Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 35 - A Slow Boat to Chiba

February 19th – April 8th, 2040

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

April 9th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 10th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 11th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 12th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 34 - Cabin Fever

February 6th – February 17th, 2040

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

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

February 18th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 19th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 33 - Child's Play

January 8th, 2040

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

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

January 9th, 2040

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

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

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

January 10th – 14th, 2040

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

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

January 15th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 16th, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

January 17th – January 31st, 2040

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

February 1st – February 2nd, 2040

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

February 3rd, 2040

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

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

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

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

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

What could possibly go wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 4th, 2040

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

February 5th, 2040

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

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

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

Episode 32 - One Phone Call

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

June 24th, 2039

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

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

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

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

June 25th – June 26th, 2039

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

June 27th, 2039

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

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

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

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

June 28th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 1st, 2039

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

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

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

July 2nd, 2039

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

July 3rd, 2039

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

July 4th, 2039

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

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

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

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

July 5th – July 10th, 2039

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

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

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

July 11th – September 16th, 2039

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

September 17th – November 4th, 2039

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

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

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

November 5th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 31 - The Arasaka Brainworm

April 29th, 2039

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

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

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

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

April 30th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

May 1st, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2nd – 7th, 2039

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

May 8th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 9th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 10th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 11th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 12, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 13, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 14th, 2039

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 15 – May 18th, 2039

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

May 19th, 2039

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

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

Episode 30 - The Osiris Chip

The team was home for about a week and a half before their next opportunity came up. Zen did some job hunting, Helios worked on selling their chopper, and Riptide, inspired by his success in Las Vegas, looked to expand his Super Fly sales in Night City.

April 10th, 2039

While working his job at the Golden Saloon, Riptide is approached by a man who is looking to speak to him. The man introduces himself using the handle Ripper. It seems that Ripper has a job lined up working for a local booster gang. Apparently this booster gang, called the O-Zoners, has found itself an opportunity for a big score. However, the members may have bitten off more than they can chew, so they are looking to hire a little outside muscle. That’s where Riptide’s team comes in. They agree to meet the next day at the Forlorn Hope. There, Ripper will introduce them to one of the O-Zoners gang members, who can discuss the deal in more detail.

April 11, 2039

The team meets at the Forlorn Hope. After a short time Ripper arrives with a woman he introduces as Julie Electra. Julie explains that the gang intends to make a hit on a convoy owned by the Humanatech Corporation. This convoy will be passing through part of the Combat Zone. More importantly, it runs through their territory. They’re not exactly sure what the trucks will be transporting, but they do know that the company has a $2 million insurance policy out on it.

When asked how they know about the insurance policy, Julie tells them that the gang’s hacker Rex Nex learned about it. The intention was to hit the convoy and steal what they can. They will then sell off everything and divide it evenly amongst all the members. The gang has 25 participants, plus the team, and Ripper. The gang would be meeting the next night to discuss the details of the hit. The team agreed to show up.

April 12, 2039

The team meets at the O-Zoners hangout. Their leader is a man who goes by the name Mach 3 Mach. He is a man who is heavy on both cybernetics and ego. He and Zen begin to immediately clash. There they are also introduced to Kid Stealth, Mach’s sycophantic
side kick, and Rex Nex, the net runner who learned about the convoy. They also briefly meet Chain , a sullen figure who prefers a skulk in the corner.

After the booster gang equivalent of pleasantries is exchanged, its time to get down to the details. They learn that the gang has already designated a street intersection as the place to make the hit. The street runs along a series of buildings and apartments owned by a Chinese businessman named Leo Fong, that the gang has strong ties with. Fong has already given the okay to use that street as their point of attack.

Mach 3’s plan is to wait until the convoy comes around the corner and then open fire with everything they have to disable the trucks. His guys will then run in and grab everything they can.

Zen immediately balks at this plan, indicating that there is too great a chance of damaging the cargo. The two argue to a stalemate until Chain recommends that they listen to what the edgerunners think. Mach 3 clearly hates Chain’s interference, but acquiesces.

The team decides it is better to hit the convoy before it turns the corner. The street prior to the intersection contains a parking lot and some small buildings on the west side, and a series of ruined buildings on the east side. They decide this is the better point of attack as there is likely to be less collateral damage. Friend or not, the Fong may not like his buildings being damaged.

They decide to divide the gangers into teams, each having a different vehicle to target. They also designate a couple of them to act as scouts to go farther up the convoy route to warn the ambushers of when the convoy was arriving. They then procured a couple of heavy vehicles that they could use as roadblocks to try and pin the trucks in.

After much arguing and debating, the plan is finalized. Mach 3 offers Zen the opportunity to celebrate in his bedroom. She declines. Everyone departs and goes their separate ways to prepare for the big score.

April 13, 2039

The next evening, everybody arrives and gets into their positions. Saito, along with Mouse, takes a position near the top floor of an apartment building on the south side of the intersection. Helios waits in one of their vehicles, that is parked in the parking lot. Zen and Riptide take up positions on opposite sides of the southbound street near where the vehicles will be coming in. Ripper positions himself near the top of a building on the northeast side of the intersection. There he anchors a heavy machinegun that he intends to use on the trucks.

April 14, 2039

The convoy is supposed to roll through at 1:00 AM. As the time approaches however, they get no indication from the scout team the convoy is approaching. Soon, 1:00 AM passes with no sign of the convoy. They begin checking in with all their teams when they realize that one unit of gangers, that was positioned on the south end of the intersection with the trucks they were going to be using as barricades, was not reporting in.

Riptide is moving along one of the buildings on the west side of the parking lot, when he hears something drop near him. He looks down to see a frag grenade just moments before it explodes. His armor protects him as the blast knocks him off of his feet.

Then there is the roar of rockets, as two missiles are fired from two buildings overlooking the parking lot. They streak across the parking lot and hit the two gang vehicles that were to be used to haul away the cargo. The vehicles are instantly destroyed in an explosion of fire and metal.

Ripper immediately opens fire with his heavy machine gun. High-caliber lead streaks across the street and parking lot into the buildings where the missles came from.

Saito then notices with his thermal vision, a large group of men moving from the south. The group then splits, with some of them moving up towards Ripper’s position, others entering the building that Saito and Mouse are in, and the others heading across the street to the building where Zen is located.

The new arrivals immediately begin exchanging fire with the O-Zoners. Ripper continues to fire on the buildings where the missiles were fired. Zen abandons her position and immediately begins running down the steps to exit the building she is in. Saito and Mouse prepare to hold their ground, as several of the assailants are moving up towards them.

Zen is able to get out of her building and immediately starts heading west. Riptide is watching her position when he realizes that there is another large group of men coming from the west parallel to her position. It is too late, and she is the target of automatic fire. She returns fire but is clearly outgunned and is forced to retreat. Riptide attempts to offer supporting fire, but soon finds himself under fire from the group that came from the south.

The men that came from the west split off into two groups. Some of them go in pursuit of Zen, while the others head north towards the parking lot where Helios is located. Ripper begins to concentrate his fire on a third group of the men that are now coming from the north, having apparently dispatched most of the O-Zoners.

In Saito’s building, the men arrive on his floor and begin moving down the hallway towards the door to the room where he and Mouse are in. Saito begins opening fire, using his thermal vision the shoot through the walls to hit the attackers. A couple of the men are able to survive the gauntlet of fire and get to the doorway. Mouse dispatches one of them with his submachine gun, giving Saito time to pick off the other one.

Zen almost finds herself cornered in a crossfire, but is able to force her way through a door into one of the buildings. A couple of the men give immediate pursuit. Viewed up close she realizes that the new arrivals are heavily cybered men, who appear to be in a state of cyber psychosis. They completely ignore the pain and injuries that would kill a normal person, and their pursuit is relentless.

The men moving towards the parking lot open fire on the vehicle that Helios is in. He returns fire by launching flechette rounds from his grenade launcher.

Riptide moves north trying to locate Elektra and Mach 3, the only members of the gang who seem to have survived the assault from the north. He too finds himself pinned in by these cyber psychotic attackers. What seems odd is that though the demeanor of their attackers clearly indicates cyber psychosis, these men were acting and coordinating as a cohesive unit, something that those in the throes of cyber psychosis do not do.

Zen makes her way through the building and escapes out the other side. Riptide is able to circle around across the street, where he and Zen meet up with Helios. Getting supporting fire from both Ripper and Saito, they are able to secure a defensible position from the attackers.

But then things get immediately more complicated as Mouse indicates that several AV-4s from the Cyber SWAT team have been dispatched and would be there within moments.

Everybody immediately scrambles for their vehicles in an attempt to abandon the location. Most were able to make a clean getaway. Unfortunately for Zen, she drew the attention of one of the first AV-4s to arrive. It’s spot light immediately lights up her motorcycle as she attempts to make her escape.

She races down the abandoned streets of the Combat Zone, but the AV-4 stays tight on her rear. A voice from a loudspeaker orders her to pull over. Instead, she takes a tight corner and heads down a narrow alley. She flies out onto the street on the other side, only to have another AV-4 pickup the pursuit. This time a voice indicates that they will use deadly force if she does not pull over.

Again she tries to evade the police by turning down another alley, but again, luck is not on her side. Waiting on the other side of the alley is the first AV-4. They have her penned in. She is again ordered to pull over. This time she complies.

A van rolls up, and along with several C-SWAT officers, out steps Lt. Bubba McCarty. He recognizes her immediately. She is arrested and hauled into the vehicle. They throw her on the back seat, and two officers sit on her to hold her down.

The other members of the team and Ripper meet up at the Golden Saloon. After a few tense moments in which they accuse each other of a set up, they decide that neither was involved. But who was? The O-Zoners seemed unlikely as they just got decimated. Perhaps Humanatech. But why?

Helios decides to call Zen to see where she ended up. A male voice answers the phone. The two converse briefly until Helios realizes that it’s a cop and they are likely tracing the call. He hangs up. Saito goes one step further and pulls the battery on the phone. He then calls Buckshot Betty and asks her to stop by and pick up his gear, as he does not intend to return home.

A short time later, C-SWAT arrives back at the justice center and Zen is thrown into general lock up. There she sits with a group of female gangbangers, thieves, prostitutes, and a few girls who just partied a bit too hard.

She is then pulled out of general lockup. As she is escorted away, she sees Mach 3 being thrown into the men’s lock up.

She then finds herself sitting in an interview room with Lt. McCarty. She tries to be evasive, but he is not having any of it. But he does believe her claim that she knows nothing about the cyber-psychos.

He then lays it all out and says that he has the power to destroy her life and she knows it. If she does not want that to happen, she needs to help him.

He tells her that incidents of cyber-psychosis have been on the rise in that part of the Combat Zone, especially over the last few months. Oddly, many of the psychos they picked up, were not from that area. He wants to know what is going on, and gives her 72 hours to find out. He then lets her go.

