Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 45 - Sunset on the Dawn

April 5th, 2041

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

April 6th – April 8th, 2041

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

April 9th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

April 10th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Episode 44 - The Calm Before the Storm

February 10th – February 21st, 2041

Actions between CINO and OTEC continue to escalate. Unlike before, these actions now bring the two corporation’s security contractors, Arasaka and Militech into direct conflict.

February 22nd, 2041

There is a forced cease fire between the two warring corporations. Both are under threat of takeover by various governments who are tired of dealing with the collateral damage.

February 23rd – February 26th, 2041

Tensions run high, but there is no further bloodshed. A war of words has begun however, between Arasaka and Militech.

February 27th, 2041

A peace treaty is signed by OTEC and CINO. An agreement established as to how the remaining IHAG assets and stock will be handled. The corporate war is over, at least for OTEC and CINO

February 28th – March 5th, 2041

Everything seems quiet for a change. The team decides to expand its presence in the entertainment industry by opening a second Golden Saloon, although this one is to be called the Platinum Saloon. The name reflects the fact that it is closer to downtown and will be marketed toward a higher end clientele then the Golden Saloon.

March 6th, 2041

A senior Militech executive is found dead in his office. There is no determinable cause of death.

March 7th, 2041

There is a massive data raid on Militech’s primary data fortress. Militech is not saying much, but word is it was a massive data loss. RRiptide talks to Colin Fisk. Collin tells him that they have nothing concrete, but the executive who died was jacked into his terminal at the time of his death. A day later, Militech’s data fortress is breached using all of the executive’s access codes. Militech intel officers are talking about a possible new form of the Soul Killer virus, that Arasaka had used back in the early 2030s.

Collin also warns Riptide, that information on him and his team was included in that data breach.

March 8th – March 13th, 2041

Again, things continue to be quiet. Word on the street though continues to be that a corporate war between Arasaka and Militech is coming. Since these two corporations have some of the largest standing armies in the world with the most advanced gear and weapons, the question is, who will stop them?

March 14th – 27th, 2041

Chilean forces harass Arasaka holdings throughout South America. It’s clearly a coordinated effort to shut down Arasaka operations in that region.

March 28th, 2041

Gang war erupts in Washington DC as the Iron Sights, a once Arasaka ally has turned on them.

March 29th – April 4th, 2041

Tensions continue to rise between Arasaka and Militech with accusations flying in both directions regarding various events and incidents.

April 5th, 2041

Arasaka claims it has proof that both the Chilean incident and the Iron Sites uprising were caused by Militech. In retaliation, Arasaka bombs several Militech field offices in South America.

The new corporate war has begun.

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Episode 43 - Names From the Past

January 7th, 2041

The team leaves the Midway Freehold to return to Night City.

January 8th – January 16th, 2041

The team goes about the more mundane aspects of their lives.

January 17th, 2041

A bomb detonates at a Paris CINO shareholder meeting. The incident is blamed on the anti-corporate Red Flag Army.

January 18th, 2041

Militech commandos along with the LAPD make several raids to capture the saboteurs who have been attacking OTEC submarines. The attack is swift and brutal and caught on Network 54 film. It’s a PR disaster for OTEC and Militech.

January 19th, 2041

Militech announces that they have proof that Arasaka was involved in the sinking of the OTEC subs over the last few weeks. Arasaka accuses of Militech of fabricating the evidence and warns of retaliation.

January 20th – January 31st, 2041

Incidents between OTEC and CINO begin to escalate into serious conflict. The news is filled with incidents every day.

February 1st, 2041

Eurobank puts a freeze on all IHAG stock trading in the hope of putting an end to the violence.

February 2nd – February 5th, 2041

Freezing of IHAG stock does little to quell the violence.

February 6th, 2041

After a botched raid by CINO troops attempting to capture IHAG facilities, Arasaka takes direct control of all of CINO’s security forces.

February 7th, 2041

Riptide gets a call from his Militech contact, Colin Fisk. He has another job offer for the team. This time the destination is Panama City, Panama. They agree to meet that evening at the Golden Saloon.

At the meeting, Collin explains that CINO has a cargo sub facility located at Panama City. The job is to plant bombs on the subs and sink them. With Arasaka taking over security of all facilities, Militech cannot be involved in the operation. Collin can help get them whatever gear they want.

He shows them a lay out of the sub pen. It is surrounded on three sides by a 20’ high wall. The sea side is open but has a sonar net to detect anything coming in from that direction. There is a hill on each side of the pen. Each hill has a radar and SAM facility. One of them also has an assault AV parked on it. The facility itself houses several teams of Arasaka security and there is a patrol boat constantly roaming the waters outside the pen.

