zone is due to a system overload from so many calls. She discusses the many unpleasant effects of exposure to hydrofluoric acid and then cuts over to a reporter on the scene.

Jack Sterling, the reporter on scene is with a Petrochem Emergency Response team. He explains how they have been going door to door, trying to get people to safety. Their efforts have been hampered however, by an angry public that seems to be on the verge of rioting.

When asked how the toxin is to be neutralized, Jack explains that the teams will be deploying a spray foam of calcium glucomate, which will neutralize the acid. The crews will spiral in towards the ship, spraying as they go. Jack begins to express his concern that Petrochem does not have nearly enough foam to cover the four square miles of affected area, when his audio/video feed is mysteriously lost.

The team is discussing what is going on when Mack mentions something he thought odd. Back when they first heard the explosion, everyone went to the window to see what happened. Everyone except Simon who was quick to get on his phone. Mack doesn’t know what was said, but that Simon was talking to a woman named Elizabeth, and the conversation got a bit heated.

They ask Simon about it. He claims that it is his wife that he called to let her know he was okay. She did not seem to care too much, which is why he got upset.

The next hour crawls by uneventfully. Razorhead and Greg are still sedated. So is Bob the drunk, but by more traditional means. The heat is stifling and Shark keeps checking the glass, worrying that the acid is about to eat its way through.

With her oxygen supply exhausted, Zen comes out of her cocoon. She is immediately hit with the hot, stale air and the smell of sweat and anxiety.

At 2:00 AM, Network 54 has another news break, this time featuring an interview with Petrochem’s Night City Public Relations chief, one Elizabeth Schell. In the interview, Elizabeth sticks with the story that terrorists attacked the ship and used a chemical agent to react with the contents of the ship. When the anchor states that hydrofluoric acid cannot be produced that way, Elizabeth expertly dodges the question.

She then states that the terrorists had help on the inside. She says that the company was betrayed by Simon Carmichael, who coordinated with the terrorists. She assures the anchor and the public that they have the terrorists trapped on the harbor, and that they know exactly where they are.

When the broadcast ends, everyone turns and looks at Simon. He tries to play coy, but his fear and anger are evident. He easily breaks and states that he is a Petrochem employee. He was here at Paradise Lost to meet with the ship’s captain at 12:30 to discuss what to do with the cargo of hydrogen chloride, which was illegally parked in the harbor.

He has no idea who blew up the ship or why. All he knows is that he has been cut loose and left to be the scapegoat in this disaster.

At about 2:20 AM they pick up some traffic on the radio. It is full of static and drops out occasionally, but someone is giving the Petrochem recovery team an order to clear the harbor of any civilians, and by clear, they mean exterminate.

The team prepares to make a last stand defense. They consider busting through the wall to the neighboring building, but they don’t know what the air quality will be. Eddie the bouncer readies his pistol, while Mack goes into the storage room and dusts of an assault shotgun.

At 2:36 AM, an AV can be heard landing outside. Suddenly a bright pale blue light snaps on, like something out of an alien abduction scene. The light is so bright, it can easily be seen through the etched glass. A voice is then heard through a loud speaker, stating they are there to rescue those trapped in the bar.

The team is not buying it, and prepares for a fight. Someone outside tries the door, but it was fused earlier by the team. The voice then says that they are going to breach the door, and for those inside who are armed, not to open fire.

Shark realizes that he recognizes the voice. It’s the man who hired him over the phone.

With a bang, the door flies open, though strangely, the toxic fumes do not seem to come in. A man in a grey jumpsuit and an assault rifle leans in the doorway and asks for Simon Carmichael.

Initially no one answers, but then Simon goes to step forward. The team tells him to go hide, but he figures he is dead anyway. He identifies himself as Simon. The team waits for him to be gunned down, but instead the man urges him to come with him. Simon asks who he is, and the man says “your new employer”. Simon asks that they take everyone else as well. The man agrees but again insists that everyone hurries. They are using some sort of light to neutralize the acid, effectively creating a tunnel in the toxic cloud.

Just then, shots are heard. They hear the men in the gray jumpsuits calling out that they are under fire. They manage to get Simon into the AV.

Zen runs out next. She sees Petrochem security men in chem-suits shooting at them. One of the rescuers is gunned down beside her and she is hit as well. Already wounded from the explosion, she collapses. Jarvic is able to drag her back into the bar.

They hear a mighty roar in the back as Razorhead is again conscious. For a man who has spent the last couple of hours unconscious, he quickly assess the situation and takes action. Happy to finally have someone to take his aggression out on, he draws his big 14mm pistols and charges out the front door, blazing away at the Petrochem team ……or, at least he would be blazing away if Saito hadn’t removed his firing pins earlier. Instead the guns do nothing, and Razorhead catches about a dozen bullets and goes down.

Jarvic stabilizes Zen. Saito and Riptide begin firing from the door of the bar at the Petrochem men. Any hits to the chem-suits expose their wearers to the hydrofluoric acid, causing Petrochem’s casualties to rack up quick.

The Petrochem men are forced to back off until reinforcements arrive. The team gets the bar patrons out the door and into the AV. Unfortunately, Bob the drunk is too inebriated to grasp the nature of the situation and as soon as he is out the door runs towards the harbor. The moment he steps out of the light tunnel, he chokes on the acid cloud and collapses.

They manage to get everyone into the AV. Even Razorhead is able to crawl over and climb in despite all of the lead he just absorbed.

The AV flies them over the city and drops everyone off at the west side harbor. Everyone except Simon, who they take with them.

They are still not entirely sure what the hell just happened over the last couple of hours, but any night were you get blown up, gassed, and shot at, and still walk away, is a pretty good night.

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Episode 33 - Child's Play

January 8th, 2040

Riptide is approached by a fixer known as Guardian. He is looking for a crew with some very specific requirements, namely that they have at least one netrunner, a pilot, and three individuals with military experience. He also is looking for a team that has been in orbit before. His inquiries led him to Riptide.

The job he is hiring for involves extracting information from an orbital workshack. The pay is a quarter million dollars. Riptide agrees to have the team meet with Guardian the next day.

January 9th, 2040

The team meets with Guardian. He gives them more details on the job. They are to travel to the Crystal Palace. There they will receive two weeks of zero-G and space survival training. Then they will break into the ESA office and get the information they need on the workshack. They will then travel to the target workshack, acquire project samples and data files. They will then rendezvous with a shuttle that will pick them up and make the exchange.

They team agrees to a price of $300,000; 20% of which will be paid up front, another 30% when they successfully complete zero-G training, and the remaining 50% upon completion of the job. They can also keep all issued equipment.

They agree to the arrangements. They are scheduled to depart from the Oakland Spaceport in six days.

January 10th – 14th, 2040

The team makes arrangements for their absence. They try to convince their employers to let them be gone for that long. Some are more convincing than others. They also do a little shopping for things that they think they may need.

Guardian was very clear about not bringing any weapons, including implanted ones. So Ripper, Helios, and Zen go to their ripperdocs to have the implants removed.

January 15th, 2040

The team travels to the Oakland Spaceport. There they meet Guardian, who gives them some final details and their passports with their fake IDs.

They then board a scramjet that takes them into orbit and docks at the Johnson Spaceport. After going through customs, they take an Orbital Transfer Vehicle to the Crystal Palace.

Everyone except Ripper has been to the Palace before, but it is no less an amazing sight the second time around. The five torus rotate around a central tube. Within each torus is a tourism paradise.

But the team is not here for site-seeing. They are met at the docking station by Mr. Mumbasa, a tall lean African who lets them know he will doing their Zero-G training.

He takes them to Torus 1 and leads them to a club called the Black Hole. He indicates that their contact is next inside. He will see them in two days to begin their training.

They enter the multi-tiered night club and spot a tall, blonde, European woman, who motions them over. She introduces herself as Tova. She is a solo who has also been hired for this mission. She lives on the Crystal Palace, so she knows her way around pretty well.

As they make small talk, they notice a short Frenchman in a suit, watching them from another table. When they look his way, he simply goes back to eating his dinner.

Tova informs them that they will be taking the grand guided tour of the station tomorrow. It will take them past the ESA office, which will give them an opportunity to have a look at the building without being too conspicuous. She then leads them back to their hotel, The Pompadour, and they settle in for the evening.

January 16th, 2040

The next day they take the tour. It passes through each torus taking them through residential areas, hotel and entertainment centers, giant parks, agricultural areas, business districts and a couple of manufacturing facilities.

It was in one of the business districts that the see the ESA office. The tour takes a break so that the tourists can stop at the local shops. They can see an exterior camera and card access on the door. Unfortunately, the ESA office is located only a few buildings down from the police station.