She then heads to the Golden Saloon and meets up with the others. She tells them of her run in with Lt. McCarty. Saito immediately makes plans to hide all of his weapons. Ripper has never had a run in with the man, but knows him well enough by reputation.

Ripper is able to get a hold of Julia. She indicates that as far as she can tell, only four members of the O-Zoners are still live: herself, Mach 3, Chain, and Rex Nex. Mach is in jail, Chain is missing, and Rex Nex is back at their hangout. The team members do what they can to get a couple hours of sleep before beginning several lines of investigation.

Saito and Zen get authorization from McCarty to talk to the forensics specialists that have been examining the bodies. They learn that all the cyber-psychos they picked up in that part of the Combat Zone have had a wide variety of cybernetics, but all of them had a chip reader. Looking at the records they learn that all of them had at least one chip that was damaged beyond recognition.

Riptide and Ripper hit the streets to learn what they can about any ripper-docs working in the area. They learn that a mysterious ripper-doc know as Ju-Ju has been in the area for the last six months. Where he is located is unknown, but it is believed his shop can only be accessed through the sewers.

Mouse begins to learn what he can about Humanatech. He is able to pull up much of their financial records, but learns that their research projects, and the people who work on them, are pretty well secured. A call by Ripper to one of his corporate contacts confirms that custom chipware would be right up Humanatech’s alley.

They next visit Leo Fong. He knows nothing of the earlier events. He also seems to lament the loss of the O-Zoners, which makes it unlikely he was the one who betrayed them. In talking to him, they learn that up until last year, Chain led the gang. Fong tells them that Chain couldn’t handle the cybernetic upgrades and was starting to lose his grip. Unfortunately for Chain, the inability to handle upgrades is considered a weakness among booster gangs, and he lost control of the gang to Mach 3.

They then get a call from Julia. Mach 3 is going to be released due to a lack of evidence, and he is looking for some serious payback.

Riptide learns that a fixer named Captain Jack is a contact for Ju-Ju. They decide that since Helios is borderline cyber-psychotic himself, he should be the one to go.

Helios is able to meet with Captain Jack. He indicates that he is looking for some additional upgrades. Captain Jack looks him up and down and tells him to return at 11:00 PM, and they will go to meet Ju-Ju.

A short time later, Ripper also meets with Captain Jack. He indicates that he is also looking for some upgrades. Captain Jack looks him up and down and tells Ripper that he cannot help him.

They then head over to the O-Zoner’s hangout, where they find Rex Nex hiding in a closet. They demand to know how he found out about the convoy.

He tells them that he met another Netrunner named Lazarus at an online BBS called Carnival. Lazarus had learned about the insurance policy Humanatech had on the shipment. He had set up a way that he would get the two million dollar payment if the shipment were lost. All he needed was for someone to take it from Humanatech. That’s where Rex Nex and the O-Zoners came in. They steal the shipment, sell it, and keep the proceeds. Lazarus cashes in on the insurance policy.

They tell him that Lazarus sold them out. He then realizes that he had told Lazarus the details of their attack plan on the convoy. That explains why they seemed to know exactly where everybody was. He is supposed to meet with Lazarus at Carnival later today.

They contact Mouse and ask him if he can trace Lazarus. Mouse invests in a stealth and a trace program and at the appointed time follows Rex Nex into the Net. At Carnival, Rex Nex meets up with Lazarus. The two speak briefly, but then Lazarus launches an enhanced Zombie program that cooks Rex Nex’s brain. Lazarus then dumps out of the Net. The encounter was brief, but long enough for Mouse to get a general fix on his position.

When he drops out of the Net, Mouse informs the others of what had happened. He tells them that he was able to narrow Lazarus position to within just a couple of blocks of where the ambush took place. He also tells them that the Zombie program was a corporate grade custom program. Since Lazarus is not a well-known hotshot Net-jockey, odds are he is corporate.

The group then discusses what they have learned so far. It would seem that the O-Zoners were set up by a corporation. But why? Why would a corporation want to wipe out a bunch of booster gangers? Perhaps they are using this area as a test bed for some new tech related to the mysterious chips and the cyber-psychos. The ambush was a way to purge the O-Zoners from the test bed.

A short time later, Mouse contacts them. He had begun cross-referencing Humanatech’s financial holdings with properties in that part of the Combat Zone. Although it is indirectly through a couple of other companies, Humanatech owns a large piece of property one block away from the ambush site. According to the records it was purchased for development, but then abandoned. It is now just a plot of land with a large fence around it.

The team remembers seeing it during the ambush. Those high up enough could see over the fence, but it was nothing but piles of dirt and half worked ground. Remembering that the mysterious Ju-Ju apparently lived in the sewer, Zen suggests that perhaps Humanatech did develop the site, just not above ground.

Just then, Mach 3 bursts in the door. He immediately accuses the group of setting up the gang. They are able to keep him from completely flipping out and when they tell him what they have learned so far, he calms down. He then begins to plan a raid on the alleged underground facility.

Once again, he and Zen butt heads. He wants to raid the facility, she wants to contact C-SWAT and let them deal with it. He argues that C-SWAT will confiscate whatever they find down there, which means he and the group end up with nothing. But if they do it themselves, and there is an underground testing facility for advanced cybernetics, it could be quite profitable. Zen argues that it would be suicide to march into a facility that is potentially crawling with cyber-psychos.

This time the others side with Mach 3. While they realize how dangerous this may be, they would like to get something for all of their troubles. So, they prepare to go in.

They return to the scene of the crime, and look for the sewer entrance nearest to the Humanatech property. They find one and descend into the sewers. They find a locked door that they easily bypass. They then continue down a narrow hall until they spot a PIR sensor up ahead. They can’t get close enough to it to disable it, so they need to come up with a way to spoof it.

Saito heads back to their headquarters and retrieves his ghost armor. Once back, he dons the suit, which blocks his body heat. He then moves down the tunnel towards the infrared sensor and sprays it with a foam that blocks its ability to detect heat. With that task completed they head down the tunnel until they reach a door.

The door is locked, but Helios picks up with ease. The door opens to reveal a brightly lit and very clean hallway. As they adventure forth, they come across a room with padded walls that contains men chained to the walls. Saito steps in and the men immediately lunge at him. Luckily the chains keep them at bay. It is clear that they are all in a state of cyber psychosis.

They next come across the surgical room. Laying on a table is Chain, the former leader of the O-Zoners. It looks like he has had recent surgery to modify his neural processor. They take a quick look and see that the mysterious chip has not yet been inserted.

They are able to return Chain of consciousness, and unhook him from all the diagnostic equipment strapped to his body. Julie Electra then takes Chain and guides him back out of the facility, as the others press onward.

Behind the surgical room they find a chamber containing six cryotanks. Inside each cryotank is a sleeping solo. They all have a variety of combat related cybernetic upgrades. Each also has an identical neural processor with a chip reader.

On the other side of the room they find a vault containing a stock of assault rifles and ammunition. They take a couple of the rifles and several boxes of ammunition. They then pull all of the firing pins out of all of the remaining weapons.

They next come across a small guard room. They are in the middle of discussing how to handle the situation when Mach 3 charges in and opens fire. The gunfight is short as the guards are quickly dealt with. Unfortunately one of the guards is able to set off alarm.

The group presses forward again, this time with more urgency. Ripper sets of booby-trap at the door they just went through to prevent anyone from coming up behind them.

They next come across the circular hallway. They exchange gunfire with several guards. They seem to have the advantage until a full conversion board comes around the corner firing a heavy machinegun. He turns the entire hallway to the suppression zone, completely shutting down the progress of the team. They are able to spot what appears to be a man of slight build running behind the cyborg down a hallway that is blocked from their view.

Saito, who is not in the suppression zone circles around in an attempt to flank the cyborg. As he does so he comes in contact with the fleeing employee. A quick interrogation reveals that the employees named Artie Masters. Artie is the systems operator for the facility. He insists that he knows very little about what they do their, other than that they are working on a project known as the Osiris Chip. When asked where he was going, Artie explains that he was heading towards the director’s office, because he knows that there is a secret bolthole exit through which to escape.

Back in the hallway, Mach 3 uses his standard tactic of charging headfirst in danger. Unfortunately for him, this time he bites off more than he can chew, as he is ripped apart by the cyborg’s weapon .

Eventually, the ‘borg burns through all the ammunition in his weapon. As he begins the process of reloading, the rest of the team immediately come out from their cover and open fire on the cyborg. It is Zen’s massive salvo of armor piercing rounds that finally brings him down. They rush to the body and are able to yank the Osiris chip before it self-destructs.

The victory is short lived however, as the booby-trap that Ripper set goes off. Five of the six men they saw in the cryotanks are now converging upon them. The first one, having taken the full brunt of Ripper’s trap was already down. They move seemingly as one, concentrating their attention on Helios. They moved to open fire, however the guns do not work due to the absence of the firing pins. With their weapons disabled, the men from the cryotanks converge on the group in an attempt to engage them in close combat. The hand-to-hand melee is furious and bloody, but ultimately the team wins the day.

With the danger clear, they have time to further interrogate Artie Masters. He indicates that the team leader is a man named Dr. Charles Westhaven, a researcher for Humanatech. They ask him for access to the vault, Artie says he does not have access. Ripper ends up using a decryptor to crack the vault lock. Inside they find a wide assortment of cybernetic parts as well as a case containing several of the Osiris chips.

They contact Lieut. McCarty and let him know what has transpired. The lieutenant immediately sends out a cyber SWAT team to secure the facility. The team turns over everything they found in the vault…almost. They had swapped out one of the new chips from the case in the vault the one with they found in the cyborg, leaving them with one brand-new unused Osiris chip. McCarty thanks them for their efforts and send them on their way.

Although the initial job gave them nothing, Ripper was able to sell the chip for a nice fee, which was divided up amongst the group. They also may have gotten themselves on McCarty’s good side, which is not a bad place to be. They did miss out on one opportunity for revenge as they learn that Artie Masters, now in C-SWAT custody is also known as Lazarus.

Episode 29 - All Fall Down

The team gets about a month of downtime before their next opportunity comes along. They begin to look at turning their salvage business from a side source of income into a legitimate business. The first step is to move the operation out of the Combat Zone. It turns out that such a move will cost more money than they now have. If only there was a way to make some quick cash.

February 28th, 2039

Zen gets a call from someone who knows her real name. He says his name is Mark Vincent, and his manner of speaking has cop written all over it. He wants to meet her team. She agrees to meet with him the next day at the Forlorn Hope.

She checks with Infocomp to see what they know about any federal agents named Mark Vincent. If he is who he says he is, he is DEA.

March 1st, 2039

Zen, Saito, Helios, and Riptide meet at the Forlorn Hope. There they meet with Mark Vincent. He tells them that Diego Entrada has shutdown his operation in Columbia, and they are not sure where he has gone off to. The search is complicated by the fact that no one really knows what he looks like.