The team puts together their shopping list, including pair of sonar baffling SCUBA suits, and formulate a plan. Collin gives them the name of a contact in Panama City where they can pick up the items they requested in two days.

February 8th, 2041

The team flies out to Panama City. After acquiring their lodging they look into the renting one of the numerous barges floating out in the bay. They are able to secure one that is a couple of miles from the sub pen. The plan is to have Mouse, who is still back in Night City, hack the sub pen’s data net and disable the sonar net. The team will water taxi to the barge, where Zen and Helios will swim into the pen and plant the explosives. Saito will provide over watch with his sniper rifle from the barge.

February 9th, 2041

The team spends the morning relaxing and finalizing plans. At 1:00 pm, they head to the address that Collin gave them. It’s an upper level apartment in one of the poorer areas of town. Once there, they head up the stairs to the apartment door. They find the door unlocked and head in. They find their contact dead on the floor. They find their gear sorted through, but nothing seems to be missing.

They spot a camera and audio system on a desk. Saito quickly destroys it. The phone in the apartment then rings. The voice on the other end says he is not their enemy and wishes to meet. They agree to meet at an outdoor café down the road.

They meet at the café. Helios immediately recognizes the man as Winston Lee, the mercenary who had set up the kidnaping of the OTEC shareholders on Antigua.

Winston tells them about how he went to collect his payment from the man who was the go between for his unknown employer. The man was a merc name of Adam Smasher. This revelation causes the team to give each other looks while Helios grits his teeth. Winston says that instead of paying him, Adam tried to kill him. Winston, who has an unhealthy love for explosives, blew up his own home, with Adam in it. They asked if Adam Smasher is dead. Winston indicates that there were pieces of the merc on his front lawn when he left.

Winston says it’s bad for one’s reputation to allow an employer to get away with a double cross. He is now determined to find out who was behind the Antigua job. He tracked Adam Smasher’s activities and determined that whoever was funding him was operating out of this sub pen facility. Winston has been here the last few weeks working on a plan to get in. He also put out eyes and ears about anything coming into or out of the city.

When her learned about the suits of sonar baffling SCUBA gear being brought in, he became curious about who it was. When he raided the apartment, he saw the explosives and put two and two together. His concern is that their planned little escapade will interfere with his plan to get into the office located in the facility.

He proposes that they work together. His plan is to parachute onto the roof of the building. He’s planning a HALO jump to avoid the radar. From there, he will enter the building, get into an office with a terminal, and plug in a device given to him by a net runner he is working with. The device will give the net runner easy access to the data net and allow him to download all pertinent information regarding Adam Smasher.

Winston asks that they not hit the subs until after he exits the building. In exchange, the team’s net runner can share Winston’s back door access into the data net for disabling the security systems. The team agrees to the plan.

Much later that day, the team takes a water taxi out to the barge they rented. Helios and Zen get suited up and slip into the water.

February 10th, 2041

Saito observes the facility through the scope of his sniper rifle, while Riptide relies on the image magnification of his cyber eyes. Shortly after midnight, Saito observes Winston plunging through air right on schedule. Winston’s parachute deploys but then a moment later there is a tiny flash from one of the hills. Winston’s body jerks and then goes limp. His lifeless body hits the roof of the building. Lights turn on all over the sub pen and groups of security guards begin to move about.

The team immediately decides to revert back to the original plan. Mouse hacks the data net to spoof the sonar net. Helios and Zen swim into the pen, hoping that Mouse was successful. As they move under the docks, one of the security squads seems to spot them. As the two move from sub to sub planting explosives, the patrol boat comes around and enters the sub pen. The boat crew begins throwing depths charges over the side. Saito keeps them apprised of the positioning of the boat.

Just as the two plant the final explosive, an Arasaka dive team emerges from the barracks and enters the water. To make things even worse, the AV rises above one the hills, and moves toward the facility. The AV likely has the sensor capability to pinpoint the location of the Zen and Helios.

Saito did not want to give away his and Riptide’s position, but he had no choice. He takes aim with the massive thermo-electric sniper rifle and fires at the AV. The shot punctures the AV’s armor and sends it briefly spinning. It quickly regained its stability and starts moving in Saito’s direction. Saito waits until the AV is clear of the sub pen before hitting the AV again. This time, it drops into the water below.

Lights begin to turn on along the shore line as local police patrol boats begin to cast off their mooring. Riptide calls for their water taxi pickup.

