After the job with Adam Smasher, the team gets a few weeks to cool it’s heels. They are forced to renegotiate their deal with Death in the Afternoon, due to the fact that they had yet to get their salvage business started despite the many months of occupying their home in the Combat Zone. Zen is able to land a job as an entry-level investigator for InfoComp, allowing her to quit the security gig. Saito acquires the Arasaka sniper rifle that he purchased from Dollar Bill. Jarvic develops a new reflex-enhancing drug called Super Fly, and gets Riptide to help him sell it. Helios is able to find a used tow truck for the business, but it requires some repair work before it can be used.
January 13th, 2038
Jarvic is on duty at REO Meatwagon when a call comes in that a trauma card was activated in the Combat Zone. He and his team mount up in their AV-4 and head down to the south side. There they find a man lying on the sidewalk bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. He is on the brink of death, but Jarvic is able to resuscitate him and they transport him back to Meatwagon HQ. The card account indicates that the man is Alphie Lazado, but a homemade driver’s license in his wallet lists him as The Manic Hispanic. Jarvic remembers the team referring to such a man and contacts them.
The team, however, shows little interest in looking into the matter, so Jarvic does some of his own investigating. Alphie is homeless, but his card is paid for by his brother Hector Lazado, who lives in Miami.
January 14th, 2038
Jarvic is able to track down Hector on the phone. Hector says his brother has always had some mental issues, but never was on any drugs, illicit or otherwise. Alphie has always refused Hector’s help, but did agree to carry the trauma card that Hector pays for. He then indicates that he will fly to Night City at his first opportunity.
January 15th-18th, 2038
Alphie is stable and therefore transferred to one of Night City’s public clinics. The team continues to go about their usual routines.
January 19th, 2038
Saito goes to the clinic to visit Alphie, who is still in a coma. There he finds Hector and Jarvic. Hector cannot understand why anyone would try to kill Alphie. He is also upset that the Night City Police Department will make no attempt to investigate the shooting of a vagrant, as it’s a fairly common occurrence. The team graciously agrees to investigate the shooting of their friend for only half of their usual fee.
January 20th, 2038
The team rents another van from Renta-Robo. The team travels into the Combat Zone to investigate the shooting. Their first stop is the Mediterranean, inside Wire Cult territory. They speak to a squatter there named Artie who explains that three months back, some speedsters moved in that kept harassing Alphie. He eventually moved out. Artie indicates that Alphie has found a new home inside Hellion territory called The Jungle.
The team then travels to The Jungle, which is located only four blocks from where Alphie was shot. The Jungle is the incomplete foundation of an office building that was started back before the Combat Zone was the Combat Zone. Two small tent cities have sprung up inside. Riptide, Torrent, Saito, and Jarvic head on in to look around. They speak to some locals who indicate that a number of people have been getting sick lately, breaking out in rashes and sores. Many people have become irritable, and the incidents of violence within the camp have increased. Also, a few claim to have seen deformed rats and birds.
Jarvic convinces some of the sick to allow him to take blood samples. He also takes a sample of the water from a small pool the locals use for drinking. The pool is supplied by a city water main that they have tapped into. He then calls Hector and asks him to have the doctors test Alphie’s blood as well.
Up top, Helios and Zen spot a vehicle circle around the foundation. The occupants do not wear uniforms, but their demeanor says security men.
Saito, Riptide, and Jarvic go to a ripperdock named Trapper John who tests both the blood and the water sample. The water comes back clean, but the blood has traces of an unknown toxin. For a fee, Trapper gets the samples to a man named Dexter, who he says will be able to isolate and identify the chemical.
The three then head to the scene where the shooting took place. Talking to a couple of witnesses reveals that Alphie had charged a couple of Hellions in a fit of rage, and so they gunned him down.
Back at The Jungle, Zen notices the reflection from a camera lens from the second story of an abandoned building on the other side of the camp. She stealthily makes her way over to the building and enters. Unfortunately, she fails to spot the active infrared sensor placed on the doorway. Sneaking up the stairway, she finds the room beyond the window she had seen. Looking within, she sees a man monitoring a video recorder aimed at The Jungle.
She then decides to take a look at the room across the hall and finds herself with a gun to her head. The man holding it demands she hand over her weapons. As she does so she attempts to stun the man with her gang-jazzler, but it fails to penetrate the man’s armor. A struggle ensues that is quickly joined by the other man who was working the camera.
They quickly get the upper hand, but then the other members of the team come charging into the building. They over take the two men and disarm them. Questioning the two men reveals that they are contracted with Petrochem to record and monitor the activities in The Jungle. The purpose of their observations is unknown to them. They simply record the video and once a week turn it over to a corp named Robert Page at Petrochem. They too have observed men patrolling the area and the two assume that they are Petrochem guards. After drugging them with some hallucinogenic drugs, the team leaves them be.
January 21st 2038
The team gets the results on the chemical agent found in the blood samples. It is identified as a chemical byproduct created during the production of DBZ, a pesticide manufactured by Petrochem. The chemical was manufactured in Night City up until 2028. The chemical is a mutagenic and psychoactive chemical. Symptoms in humans include rashes and sores as well as feelings of paranoia and fits of anger. Alphie’s blood test also indicates the chemical is in his blood stream.
Torrent does some data mining through the Net and learns that Petrochem had attempted to purchase the property that The Jungle is located on back in 2029, but failed. The City kept it for development instead. In 2031 the city began construction of an office building there, but Petrochem sued on the basis of unfair bidding practices. The project was then abandoned as the Combat Zone absorbed the neighborhood.
The team theorizes that Petrochem had illegally dumped the chemical waste on that site. When that property ended up being zoned for commercial development, Petrochem attempted to by the property to keep the illegal dumping a secret. The chemical was likely well buried, but the digging of the foundation may have exposed it.
January 22, 2038
The team decides to take this theory to Jim Stacey, a Network 54 reporter known for breaking open corporate scandals. Jim is a fan favorite amongst 54 viewers, but has made so many corporate enemies he never sleeps in the same place twice.
Jim meets them at the food court in the Mallplex and listens to their story. He is interested, but points out that their evidence is circumstantial. In order to run such a story, he would need more proof. This could be either a sample of the chemical recovered from the site or copies of Petrochem records indicating that they had dumped on the site. If they can get such proof however, the network will pay them $5,000 for exclusive rights to the story.
They decide to go after the Petrochem records. Torrent begins to prepare to make a run on the Petrochem data fortress, which is likely to be a very dangerous endeavor. Not only is the Petrochem data fortress large, but also likely packs some very serious and highly illegal black ICE.
Then to everyone’s surprise, Helios indicates that he has called in a marker with an old contact that works at Petrochem. He gives Torrent a set of Net coordinates located inside the Petrochem data fortress.
Torrent dives into the Net and approaches the fortress wall nearest the coordinates. His Wraith program allows him to pass through the data wall undetected. He easily finds the file containing waste disposal records. He begins to decrypt the file protection as he finds himself surrounded by anti-intrusion programs that have yet to detect him. He then begins to download the file, while nervously keeping on eye on the programs. But by the time any of the programs begin to detect his presence, he has the file downloaded and makes his exit.
January 23rd, 2038
The team turns the information over to Jim Stacey, who satisfied, pays them the $5,000. The team collects the money, and informs Hector of the circumstances of his brother’s shooting. A short time later, Network 54 breaks the story of the south side scandal involving Petrochem’s illegal dumping of toxic chemicals. Jim Stacey reports the story, from an undisclosed location.