The DEA does know that he has begun shipping his new drug Blue Glass to the U.S. A shipment showed up in Las Vegas and is currently under the control of a nomad named Raze. Raze is looking for a distributor.

Vincent wants them to go to Las Vegas and try to become Raze’s distributor with the goal of winning his trust and eventually tracing the drugs back to Diego Entrada. The job doesn’t pay anything, but he will give them $50,000 to make the purchase from Raze, and what ever they profit from the sales they can keep. Also, he seems to know about their history with Entrada and figures they would like the opportunity for revenge.

They agree to take the job. Raze is currently planning to use the James Gang, a Las Vegas Booster Gang as his distributor. The sale goes down in two days.

The team spends the rest of the day making arrangements to be gone for potentially several weeks. Mouse is able to acquire a 6-month lease on a warehouse facility in Vegas that they will be able to use as a headquarters. Infocomp is none too happy and tells Zen if she leaves, not to bother coming back.

March 2nd, 2039

The team spends the better part of the day driving through the desert to Las Vegas. They arrive at their warehouse, and set up operations there.

Zen and Riptide hit the streets. Riptide reestablishes contact with some of his old compatriots from back when he called Vegas home. They are able to learn that the James Gang hangs at a bar called Ace in the Hole. They also learn that the gang’s number one rival is a local chapter of the Blood Razors.

Later that evening, they head to the Ace in the Hole. The place is packed with lowlifes and off duty cops. The James Gang members are easy to spot in their cowboy hats and dusters. The team sits near them, but does not draw their attention.

A short time later, a large man in biker gear shows up. He goes to the James Gang table and begins talking to them. The team hears him referred to as Raze. After several minutes and a few drinks, Raze heads out the door. Riptide and Zen follow.

Outside the bar, Riptide introduces himself. He explains that he has a group that would like to be the distributor for the drug. Raze asks how he knows about it but Riptide manages to dodge the issue. Instead, Raze gives him an invite to bid for the job. The meet is tomorrow at the old army depot at high noon.

March 3rd, 2039

Early before sunrise, Saito heads out to the army depot and checks it out. It contains four large warehouses and eight two-story buildings all surrounded by a double layer of fence. The buildings are all empty and the fence has several large gaps in it. He scopes out a rock ridge about a quarter mile away, and then returns to the team’s HQ.

About 10:00 AM, Saito returns to his selected spot and conceals himself and his rifle with a camo-tarp. The others arrive at 11:00 to find the depot crawling with nomads. They are allowed in and guided to one of the warehouses, where they are left to wait.

At 11:45 the James Gang arrives. Not surprisingly, they are very unhappy about the unannounced competition. Too bad for them they are outnumbered about 10 to 1 by nomads, so their protests remain strictly verbal.

Raze explains that the bid today is not just for this one 50 Kilo shipment of Blue Ice, but if the winner is successful in selling the first batch, they can be the primary distributor ongoing. He also states one important stipulation. The drug cannot be sold outside of Las Vegas.

The bidding then begins at $20,000, the James Gang original offer. If goes back and forth with the James Gangers getting more upset every time Riptide raises the stakes. Eventually the James Gang is forced to concede when Riptide offers to pay $42,500 for the shipment, more that 80% of its estimated street value.

The James Gang storm off in a huff. They vow that this is not over. Meanwhile, the nomads help load the 50 Kilos of Blue Glass into the back of the team’s van. The team then heads back toward Vegas.

They don’t get very far when three dune buggies loaded with James Gangers come up behind them and open fire. Luckily the van they are using is the armored tactical van than they had liberated from Militech. The gangers open fire, and despite using armor piercing rounds, the rear armor of the van holds. It is getting chewed up though, and eventually a couple of rounds penetrate, nearly hitting Zen who is sitting with their cargo.

Helios is doing his best to keep his distance, but even the van’s supercharged engine has trouble staying ahead of the dune buggies, which are designed for this kind of terrain. But while he swerves back and forth, giving Riptide chances to take shots from the passenger side window, Helios is slowly circling back towards where Saito is positioned.

Once they get to within about three-quarters of a mile, Saito opens fire with his heavy rifle. The .50 caliber electro-thermo rounds easily blow through the light armor of the dune buggies and disable them. With that threat eliminated, they all return back to their warehouse.

As soon as they get back they began planning their next move. Riptide still has the connections in the city to plan a rave, the ideal place for the introduction of a new drug. They plan it for the 6th.

March 4th, 2039

They begin the process of finding a place, acquiring food, a DJ, alcohol and security. Just in case the James Gang decides to crash the party, Riptide decides to hire the Blood Razors as security. He also finds an old friend of his who is a supplier for some of the local social elites. He gives him 100 grams to distribute for free.

March 5th, 2039

Eventually, they have their place set up. It has a capacity to hold 1,000 people and it costs them $8,500 in upfront expenses to get it set up. They hope to get about 750 people to actually show in order to cover their costs.

March 6th, 2039

The rave goes off without a hitch, but only 600 people show. At the end of the night, once door fees are added up as well as their share of the drink sales, they actually profit $500. Plus they make an additional $800 selling 800 grams of the drug. That is a lot less then they were hoping to move that night, but it is a start.

March 7th, 2039

They begin looking at hosting another party, but going bigger this time. They find a facility that holds 5,000 people, but they realize that they don’t have the funds to set up something that big. Instead they plan for something about twice the size of their first event.

Riptide checks in with his old buddy. His friend says the Blue Glass is a hit with the swells, and he figures he can move about 100 grams a day. He wants 30%, which means $70 going back to the team. Its not a lot either, but it’s a steady sales and revenue stream that’s a good point to build off of.

March 8th, 2039

It turns out that Jarvic is in town. He is also in Las Vegas looking to move some of his Super Fly. He hears about a big rave coming up and decides that it would be a good place to dump some product. He begins to ask around to find out where and when it’s going to take place. In the process of doing so he finds himself face-to-face with Helios. Helios not only tells them where the rave is, but also invites him back to the warehouse to meet with the rest of the gang.

There he meets with Riptide and convinces Riptide to buy some of his stock. He also decides to give away quite a bit of it for free at the rave in order to generate some interest. The team hopes that that added draw should bring in more people although they are concerned that it may dilute their own sales.

March 9, 2039

The next party draws a bigger audience. They get about 1600 people to show. They are able to move about 3200 grams of the drug.

March 10 – March 11, 2039

They spend the next couple of days recruiting more individuals to help move the drug. They also slowly begin to expand their network of dealers.

March 12, 2039

They begin to plan their next rave. This time they have enough money to shoot for a 5000 person venue. They do get some bad news though as one of Riptide’s dealers is apparently shot and killed. The perpetrator is unknown.

March 13 – March 14, 2039

Riptide adds two more dealers to his network.

March 15, 2039

Another one of Riptide’s dealers is killed. This time however they know that the hit was conducted by the James Gang.

March 16, 2039

They find out that the James gang hangs out in the old subway system. Saito tracks down one of the subway entrances that the gang uses. After waiting patiently for several hours Saito snipes two members of the gang as they emerge.

March 17, 2039

Their third rave takes place today. They get over 6000 people to show up. Unfortunately the venue only holds 5000 so they are forced to turn some people away. They do issue coupons to those that were turned away to give them priority access to the next event. They move almost twice as much product as last time.

March 18, 2039

Three of their dealers get arrested and Riptide has to bail them out.

March 19, 2039

The team now has 10 dealers working for them. Saito tracks down one of the teams of the James gang who were on the street dealing their own product. He waits for an opportune moment with his sniper rifle and picks off one of the members mid-transaction.

March 20, 2039

An uneventful day.

March 21, 2039

They continue to expand their network of dealers. They also hear on the news today of a missile apparently being launched into the 35th floor of the Biotechnica building. They do a little digging and learn that the office the missile was targeted at belongs to a man named Dr. Thomas Moore. The missile was fired from the parking lot on the ground floor. A witness claims that the person firing the missile appeared to be of South American dissent.

March 22, 2039

They now have a team of 12 dealers working for them. They contact Mouse to search out who Dr. Thomas Moore is. He calls them back a short time later and says that Dr. Thomas Moore is part of Biotechnica’s bio-weapons division. Riptide contacts Tobias Luna in regards the situation. Tobias indicates that he will find out what Riptide wants to know, but that Riptide is going to owe him a favor in exchange. Riptide is fully aware that Tobias will cash in on that favor someday but agrees to the deal.

Riptide also decides to hit streets to find out what the James Gang’s reaction is to the recent deaths of their members. He learns of their preparing to go to war with someone. He also learns that apparently the gang has a corporate sponsor that will be sending in outside support.

The team decides to kidnap a member of the James Gang and find out exactly what they are up to. They go to the Ace in the Hole and wait for a few members of the gang to leave. As always members of the James gang seem to travel in threes. This particular group of three pops into their dune buggy and begins to drive away. The team, using their Militech van, begin to follow. But moments later they find out that they themselves are being followed by another van. Saito, from several blocks, away opens fire with his sniper rifle disabling the pursuing van. Moments later the van doors open up as several Colombians pile out and begin to open fire on the team’s van. One of them uses a shoulder-mounted missile launcher, but thanks to the Helios’ driving, the team’s able to avoid the incoming artillery. Saito then opens fire on the Colombians forcing them to scatter.

The dune buggy and the team’s van race through the streets of Las Vegas, exchanging gunfire. Eventually the dune buggy is disabled. One of the James Gang members is killed by the gunfire. Another is killed when Helios rams the van into the dune buggy causing it to roll over one of the gang members. The third is knocked unconscious and the team members drag him into the back of their van.

The team then drives out to the old abandoned Army depot. There they begin to interrogate their prisoner. They learn that they are the ones of the James Gang plans to go to war with. They’ve got something big planned but the prisoner doesn’t know what that is. The team assumes that the James Gang intends to attack on their next rave. They also learn that the gang’s corporate sponsor has called in a large number of Colombians to help out. Those Colombians are currently holed up at the old abandoned Air Force proving grounds. The corporate sponsor is Diverse Media Systems. They have him draw a map of the subway system including any traps or ambush points that the James gang has set up.

March 23, 2039

In the news today is a story about a man who went crazy in one of the casinos. When he finally collapsed and died, witnesses say he had a strange purple substance oozing from his nose. A toxicology report indicates that he was hopped up on Blue Glass.

Riptide gets in touch with Tobias Luna. Tobias indicates that Dr. Thomas Moore was working with the gentleman from DMS, but the deal went drastically south between the two of them. Riptide tells Tobias that it was a group of Colombians who attacked the Biotechnica office. He then tells Tobias where the Colombians are currently hanging out. Tobias lets him know that Biotechnica will deal with the Colombians.

Saito heads out to the Air Force proving grounds and scopes out where the Colombians are. He estimates that there are roughly 50 of them there.

March 24, 2039

Today in the news is a story about a man who went running down the Las Vegas strip completely naked, punching people at random. When he was subdued he was found to be frothing at the mouth with a strange purple foam. A toxicology report is pending, but it is assumed that he was also on Blue Glass.