Underwater, Helios and Zen begin to make their exit from the sub pen, but they are being followed by the Arasaka dive team, who are clearly faster in the water than they are.
This time a helicopter appears and begins to search for the two swimmers. The Arasaka dive team suddenly breaks off their pursuit. The helicopter begins dropping depth charges into the water. Saito watches the police patrol boats moving about the bay. If he fires now, they will be all over him and Riptide. But then he gets an idea. He places a call to Mouse. Mouse is less than excited about going back into a data net that he just left and is now likely on high alert, but he agrees.

The chopper drops another depth charge that gets dangerously close to Zen and Helios. They are already having trouble staying oriented as they get pummeled by repeated shock waves. The chopper moves directly above their position and gets ready to drop a depth charge right on top of of their heads.

Suddenly, there is a flash of light as one of the SAM systems sends a missile rocketing into the sky and heads straight for the chopper. The chopper veers off in an attempt to evade, but the missile finds its target and the chopper is lost in a ball of fire.

Saito and Riptide detonate the bombs, causing massive explosions around the sub pen. They then dump any incriminating gear into the water, just as the water taxi arrives to pick them up. Once on shore, they take a rented car out to the shore, south of Panama City. After a tense wait, Zen and Helios emerge from the water. Saito tells them they are going to owe Mouse when they get back.

In the late afternoon of that same day, the team boards a plane and returns to Night City.
That evening, the event is all over the news. The corporate war was about to go from bad to worse.

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Episode 42 - Rolling in the Deep

The team gets about 6 weeks of down time after their trip to Antigua. The news is still full of the ongoing struggle between CINO and OTEC. By early December, CINO holds about 36% of IHAG stock and OTEC owns about 27%.

There is no question now that a full blown corporate war is on. CINO oil platforms are destroyed and OTEC submarines are sunk. IHAG shareholders meet mysterious fates. CINO and OTEC’s contracted security providers, Arasaka and Militech respectively are becoming more and more involved with each incident, although so far there has been no direct confrontation between the two firms that have long hated each other.

January 5th, 2041

Riptide gets a call from his Militech contact, Colin Fisk. He offers $50,000 for a quick one day job. OTEC needs to recover some critical cargo from one of its sabotaged submarines. Collin wants Riptide and his team to meet him out at the Midway Freehold. Riptide calls the rest of the team.

January 6th, 2041

The team flies out to the Midway Freehold, arriving in the late afternoon. Collin meets them and gives them the run down. An OTEC submarine was sunk by saboteurs a couple hundred miles from here. It contains a new powered armor suit called the Demi-Gorgan. The suit is basically a weaponized version of OTEC’s Gorgan underwater work suit. The team is being tasked to retrieve it. Collin gives Helios the pilot chip that is needed to operate it.

Collin tells them that OTEC and CINO ships are currently parked in the water several hundred meters above the wreckage in a stand-off. No one goes into the water without being challenged. That is why the team is being sent in via a stealth submarine. Nobody up top should even know what is happening.

The team is issued dive gear that is designed for the depths they will need to go to. The suits are armored, but Collin warns that any breach in the suit can lead to severe injury do to the pressure of the water that will try to push its way in. They are not going deep enough where it would be instant death, but it could very easily be life threatening.
They are also issued semi-automatic spear guns and an emergency beacon. He also offers SCUBA memory chips for anyone who is not naturally proficient.

January 7th, 2041

In the early morning hours, they are loaded aboard a submarine just big enough for them and their pilot. They then spend the next 12 hours aboard as the small sub shoots through the water towards their destination.

In the early afternoon, the pilot reports that they are closing in on the wreckage site. The team seals their helmets and drop through the access port on the bottom of the sub. The first thing they do is turn on the lights on their suits, as it is very dark due to the only small amount of light that makes it down this far.

They swim toward the sunken cargo sub and soon it looms large in front of them. It appears that is suffered a catastrophic internal explosion. All of the escape pods have been jettisoned.

The team enters through the hole in the hull and look for the cargo hold. They find the hold, but upon entering, they discover a second hole ripped in the hull, likely from the impact with the rocks the sub landed on. They search the hold, and find some more weapons, gear and some explosives, which they grab. However, the power armor suit does not appear to be on board. Zen spots drag marks on the ocean floor outside the sub, indicating that something was dragged away to the north.

They team begins to head in the direction of the quickly fading drag marks when they notice seven large sharks swimming nearby. At first they are not worried as Collin assured them that the armored suits are shark proof, and there was no real reason for the sharks attack them.

But as the sharks get close enough to see clearly, they realize that these are cyber-form sharks. The sharks have exo-frames built around them with mechanical fins replacing their real ones. Their mouths flash titanium teeth and the top of their heads are covered with sensors and neuralware.