Soon the tour is again underway, and the team goes with it. They reach the end of the tour in the late afternoon.

Waiting for them is the short man in the suit that they had seen at the Black Hole. He introduces himself as Inspector Andre Clouet of Interpol. He politely tells them he hopes they enjoy their stay at the Palace. He also politely but clearly states that he is on to them. He knows a team of edgerunners when he sees one. He may not know what they are up to, but he knows they are up to something. If they cause any trouble, they will have to deal with him. He then binds them adieu.

The team decides to turn in early because they begin their training the next day.

January 17th – January 31st, 2040

The team spends 15 hours a day, for 15 days training in zero-G operations and space survival techniques. Acrobatic maneuvering, hand to hand combat, and shooting all work very differently in zero-G. They are reminded that even with this crash course training, they will be at a disadvantage against anyone who is used to working in zero-G operations.

February 1st – February 2nd, 2040

The team is given a couple of days to rest and recuperate. Those who travel about the Palace notice that they are being tailed by Interpol operatives.

February 3rd, 2040

In the morning, they receive a large care package from their employer. It contains sneak suits and space operations suits. They are also issued Militech flechette pistols and shotguns, as well as combat knives. Also in the bags are IR goggles, a biohazard satchel, an Aztech 600 Assault Deck, a tank of sleep gas, a OTV piloting chip, some smoke grenades, and false tags matching their IDs.

They are given the plan as their employer has laid it out. They are free to improvise as needed. The plan calls for them to divide into an Alpha and Beta team. The Alpha team, which needs to include Mouse, breaks into the ESA office, finds the location of the Bauer Biotech workshack, finds the OTV that is scheduled to go there next, and then insert the team’s IDs into the Clear List at the docking port’s security check point.

As soon as Beta team gets word of their success, they will pass through security into the correct docking bay. There they will secure the OTV and have it ready to launch by the time the Alpha team arrives

The team will then take the OTV to the workshack. Once docked, they will again break into two teams. First, they will secure the life support terminal and introduce the knockout gas into the ventilation system. Team Alpha will then find the Administrator’s office and begin downloading key files. Team Beta will go to the labs and grab samples. The knockout gas will only last a few minutes, so they will have to move fast.

Once they have everything they came for, they will get back into the OTV and head to a rendezvous point to meet with a shuttle. There, they will ditch the OTV and take the shuttle back to the Palace.

What could possibly go wrong?

They decide to break into three teams. Team Alpha will be Mouse, Zen, and Tova. They will break into the ESA office. Team Bravo will be Helios and Ripper, who will head to the docking bay and be ready to move. Team Charlie will be Saito and Riptide, who will act as a decoy to draw away any Interpol attention.

Alpha team arrives at the ESA office. Using a device she borrowed from Ripper, Zen spoofs the card reader and they enter the building. All three are wearing sneak suits, and use them to maneuver around the cameras without getting spotted. They make their way up stairs and go to the office as indicated in the information packet that came with Mouse’s deck.

Mouse jacks in and goes to work while the other two stand guard. Several minutes go by as Mouse sits motionless at the desk. Soon Zen hears two sets of footsteps coming up the stairs. The footsteps travel straight down the hall towards their office. Soon there is a knock on the door, followed by the jingling of keys.

The door opens and a security guard points a flashlight right at Mouse. Zen grabs the guard’s extended arm and pulls her in. There is a brief struggle that ends with both security guards tased and knocked out.

When Mouse wakes up, he reports that he has dropped their IDs into the docking bay security. He also says that the OTV they want is the Louie Bleriot at Dock 14. They radio the others with the update.

Both teams Bravo and Charlie are convinced that they have lost their tails, if they had any to begin with. They rendezvous just outside the docking terminal. They enter and go through security. The guards check their IDs and let the pass.

The four enter the zero-G docking bay and make their way around the circular room. They notice an armed guard sitting in a break room. They reach the airlock for the Louie Bleriot and try to convince the load master that they have some cargo for him. When the load master refuses to accept the cargo, they draw their pistols and force the crew into the airlock. Once inside, they find the skipper and secure all three crewmen in the cargo hold. They then radio team Alpha and let them know that the OTV has been secured.

Zen, Mouse, and Tova head to the docking bay. They pass through security and float through the docking bay to the airlock. Once everyone is on board, they debate what to do with the crew. Ultimately, they decide to keep them in the cargo hold.

Helios jacks into the controls for the OTV. The skill chip in his brain feeds him the information he needs to undock the vehicle, and the Louie Bleriot slowly moves away from the Crystal Palace.

It’s a six hour journey to the workshack. Mouse’s data grab reveals that the workshack is operated by Bauer Biotech, a German biotech company. He is also able to pull up plans for the workshack. The craft has two central modules, called A and B. Each central module has three module extending out like spokes. Modules 1, 2, and 3 extend from the center of Module A, and modules 4, 5, and 6 extend from module B. The life support controls are just passed the airlock on module A. Module 1 contains the terminal the Mouse needs to access, while modules 5 and 6 contain the labs where they need to get samples. The team makes their final preparations.

Helios docks the OTV to the workshack. The workshack crew questions why they are a half day early. The team claims that the normal crew is out sick with a case of “Armstrong’s Revenge” and they are filling in. They are early because they have their own work to do as well.

Ripper, Helios, and Riptide enter the airlock. As the inner door opens, they see a security guard waiting for them. Down the tube is an engineer working on a laptop at a table.

The security guard tells them to leave their delivery there in the receiving room, and a technician would move it to storage later.

Riptide begins shooting the bull with the security guard as the others go back for another load. When they return, Helios has the tank of knockout gas. While the guard is distracted by Riptide’s storytelling, Helios hooks up the gas to the environmental system. He and Ripper immediately put on their breathing masks. Riptide waits until the guard is starting to look woozy before putting his mask on. He breathes a little of the gas himself, but is able to keep it together.

The engineer notices that the guard is passed out and approaches asking what happened. Helios produces his flechette pistol and orders the man to comply. Close examination reveals that the engineer has nasal filter implants.

The rest of the team enters the workshack. Zen, Tova and Mouse float over to Module 1 which is the administrative module. Inside, they see Marie Marnard, the head of the facility, floating unconscious at a table. They are about to move on when somebody activates an alarm.

Saito opens the hatch to Module B in which three security guards, having heard the alarm are drawing weapons. The two closest have flachette pistols, while the third pulls a shotgun off of a rack. Deadly needles begin zipping across the module.

Mouse enters what appears to be Marie’s bedroom when a technician jumps from behind a partition and gets Mouse in a chock hold. Zen goes to free him, but the technician is very adept at moving in the zero-G environment, and he seems to counter Zen’s every move.

In Module B, Saito launches himself at the closet guard and engages him in hand to hand. Ripper begins to trade shots with the other two guards. Riptide and Helios bring up the rear. Helios continues forward to join the fight while Riptide hangs back. Wondering how many other people had nasal filters, he begins securing the hatches to modules 2 and 3 to prevent getting caught in a cross fire.

In Module 1, Mouse is still locked up in a chock hold by the technician. Zen is now locked up on the technician trying to break his lock. Tova is waiting for an opportunity to take a shot.

In Module B, Ripper takes down one guard, while Helios charges the third. Ripper is about to join Helios when another guard appears from the hatch to Module 5. He and Ripper exchange closing shots as they too engage in hand to hand combat.

Zen, tired of losing time in this melee, takes her stun gun and hits the technician with a full charge. The disabling blast of electricity hits him and passes on to Mouse and Zen as well. The technician is unconscious, Zen, is knocked out as well, but Mouse comes out the best. He shakes of the after effects of the taser and with Tova’s help, gets set up at the terminal.

Saito chokes out his opponent. Helios hits his target a couple of times with his taser, but the big man won’t give. Ripper grapples up on his opponent, and starts rabbit punching him in the face. Riptide comes up from behind and grabs the man’s arms.

Helios finally takes down his opponent just as Saito comes floating by to help Riptide secure the last guard. With three people on him, the guard finally concedes he’s lost, and they secure him with the others.

Riptide and Saito head over to the lab in Module 5. There they find several unconscious engineers floating about. They begin grabbing samples.

In Module 1, Zen wakes up to see Tova floating over her, trying to get her to wake up. Mouse is still zoned out at the terminal.

Ripper and Helios go to Module 6. This one is secured with an electronic lock, but it’s nothing that Ripper’s trusty decoder can’t handle. They are soon in, but quickly discover that this lab looks nothing like the one depicted on the official drawings.