That afternoon the Air Force grounds are leveled by a Lazarus strike team. From what Saito can tell in his observations, there are no survivors on the Colombian side.

That evening they hold their fourth party. This time they get a full 10,000 people to show up and this time they have a big enough venue that can hold them all. With the Colombian threat neutralized, the rave goes off without a hitch. Between the drug sales and the profits from the venues, this is beginning to turn into a very lucrative gig.

March 25, 2039

They decide to let their prisoner go. They send him off with a message to his gang. He is to tell them that if the gang leaves town, there will be no further incidents. Otherwise, they will continue to suffer at the hands of their new rivals. Apparently, with the complete destruction of the Colombian contingent, the James Gang realizes that they are outmatched. A couple hours later, the team watches as the entire James Gang rolls out of town.

Later today is another news report involving two people this time. As the two of them seem to go crazy begin attacking people at random. Also as before, they have a strange purple substance oozing from their mouth and nose.

The team begins preparing for their next planned event. This time they talk about hosting the event inside the tunnels that have been abandoned by the James Gang.

March 26, 2039

Today in the news, the mayor announces a crackdown on the new menace to the city. He declares that this new menace is Blue Glass.

The team has managed to sell most of the product. Riptide decides to make contact with Raze to obtain some more. Raze indicates that he will need a couple of days, but he will get them another shipment of the product.

March 27, 2039

The mayor’s crackdown on Blue Glass begins. Four of Riptide’s dealers are arrested and put in jail. This time the city is not letting them out on bail.

Riptide gets a call from Raze. Raze says the source is willing to sell them the next 50 kg shipment for only $20,000, but in exchange for a favor. He wants them to kill John Carter, a DMS employee. John Carter works and lives on the 120th floor of the DMS building. As far as anyone knows he never leaves. Riptide accepts the deal.

March 28th, 2039

By this time, their suspicions about what is going on are starting to grow stronger. They decide to send a sample of Blue Glass to Tobias Luna. They give some of the product they have left to Jarvic, who takes it back with him to Night City. Once there, he gives it directly to Tobias.

Wondering why the drug is only being distributed in Las Vegas, they start a rumor that Blue Glass has been showing up in Reno. They pick that city because it’s where the James Gang has migrated.

Riptide contacts Mouse and sees what he can learn about DMS’ activities in Columbia. Mouse says he will see what he can come up with.

March 29th, 2039

In the morning, Riptide gets a call from Mouse. Mouse informs him that for the last few years, a DMS jet has been making regular monthly flights to Columbia, returning a week later. Then, about six months ago, the flights stopped.

The team starts plotting a way to get into the DMS building. Riptide inquires as to what outside vendors conduct business in the DMS building. They get some ideas, but are unsure if this is the best route in.

They decide to try another angle. Since Riptide has a dealer working the upper class clientele, he checks if any of them are DMS employees. Sure enough, one of the Blue Glass users is Bryan Wainright, a host of a local entertainment news show, taped right inside the DMS building. They decide to make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Riptide gets a call from Tobias. Tobias explains that the Blue Glass has been mixed with a Biotechnica bio-weapon. Tobias won’t share any details on the drug, but will say that by all accounts, people should be dropping dead left and right in Las Vegas. It seems the bio-weapon has a 97% lethality rate. There should be a lot more dead people.

Riptide asks what are the other businesses that Biotechnica operates in Las Vegas. Tobias mentions a few, including managing the city’s municipal water supply.

They contact Mouse and ask him to hack the County Coronor’s computers and get the autopsy reports on those that died from Blue Glass. He says he’ll get to work on it.

They then drive out to the city water plant. They can only get so close before they are stopped by security. Its enough to see that Biotechnica runs the security there, and it appears the be the tightest security they have every seen for such a facility.

March 30th, 2039

They get a call from Mouse regarding those who had died from the Blue Glass. It seems that most of the victims were dehydrated, either due to sickness, or excessive alcohol consumption. This confirms the team’s suspicion that Biotechnica is putting something in the water supply that suppresses the bio-weapon.

Shortly thereafter they head out to Bryan’s house. He grants them access to his high-security gated community. He greets them at the door in a bathrobe and invites them into the house. They work on a nice deal giving him some Blue Glass on the cheap.

Afterwards they asked him what he knows about John Carter. He refers to John as the creepy guy on the 123rd floor. Rumor has it the guy lives in the building and never, ever leaves. He doesn’t know if that’s true, but he himself is never seen the guy outside of the building.

He also recognizes Riptide. He recognizes him from the days when he used to play arena football right here in Las Vegas.

They asked him about getting them into the DMS building. Not surprisingly, he’s reluctant to help. However, since his deal hinges upon him helping them, he’s open to suggestions. He says the best way that he could get them in the door, is by giving him an opportunity to interview a celebrity, conducted in the building. They can then come in as part of that person’s entourage.

Riptide had noticed that a buddy of his from his earlier days in Vegas, who was a small time entertainer back then, was on posters and billboards everywhere. Ray Stevenson was his name. Apparently in the time since Riptide was gone, the guy’s become a big deal in Las Vegas. He’s now one of the city’s top entertainers. They decide to go visit Ray Stevenson, and let Riptide catch up on old times.

They are able to meet up with Ray at his penthouse suite in the Sands Hotel. He recognizes Riptide right away, and the two begin to reminisce. He gets Ray to agree to do an interview with Bryan Wainright. This is something that Ray is not particularly excited about, as he sees doing Bryan’s show as slumming it, but anything for an old friend. Ray and Riptide then hit the town for a long night of drinking, partying and debauchery.

March 31st, 2039

The next morning Riptide decides to check in on Tobias. Tobias was supposed to call them regarding information on the Vegas water sample, but they never heard from him. He is unable to reach Tobias however. Tobias’ personal assistant simply says that he is out of town on an important project.

Using Bryan’s access to the Wynn Estates gated community, they head over to Thomas Moore’s house. There they stick it out for the better part of the day until finally Moore comes home.

Once he is inside, the team storms the house. There’s a guard at the door who is easily overtaken. Riptide and Helios charge upstairs and are able to secure the family before they were able to get into a panic room.

Dr. Moore confirms their suspicions. He purchased a large quantity the drug from John Carter at DMS. He then used the drug as a delivery system for sending out a Biotechnica bio-weapon. However the weapon was not what was being tested. Instead they were injecting a chemical into the water supply that could suppress it.

He pointed out the possible tactic of injecting the suppressant into a city’s water supply, while simultaneously getting the drug in the common use with the city’s population. One could then extort the city, threatening to end the water treatments, thereby leading to thousands of deaths.

When asked him why he had a falling out with John Carter, he explained that John Carter did not realize that he intended to test the drug right there in Las Vegas. When John Carter realized what was happening, he attempted to end the deal and get his drugs back. However, thanks to a crack group of edgerunners, hired by his man Raze, Carter’s plans have been foiled and the drug was now in wide use in Las Vegas.

They then asked him why a DMS agent had come to have a pipeline for Blue Glass, a relatively new drug that have been recently created by Diego Entrada. Moore explained that Diego Entrada and John Carter are in fact one and the same person . John Carter used to go back to Columbia about once a month to check his operations there. He would take an AV-4 directly from the roof of the DMS building to the airport and from their fly to Columbia. This is why no one ever saw him come or go from the building. Due to DEA pressure several months ago, Diego was forced to suspend his operations in Columbia. Luckily for him, by this point he had sent a large amount of the new drug into the US. He saw the deal with Thomas Moore is a great way to get it moving quickly.

Riptide then revealed that his team were the ones were selling the drug. He told Dr. Moore that if in the future, he should decide to carry out such an operation; Riptide’s team would be the ones a higher make it happen. Dr. Moore agreed.

The team makes a change of plans. Riptide calls Mark Vincent, the DEA agent who had hired them. He tells Mark they want the DEA to contact Diego Entrada. Let them know that they were on to him and that they were coming to get him. The plan was that the call should flush Diego out of the building. The team decided that it would be much easier to intercept him at the airport when he was fleeing, rather than trying to break into the fortress that was the DMS building.

April 1st, 2039

Early that morning, Riptide contacts Ray. The good news is they no longer need to Ray to do that interview. The bad news was that they need Ray to give them access to the airport. Ray has his own charter jet there. They would use that crews’ credentials to get themselves into the private jet hangers.

Using those credentials, Helios and Zen hid inside the DMS hanger. Meanwhile, Saito and Riptide positioned themselves in another hanger kitty corner from the DMS hanger.

The plan was for the DEA to contact Diego at 4 PM. Everything seemed to go according to plan as around 4:45 several SUVs rolled up to the hanger. However, Diego was not in any of them. Instead the convoy contained only security personnel who began to sweep the area. Helios and Zen manage stay hidden from their prying eyes.

Then several minutes later, two more SUVs roll up. Out steps a man who appeares to be Diego Entrada and his assistant. Saito, takes a shot from his position. The bullet explodes through Diego’s head, killing him instantly.

The security team jumps into action, and immediately begins escorting the assistant back into the vehicle. The urgency with which they were protecting him made the team realize that the man that Saito had shot was a decoy. The assistant was the real Diego Entrada.

Saito ias able to snipe Diego while in the armored vehicle as it is backing out of the hanger. A shot to the gas tank makes sure that no one in the vehicle was alive. However, at this point, security team has honed in on Saito’s position. A couple dozen men begin to converge on the other hanger. Riptide begins to offer supporting fire, but the two are heavily outgunned.

Meanwhile, Helios and Zen remain hidden behind crates and barrels in the DMS hanger. As the security team begins to rush out the front, they quietly make their way out of the back door. They ran into a security fence, where Helios uses wolvers a cut a hole. The two then make their escape.

Things are not so easy for Saito and Riptide however. Not only were several security personnel converging on their position, but two of the SUVs rolled up to the gate, and pop-up turrets emerged on the roofs. .50 caliber machine guns began to pour lead into the hanger. Riptide and Saito are hit, however a combination of their armor and cover keep them alive.

Riptide slowly makes his way towards the backdoor of the hanger. Once outside however, he is not near the perimeter fence. Instead he is simply along a pathway between more hangers. Coming from the other side of the hanger are more security personnel that begin to open fire.

Saito is able to snipe the two guards manning the SUV turrets. The two SUVs then pull off to the side of the hanger. Saito takes this as an opportunity to fall back and head for the backdoor.

As Riptide comes around the North side of the hanger and he sees the two SUVs pull up and park. He immediately charges the first SUV and shoots the driver through the windshield. He then climbs onto the hood of the vehicle and rolls through the broken windshield. He then shoves the driver out of the driver side door.

Saito then comes around the corner and ducks low along the side of the SUV and climbs in the passenger side door. Riptide then steps on the gas and they pull away from the hanger, but are immediately pursued by the other SUV.