The sharks attack. The team’s armor holds against the bite attacks, but the deep scars the sharks’ teeth leave in the armor tell them that it’s only a matter of time before a bite gets through. Worse yet, the sharks are in their natural environment and easily maneuver around the team. The situation would have likely been hopeless, but the team’s zero-g combat training that they received almost exactly one year ago pays off. While being underwater is not the same as floating in orbit, its close enough that they can use what they learned to stay oriented and shoot straight.

The sharks are tough, but appear to be programmed to head home if injured enough. A few solid hits with a spear gun, or in Zen’s case, a few good stabs with a knife while cling to the back of a shark, prove enough to send the sharks packing. They consider following the sharks but realize that there is no way they could keep up.

The tracks in the ocean floor are now all rubbed away by the water, but they assume that whoever has taken the power armor suit likely headed directly in the direction of their destination. So the team begins to swim in the direction that the tracks have been leading.
After about 20 minutes, they come upon an underwater oil drilling operation. It is a grouping of domes connected by tubes. The center appears to be the main drilling operation, while habitats, offices, and storage domes are positioned around it.

They scope around the perimeter, eventually coming across an emergency hatch under one of the storage domes. Helios is able to bypass the electronic controls and open the hatch. Team climbs inside and find themselves surrounded by crates full of machine parts.

They move down a tunnel that goes to the main shipping/receiving dome as it’s the only dome with an airlock big enough for the power armor to be moved through. They arrive to find the suit standing on the dock with its pilot’s hatch open. Numerous cables and wires run from the suit to a computer console. A young man is apparently listening to music via implant as he types away at the computer terminal. Saito walks up behind him, and sees that he is trying to bypass the suit’s security protocols. He taps the man on the shoulder. As the tech turns around to see who it is, Saito decks him, causing him to collapse to the ground unconscious.

Zen is watching the tunnel from which they had come and hears security men mention the hatch alarm in the warehouse.

Riptide and Saito disconnect the cables and Helios climbs inside. He uses the suit’s vehicle link to connect with its controls. His own vision is replaced with that of the suit’s. A HUD appears in his vision, indicating the suit’s condition as well as its armaments which includes a laser, a mini-torpedo launcher, and a micro-torpedo launcher.

Down the tunnel, Zen can here the sound of the security men approaching, apparently now conducting a security sweep of the entire facility.

Helios takes a few awkward steps in the suit as the pilot chip in his processor begins to feed him information on how to pilot the suit. The team makes their way to the airlock and close the door just as the security team enters the loading dock. The men move to try and open the door, but Saito quickly starts up the lock cycle causing the airlock to flood with water. The security men would doom the facility if they tried opening the door now.

After about a minute, the chamber is completely flooded and the outer door opens. The team begins to swim their way out and are only a hundred feet or so from the airlock when the Demi-Gorgan’s sensors pick up seven incoming targets. Five are normal humans in scuba gear, the 6th is a full conversion cyborg, and the last is an attack mini-sub.

The team contacts their own sub for a pick up, but the pilot tells them he is not coming near their position until the attack sub is neutralized. The attack sub would make quick work of their stealth sub, leaving them with an awfully long swim home.

Helios really wants to use his torpedoes, but at such a short range, he would likely hurt his own team members as well. Showing a rare moment of restraint, he opts to stick with the laser.

The sub concentrates its efforts on the Demi-Gorgan, while the others engage the team. The cyborg’s body is designed specifically for underwater action, so despite its bulk, its surprisingly very quick and agile. Saito breaks away from the group and swims off on his own.

Riptide and Zen are fighting the other five attackers on their own and are clearly outgunned. First Zen’s armor is penetrated by a spear gun, and then Riptide’s is as well. As they were warned, although the wounds themselves were not life-threatening, the water was burrowing like a drill into their flesh. Zen soon passes out from the pain.

Helios attacks the borg in hand to hand in order t draw him off from the others. This allows the attack sub to swing around and draw a bead on the power armor suit. As it closes in for the kill, the pilot fails to notice Saito, who plants an explosive he borrowed from the downed cargo sub on the underside of the attack sub. He hits the detonator and a shock wave blasts through the water, momentarily stunning everyone.

With the attack sub destroyed and the others stunned, Saito calls in the stealth sub. He then makes his way to Zen and Riptide, who is now also unconscious, and drags them toward the incoming stealth sub.

Helios gets the full conversion borg in a death grip and begins crushing the cyborg. The cyborg is able to escape, but is critically damaged. With the attack sub destroyed, and the borg no longer combat effective, their adversaries decide to retreat.

Riptide and Zen are loaded into the stealth sub. Saito, despite having only basic first aid training, is able to patch up their wounds and keep them from bleeding out.

