Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 48 - Where in the world is Alfredo Bruga

May 28th, 2041

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

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

May 29th, 2041

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

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

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

May 29th – June 1st, 2041

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

June 2nd, 2041

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

June 3rd, 2041

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

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

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

[[June 6th – June 10th, 2041*

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

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

June 11th, 2041

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

June 12th, 2041

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

June 13th, 2041

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

June 14th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 15th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 16th, 2041

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

June 17th, 2041

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

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

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

June 18th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Episode 47 - Of AIs and Meat Puppets

May 19th, 2041

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

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

May 20th – May 23rd, 2041

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

May 24th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 25th, 2041

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

May 26th, 2041

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

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

May 27th, 2041

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

May 28th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Episode 46 - Special Delivery

April 11th, 2041 – May 8th, 2041

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

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

May 9th, 2041

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

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

May 10th – May 14th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 15th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Episode 45 - Sunset on the Dawn

April 5th, 2041

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

April 6th – April 8th, 2041

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

April 9th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

April 10th, 2041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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