They race through the airport, dodging vehicles and baggage carts. Someone mans the turret of the pursuing SUV and begins to open fire on them. .50 Cal begin to shred the armored back of the SUV they are in. Saito is able to get his sniper rifle in position and first shoots the gunner, and then disables the vehicle. They then race out of the airport and pick up Helios and Zen.

They then try to contact Dr. Moore, to tell him that his rival has been eliminated. Much to their surprise it was not Dr. Moore who answers the phone, but Tobias Luna. It seemed he was now in Vegas and wants to congratulate them on a job well done. He says that when he realized what was happening in Vegas immediately headed down. He convinced the powers that be in Biotechnica that Dr. Moore had crossed the line with his experiment in Las Vegas. They decided it was best for Tobias to take charge of the operation. He intends to shut it down at this point but appreciates their generous offer to help Biotechnica in the future if they ever decided to use the bio-weapon.

The mission was done. They had traced the source of the Blue Glass thereby meeting the DEA’s objective. But this was a big personal victory for them as well as they had eliminated Diego Entrada. One of the two forces working against them had now been eliminated. They head back home to Night City for a much-deserved rest.

Episode 28 - Data Haven

The team was able to close out the remainder of the year without incident. Normally, two months without work was frowned upon, but they were pretty banged up right about then, so the time off was appreciated.

January 14th, 2039

Riptide is working at the Golden Saloon when he is approached by a Filipino man named Kona. His is a fixer with a big job opportunity. He is offering 60 large for a two-part task.

The second part of the task will be stealing a personnel file from a data haven in an undisclosed location. But before that, they need to complete the first part of the mission.

The first part involves stealing a helicopter from an OTEC facility located in Night City. It needs to be stolen on the evening of the 18th, and taken to a designated spot out in the desert. There they will immediately set out on their second task. Riptids accepts the job.

January 15th, 3039

Zen uses her resources at Infocomp to find out what she can on OTEC. She learnes that the full name is Ocean Technology & Energy Corporation. The company specializes in sea going vessels and platforms. Their main source of income is offshore oil rigs and the ships that service those platforms.

Riptide does his own research, but on Kona. He learns that he is a small time dealer whose preferred market is stolen vehicle parts. A $60,000 data theft seems like a big score for such a small timer.

Saito stakes out the OTEC station. It is set on the water’s edge, fully fenced with a warehouse and two small hangers. He watches as a Bell-Huey CCK lands on a chopper pad. Technicians come out, fold up the rotors, and wheel it into one of the hangers.

That evening, Zen hitches a ride on the bottom of a transport truck bound for the secure warehouse across the street. Once inside, she sneaks over to the building that was closest to the road. She then sets up two cyber-cameras that can be accessed via Mouse’s computer and aims them at the OTEC facility.

She then tries to use the same method to get back out. Unfortunately, the truck hits a bump and she loses her grip. She narrowly avoids being run over, but someone has spotted what has happened and armed guards were now approaching her position. When the first guard arrives, she is able to subdue him and use him as a human shield long enough to make her exit.

Afterwards, Saito watches to see what the reaction inside the warehouse facility is. The staff and security are focused on the warehouse inventory, trying to see if anything has been stolen or vandalized. No one even comes close to spotting the cameras that are aimed at the facility across the street.

January 16th, 2039

This is Mouse’s day to do what he does. He records all of the video from the cameras watching the OTEC facility. He also hacks their computer system to see what they have for security. At the end of the day, he makes his report.

The fence surrounding the facility has vibration sensors. Pretty much every square foot of ground space is covered by cameras. OTEC uses its own security and does not contract it out. They have two guards on staff at anytime, working in 8-hour shifts. There are also 3-4 technicians on the premises at any given time.

While all of this is going on, Helios goes in search of a transponder for a helicopter. It takes some looking and a few thousand dollars, but he is able to find one.

January 17th, 2039

In the early morning hours, Saito and Riptide drive out the OTEC facility. Around 8:00 AM the two security guards who have completed their shift, drive off of the site and head towards their homes. Saito and Riptide each follow one guard. They are able to determine where each guard lives, and their living situation, including family, schedule of spouses, kids, and home security systems.

They then return back to the team headquarters. There they sit down and iron out a plan to steal the helicopter.

January 18th, 2039

During the day, Riptide and Saito each visit the homes of the guards they had followed. In both cases, the guard is secured, and then the edgerunner waits for the family members to return home and then they are secured as well.

Then they each drive the guard’s vehicle to the OTEC facility. They arrive around 11:00 PM. Each pulls up to the gate and uses the guard’s security badge to open the gate. First Riptide pulls in and then Saito does as well. They drive the vehicles into the hanger where the guards typically park.

Then, before the gate can close, the rest of the team, in a Robo-Rental van, piggyback in. This of course immediately alerts the guards already there with guns drawn. The team members are able to stall the guards long enough for Riptide and Saito to come up from behind the unsuspecting guards and relieve them of their weapons.

The guards are tied up and thrown into the back of the Robo-Rental. The return button is hit, and the vehicle begins the process of driving itself back to the Robo-Rental lot.

Helios begins the process of swapping out transponders while the others go into the warehouse and secure the technicians. The techs offer little resistance. Mouse hacks in remotely and disables the security alarms and cameras.

After roughly 20 minutes, the transponders are swapped and the team climbs into the CCK. Helios then flies the chopper out to the meeting point.

They arrive in the desert where they meet with Kona. He explains that they will be stealing the data from an offshore data haven roughly 180 miles out to sea. The data haven is owned and operated by Infocomp. The file they need is on an EBM employee named Fredrick Shumann.

The data haven has a 10-man guard team as well as an automated defense system designed to eliminate enemy ships and aircraft. He explains that they need not worry about that though, because the chopper’s transponder will let the platform know that it is a friendly.

The team needs to go immediately. Once the chopper is discovered stolen, its transponder code will be taken off of the platform’s friendly list.

The team immediately takes off, but not for the platform. They instead return to the OTEC station. Luckily no one seems to have yet discovered what happened. Helios swaps out the transponders again, returning the correct one to the chopper. About 15 minutes later, they are airborne and on their way to the data haven.

About an hour later they come upon a platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. On one end is a helipad. Next to that is a freight elevator positioned between two surface to air missile systems. Behind that is a control tower and back behind the control tower is a couple of loading cranes. As they approach the helipad they see ten guards in armored Infocomp uniforms and equipped with submachine guns. Four of them are positioned on the helipad itself.

Helios brings the chopper down. Saito and Riptide, still wearing the OTEC uniforms, step out with Mouse. Two of the guards immediately approach them and demand to know who Mouse is.

Riptide explains that OTEC has reason to believe that someone has found an exploit in the computer hardware that OTEC used when constructing the platform. The guards explain that they cannot let anyone off of the helipad that is not preauthorized. Riptide agrees to go with one of the guards to the control tower to get things cleared up.

They head to the control tower where the head of security, a comms officer and the executive officer are waiting. Riptide tells the executive officer that he could call the OTEC team leader, but being 2:00 AM, he may not be apprised of the situation as the security issue came up at the last minute.

The officer makes the call, and as Riptide had hoped, the OTEC guy on the other end has no idea what is going on, but will make a call to his office to find out what was going on. The problem is that it would not be long before OTEC learns of what has happened to their chopper and then things will go south fast.

Zen gets out of the chopper and begins to chat up one of the guards. Saito then approaches another guard demanding to know what is taking so long. He insists that he be allowed to go to the tower to make sure his partner is okay. Eventually the guard gets tired of arguing and calls the tower. The head of security says he will go down to the helipad.

Riptide waits until the security officer is about half way to the helipad. Then he pulls his weapons and points them at the security guard still in the tower. He orders everyone to drop their weapons and they comply.

The head of security makes it to the helipad and explains the situation to Saito. Saito decides that he is satisfied with the explanation. The security head radios the situation to the tower. The comms officer calmly makes a reply as Riptide holds a gun to his head.

The head of security returns to the tower to find the rest of the command crew tied up and Riptide waiting for him. Riptide disarms him and secures him as well. Riptide then gives the all clear to his team.

Helios gets out of the chopper and approaches one of the guards and then sucker-punches him with a stun glove, knocking him out. Zen uses her gang jazzler to stun the guard that she has been talking to. Saito gets the guard he is conversing with into a chokehold and chokes him out.

For a moment they think they are in the clear, but then they notice one of the guards by the defense system approaching to check things out. Riptide kills the lights on the helipad giving his team the advantage.

Saito is able to sneak up on the guard by the STA launcher who seems to have not noticed what has happened and is radioing the tower regarding the lights. Another chokehold takes him down. Helios distracts the other guard while Zen sneaks up on him and subdues him as well.

The team now out numbers the remaining guards. Riptide orders the head of security to instruct the remaining guards to stand down. He complies and the team manages to take control of the platform without firing a shot.

Riptide calls up Mouse. Mouse takes a look around the control tower and points out that there is no data jack there. The executive officer explains that the door to the vault is on the back of the platform. No one on board the platform has a key.

Mouse and Saito head to the door. Mouse pulls the electronic key panel off and plugs in his deck. With in a few seconds, the door slides open.

The two find themselves staring down a long narrow hallway with another door at the other end. They approach the door and Mouse again goes to work on bypassing the lock. His first attempt is unsuccessful and another door closes behind them, sealing them in. An air pump engages and begins sucking the air out of the room. Mouse begins frantically working at the lock as the two begin to feel light headed. A few tense moments later the doors open.

Once inside, Mouse jacks into the data haven. After a few minutes, he unplugs himself and reports that he has a copy of the data file.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team makes sure that they have everyone on board the ship secured. Once everyone is reunited, they board the chopper and head back to the coast.

Once they are back over land, they fly back to the meeting place in the desert. They turn over the chip to Kona. He then asks them where and when did they want to meet for the money. Riptide suggests right here and now.

Kona explains that he needs to get the chip to his employer and then he can get paid. He will then pay them. Against their better judgment, they agree to meet him at the Golden Saloon at noon, which is now only a few hours away.

They then take the chopper back home. Once they got close to Night City, Helios takes the chopper in low, flying just a few feet over the roof tops, some times flying along streets below rooftop level. Eventually they make their way back home. Helios lands the chopper. He begins to fold up the rotors while the others take the other vehicles out of the shop. Then they roll the chopper inside.

A few hours later, Zen heads off to her day job. Helios contacts Dollar Bill and begins the ball rolling on finding a buyer for the chopper they stole. Saito and Riptide head to the Golden Saloon.

Noon comes and goes with no sign of Kona. When the clock strikes 1:00 PM, Riptide is on the phone trying to contact Kona, but his phone goes straight to voicemail.

Riptide then hits the streets trying to see if he can track down Kona. It isn’t long before he gets word that around 10:00 AM, Kona got into his car and then his car his car went up in a ball of fire.

Riptide then begins working his contacts, trying to figure out who might have taken out Kona. He learns that a solo known as Cynthia Red specializes in car bombs, but he could not get any other information on her.