After several hours, the sub meets up with a larger cargo sub where the power armor suit is dropped off and the team is taken the rest of the way back to the Midway Freehold. The pay for these corporate jobs has been good, but the team is already growing weary of submarines. Continuing to work for OTEC though, means there are probably more in their future.

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Episode 41 - The Beginning of the End

The team gets a couple months rest after narrowly avoiding a trap meant to kill them. They are not unscathed though, as most spend the time in medical recuperation. Especially Helios, who ends up having two cyberlimbs installed to replace his arms that were burned off. He is forced to have some of his other cybernetics removed as he is already borderline cyber psychotic.

November 13th, 2040

In the business news, global shipping company IHAG has gone bankrupt after Eurobank suddenly called in all of IHAG’s depts. IHAG had racked up the debt again OTEC in algae production and processing.

November 14th, 2040

OTEC, a corporation that specializes in ocean based power and food production, and CINO, the largest producer of ocean going ships, platforms, and other equipment begin competing to buy up IHAG stock and assets. The CEO of IHAG was set to sell a large chunk of stock to OTEC, but the deal falls through when he commits apparent suicide.

November 15th – November 18th, 2040

Zen begins packing up the belongings of Krissy and Roxie and places them in storage. She terminates their lease at the Mallplex. Ripper donates $25,000 to the O-Zoners to help them bolster their ranks.

November 19th, 2040

Word on the street is that Militech is looking to hire combat netrunners.

November 20th, 2040

Mysterious attacks on the New York and Tokyo stock exchanges leads to serious data corruption. One of the hardest hit companies is OTEC, which has to suspend its attempts to buy IHAG stock.

November 21st, 2040

Netwatch announces that the stock exchange hacks were traced to CINO operatives. Two CINO netrunners are arrested by Interpol.

November 22nd, 2040

CINO announces that it has acquired 36% of IHAG’s stock, while OTEC is still recovering from the data hack.

November 23rd, 2040

Word on the street is that OTEC has signed a security contract with Militech, while CINO has a contract with Arasaka. Riptide talks to Colin Fisk about some possible work opportunities. Colin says that is getting to be more likely every day. At dinner with Katrina Jones, she tells him that the corporations are talking about a possible corporate war between CINO and OTEC. What worries some as that it will pit Militech against Arasaka, two companies that already hate each other.

November 24th, 2040

In the news, a bomb detonated and destroyed the Berlin office of Interpol. The two arrested CINO hackers were inside at the time.

November 25th, 2040

OTEC gathers its largest shareholders in Antigua to put together a buyout package for IHAG stockholders.

*November 26th, 2040_

Cuba, announces that several of the Caribbean Islands have been infected with the Black Plague, including Antigua. Cuba has sent peace keepers and emergency workers to the infected islands.

Later that evening, Riptide gets a call from Colin. OTEC has 14 VIPs on Antigua that need to be extracted. Since Colin knows for a fact that the team has managed to infiltrate a well guarded island before, he proposed to Militech that they send the team in. He offers $75,000 and reminds Riptide that the team owes him. They settle on $100,000.

The plan is to fly to Barbados in the morning, where they will be helicoptered to a submarine that will take them to within two miles of Antigua. They will have to swim the rest of the way. The Plague outbreak is a hoax, but the presence of Cuban soldiers is very real. The VIPs are staying at the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort.

The team gets geared up, including some SCUBA skill chips for those who did not already have them. Ripper fires up his printing station and in a few hours has documents including passports, itineraries and fake hotel reservations. None of it would pass verification, but it should convince the average peace keeper that they have been on the island since before the quarantine was imposed.

November 27th, 2040

In the morning, the team boards a plane and takes the nine hour flight to Barbados. They meet Colin Fisk there, who has the chopper waiting. He reminds them that Cuba has Antigua under quarantine so no one is allowed to leave the island. Once they get a hold of the VIPs, which include OTECs CEO and a US Senator, they need to get them off the island. A sub can meet them to pick them up, but the sub will not come within 2 miles of the island. The sub will also not surface if there is an eminent danger. He hands Riptide a sat phone and escorts them to the chopper.

They head out to sea onboard the chopper. After an hour, the helicopter comes to a stop, hovering above the water. After a few minutes, a submarine breaks the surface. The helicopter lands on top and the team is transferred to the sub.

It’s a 12 hour trip in the cramped confines of the sub. The team uses this time to check their gear and review their forged documents.

November 11th, 2020

Shortly after sunrise, the sub emerges two mile off shore from Antigua. It remains exposed just long enough for the team, now fitted in full SCUBA gear, to get into the water and begin their trek.

Two hours later, the team emerges on a beach and quickly makes for some trees. They store their gear in a large copse of trees located on a golf course. They quickly change into their “vacation” gear, and make for the club house.