The module is lit in a dim red light, and features 6 large glass tanks. There is something organic and alive in each tank.

Suddenly an electronic voice says “Alert! Alert! Module security seals compromised. Initiating security protocol.” They hear the popping of exploding bolts and the whole workshack vibrates for a moment. Then the voice says “Auto-destruct sequence has been activated.”

Saito and Riptide felt the vibration and looked out a window to see what has happened. They watch as Module 6 begins to float away from the workshack. It all looks rather serene.

Inside the module, Ripper and Helios are frantically tearing the place apart until the finally find an electrical access. Helios is able to trace the lines for the self-destruct and disarm it.

The two are enjoying a moment of relief when they hear the sound of someone knocking on glass. They look to the back of the module and see a large fogged glass window. They float over to it and Ripper spots a display control. With the push of a button, the glass becomes clear revealing a small bedroom beyond. Inside is a small boy with an oddly squat form and opposable thumbs on his feet. He begins speaking to them in German.

Mouse finally awakens and says they won’t believe what Bauer Biotech is up to. Zen tells him to explain it on the way and they head back to the OTV. Mouse says that apparently Bauer is apparently trying to bio-engineer a human being better suited for living in zero-G. He says that Module 6 contains modified human clones, six in gestation and well as one fully active clone. He even has a name.

“Ich heissa Erik” the boy beyond the glass says. Ripper engages his German chip and beings to talk to the boy. Erik says he has lived in the module his whole life. He refers to Marie as his mother although he knows it’s not really true. The edgerunners may not be lawyers, but they know that this type of research is about as illegal as it gets.

The rest of the team piles into the OTV. They have a number of problems to deal with, but first and foremost is that their team member who can fly the OTV is floating away in Module 6. So they go to the cargo hold and release Toby Scanelli, the OTV’s pilot.

They quickly explain to him the situation. He says they cannot dock with the module, but they can use the grapple arm to secure it to the OTV. He then tells them that unless anyone of them knows how to operate the grapple arm, they will need to release his engineer as well. The engineer is promptly untied.

They maneuver over to the module and are able to reel it in. Toby is about to ask them what to do next when there is a bright flash of light and a loud pop. Two holes now appear in the ship in opposite sides. In between them stands Phillip the engineer who looks down at the large hole burned through his chest and then collapses to the ground.

Mouse says that there is a high power laser on the workshack used for communications. Much like Module 6, it may have been modified off the books, and now is being used as a weapon.

They others scramble to repair the damage. Thankfully, their shopping trip back on earth included some slap patches. Their crash course survival training taught them how to use them. It takes some effort to get the job done, especially with the inertia shifts from Toby trying to avoid the laser.

Once everything settles down, they assess at their situation. They try to think of a way to get Ripper, Helios and Erik over to the OTV, but that does not seem possible. Tova is concerned about their meeting with the shuttle. Their contract said “minimal damage” and here they are towing a piece of the workshack.

To make matters worse, Toby pointed out that they have lost a lot of their oxygen reserves. They have barely enough air to get back to Crystal Palace, but not nearly enough to get them to the rendezvous coordinates that they gave him. The lab module has even less air than they do.

They take stock of what they have. Some of them have breathers with replaceable one hour air cartridges. They also have emergence bubbles, designed to protect against decompression and have two hour air supplies. If they can get the shuttle to agree to meet them a little closer to their current position, they just might make it. But if the shuttle refuses to change the rendezvous point, they will not have enough air to get to Crystal Palace and they are doomed.

The other option is going back to the Palace. The problem is they are towing a “stolen” chunk of a workshack, that there is no good way to explain. They decide to make for the shuttle.

They also discuss what to do with Erik. Saito is concerned that their employer will treat him like a lab rat. He will either end up imprisoned in another lab or on a dissecting table. They others agree that handing over Erik isn’t an option. Tova says it will take some work, but she can perhaps find a Highrider colony that will take the boy.

They ask Mouse if he can erase any record of Erik from the files he stolen. He says it won’t be easy, but he has nothing else to do for the next several hours.

Eight hours later, they make radio contact with the shuttle. The shuttle agrees to move to them, cutting the remaining travel time in half.

About another hour later, with air in both the OTV and the lab module becoming thin and stale, the make visual contact with the shuttle.

A voice from the shuttle introduces himself as Hikaru Shoten. He clearly sees what they are towing and has half a mind to leave them there. Riptide explains what has happened, keeping things on the level, minus any mention of Erik. Hikaru decides that they are worth salvaging.

Ripper and Helios go into Erik’s environmentally sealable chamber. They give Erik a breather with the last of their oxygen cartridges, and place him in a sealed container that Helios was able to jury rig during the trip. A man from the shuttle EVAs over to the module and opens the hatch. The decompression blows out anything not bolted down. He then drops off two survival suits. After he re-secures the hatch, they open the sealed room door.

Their ears pop as the air the room rushes out to cover a space three times its original volume. The effect is disorienting, but they are able to get the suits on. They using a cable line installed by the shuttle crew, they transport themselves and their lab samples over to the shuttle.

Everyone on the OTV is transported over as well. The team bribes the surviving OTV crewmembers with enough money to recover their craft, repair it, plus some extra money to keep their mouths shut.

During transit back to Crystal Palace, Saito transfers Erik from the containment box over to his equipment bag. When they arrive at the Palace, they turn over all of the lab samples to their employer, whom they learn is No-Ahme Caldwell, an American/Japanese bio-engineering firm.

Riptide discusses the matter with Hikaru and the corp agrees to pay them the remainder of their fee. Ripper inquires about a bonus since what they found was far more valuable than anyone thought, but Hikaru says any additional money earned was offset but the company have to ferry them back to Crystal Palace.

They leave the No-Ahme offices. Helios goes to book flights back home. Zen heads back to the Pompadour to get a shower and much needed rest. Ripper takes their contraband equipment that they acquired and puts it in a storage locker. While doing so, he spots a tail that he recognized as an Interpol agent.

Riptide and Saito make their way to another hotel to keep then boy until Tova finds someone to take him. They are about to stop at a clothing store to get him some proper close, when an electric vehicle pulls up. The dark window rolls down and inside is Inspector Andre Clouet.

Clouet asks them to get in the car. Riptide bulks and says unless they are being arrested for something, he has no right to make them get in. Clouet, in his usual polite matter, says that he can pretty much do whatever he wants. They are not under arrest, not yet anyway, he is just curious as to what they have been up to, and what is in that duffle bag that they won’t let out of their sight.

As they see Interpol agents begin to walk up the street from both directions, they decide to get in the car. Realizing that they were not going to avoid showing him what’s in the bag, Saito unzips it and Erik pops his head out and introduces himself.

Clouet’s natural assumption is kidnapping. Riptide however, weaves a convincing story about how they did a rescue operation to recover the boy. Clouet says that Interpol should take over from here but they tell him that the only thing left to do is to turn him over to his parents which they were working on. Clouet accepts their story but insists that an Interpol agent over sees the exchange. They agree.

As soon as Clouet leaves them be, they purchase some clothes for Erik. Saito is able to find some shoes that will fit him somewhat comfortably, but that at least hides his feet. The boy lacks the strength to walk in the .8 G gravity of the Palace, so Saito carries him to the hotel.

Tova contacts Saito. She has found some Highriders that will take him in. He tells her about Clouet and that whoever picks him up will have to be able to convince them that the boy belongs to them. Tova, who seems as concerned about the boy as Saito is, says she will take care of it.

Riptide and Saito stay with Erik. The rest return to the Pompadour, and they all get some much needed rest.

February 4th, 2040

The next day, Zen, Helios and Mouse head back to Earth, while the others stay behind.

February 5th, 2040

Tova arrives with a Highrider family. They have papers and a story convincing enough for Interpol to agree to the hand over. Riptide and Saito prepare to go home, but Ripper says he will be sticking around a little longer.

As Riptide and Saito prepare to leave, they are met at the docking station by Clouet. He says something still seems off to him about Riptides story, but he isn’t sure what. So he thought he would see them off to make sure they were actually leaving.

They then went through security to take an OTV to the Johnson Space Platform. From there it was a bumpy space plane ride back to Oakland and a cab ride back to Night City.

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Episode 32 - One Phone Call

The team gets a month of downtime in the aftermath of their last mission. Zen is able to get her job back with Infocomp as promised. Riptide tries to learn the fate of his burned contact, Colin Fisk. They check in with Mouse and learn that he will be okay.

June 24th, 2039

Saito is working at the gun range when he gets a text message. Strangely, the message only contains GPS coordinates.