Riptide then contacts the others to tell them what he has learned. Zen decides on a long shot and calls Krissy and Roxie. It turns out that they do indeed know Cynthia Red. She’s not a friend, so much as an acquaintance. They don’t know a whole lot about her, but they do know she hangs at The Afterlife.

Riptide and Saito decide to go to the Afterlife that evening. First, they go home and try to get some sleep, having now been up over 24 hours.

After cramming in a few hours sleep, the two head to the Afterlife. Unfortunately, Cynthia Red is nowhere to be seen. They decide to head home and call it a night.

January 19th, 2039

The team spends the day taking care of errands and attending to their day jobs. That night, Saito and Riptide head to the Afterlife.

Luck is on their side this night as they spot Cynthia Red. Not surprisingly, she has bright red hair, and possesses the poise of an experienced solo. She also seems to have company, as she is busy chatting up a man at her table.

Riptide heads outside and finds a corner dealer to make a purchase from. He then heads back into the bar and gives it to Saito. Saito in turn, gives it to the bartender along with a bribe and some instructions.

The two then hang out, patiently watching the table. Finally, the man heads to the bar and orders a couple of drinks. He returns to the table and resumes talking to Cynthia. Several minutes later he passes out. They watch as Cynthia looks momentarily perplexed, then relieves her date of his wallet and heads for the door.

Saito intercepts her and tells her she could do better than the loser passed out at her table. She laughs and tells him she could tell someone spiked his drink, and rightfully assumes it was Saito.

She says she likes a man who comes on strong, and so he does. A few minutes later, they are kissing. Unfortunately for Saito, she is equipped with a cyber-snake in her mouth and uses it on Saito. The electrical shock that hits him nearly knocks him out, but he manages to stay conscious. The two begin to struggle, and a crowd gathers. Riptide hangs in the back and watches to see how things play out.

Eventually security arrives and immediately throws Saito out of the club. The staff begins to then question Cynthia. Riptide can’t her what they are saying, but he watches as the questions turn to accusations, and soon one of the bouncers has the stolen wallet in his hand. A few moments later, Cynthia Red is out on the street as well.

Riptide follows her out of the club and to her car. She turns, ready for a fight, but then Saito arrives to back up Riptide.

They question her about the hit on Kona. She says that Kona tried to change the terms of the deal with his employer, so his employer decided it would be cheaper to kill Kona and take the chip. She is reluctant to reveal her employer, but eventually admits it was Mr. Y, the same Mr. Y that had hired the team late last year to retrieve the stolen EBM chip.

Riptide explains that his team was the one to get the Infocomp data and he’d like to get paid for the work they did. She asks how much they are supposed to get paid and he tells her $60,000. She says she will ask Mr.Y about the money, but certainly cannot make any promises. Riptide and Saito let her go.

January 20th, 2039

Around noon the next day, Riptide gets a call from Mr. Y. Y explains that $60,000 is more than Kona had agreed to do the job for. He indicates however, that he will pay them their fee if they deal with another matter that has come up.

It seems that Kona was trying to engineer some sort of double cross, or triple cross as the case may be. In addition to screwing Mr. Y. and the team, Kona had also worked a deal with a man named Klaus Von Himmer, who was using Kona as a go between to extort Mr.Y. However, in his revised deal with Mr. Y., Kona wanted Y. to pay one million eurobucks for both the data on Shumann and where to find Von Himmer.

Mr. Y. had Cynthia Red kill Kona and take the data chip. Now however, he is concerned about this Klaus Von Himmer. With Kona dead, there is no real lead on locating him. If the team can find Von Himmer and eliminate him, Mr. Y. agrees to pay the full $60,000.

Their first course of action is to look into who is Klaus Von Himmer. It turns out he’s a newly escaped prisoner, who has spent the last few years in Brain Dance isolation. He was barely into serving his 39 consecutive sentences for murder when a power outage at the prison gave him an opportunity to check out early.

A background check indicated that although he was originally from Houston, Texas, he had worked in Night City for EBM, working as a courier. However, after blowing up an apartment building and killing 39 people, he was off to prison for the remainder of his life. He was out now, but the state decided to issue an arrest for his execution, which was then assigned to the State Executioner, Judge Julius Anderson.

Zen went to Infocomp to see what she could learn about Judge Anderson’s progress. While there, she learned that the company was offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of those who attacked their data haven. She briefly considered how to collect that reward, but then it was back to Judge Anderson.

It seems the Judge had tracked Von Himmer here to Night City due to an ill-advised call he had made to his mother in Houston. Anderson’s most recent action was to impound the remains of Kona’s vehicle. How Anderson knew the connection between Von Himmer and the now deceased fixer is unknown.

Luckily for the team, Riptide still has his contact working at the police impound yard. A quick phone call and a promise of a few bucks and they learn that Judge Anderson’s crew has not yet gone over the car remains. The two race over to the impound yard where they are allowed to examine the remains.

The car was once a Nissan Mage, but now is a pile of metal and plastic. They sift through the pile wreckage, trying to find anything useful. After nearly an hour of searching, they turn up nothing useful.

Then they notice that the car had contained a lot of after market parts. They sort those parts into a separate pile and begin to examine those parts specifically. They are able to determine that many of the parts came from a shop called The Dub Kings.

They are about to continue their examination when they hear a convoy of vehicles pulling into the impound yard. Riptide and Zen sneak over to the impound office and watch the proceedings on the security cameras.

Out of the vehicle come about a dozen officers in immaculate uniforms. But the last to emerge is a monster of a man, well over 6 feet tall and nearly as wide as he is a mass of grafted muscle. He too wears an immaculate uniform, but he sleeves have been removed, exposing his oversized arms. The badge on his massive chest indicates that this is Judge Julius Anderson.

His team works like a well-oiled machine, systematically going over the remnants of the vehicle, while he himself watches them, his hulking form standing perfectly still.

Having been contacted by the others, Helios heads over to The Dub Kings. He steps inside and is at first delighted to see the shop is run by fellow Thai like himself. But then they begin to talk in “tuner-speak”, an odd mix of English and Spanish, leaving him shaking his head.

He then tells them about being a fan of the Nissan Mage, and saw one that was completely tricked out and wanted to know if they knew who’s it was. The Dub Kings crew, eager to brag about their work, tell him that that car was their project that they did for a guy named Kona.

He asks them how much the mods cost, which they explained would run about $30,000, but Kona is a dealer in car parts, and provided many of his own. Not one to pass up a business opportunity, Helios tells them about his salvage business and that he would be interested in becoming a provider for them. They tell him they already have Kona, which reveals that they don’t know that Kona is already flat-lined. Helios gives them his contact info, and he begins to peruse the shop.

Back at the impound yard, it seems the officers from the State Executioner’s Office have noticed the same thing that the edgerunners did. They gather up their gear and load into the vehicles. Judge Anderson’s voice carries well, and they hear him tell the other drivers that they are going to The Dub Kings.

After the judge’s crew departs, Zen and Riptide locate the brain dance unit that was built into the car’s entertainment system. It is badly damaged, but they think that Mouse maybe able to pull some data off of it. They decide to take it back home.

Helios is still browsing the store when Judge Anderson arrives. He walks into the store and approaches the counter. He also asks the man behind the counter about the Nissan Mage, and the Dub Kings employee acknowledges that they did the work for Kona. Anderson then produces a photo of Klaus Von Himmer and asks if they have seen him. The employee denies ever seeing the person. Apparently Anderson does not believe him as he grabs the employee, pulls him over the counter and slams him onto the ground. The employee cracks and admits that the man in the photo is hiding out at his sister’s house. He gives up the address, and Anderson goes back to his vehicle.

Helios, who has been quietly watching the proceedings, radios Ritpide with the location of Klaus Von Himmer. Riptide and Zen are currently closer to that address than Helios and Judge Anderson. They race to the house.

They are the first to arrive. Zen heads into the narrow gap between the houses while Riptide goes to the front door. Zen finds herself face to face with a very large and unfriendly dog. She hopes it’s not viscous, but gives up on that notion as it chomps down on her leg.

This draws the attention of the woman living in the house. She grabs a shotgun and goes to the back door. Riptide takes advantage of this distraction and enters through the front door. He quietly heads up stairs and spots a man watching out the back window. Riptide quietly draws his pistol and approaches the man.

In the back yard, Zen is forced to stun the dog with her gang jazzler. The dog collapses in a heap. Just then a woman bursts out of the back door talking rapidly in a language Zen does not understand. Zen is able to grasp that the woman thinks that Zen has killed her dog.

Upstairs, Riptide talks to Klaus. He demands that Klaus turn over the data that he has on Mr. Y. Klaus is at first confused then realizes that Riptide is talking about his old boss at EBM, Edger Jaymes. He tells Riptide that he was framed for those murders. Riptide changes tactics and tells Klaus he needs to come with Riptide now as Judge Anderson is on his way.

Outside, Zen manages to convince the woman that the dog is not dead. She hears over her ear bead that Riptide is out of the house and on his way to the truck with Klaus. Zen slowly begins to back out of the backyard and heads back toward the street.

Just as Riptide and Klaus get in the truck, Judge Anderson’s convoy comes around the corner a couple of blocks away. They decide that Riptide should leave, immediately but casually. Zen will try and link up with Helios who has followed the convoy from The Dub Kings.

As Riptide slowly drives away, Zen goes back into the gap and returns to the back yard. She gestures to the woman that she is just passing through. She almost clears the backyard when the woman begins screaming at her again. This draws the attention of Judge Anderson who is coming up the front walk.

Zen breaks into a full run. She doesn’t look back, but she can hear the heavy footfalls of the State Executioner following her. He may be built for power, but he’s not built for speed, and she is able to put some distance between them.

In the truck, Riptide and Klaus head back downtown. Klaus explains that he used to be a courier for Edgar Jaymes. Edgar had paid a local booster gang to kill Edgar’s boss at EBM and make it look like a random gang violence incident. The only person who had info that could implicate Edgar was Klaus. He says it was Cynthia Red that blew up that apartment building and planted evidence to implicate Klaus.

Klaus says he planned to extort Edgar for enough money that he could disappear. His mistake was hiring Kona who apparently intended to sell him out. Riptide asks him where the data chip is, and he says it’s in a locker at the transit station along with some cash. Riptide says that in exchange for the contents of the locker, he will help Klaus get out of town.

Meanwhile, Zen seems to have lost the judge, but now she spots a police helicopter flying overhead. As she crosses a street, Helios comes racing up on his motorcycle. She climbs on and they take off. They start to head downtown when they spot the police chopper overhead.

At about this time, Saito is coming into the city via the highway, after spending the better part of the day working at the gun range. He is apprised of the situation and suggests that they go to the mallplex where they have a parking ramp that will provide cover.

He then contacts Buckshot Betty, who is on duty, but taking a break at a corner bar, and asks if she can head over to the mallplex and pick up his friends. She agrees.