They spend some time at the clubhouse, getting something to eat and drink, talk with the locals, and recover their energy. They learn that no one has seen any actual signs of plague. Things are not much different than they normally are, other than no one being allowed on or off the island.

At 7:30 AM, they grab two taxis, one with Helios, Saito, and Riptide, the other with Ripper and Zen. They make their way north towards Deepwater Harbor, the main port of St. John. As they travel, they notice up ahead that traffic has stopped. The taxi driver explains that the Cuban peacekeepers have set up checkpoints at all roads that cross districts.

When the two taxis reach the checkpoint, soldiers first talk to the driver and then question the passengers. The team’s forged documents seem to pass muster, and after a short delay, they are allowed to move on.

When they reach the south side of Deepwater Harbor, the two taxis paths diverge. Helios Saito and Riptide head for Yepton Beach while Ripper and Zen travel to the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort.

At Yepton Beach, they inquire about chartering boats. The tour guides tell them that boats are still being allowed into the harbor but may not go beyond the entry point. The two watch a couple of patrol boats pass by. One seems to pass about every 20 minutes or so, and they appear heavily armed. Riptide and Helios discuss how they might get a better view of the harbor when Helios notices a flyer for parasailing.

Ripper and Zen arrive at the Resort and convince the security guard that they want to look around as they may wish to stay here on their next trip to Antigua. They stop at the main office and grab a map of the premises. They then head to a beach bar and have a drink. As they watch someone parasailing off in the distance near Deepwater Harbor, they strike up a conversation with the bartender.

During the conversation with the well-tipped bartender, they learn that two days prior, a couple of vehicles came and picked up the OTEC group. The trucks were marked as belonging to Mount St. John’s Medical Center, so everyone assumed they were being taken as a precaution due to the plague scare.

At noon, the team heads into St. John’s and meet up at Victoria Park, right near the Medical Center. They compare notes, and Helios reveals that while parasailing, he spotted a destroyer anchored just outside the harbor. The team begins to figure out how to get 14 people out of the medical center.

Although out of their element, Riptide and Ripper hit the streets and try to find out who the
local fixers are in town. They learn that if they want to acquire equipment off the grid, to talk to Mama Lola, who operates a pawn shop on the corner of High and Cross Streets, just a few blocks west of the park.

The two men head to the shop. They are about to go inside when they spot a cargo truck parked in a lot across the street painted with the markings for Mount St. John’s Medical Center. They call the rest of the team over. Helios watches the parking lot while the others go into the pawn shop.

Inside the shop, they see Mama Lola, fanning herself while chain smoking cigarettes. She is surrounded by several children who do not appear to hers. Hopefully, she runs a babysitting service.

They begin talking to her about what wares she is selling. Eventually they bring up the truck across the street. She says she has two trucks for rent, and for an extra fee, can be painted however they would like. Two days ago, the trucks were rented and handed been painted with the Medical Center’s logo per the clients request.

Outside, Helios is in the parking lot when he spots the second truck. He also notices a car parked across the street with an occupant who is taking his picture. The vehicle begins to pull away and Helios gives chase.

The car drives for several blocks, but thanks to traffic, Helios is able to keep up. Eventually, the car pulls into a parking lot. Helios blocks the car door and demands to know who the person is. The driver reveals himself to be Hans Jaeger, an Interpol agent.
In a surprise move, Helios reaches in through the open window and tries to grab hold of the agent. When Hans is able to deflect Helios’ grapple attempt, Helios pops his wolvers and stabs the agent in the chest repeatedly. A few moments later, the agent is dead. Looking around to confirm that there were no witnesses, Helios grabs the dead agent’s camera and wallet. Noticing that he has blood on his shirt, Helios removes the shirt and disposed of it. He then walks back towards the pawn shop.

Back at the pawn shop, the others make a deal with Mama Lola to rent the trucks, and have them painted to look like the local courier service. As part of the deal, she tells them that the person who rented the trucks was named Winston Lee. She figured him for an American ex-pat, likely a merc based on his military demeanor.

When they leave the pawn shop, they notice Helios is missing, but then see him come strolling up the street, oddly no longer wearing his shirt. They ask him why and he tells them he is just warm. Zen’s BS detector goes off and she gets him to tell them what really happened. Has Helios’ latest cybernetic additions finally put him over the edge? He was borderline psychotic before. Now hearing he just killed an Interpol agent makes them question his sanity.

They decide to deal with that issue later, and look through the camera that Helios had taken. Based on the images, it appears that Agent Jaeger has been surveilling Mama Lola’s for quite sometime. There are earlier images of a destroyed office building. Scrutinizing the pictures tells them that the photos had been taken in Berlin. They surmise that these are images of the destroyed Berlin Interpol office.