After work, he looks up the coordinates. They are for Warren, Idaho, the home of the compound for the Cult of the New Dawn. He asks Mouse, fresh out to the hospital, to run a trace but he comes up with nothing. He indicates that the call must have come directly through the Net, and not through any phone network.

They then research some refresher information on the cult. It is a Taoist offshoot that believes that corporations are harmful to humanity and its spirituality. Although they are anti-corporate, they are also non-violent. There leader, Dr. Kilacho had disappeared some years ago and the cult is now run by a man named Ed Huntley.

The team gets together that evening to discuss what to make of the message. The question is, who knew to contact him at that number. One possibility was Torrent, though they have not heard from him for some time. Ultimately, they decide to take a road trip to Warren, Idaho.

June 25th – June 26th, 2039

They travel across desert and mountains, and manage to avoid bandits and unfriendly nomads.

June 27th, 2039

They arrive in Warren, Idaho. They check into the one motel, and eat at the one diner. Making small talk with the waitress, they learn that not much has changed since they were last there. The cult keeps to themselves, but are still kind of an embarrassment for the town.

In the evening, while the others turn in for the night, Saito takes a walk out to the compound. It looks pretty much the way they left it. Using the thermo optic in his cyber eye, he spots two individuals hiding in the forest, watching the compound. He gets close enough to hear them, but they are speaking in Japanese.

He decides to take the direct approach and walks up to them. They draw weapons and demand to know what he wants. He is evasive at first, and gets out of them that they work for Arasaka Security and that they are monitoring the compound because someone broadcast these coordinates from one of their facilities.

Saito tells them that he is the one who received the message. The men look at each other and then order him to surrender. He complies.

June 28th, 2039

Riptide is getting ready in his motel room when there is a knock on the door. A couple of men introduce themselves as Arasaka Security, and explain to Riptide that they have his friend, and if they want to see him again, Riptide will cooperate. They know why he and the others are here and they want him to go into the compound and find out why they were sent the GPS coordinates.

Riptide goes to the diner where Ripper and Helios are taking in an early breakfast. He fills them in on the situation. Helios tries sneaking out the back, but finds an Arasaka agent waiting.

Ripper demands they be given more information as to what is going on. The lead agent explains that an Arasaka private prison, where the corporation keeps its enemies and traitors, had a data leak that contained the message Saito received. He believes them that they do not know that the message means. He wants Riptide to go in wired for sound, hoping to learn who leaked the message.

They are driven out to the outskirts of the compound where there are reunited with Saito, who spent the night handcuffed in the back of an SUV. They get Riptide wired up and send him to the main entry door.

Riptide knocks on the door as is greeted by a woman. He explains that he wishes to see Huntley and is allowed in. Riptide does his best to act like he has never been there before as they make there way across the compound to an administrator’s building.

There he meets with Huntley and explains why he is there. Huntley says he knows nothing of why someone sent them the coordinates of the camp. Riptide says that he knows about Kilacho’s current condition and wonders if Huntley could ask him.

Huntley leaves the room for a few minutes and then returns and asks Riptide to follow him. He leads Riptide into a room that contains a desk with a chair, a phone and a camera. He asks Riptide to sit in the chair, which he does. After a few moments, the phone rings and Huntley answers it. He leaves the room and returns with a brain-dance machine. He tells Riptide that if he wishes to speak to Kilacho, he will need to put the device on.

Riptide complies and the real world is replaced by the interior of a white cathedral. Riptide walks to the back where he sees a man sitting on a chair on a high pedestal. Several cables emerge from the man’s bald head and go up into the white glare of the ceiling. In the corner is a young boy playing with some blocks. Riptide recognizes the boy as Adam.

Kilacho asks him why he has come here. Riptide again explains the story. Dr. Kilacho knows nothing of the message. He does say that he and Torrent have been in contact on a regular basis, even after he had left the team.

When they talked, it was mostly about technology. Torrent was fascinated by how Kilacho had translated Adam’s personality into a digital construct. Dr. Kilacho asked Torrent about the device he had implanted in his head called the Neural Inhibitor. Torrent built the device himself, based on technology he had stolen years ago.

Torrent’s mother had disappeared, and Torrent was determined to find her. Dr. Kilacho feared that it was a trap set for Torrent. Last he spoke with Torrent, Torrent believed he had found her and that she was being held by Arasaka agents. But he has heard nothing since. He fears that Torrent has been captured. Dr. Kilacho wishes he could help him further, but he cannot.

The scene melts away and Riptide is back in the room. None of his conversation with Kilacho was out loud, so those listening through his wire have not heard anything. He thanks Huntley for his help and leaves the compound.

He then explains to the Arasaka agents, that the cult members have no idea why anyone would send the team their coordinates. The agents are skeptical, but what they heard over the wire seems to collaborate his story. Riptide then tells the agents that he and the team are going to go home. The agents let them go.

They return to the motel and gather their things. They scan their vehicles and discover several tracers left on each. They quietly remove the tracers and place them on other vehicles. They then hit the road.

Once outside of Warren, Riptide fills them in. They have no solid evidence that the message came from Torrent. But the message did point them to the one man who could help them find him. Furthermore, Kilatcho said he believed Arasaka agents were trying to capture Torrent, and the Arasaka agents in Warren said that the message leaked from an Arasaka prison. The evidence is pretty flimsy, but it does point to Torrent.

The next question is: where is Torrent being held? Turns out, Riptide has a theory on that as well. In his attempt to learn the fate of Collin Fisk, he found out that Arasaka has a prison outside of Las Vegas.

July 1st, 2039

Las Vegas is on the way home…sort of. So they return to city for the third time. They find that the warehouse they had once operated out of was still unoccupied, so they set up shop in there. They then begin to scope out the prison.

Ripper gets a line on a fixer named Jonny Trio who will sell them information on the prison. Riptide finds a strip club where some of the prison staff go.

A meeting with Jonny Trio reveals that the prison is kind of like Area 51. It is out in the middle of nowhere, it officially doesn’t exist, yet all of the locals know it is there. It is triple fenced, with buried sensors, reinforced walls and over three-dozen heavily armed guards. It’s a lot to tackle considering they don’t even know if Torrent is in there.

July 2nd, 2039

The team spends the next day trying to formulate a plan to get into the prison. Riptide contacts Wolfgang to see if they can get any help from Militech. He indicates the Colin Fisk knows a lot about Arasaka operations and would be a nice asset for Militech to acquire. Wolfgang says he will get back to Riptide.

July 3rd, 2039

Wolfgang calls back and tells Riptide that Militech will be sending a consultant named Sphinx . She will not actively participate in any action taken against Arasaka or the prison, but she will help them with the planning.

July 4th, 2039

Sphinx arrives. She gives them her credentials as a troubleshooter for Militech. She says she will help with the planning, and can arrange a pick up for Colin Fisk, once they have him clear of the prison.

She explains that there are a couple of approaches that they could take. There is the “Shock and Awe,” which is a brute force attack where they go in full force and at high speed. The idea is that by the time the prison guards know what is going on, the job is done.

The second is the “Bait and Switch.” They know that the operational services of the prison are handled by a vendor called Pro-Team. They could intercept a Pro-Team vehicle, replace the staff with their team, equipped with fake uniforms and credentials and get in that way.

The third option is the “Han Solo Rescue.” This plan involves inserting team members over time into various positions in the prison. One person might get hired as a janitor, another a cook, another a guard, and so on. Once ever one is in place, they plan and execute the extraction.

July 5th – July 10th, 2039

They spend the next week planning the operation. After much discussion, they decide to take a hybrid approach. Saito will get a job with Pro-team. Mouse will forge Saito’s background to make him an ideal candidate to work in the prison facility. Once inside, he will take whatever time was needed to get a lay of the land and learn where both Colin and Torrent were being held.

The second phase will be to make the extraction. They will use of the Bait and Switch and hijack a Pro-Team vehicle to get the rest of the team inside.

With the plan set, Saito settles in while everyone else returns to Night City.

July 11th – September 16th, 2039

Saito is able to get himself hired at Pro-Team on one of their project teams. It is not exciting work, and he is cut off from his life in Night City.

September 17th – November 4th, 2039

Saito is transferred to the crew that works high security facilities, which means he will be spending time working in the prison. Each time he is there, he scopes out as much of the place as possible. He learns that Torrent is being kept in an unmarked room on the second floor. Colin Fisk on the other hand, is being held in solitary confinement.

He also learns that Araska has a “failsafe” plan for the prison. Word is that Arasaka has an orbital platform with a bunker buster missile aimed at the prison. In the event of a mass breakout, they could destroy the prison and everyone in it.