Helios and Zen arrive at the mallplex and ditch the motorcycle in the ramp. They jump into Betty’s cab that is waiting for them and head over to the transit center.

Saito is the first to arrive at the Transit Center and locates the locker. He also spots a man in a suit watching the locker. He lets the other know.

The rest arrive. Riptide stays in the truck with Klaus. He gives the locker key to Zen who goes in with Helios. Zen circles around, gives the key to Saito and then gets behind the man watching the locker. Helios then goes to a fire alarm pull station, and pulls the lever.

The fire alarm is triggered. But instead of fleeing the building, most of the patrons look around to see if there is actually a fire. Finally security guards begin ushering people out of the building. Zen uses her gang jazzler to stun the man watching the locker and grabs his wallet. Saito goes to the locker, opens it, and grabs the case inside. They all then exit the transit center. They pull out just as the judge’s vehicles begin to pull in.

They begin to head back home. Zen checks the wallet and sees that the man is with the State Executioner’s Office. On a hunch, she examines the ID card. As she suspected, it contains a satellite transponder. She promptly throws the card out of the window. Saito checks the case and finds a pistol, a data chip, and $20,000 in cash.

Back home, they ask Mouse to examine the data chip. He says it does contain evidence to implicate Edgar James in the death of Daniel Cortez, another employee at EBM. The data chip is designed to note any copies that are made, so if they copy the data, Edgar James will know.

Mouse then looks into Cortez’ background. He finds out that Daniel was the Vice President of R&D for EBM’s Night City Office. He was killed in a gang-related shooting, after which his underling, Edgar Jaymes was promoted. Daniel was survived by a wife and two children.

Riptide hatches a plan.

January 21st, 2039

He asks Satio to rig up an explosive device big enough to take out the passengers in a car while he runs an errand. He then takes Klaus to a bus station and buys him a ticket to Houston. As promised, he gets Klaus out of the city.

When he returns, Saito has rigged up a bomb using some C-4 he had left over from a previous job. They then head out to The Afterlife. They spot Cynthia Red’s car. Riptide picks the lock and Saito plants the bomb under the driver seat. They then sit back and wait.

Around 3:00 AM, Cynthia exits the club. She climbs into her car. A moment later, the car goes up in a ball of fire.

When the sun rises, Riptide contacts Alisha Cortez, Daniel’s widow. He indicates that he has evidence that proves that her husband’s death was not a random act of violence. He is looking for $75,000 in payment for the evidence. She agrees to meet him in a coffee shop up in North Oak.

Around noon, Riptide goes to the coffee shop where Alisha Cortez and her lawyer Mr. Parsons are waiting. After introductions, they get down to business.

Mr. Parsons indicates that the $75,000 has been placed into an account and gives Riptide the numbers and passwords to access the account. However, he has placed a 72-hour hold on the funds. If the information proves to be useless, he will close the account and Riptide is out his money. If the information is useful, Riptide can withdraw his money when the hold expires.

Riptide asks what would prevent them from taking the chip and then closing the account before the 72 hours regardless of the value of the info. Mr. Parsons merely shrugs and points out that Riptide knows who Alisha Cortez is, while they don’t know who he really is. Riptide agrees and they make the exchange.

That evening, the team watches the news and sees special report from [[:jim stacey | Jim Stacey]], reporting on the arrest of Edgar Jaymes, on charges of conspiracy to murder Daniel Cortez.

Three days later, the hold ends,and they get their money. Between the Cortez payment, and Klaus’ stash, they make $95,000 plus have a helicopter to try and sell. Plus they have avenged a few deaths, making it a rare moral victory as well.

Episode 27 Eurotrash

The team gets about three weeks of down time before their next job. They spend the time healing up and replacing damaged gear.

November 7th, 2038

Dollar Bill contacts Riptide. He says he has a corp looking to hire some edgerunners and wants to know if Riptide can meet at the Forlorn Hope tomorrow. Riptide agrees.

November 8th, 2038

Riptide goes to the Forlorn Hope. He meets a man wearing some serious yuppie flash, including pointed ears, fangs, and color-changing suit. He introduces himself as Mr. Y.

Y is looking to have a data-chip recovered that was stolen from another corporate by an exotic joy girl. He does not have a lot of info on the girl other than she is a cheetah-exotic who goes by the name of Misty. She was last seen working the Night City Convention Center the night the chip disappeared. He doesn’t say what the chip does, only that its ID code is EBMBIOPROC971X.A.

He agrees to pay $10,000 for the chip plus $5,000 upfront to cover expenses. Riptide gets him to agree to an incentive bonus of $10,000 if they can get it to him in 24 hours. No contact information is exchanged. Instead, they simply agree to meet back here at the Forlorn Hope in 24 hours.

Riptide talks to Dollar Bill to find out what he knows about joy girls. Dollar Bill says he only knows two guys in the area pimping exotics. One is named Hartely. He works out of Durant’s restaurant in the EBM Tower. The other is Wilson, who works the New Harbor Marina area.

Riptide contacts the others and fills them in on the details. They meet at the hospital, in the room where Zenis recovering. She uses her resources in Infocomp to find out anything about Misty, but with nothing more than that name to go one, she comes up with nothing.

Saito puts on his Sunday best and heads over to Durant’s. He figures out which patron is Hartely and asks him about hiring a joy girl, specifically of the cheetah variety. Hartely says he only has one currently, and her name is Baja. Saito agrees to set up a date in one hour at the Hotel Hamilton.

In the mean time, Riptide heads down to the marina and begins looking for Wilson. He finds the dread-lock bedecked pimp and inquires about hiring a cheetah joy girl. Wilson says he has one but has not heard from her in a couple of days and is not sure what her availability is. He is clearly not happy about the situation, as she owes him for some drugs her got her.

Riptide offers to track her down for a discount on the session. Wilson agrees, saying if Riptide can get her furry butt back here, Riptide can have a go for free. They agree on the deal. Wilson says her name is Misty and she lives at the Meadow Creek Pines.

Riptide contacts Helios and Saito and has them meet at the Meadow Creek Pines. Saito sticks around the Hamilton long enough to meet Baja. He cancels the date, but still pays the $600 minimum fee. She gives him her contact number if he changes his mind.

As Helios and Riptide drive to Meadow Creek Pines, they notice that they are being tailed by a blue sedan. They are able to shake it before arriving at the Pines.

Meadow Creek Pines is a rundown apartment building with zero security. Its home to blue collar types in the upper levels and a cheesy country-western bar on the first floor. They talk to a resident reading a newspaper in the second floor lobby. Being an exotic, Misty’s hard to miss. He says she lives up in apartment 503. They wait for Saito to arrive. When he does, Helios stays in the lobby while the other two head up to the fifth floor.

They approach the door and Riptide uses the thermo-imager in his cyber optic to scan the apartment. He sees one prone person in the living room. They knock a couple of times, but get no answer, nor does the person move.

Riptide picks the lock and they enter the apartment and see that it has been ransacked. Lying on the couch is a man who doesn’t register that they are there until they are standing in the living room. Talking to him they realize that he is stoned on Blue Glass. He talks about being visited by angels and trying to find God in the Net. He says he found God once, but he called himself Masslight and zapped him with lightning.

When asked about what happened to the apartment, he says the angels came asking for Misty. When he said that he did not know where she was, they created a terrible wind, which trashed the place.

They relayed this information to Helios who asked the man reading the newspaper if four people came to visit recently. The man said that four attractive ladies came by a short while ago. Based on the language they were using, he guessed that they were German.

Saito and Riptide are about to leave the stoner when the phone in the apartment rings. It rings only once before switching to an answering machine. The voice on the phone is a rugged female voice that says, “Misty, Its Bee. Your brat is here from the grocery store. Are you with the program or not? If your not here in 5 minutes, I’m bugging out. Call Chueng if there is a change of plans.”

They head back down to the lobby to talk with Helios and the newspaper reader. As they are talking, they hear a commotion in the back stairwell. Saito goes to check it out. He sees two women in the back stairwell. Saito approaches and one draws a pistol and aims it at him, warning him off. Saito continues forward and she fires at him.

Hearing the shots, Riptide and Helios move to the stairwell. Saito gets in contact range of the shooter and swats her gun away and tries to grapple her. He now has full view of the stairwell, and sees a third woman who zaps a badly beaten Misty with a Tazer. The third woman exits, while the second joins the struggle with Saito and tries to get him to release her.

Riptide and Helios try to help, but the fight in the stairwell has them bottlenecked. Eventually the second woman gives up and leaves the first to her fate. The first woman succumbs to Saito’s chokehold and collapses. He moves to check on Misty, who is barely alive.

Riptide and Helios push past the melee and out the back door where they are greeted by a claymore mine blast. It rips up their armor, but they survive. However, before they can recover, a fourth woman, covering the escape of the other two opens fire with her assault rifle. Riptide is able to dive back inside, but Helios is cut down. Riptide drags Helios into the building. Saito calls Jarvic for a medical evac for Helios and Misty.

They discuss what to do next, knowing that they may only have a few minutes before the chip disappears forever. They ask the newspaper guy where the nearest grocery store is. He says it’s the MaxiMarket one block east.

They head over there and ask the clerks if anyone knows Misty or her daughter. A grocery runner says that Misty’s daughter Kelly was in here just a few minutes ago. She bought some groceries and headed over to the medical supply warehouse that is across the street from the Meadow Creek Pines.

They run over to the warehouse to the door that the clerk had pointed towards. The door has an intercom and a camera. Riptide buzzes the intercom and a voice asks what they want. Riptide says that he is looking buy the chip. The door unlocks.

They head up a set of stairs where a solo instructs them to place any weapons in a box before having them walk through a full body scanner. They do so and enter the warehouse room.

There they meet Queen Bee, a fixer who is looking to sell the chip. She asks for $750,000 for the chip. The edgerunners don’t have that kind of money, nor do they have any way of getting a hold of Mr. Y. They are considering what to do, when the voice from the intercom now comes over the loudspeaker in the room telling Bee that there is a problem.

A moment later a small explosion tares open the front door. Saito runs to the gun box to get their weapons. Two grenades are launched into the stairwell. Saito is able to grab the box, but is badly wounded by the grenade detonations. He hobbles over to a crate where Riptide had dove for cover.

One of the German solo girls charges up the stairs, now decked up in Full Metal Gear. She opens fire with her assault rifle and guns down the solo that had been watching the stairs.

The lights suddenly go out and a crate opens up. Out rolls a drone mounted with a mini-gun. It opens fire, ripping apart the German solo. Riptide and Saito run into the warehouse office, as the drone keeps the other solos at bay.

Inside the office they see the girl Kelly, and a man lying on a couch, wired to a deck. Queen Bee is pushing a shelf out of the way revealing a hole behind it. She orders the girl through and then follows her self. While Riptide watches the door, Saito unplugs the Net Runner.