They next head to the last known address of Winston Lee. He lives in the Lower Gambles area of St. John. They reach his house in the early afternoon, but no one is home. Most of the team spend the afternoon staking out the house. Riptide uses his contacts to find out what he can about Winston Lee. What he turns up is that Winston does corporate work, mostly contracting out to security companies.

Around 5:00 PM, Riptide gets a call from Colin. OTEC has realized that they need the board members present in order to approve a buyout offer. The offer expires at end of day tomorrow. This is likely the whole reason behind the phony quarantine. It’s a delaying tactic to keep the key board members under wraps until it is too late. Riptide and his team needs to get the 14 people off the island no later than tomorrow evening.

The team decide that they no longer have the luxury of waiting for Winston to return. They decide to break in the house. A close inspection reveals that the house is rigged with explosives at all entry points. They decide to breach the back door. Zen disarms the bomb trigger and Ripper picks the lock.

Once inside, the house seems fairly normal until they get to the den. It contains numerous bomb-making materials as well as a card with the initials H.J. and a phone number printed on them. They take note of the fact that these are also the initials of the Interpol agent that Helios killed. They find a torn note page containing Mama Lola’s information and a photo of one of the trucks. They also find a delivery manifest for 12 automatic sentry machine guns. Finally they come across a photo of St. Vivian Richard’s Stadium, located in north central Antigua.

They make some basic inquiries and learn that the stadium is currently closed for renovation. If this is where the VIPs are being held, it makes them seriously rethink their exit strategy. Ripper and Zen head to the stadium, while Riptide, Saito and Helios head to the north shore to a place called Fitches Creek Bay.

At Fitches Creek Bay they find a fishing boat they can charter, but the operator says they can’t go very far with the quarantine in effect, though rumor is that it will be lifted in a couple of days. They only other boat is a power boat which is owned by a local resident. They try to get a better look via parasailing again, but are told that due to the proximity of the airport, no parasailing is allowed. Their options here are very limited, but this beach and the stadium are in the same district, so there would be no check points to cross.

Meanwhile, Ripper and Zen get a close as they can to the stadium. They are told by a security guard that the place is closed for renovations. They are not allowed to pass, but its close enough to see that the place is surrounded by sentry guns, a couple of patrolling jeeps, and an armored truck with a 75mm cannon. There is also a temporary barracks set up that some soldiers are seen coming and going from, but its not big enough to hold the VIP’s. They must be inside the actual stadium.

They also spot a farm house about a half mile away that appears to be abandoned. The north side of the stadium seems less well-defended as well. They decide to set up a base camp here. Saito and Helios head back to the golf course to retrieve their gear. They manage to get through the checkpoints without issue.

Riptide and Zen return to Mama Lola’s to see if she has any EMP grenades or signal jammers. She is not happy about them bothering her so late and tells them she has none of those things. They should check with Mama Danvers, who operates out of the lower gambles. She is more likely to have that stuff, but she will screw them on pricing.

NOVEMBER 12th, 2040

In the morning, they stop at Mama Danvers. She looks very much like a stereotypical white haired granny straight out of a lemonade commercial. She also does not have any EMP grenades or a signal jammer. She does however have an EMF grenade launcher and 5 grenades, you know, like all grandmothers do. They pay her inflated pricing and head back to Mama Lola’s.

At Mama Lola’s, they ask her if she has any IED type explosives. She says she had some landmines, but Winston Lee had bought up her stock. The team picks up the trucks, now painted to look like a courier service, and head out to the farm house. They then spend the next several hours formulating their plan.

When the sun sets, Riptide, Ripper and Helios get set up in the trucks. Zen moves to the tree line close to the northwest section of the stadium. Saito assembles is giant electro-thermo sniper rifle and gets into position inside the farm house.

As one of the jeeps drives along the road on the northwest side, the driver’s head suddenly explodes from the impact of an electro-thermo round. Before the gunner realizes what just happened, he suffers the same fate.

Zen then emerges from the tree line keeping the jeep between her and the closest sentry gun. She gets in the jeep and drives right up to the sentry gun, the jeep’s RID signal keeping the gun from firing. She then manually arms the first EMF grenade and attaches it to the gun. Within moments, the electrical discharge fries the weapon’s electronics. She then repeats the process at a second gun.

With the path now clear, the two trucks roll up to the less protected north side. This turns out to be an illusion however, as Helios’ truck hits a landmine, disabling it.