Mouse takes a look at the possibility of hacking the satellite and get control of the warhead. He ultimately concludes that that he can’t, but he does think he can hack the computers at the prison and make the staff there think the warhead has been launched.

November 5th, 2039

Operation “Clean Sweep” is put into effect. Saito lets the team know when a Pro-Team Crew was on its way to the prison and what their route would be. The team hijacks the vehicle. After disposing of the crew and donning their own uniforms that they had acquired earlier, they make their way to the prison.

They go to the gate and there is a tense moment as the guards search the vehicle. Luckily, the weapons they brought were not discovered. They pulled up to the building where Saito was waiting for them. They split into two groups, one heading upstairs to find Torrent, the other headed to the far end of the ground floor to get to Colin.

Meanwhile, Mouse triggers program he implanted in the prison’s computer system. It causes their computers to tell them that the orbital warhead was launched to take out the facility. The administrative staff bega\in to evacuate the facility, but following Arasaka protocol, do not warn the guards.

The team that stayed on the ground floor go through Cell Block B making note of the guards on the walkways above. They enter the guard station at the solitary confinement block. The guard agrees to let them into the space, but he will need to escort them.

Upstairs, the other half of the team breaks into the unmarked room. It is full of diagnostic equipment surrounding a reclined chair. Lying is the chair is Torrent. Numerous probes are embedded in his head with wires running to the equipment. He appears to be unconscious.

They then hear Torrents voice coming from one of the speakers in the room. He tells them that before the incident in Colombia where he first met the others, he had run into some trouble. He had stolen some technology from Raven Micro-Cybernetics. It turns out that the technology they designed was commissioned by Arasaka and they had been seeking it ever since.

When he left the team, he had learned that his mother had disappeared. He tracked her down, but he was captured by Arasaka and taken to this facility.

Arasaka has been interrogating him using a program that was downloading his memories. Using techology he learned from Dr. Kilatcho, he down loaded his memories and hid them in Arasaka’s computer system. Unfortunatley, his ability to create a conscious construct was not as complete as Kilatcho’s, The construct the team is now talking to has all of Torrent’s memories, but none of the essence that makes him who he is.

The Torrent that lies in the chair has had all of his memories deleted. The Torrent construct asks them to terminate his body and destroy the equipment wired to him. Torrent will take care of the rest. His has one more request for them. His mother lives in Lakeland, Florida. She is still being watched by Arasaka. He asks that they go get her and take her somewhere where Arasaka won’t find her.

Meanwhile, the team downstairs tries to subdue the guard. While they are ultimately successful, the guard is able to sound an alarm. They quickly find Colin’s cell and let him out.

Upstairs, they terminate Torrent and trash the equipment. Then they hear the alarm. They begin to make their way to the solitary confinement block to link up with the others. The guard response is stymied as word begins to spread that the administrative staff has fled the facility.

Riptide, Zen, and Colin are pinned down by guards while trying to get out of the block. Saito and Ripper arrive to provide flanking fire. This allows the three to make it past the first set of guards.

Now however they find themselves surrounded with armed guards coming from both directions. Saito plants some shaped charges on a wall and detonates them. He blasts a hole leading into the shower.

Once in the shower room they make their way to the guardroom that is adjacent. Unfortunately, there are more guards between them and the exit. They find themselves pinned down in the guardroom.

Helios, who has been waiting out in the van, comes in firing. This allows them to catch the guards in a crossfire, forcing them to retreat. This gives the team enough time to get out the exit and into the van.

They make there way toward the vehicle gate. The gate presents two problems. First there is a high caliber machinegun that begins to fire on the van. Second, a hydraulic ram raising a wall to block the gate.

They open the side door of the van, and pour every once of firepower they can muster at the guard station to keep the machinegun from chewing them up. As they close in on the gate, Helios tries to decide what his options are. The van won’t get through the ram wall, and the sides of the road are mined. He considers ramming the reinforced guard station, which isn’t a much better option. But then suddenly the hydraulic rams start lowering the wall. The wall recedes just as the vans rolls over it. They drive out into the desert.

They expect to be pursued when they see something streaking down from the sky. It slams into the prison, which disintegrates in a massive concussion wave. They contact Mouse and ask him if he was able to hack the orbital platform. He says he did not. It appears that someone within the prison computer system had hacked the platform and sent the warhead down.

Once they are sure they are not being followed, they drive out the rendezvous point. There a helicopter is waiting to pick up Colin. Although Colin is not happy about the team giving up his name, he appreciates that they risked so much to come get him. They leave on good terms.

Their next step is to go get Torrent’s mother. They are weighing their options for getting to Lakeland, Florida when they get a call from Mouse. He directs them to a news report from Lakeland involving a house explosion. The address was the one that Torrent gave them for his mother. The reporter says that the cause of the explosion is unknown, but that the body of the woman who lived there was found inside.

As the reporter talks in front of a group of gawkers, they spot a familiar face, Adam Smasher. It seems that Arasaka has extracted some revenge.

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Episode 31 - The Arasaka Brainworm

April 29th, 2039

Zen gets a call from Greg Mystron, her former employer over at Infocomp. He indicates that the corporation may be interested in hiring her back. With Infocomp being such a great resource, she decides to go to the meeting.

Unfortunately, the meeting takes an ugly turn early on. Infocomp has been investigating the theft from its Data Haven a short while back and came up with some interesting leads. A couple of those leads point to Zen being involved. The one piece of circumstantial evidence that they show her is camera footage of her making an escape at gunpoint from the warehouse facility right across the street from the OTEC facility where the helicopter was stolen. Infocomp was confident they would have proof of who engineered the theft shortly.

Greg then explains that Infocomp actually has need for a team that is capable of breaking into such a high security facility. For serviced rendered, they would suspend their investigation, a leave it as unsolved.

Zen meets up with the rest of the team. She explains to them the situation. She also explains that they gave her few details on the job other than it involves getting into and back out of a high security facility. If they agree to take the job, they are to meet a fixer named Blue Diamond at the Western Bar. After some discussion, they agree. They also decide to invite Ripper, as they figure they can use the extra help.

April 30th, 2039

The team meets with Blue Diamond at the Western Bar. He explains that his employer has a mole working at Biotechnica’s Johnston Atoll Facility. During their last communication, the mole, one Johann Brinkmann, indicated that he had some important information to get to them. However, their usual form of communication has been cut off, so they need someone to go in, make contact with Dr. Brinkmann, and bring the information back out.

The Johnston Atoll is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Its closest neighbors are Hawaii and the Midway Freehold. The facility is used by Biotechnica for its most dangerous biological experiments. The team agrees on a price for services rendered, and parts ways with Blue Diamond.

Ripper contacts his man inside Biotechnica. His contact says little is known about the specific workings of the facility due to the high clearance level of the work done there. He is able to tell Ripper that there is roughly 600 people on the atoll, between researchers, support staff, and security. The security is run by Arasaka. The Atoll is made up of three small islands plus several floating facilities. Ripper asks for a way onto the Atoll, but his contact has none. He will see what he can do, and get back to Ripper.

Mouse dives the Net and finds the Data Fortress for the Johnston Atoll. He does not try to crack it as whole thing practically screams “Fuck Off”. He is able to find a not so detailed layout of the facility, including the location of the airport on the smallest island. Other than that, there is not much to go on.

Riptide calls Skip Casperson, the man he bought his seaweed from at the Midway Freehold. Skip is able to give him contact information for Cassandra Ellis.

May 1st, 2039

Riptide contacts Colin Fisk, his contact at Arasaka. Colin gives him some important details on the security at the facility. All Arasaka staff there are Korean. They operate patrols around the facility 24/7. The patrols have the authority to stop and search anyone at any time for any reason.

The island has two radar systems, one to watch for ships, and the other for planes. Based on the way they are configured, Colin speculates that a HALO jump would be a possible way to get onto the island undetected. However the timing would have to be perfect. Open the shoot a second too soon, and the radar would spot them. Open a second too late, and the janitor would be scraping them off of the ground.

In addition to the radar, the Atoll also uses hydrophones to listen for small craft on and below the surface. The hydrophones are positioned about 500’ from the island, radiating out.

The islands of the Atoll are ringed with point defense guns, capable of shooting down airplanes and sinking ships. Araksaka tracks any ship that comes within 10 miles of the facility, and will challenge any vessel that comes within two miles of the facility. Any plane or boat leaving the facility without permission will be destroyed.

Ripper than calls Cassandra Ellis. She no longer works for Biotechinca and the relationship did not end well. The bad news is she can’t provide them with any inside help. The good news is she is willing to help them in whatever way she can. One of those ways is that she has a freighter at her disposal called The Wounded Gull. She would be willing to keep the ship within 10 miles of the facility, or even push close to the two mile challenge line if need be.

Ripper gets a call from his Biotechnica contact. It seems that there is a man named Anatole who works the shipping/receiving center at the Johnston Atoll. Anatole is willing to overlook incoming or outgoing packages for the right price.

After a very long debate, a plan is formulated. Mouse will hack into Biotechnica’s Night City Data Fortress and get the team false credentials to get them permission to be on the Island. They will then ship a crate full of gear that they expect to need, to the island via Anatole. Once on the island they will make contact with Dr. Brinkmann and get the information, in whatever form it takes. Everyone but Helios will then fly off the island using their false credentials. Helios will take the information and SCUBA off of the island. He will then rendezvous with the Wounded Gull which will pick him up.

They immediately make arrangements for their gear to be shipped. They send a water and shock proof container, SCUBA gear for Helios, and an assortment of weapons. It will take six days before it is on-site and available to them.

Mouse dives into the Net and attacks the Biotechnica Night City data fortress. He worms his way in, and moves about in full stealth mode. He encounters several ICE programs, but remains invisible to them all. He is able to locate the personnel files for the Night City office and inserts false identities for the team, along with transfer orders for the Johnston Atoll.

May 2nd – 7th, 2039

The team lays low and makes final preparations, including picking up their Biotechnica credentials.

May 8th, 2039

They take the long flight to the Johnston Atoll. There they go through processing, where their credentials are checked and new credentials specific for the Atoll are issued to them. They find that they have clearance to be on the island for one week. They are assigned to the maintenance department, but do not seem to have any assigned duties. The good news is that this means that they have no place to be. They bad news is that this will likely draw suspicion from anyone who examines their information.

They get their room assignments and use the local directory to find Dr. Brinkmann. They are able to locate him, but he lives in a different pod than they do. They then head over to the shipping and receiving area, and Zen signs for the small crate they had shipped.

They find that travel between all locations is done via two-seat personal water craft. They sign them out via their credentials, and sign them back in when they reach their destination. They quickly realize that this means that Arasaka can track their movements about the atoll.

They head to their residential pod. They are assigned three rooms. Riptide and Saito take one. Ripper and Helios take another. Zen finds herself bunking with a woman named Edna Hunter, a botanist.

Zen introduces herself as Kelly Yi, and strikes up a conversation. She learns that Edna is trying to regrow some dead areas on the atoll that have been razed in order to contain past outbreaks.

She gives Zen a general rundown of the facility. The north island contains the solar farm and fuel depot. The southern island contains research labs as well as the Special Materials Lab. All are restricted, especially the Special Materials lab. Interspersed about the atoll are numerous floating platforms, called bubbles. There are nine residential bubbles, 5 office bubbles, a data lab, and shopping center, and the Arasaka security headquarters.

She also advises Zen to have her credentials on her at all times. The Arasaka patrols can and will stop anyone at any time.

Ripper gives Dr. Brinkmann a call. The doctor answers and Ripper introduce himself as John Mark Howell. He indicates that he is new to the facility and that he and Dr. Brinkmann have a mutual friend named Grendal, which is the code word they were told to use to identify themselves. Dr. Brinkmann indicates that he does not know of anyone by that name. Ripper apologizes and hangs up. They decide that perhaps the doctor’s phone is bugged so he opted not to acknowledge them.

May 9th, 2039

Bright and early in the morning, Ripper, Riptide, and Saito head to the doctor’s residential bubble. They hang out on the docks where the water craft are moored. While waiting, they attract the attention of a security patrol. The guards ask for their credentials, in stilted chip-driven English. The three do, and Riptide smooth talks his way out of any suspicion. The guards move on.

Around 7:00 AM, Dr. Brinkmann comes down and waits to check out a water craft. Riptide strikes up a conversation with the doctor, introducing himself as Grendal, a name that does not appear on his ID. Brinkmann recognizes the name, but only from the phone call from the night before. He appears genuinely confused.

Brinkmann then gets on a watercraft and heads to work. Saito checks one out also, and tails him, not to the island with the Special Materials Lab, where they were told he works, but instead to the bubble that houses the Data Lab. The team grows concerned that with intel that they were given is seriously flawed.

Riptide calls Mouse, and in cryptic fashion, indicates that he needs to talk to Mouse in a manner that cannot be monitored. He is not sure if Mouse understood when he hangs up.

In the early afternoon, the team spreads out. Helios goes to the clinic, Ripper heads to the data lab, Zen and Saito head to the offices. Riptide stays in his room, waiting for Mouse to call.

Ripper spots Brinkmann in the cafeteria. The doctor does not seem to recognize him from the residential bubble dock. He is able to shadow Brinkmann back to his lab, which is designated P7. Ripper’s maintenance clearance does not give him access into the lab itself.

About 2:00 in the afternoon, Riptide gets a call from Mouse. Mouse has again hacked the Biotechnica Night City data fortress, and used their own internal data link to gain access to the Johnston Atoll site. He has hacked their internal phone system and is now speaking to Riptide from within the Net. Riptide asks him to find out why Brinkmann is no longer working in the Special Materials Lab.

While he is waiting, an Arasaka patrol shows up to perform a random room inspection. Riptide allows them. He is able to smooth talk his way out of any trouble, and lucky for him, their box of gear is stored in the other room that they had. After the security team leaves, Riptide gets the gear, and begins to hide it throughout their living area.

Mouse calls back a few minutes later. The good news is he was able to learn a few things, including Brinkmaan’s duty schedule. He also learned that Brinkmaan has not worked in the Special Materials Lab since contracting encephalitis. Brinkmaan’s doctor is a Betty Thurston, and his councilor is a woman named Amelthia Lau. When Brinkmann was at the Special Materials Lab, he was working on something called the Gastrophage. Mouse could not find any info on what it is exactly, but apparently, shortly before Brinkmann’s health issue, the CIA started pouring money into the project.

The bad news is that Mouse had a run in with a Hell Hound and now the data fortress was crawling with sysops. He could not find out any more, as he needed to get the hell out of there. He then broke off the call. Riptide could only hope that he got out okay.

Riptide examined the schedule and was surprised to see that Dr. Brinkmaan was scheduled for counseling for four hours everyday. He relayed this information to the rest of the team.

At the clinic, right on schedule at 3:00 PM, Helios observes Brinkmann leave Amelthia Lau’s office. There he remains for two hours. He is then escorted by two Arasaka guards out of the floating facility, onto a patrol boat and taken over to the island that contain the Special Materials Lab. At 7:00 PM, Brinkmann returns to his residential bubble, has dinner in the cafeteria, and then returns to his room.

The team then gets together to compare notes. They know that encephalitis can cause memory loss, which explains why Brinkmann seems to know nothing about the operation to which he is supposed to be a key member.

Was there a way to make him remember, or would the team have to figure out, without his help, what the information was that Brinkmann wanted to get off of the island.

Back in Night City, Jarvic gets a call from Mouse. Mouse says that he has been busted hacking a Biotechnica facility for the team, and they were able to trace his location to his neighborhood. He was going to leave when he noticed that Arasaka security had cordoned off the area. He asks Jarvic to try and get him out.

Jarvic goes to his boss and asks to borrow a ground ambulance. His boss says no, but a hefty bribe gets him to change his mind. Jarvic then drives out to Mouse’s location. When he gets just a couple of blocks away, he comes upon a road block set up by Arasaka.

He tries to fast talk his way past the road block. The security men agree to let him through if one of them goes with him. He agrees to their terms.

As they are driving in, the Arasaka trooper asks why Jarvic is alone and not with a team. As he checks the back, Jarvic injects him with a strong sedative.

He pulls up to the apartment building and tries to sneak around the back. He is stopped by two Arasaka men. When he cannot bluff his way past them, he shoots them with a pulse weapon he has hidden amongst his diagnostic gear.

He then races up the stairs and finds Mouse’s apartment. The two of them meet more troopers when trying to head down the stairs. In the ensuing fire fight, the two security men are knocked out, but Mouse is badly wounded. Jarvic is barely able to revive him and carries him back to the ambulance.

They drive away just as a patrol vehicle pulls up. There is a short car chase that ends when Jarvic is forced to abandon the ambulance and sneak Mouse out of the neighborhood on foot. Once at a safe location, he places a call to his boss, and after an even bigger bribe, he and Mouse are picked up and driven to safety.

May 10th, 2039

Back at the Johnston Atoll, Helios and Ripper spend the better part the day touring the North Island. They checked out how the solar farm and fuel depot are protected. The solar farm had a double fence perimeter with buried ground sensors in between. The depot is protected by a series of point defense turrets.