They leave the trucks outside as Riptide picks the lock to the door. He, Ripper and Helios head inside while Zen begins spotting and disabling land mines to clear a path out of there.
Once inside, they see a large banquet tent set up in the middle of the field. Riptide’s thermo-optic tells him the 14 VIPs are inside. Unfortunately, there are about a dozen soldiers and a suit of power armor guarding the tent. Since the detonation of the landmine, the element of surprise is no longer on their side. Helios and Riptide begin exchanging fire with guards. They have the advantage of cover from the stands while the guards are caught out in the open.

Zen continues to disarm mines and Saito tracks the armored truck that is now rolling up the road, its 75mm cannon beginning to aim towards Zen’s position. Inside the stadium, the power armor is powered up and sends a stream of high-velocity bullets flying at Helios, shredding everything around him, keeping him pinned down. Meanwhile other guards are beginning to flank Riptide.

Back at the farm house, Saito dials in his target with his cyber optic, patiently waiting for the right moment. When the moment arrives, a thought impulse travels from his brain, through his neural processor, down the implanted interface line, through the interface cable and into the sniper rifle. In response, the weapon launches an electro-thermo round out the window, across the farm property, over a road, into the stadium property where it strikes the vision port of the armored truck, shattering the armored glass and striking the driver.
The truck swerves off to one side. Zen uses the EMF grenade launcher to hit the truck. The grenade sticks, and moments later, the electronics in the vehicle are fried.

Inside, the power armor moves off from Helios and goes after Riptide, pinning him down with a hail of bullets. Helios takes advantage of the reprieve to target more of the guards.
Outside, Zen returns to disarming mines as Saito leaves the farm house to get into a position that lets him see into the stadium.

Riptide is able to take out the flanking guard but suddenly finds himself face to face with the power armor. The PA soldier swings his fist and hits Riptide, sending him stumbling backward but able to stay on his feet. Riptide realizes that one solid hit would likely kill him.
Helios sees one soldier head into the tent. He quickly follows him in and sees the man grab the Senator to use as a hostage.

The Power Armor swings at Riptide and misses. Riptide shoots at the suit, but doing only minimal damage. Suddenly the suit buckles as it is hit with a round from Saito’s gun. Another hit from the big rifle causes it to collapse.

Inside the tent, Helios begins to move toward the man and the Senator. The man tells Helios to back off, but he just keeps coming. Apparently he can recognize the look of a man riding the bleeding edge of cyber-psychosis, because once Helios is within reaching distance of the Senator, the man pushes the Senator towards Helios and runs away.

Moments later, the sounds of helicopters are heard in the distance, coming from the direction of the airport. Soon two small choppers can be seen approaching, armed with mini-guns and rocket launchers. Saito takes out one by hitting it in the tail rotor with his sniper rifle. The second one drops low to the ground and heads to the south side of the stadium to pick up the escaping guard.

With the area secured, they begin to round up the VIPs and load them on the one remaining truck. It’s a tight fit, but it the only option they have. They also grab the jeep and quickly get on the road. The chopper begins to follow them. The team realizes that the man who escaped was most likely Winston Lee.

They make there way to the beach, where the boat is chartered. The captain is not happy as they failed to mention that there would be a total of 19 people in their party. He gets snippy about it, but Saito draws his pistol to help convince the boat captain to cooperate.
Moments later, the boat is moving out into the water. They need to get two miles out before there is any chance of a pick up by the submarine. With the chopper watching from a safe distance, Cuban patrol boat comes around the bend and begins to close the distance. They being to launch mortars and rockets at the fishing boat.

With Helios at the helm, controlling the boat via his vehicle link, he is able to dodge most of the incoming fire. One rocket makes a glancing hit on the boat. Most of the canopy is destroyed and some minor injuries are suffered, but the boat remains sea worthy.
Saito takes a shot at the soldier manning the mortar and takes him out. Riptide opens fire on the patrol boat, punching holes in it with his ramjet pistols. The boat begins to take on water. Saito then shoots one of the rockets still in its tube, detonating the rockets and destroying the rocket launcher. With its weapons disabled and taking on water, the patrol boat backs off.

Saito takes a shot at the chopper but misses. The chopper backs off anyways as its clear they are not out of his effective range.

Riptide makes the phone call on his satellite phone. The team keeps a close watch on their surroundings as the fishing boat heads into the dark waters. Finally, they can see the submarine breaking the surface. They pull up along side, and the sub crew helps get the VIPs and the team aboard.

As the submarine submerges, the crew settles in for the trip home. Corporate work pays well, but when the corporations involved have the ability to quarantine island nations, and supply power armor to local troops, the stakes get awfully high. If a corporate war really is starting, then both the pay and the danger are about to ramp up.

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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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