Riptide begins to socialize in the rec-area of the residential pod, trying to tap into the rumor mill. He learns that several months ago, a team of psychologists, led by Amelthia Lau, came to the island, supposedly to evaluate the mental health of the employees, who work in such an isolated and highly structured environment. Some of the employees suspect that the real purpose of the psych evaluations was to ferret out possible thieves or spies.

In the early afternoon, the team is stopped by an Arasaka patrol. This time they are unable to avoid suspicion and the guard calls in their credentials. He then demands to know why they have no assigned duties. Riptide “admits” that they are taking advantage of a clerical error and have been sloughing off the last couple of days. The disgusted guard orders them to return to their quarters and tells them that all of their access will be suspended until they report to the maintenance office and get their duties assigned.

In the late afternoon, Helios and Ripper go for a swim over to the bubble where Brinkmann lives. After wringing out their clothes as best they can, they break into Dr. Brinkmann’s apartment. They find little of interest except for a couple of photos of him and Dr. Lau, looking very cozy together. In one of the photos, it appears that Brinkmaan has a bandage on the back of his neck, at the base of his skull. They also notice a lack of drugs in his medicine cabinet, odd for someone who recently had a near fatal infection.

They also became aware of several hidden cameras and microphones in his apartment. They quickly leave his apartment and go to the bubble’s electrical room. There they find the Network Video Recorder, disconnect it, and remove it from the facility.

Once back at their own apartment, they hook the NVR up to their terminal. Not being computer experts, they are unable to bypass its password protection. Zen heads down to the rec-area and spots the loneliest computer nerd she can find. The flirting takes minimal effort to get him to agree to go back to her place.

Once there, she shows him the NVR and asks if he can hack it. He is suspicious of why she needs access, but she pours on the charm and he agrees to do it. It only takes him a few minutes to crack the protection. A couple of spiked drinks later, and he is passed out on the floor.

The team looks at the video, going back several weeks to when the cameras and microphones were installed. They see that Amelthia oversaw the installation of the surveillance. They are able to catch her on the microphone saying something about waiting for someone to try and make contact with Brinkmaan.

May 11th, 2039

The team half expects Arasaka troops to bust in their door at any moment. Surely they were aware of the missing NVR. But it never happens, and in the morning, the team finds themselves reporting for duty at the maintenance office. It was there that they learn that the facility is in lockdown, which means that there will be no flights in or out of the atoll until further notice.

Zen and Ripper are assigned to clean up duty at the labs. Riptide and Saito work the warehouses on the West Island. Helios, ironically, is assigned to install the replacement NVR in the bubble habitat where Brinkmann lives.

It turns out that it is also the same habitat where Amelthia lives. After installing the NVR Helios breaks into Amelthia’s apartment. He checks first for surveillance but finds none. He notices that she does not have any pictures of Brinkmann laying around. He does find a safe, but does not have the resources to crack it. He leaves it be and reports his findings to the others.

They decide that Amelthia is the key. Saito and Helios hang out at the market bubble where they can observe the water travel lane between the clinic and her habitat bubble. Zen hangs out in the rec-room of Amelthia’s bubble.

Riptide remains in the rec-room of the team’s habitat to try and dig up some more rumors. He hears some grumbling among techs who were also scheduled to leave on Friday, but now are apparently stuck there due to the lock down. No one knows why the lock down has occurred. Word has leaked of the data breach, but since the source was outside of the Atoll, the lock down really did not make sense.

Around 8:00 PM, Helios and Saito observe Amelthia traveling back to the habitat pods. Eventually Zen observes her enter the pod and head up to her apartment level. Zen briefly considers taking action then and there, but changes her mind.

They meet back at their own apartment to plan their next day.

May 12, 2039

The team members report to their individual jobs. Saito swipes a shipping box from one of the warehouses and takes it to the tool shop. There he places some tools for safe cracking in the box and is able to walk out with them undetected. The team then meets back up in their rooms. They decide to break into Amelthia’s apartment and wait for her there.

Zen travels to the other habitat bubble first. As she waits in the rec-area, she is stopped by an Arasaka guard. He checks her credentials and asks why she is in this habitat. She tells him she is waiting for Jim, the computer nerd from the previous night. The guard seems to buy her story and leaves her alone.

The others then begin to trickle in over the next half hour. By 8:00 PM, all are present, and they head up to Amelthia’s. They break in and wait for her there.

At 8:30, Amelthia arrives. Zen jumps her and quickly chokes her out. By the time she recovers, they have her blindfolded and tied to a chair.

They ask her for the combination to her safe. She is mildly resistant, but then tells them the combination. Inside the safe are a series of data disks. The disks are password protected. She tells them that they are confidential files that she does not want to put on the local system, so she keeps them separate. When she gets back to the mainland, she will turn those files over to her superiors.

The demand to know where the files on Brinkmann are. She indicates those files are all on her computer at her office. She also says that he does not have any implant in his neck.

She indicates that they were curious about Brinkmann’s mysterious, acute case of encephalitis. Safety protocols make is nearly impossible for accidental exposure. They suspected that his infection was intentional, possibly self-inflicted. Security checks and psych evaluations of Brinkmann came up with nothing.

In case Brinkmann had a collaborator, they set up surveillance in his room. This thus far has also produced nothing.

When asked about her relationship with Brinkmann, she said it was short lived. It started after the accident when she started working with him. She ended it, as she felt it was inappropriate.

The answers she gives are not at all what they expected. They had her pegged as the main villain, but that now seems to not be the case. They can detect no deception on her part, but as Zen points out, Amelthia is a highly trained psychologist, and may be manipulating them.

Zen, having a similar physical build to Amelthia, puts on one of her outfits and takes her ID badge. She then checks out a watercraft and heads over to the clinic. Once inside Amelthia’s office, she tries to access Amelthia’s computer. Realizing she does not have the password, she calls back to the apartment and has the guys get it for her.

Once she has the password, she goes through the computer files. She finds Brinkmann’s files, including a list of his implants, but nothing regarding any implant in his neck. She goes through the rest of the office, but finds nothing else of interest. More or less empty handed, she returns to Amelthia’s apartment.

They drug Amelthia and tuck her into bed. They then head down to Brinkman’s apartment. They ring his doorbell. When he answers, Zen pushes him into his living room, and the others follow. Zen chokes him out and drops him to the ground. They quickly secure him.

Saito grabs a knife and reopens the incision in the back of his neck. There is indeed an implant that appears to be wired into his nervous system. It appears to be a custom or prototype unit. What it does, they are not sure. Saito indicates that his first aid skills are not enough to attempt to remove it, as he may well end up killing the doctor instead. They do what limited tests they can, but learn nothing.

Riptide and Saito stay at Brinkmann’s while Ripper and Helios stay at Amelthia’s. Zen heads over to Jim, the computer tech’s room. She convinces him to hack the encryption on Amelthia’s data disks. Once done, she looks through the files and sees information regarding the device in Brinkmann’s head. It appears to be something called a Brainworm and can prevent a person from accessing certain parts of their memories. Zen has Jim burn copies of the files. She then goes to bed with Jim.

The others wait for a few hours. When Zen does not check back in, they head back over to their own habitats.

May 13, 2039

Just as everyone is ready to turn in, Zen arrives with the unencrypted files. It appears that enough information is on the disk to allow someone with the proper resources to reconstruct the Brainworm.

Although they are fairly certain that this is not information that Brinkman was attempting to smuggle off of the atoll, they decide to act as if it is. They decide they have little hope of figuring out what it was exactly the Brinkman was trying to sell, so they decide to use the Brainworm as a proxy.

Helios suits up in his wetsuit, and they place the data in a waterproof container. He then drops into the water beneath the shadows of the habitat and begins his long swim towards the wounded gold.

When he gets about 1000 feet away from the atoll, his movements in the water get picked up on the hydrophones. A patrol boat and an AV-4 fly out to his position and begin to search the water. Luckily for Helios, he noticed them coming in time and he dives down deeper to avoid their searching. After about 20 minutes, the Arasaka guards give up and return back to base. Helios continues his long swim to the rendezvous ship.

Around 6 AM in the morning, as the remaining team members prepare for another day of work, they hear the sound of heavy footsteps coming down the hall towards their apartments. Within moments, Arasaka guards are knocking on their doors and demanding to be let in. As soon as the doors are opened the guards storm in and arrest the team members. They are then hauled by patrol boat to the Arasaka security tower. There they are thrown into a general lockup.

They are interrogated one by one, but despite the guard’s heavy-handed tactics, and use of interrogation drugs, they are able to stick to their stories of being simple Biotechnica employees. This goes on for nearly 4 hours.

Around three in the afternoon, they are visited by Amelthia. She says that she knows that somebody sent them to meet Prof. Brinkman and she demands to know whom. The team continues to stick to the story of being Biotechnica employees. Amelthia warns them that the next step is to hook them up to a computer with a neural analyzer that will sort through their memories and find out the truth. She warns them that the scans tend to be damaging to one’s memory, leading to confusion and often, permanent memory loss.

In order to buy time, Riptide weaves a story about how they actually worked for Arasaka and that they were sent to find out who was leaking information from the atoll. She is extremely skeptical of the story. However Riptide manages to be very convincing, so she agrees to go and verify their story.

Meanwhile, some 10 miles away, Helios emerges from the water alongside the hull of the Wounded Gull. He begins to climb the anchor chain when he notices Arasaka guards moving about the deck. He slowly climbs back down into the water and waits for nearly an hour before the guards finally pile into the AV-4 and fly back to the atoll. He then climbs back up the anchor chain on to the ship. There he meets with the ship’s captain, Capt. Pike, who informs him that the ship will be returning to the Midway Freehold.

When Amelthia returns to their cell, she informs them that no one at Arasaka knows about their supposed mission. She informs them that in the morning, they will begin the brain scanning procedures.

May 14th, 2039

In the morning, Amelthia arrives with the guards. She asks for someone to volunteer to be the first to go for brain scan. In a desperation move, Riptide claims the person Arasaka sent them was Colin Fisk, his secret contact within the corporation. Amelthia seems uninterested in this new claim, and again asks for a volunteer. Ultimately Zen steps for and offers to be the first. The guards haul her away.

Back on the ship, Helios attempts to contact Mouse. When he is unsuccessful, he then contacts Jarvic. Jarvic informs him that Mouse is in the hospital, and fills him in on what took place a couple of days ago. Helios indicates that the group may be in trouble, as the atoll is in lockdown and they have no way off the island. Jarvic decides to make some calls to find a hacker to break into the Johnston Atoll datafortress.

Helios then contacts Blue Diamond. He informs him of the data that they got from Dr. Brinkmann. He has it downloaded and sent the Blue Diamond. Since neither Blue Diamond or his employer know exactly what the data is, he accepts it as being the objective they were sent to retrieve.

Back at the atoll, in the Arasaka security tower, Zen is hauled into a room that features a reclining chair surrounded by numerous pieces of equipment. Three individuals in medical scrubs wait for her. One guard and Amelthia go in and they prepare to put her in the chair.

Just as they are about to strap her in she slips their grasp and is able to get behind Amelthia and put her in a chokehold. She then threatens the use her gang-jazzler to kill Amelthia.

Amelthia points out to her that she has no place to go. Zen states that all she is looking for is for Amelthia to take the time to verify Riptide’s claim about Colin Fisk. Amelthia agrees under the condition that Zen voluntarily gets into the chair. Zen agrees and strapped in. Amelthia than goes check on Riptide’s latest claim.

Back in night city, Jarvic is able to find a netrunner who is bold enough to try and hack the Johnston Atoll datafortress. However, the netrunner’s attempt is short-lived and he informs Jarvic that the datafortress is in a high-security mode. Only a really good runner, either operating off of a mainframe or running with AI support will have any chance of hacking the fortress. Jarvic contacts Helios and informs him of what he learned. Helios considers what Jarvic said about needing AI support to hack the datafortress. He decides the place a call to Cassandra Ellis.

Amelthia returns to the operating room and informs Zen that Colin Fisk has been arrested. She also informs them that Colin doesn’t have anywhere near the clearance the authorizing admission that they claim to be a part of and she then reveals that she was sent to the Johnston atoll, to look for a potential data leaks.

Psych evaluations were done of all the employees. Brinkmann’s evaluation indicated that he was hiding something. Further investigation led her to believe that he was a mole sent by someone. It was she who had the Brainworm implanted in him and that they began to observe him waiting to see who would show up to try and make contact. The team had managed to elude her surveillance, until they inevitably got impatient and careless. He then informed Zen that the delays were over, and Zen was put under as they began to scan her brain.

Zen finds herself in an endless series of rapid short streams. The dreams are like a stream of consciousness that seems to pull memories from all over her history. Many of them seem to fragment and she cannot remember them as soon as they disappear.

Back in the cell, the remaining team members cover up the cameras with bits of wet toilet paper. They then wait for the guards to investigate. Their only weapons are a couple of bolts that Riptide was able to pull from the floor anchors for the benches.

The guards then arrive and demand that they take the toilet paper off of the camera lenses. The team refuses. So instead, the guards order them against the back wall with their hands against the wall while the guards go in and remove the obstructions. While the guards are inside the cell, suddenly all of the lights go out, including the emergency lights.

The team takes this opportunity to act. Both Saito and Riptide have cyber eyes allowing them to see in the dark. They are able to overpower the guards and take their weapons. Just as their locking the guards in the cell, they can hear a door in the hallway being rattled by an Arasaka security team trying to get in. The team decides to go the other way. They come to a T intersection where they are intercepted by more guards. A firefight ensues until they are able to escape into a stairwell. Taking a guess they decide to head up.

Meanwhile, the endless stream of images in Zen’s head suddenly disappears, leaving her in complete blackness. But then a rectangle of light appears in the distance, which she soon realizes is light leaking around a door. She begins to approach the door but can’t help sense a strong apprehension about the door. As she gets closer she senses great danger behind the door and soon she hears what sounds like scratching, like wild beasts trying to get through the door. She steps away from the door chooses not to open it.

Saito, Riptide, and Ripper emerge from the stairway on to the sixth floor. There they see what appears to be a clinic level. One of the rooms has several guards standing outside. The guards immediately turn and open fire.

Although she no longer has the images and dreams flashing in her mind, Zen can feel herself becoming more disoriented and disjointed. Attempts to recall specific memories become harder and harder. Fearing that her identity is being erased, Zen takes a chance and opens the door. A flood of demonic looking creatures pour in through the door, and her mind goes blank.

Saito, Riptide and Ripper are able to overcome the guards in the hallway. They force their way into the operating room and see Zen lying unconscious on a reclining chair. Amelthia is there along with three medical technicians who seem to be extremely confused and are struggling with the computer systems that do not seem to be working properly. One of the technicians explaining that all the data been pulled from Zen’s mind had been eliminated and somehow a powerful virus has gotten into the system and was shutting everything down.

Saito goes the one of the terminals and types in a question asking if this was Mouse. An answer comes back stating that it is not Mouse, but someone else was there to help. Saito then types the question asking if their benefactor would be able to shut down the atoll’s antiaircraft system. The answer comes back stating that it could be done, but only for a brief amount of time.

They removed Zen from the chair, and took Amelthia hostage. They use her to gain safe passage to the roof of the Arasaka tower where the AV-4 was parked. Amelthia becomes desperate wanting to make some sort of deal. She knows that as soon as the AV-4 tries to leave the island it will be shot down by the island’s defense systems. They tell her that that was a chance they were willing to take

They got into the AV-4. The next issue was the fact that none of them are actually trained in how to fly a vector thrust vehicle. Saito decides to give it a shot, fires the vehicle up and they took off from the roof of the tower. After narrowly putting it into the ocean they skimmed over the water and took off away from the atoll. Much to Amelthia’s surprise and the other’s relief, the facility’s antiaircraft systems do not kick in.

A couple of hours later, with the AV-4 running on fumes, they landed on board the Wounded Gull. They fill in Helios on what happened. He tells them that he had contacted Cassandra Ellis, and in turn she convinced Masslight to help them escape. Amelthia is placed in the brig while the others get medical attention and some much needed rest.

May 15 – May 18th, 2039

The Wounded Gull makes its way back to the Midway Freehold.

May 19th, 2039

Back at the Midway Freehold, Cassandra apologizes to Zen on behalf of Masslight. She tells her that when Masslight was going through the datafortress he found them scanning Zen’s memories. Since Zen is one of the few people who knows the physical location of Masslight, he could not risk Arasaka or Biotechnica finding out where he is. Masslight downloaded a virus into her brain, the demons beyond the door, which were then downloaded by Amelthia’s scanning equipment. It erased everything that they had recorded and shut down their systems. Unfortunately, this means that some of Zen’s memories can never be restored.

They turn Amelthia over to Cassandra, leaving it up to her and Masslight as to what Amelthia’s fate will be. They then book a flight to take them back home to Night City.

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