The man is disoriented for a moment and looks at Saito angrily and demands to know why he did that. Outside, they hear the drone’s mini-gun wind down as its controller had just been disconnected. Saito picks up the man and they move through the hole in the wall. Beyond is a small room with a fireman’s pole descending to the floor below.

Below is a small parking garage with a single small roadster. She tells Saito to put Chueng in the trunk. Riptide demands she turn over the chip. She knows the deal is cooked so she decides to take what she can get. Riptide offers the $5,000 they got in expense money, and she agrees. They make they exchange as two solos slide down the pole.

Queen Bee and Kelly take off in the roadster leaving Riptide and Saito to run off on foot. They are pursued by the solos who fire at them while chasing, but the shots go wide.

As they exit the warehouse, they are forced to dive out of the way as the blue sedan drives up onto the sidewalk and tries to run them down. Both of them are able to dive out of the way just in time.

The sedan begins to circle around the block and the solos continue to pursue from the warehouse. Saito and Riptide run down an alley dodging bullets the whole way.

As they run through the alleyways, they happen to come across the headquarters of the infamous booster gang, the Maelstrom. Riptide tries to convince them that the two girls chasing them are going to attack the HQ. The punks out front laugh at that notion stating that the building is a fortress.

The two edge runners continue on. A few moments later, they hear gunfire. The boosters may not have believed Riptides story, but the German girls, being out-of-towners, probably didn’t realize whom they had just run into. A fatal mistake made on their part.

The pursuers were dealt with, but now there is still the sedan. Free to stand their ground, Riptide and Saito open up with every once of firepower they had at hand. The windshield of the vehicle explodes, and the driver is riddled with bullets. The car swerves past them and slams into a light pole.

They make a quick stop at Trapper John’s to get Saito stitched up. They then decide not to go home. Saito calls Baja, and agrees to pay double the standard fee if he and Riptide can crash at her place that evening. She agrees.

They head to her place at the Mallplex. Riptide sleeps on the couch while Saito retires to the bedroom and lives out his Thunder Cats fantasy.

November 9th, 2038

Riptide goes to the Forlorn Hope and meets with Mr. Y. Y examines the chip. Satisfied with what he sees, he transfers $20,000 into Riptide’s account. The money will have to last. With Zen and Helios in the hospital, and Saito nursing some serious injuries, it would be a while before the team could take another job.

Episode 26 The Hunt

The group gets about a month of down time before their next job. They spend the time healing up and replacing damaged gear.

October 19th, 2038

Riptide gets a call from a corp named Ross Crowe. He is a Managing Director at Biotechnica. It seems that he is in need of some investigative work and would rather not involve the police at this time. He says he got Riptide’s contact info from another Biotechnica employee, who Riptide assumes must be Tobias Luna.

Riptide drives over to the Biotechnica office to meet with Ross. He is met by Ross’ assistant Phil Sanders, a junior corp that clearly thinks he’s a bigger player than he is. Phil takes him into Ross’ office and is then immediately dismissed.

In the meeting, Ross explains that another director, Malcolm Flint was found dead that morning in his bed. His wife awoke to find him dead next to her. She had not been awoken during the night, though that may have been explained by the fact that she practices chemically enhanced sleep. But Malcolm showed no signs of a struggle and there was no sign of forced entry. The alarm system had not been tripped, and the CCTV system was missing several minutes of footage in the early morning hours. Biotechnica was preparing to perform an autopsy.

Riptide calls Mouse and has him poke around Flint’s home computer net and see what he can learn. Riptide then hits the streets and starts inquiring about if anyone had any recent dealings with big shots at Biotechnica. He ultimately ends up with a name: Black Knight. He is a fixer who works out of an abandoned warehouse district on the northwest side of Night City. He has a strong reputation as a reliable and confidential dealer. The confidential part concerns Riptide as this means it won’t be easy to get Black Knight to share what he knows.

Later that morning Mouse calls and says that Flint’s system was hacked, and that both the access control and security systems were compromised. It was the work of a talented runner, which means there is no hope of tracing the source of the hack.

Around noon, Riptide gets a call from Ross. He says that they have finished the autopsy of Flint and found that he had been injected with a neurotoxin that stopped his heart. They could find no injection point.

Riptide calls Zen and asks her to use her resources at Infocomp to see if she could find who might make a neurotoxin like this. She does some research and learns that a Japanese company called SubTech had a shipment turned away by customs that apparently contained an illegal shipment of an unknown neurotoxin. The shipment was meant for a company called Super Nova Technologies.

In the afternoon, Riptide gets another call from Ross. Another employee, Dustin Palmer was found dead on a toilet in one of the office restrooms. His cause of death appears to be identical to that of Flint’s. Palmer also worked in the same department as Flint. Riptide asks what the department does and Ross explains that they negotiate deals for joint ventures with other companies. They are currently negotiating with EBM for a cybernetics project, Petrochem regarding a new CHOOH plant, and WorldSat on an advertising deal.

Further research on Zen’s part reveals that SubTech was shutdown a year ago by the Japanese government when it was learned that SubTech had ties to a death cult that was planning some terrorist attacks.

She also learned that Super Nova Technologies went out of business a few months ago. There was a fire that destroyed their main laboratory. Investigation into the incident by the Fire Department indicated that it was caused by arson. As a result, the insurance company did not pay out, and Super Nova was unable to recover from the loss.

After learning that Dustin Palmer worked directly under Malcolm Flint, they inquire as to who is next in line in that department. They are informed that the next two are Theodore O’Conner and Sarah Williams. Ross Crow has already moved them to a secure room to be watched.

Riptide drives down to the old warehouse district and locates Black Knight’s home. It appears to have reinforced doors and windows, access control, and a CCTV system installed. Riptide calls Mouse to see if he can hack it, but it appears that Black Knight’s system is off the Net.

He then asks Mouse to hack Biotechnica’s data fortress to monitor their security system for tampering similar to what happened with Malcolm Flint. Mouse is clearly not excited about trying to hack the mega-corporation’s system. Still, he says he will need to score some software and then will make a go at it. A couple hours later he calls back to say that he succeeded, but he took a hit from a zombie program, which has left him with a massive headache.

A short time later, Riptide gets another call from Ross. Theodore O’Connor is dead. He was sitting in the secured room with Sarah Williams when he swatted at his neck as if bitten by a mosquito. He then dropped dead a few moments later. Checking the body, she found a tiny needle stuck in his neck. Video surveillance of the room confirms her story.

They team meets up and travels to Biotechnica. They inspect the room. The only ways into the room would be the door, which closes flush with the wall, and an air vent. The air vent seems to be the only place from which the shot could be taken, however, it to O’Conner’s right, and he was hit in the left side of the neck.

The team decides that Sarah Williams is not safe inside Biotechnica and relocate her to their own secured home. They also learn that Biotechnica’s preliminary examination of the needle indicates that it is some sort of cybernetic nano-device with a self-contained delivery system.

October 20, 2038

Saito calls Mouse and asks him to research what happened to the employees at Super Nova after the business shut down. Mouse says that despite the fact that he has spent all night throwing up as a result of the Zombie attack, he will see what he can do.

Riptide checks in with Ross and leans that Ross’ assistant Phil Sanders has stolen the needle. They already sent a security team to his home at the New Harbor Mallplex.

Mouse calls and says that most of the employees of Super Nova Technologies were hired away by other companies. The company founder and owner, Dr. Shamburg, was missing however. He disappeared around the time of the lab fire.

Riptide continues to stake out Black Knight’s place. In the early afternoon a tactical van rolls up and a strike team assaults the building. There is an exchange of gunfire and then silence. Riptide watches as the team ransacks the place. He calls Saito to come back him up. However, before Saito can get there, the strike team regroups in the van and takes off.

Riptide follows them through town to a residential area. The team again moves in on an apartment building. Riptide calls Saito and redirects him to his new location. Again, before Saito can arrive, the team exists the building and takes off. Riptide decides to let them go and waits for Saito to arrive.

A short time later, Saito arrives and they investigate the apartment. They find the place trashed and a man apparently beaten to death. Close examination indicates that he is still alive but barely. They are able to resuscitate him long enough to learn that the men were looking for Dr. Shamburg. He gave them the Shamburg’s address, which is where they were heading now. Saito calls Jarvic and asks him to pick up the nearly dead guy and get him to a hospital. Riptide calls Dr. Shamburg, using the number he got from the man, and warns him that some men are on the way. He instructs Shamburg to go to the Ron Walker Auto Showroom and wait for him there.

As Saito and Riptide make their exit, they are stopped by two men. One introduces himself as Mr. Lam, an agent for Arasaka. He tells them that he too is searching for Dr. Shamburg and Shamburg stole something that belongs to them. How he knew they were in contact with Shamburg is unknown. Riptide tells them that they are going to meet him now. Lam indicates that he will follow them.

On the way to Ron Walker’s, Satio and Riptide both take separate routes and are able to lose the Arasaka agents. Saito heads straight to Ron Walker’s while Riptide goes to Shamburg’s apartment.

At Shamburg’s, he sees the same strike team searching the building. He then heads towards Ron Walker’s.

Saito gets to Ron Walker’s and quickly spots Dr. Shamburg. He just as quickly explains what is going on and gets Shamburg to agree to go with him. He is about to leave when the Arasaka agents enter. He is able to evade them and make his escape just as Riptide rolls up.

They quickly make their way to their safe house, the former home of Irina Lovodny. Once there, Shamburg explains that the device is a prototype he created called the Nano-Fly. It is remote controlled, can bypass most security systems, and can deliver a lethal payload of neurotoxin. He sold the device and its design specs to Arasaka. He gave them the specs, but before he delivered the device and its control unit, he learned that Arasaka was going to shut down his company. So he ran off with the Nano-Fly and its control unit. Using a fixer named Fireman, he sold the unit. He has been lying low ever since. Saito remains there while Riptide returns back to their home in the Combat Zone.

Saito gets in contact with Jarvic who has the man they found tucked away at REO Meatwagon’s emergency clinic. Jarvic says that the man is a fixer named Fireman. Talking with Fireman reveals that he sold the device through another fixer named Black Knight. He also recalls that before losing consciousness, one of the strike team members mention they should talk to someone he called “The German.” Another strike team member agreed, but referred to the contact as “Wolf”. The team recalled that they once did a job for a German solo named Wolf Reimann, who they knew had done regular work for Militech.

Riptide callshis contact within Arasaka, and asks him about the Nano-Fly. His contact says that the device was always thought to be a rumor. He also mentions that if Arasaka is interested in the device, it would likely be to destroy it, not use it. Arasaka is in the security business and such a device would be a threat to that business.

In the afternoon, Mouse gets to work trying to track down Phil via his cell phone. Meanwhile, Riptide tracks down someone with contact information for Wolf Reimann.

Riptide makes contact with Wolf, who remembered them from the job in Romania. He tells Riptide that he was asked by Militech to track down and retrieve Dr. Shamburg. Riptide tells him that they are after something that the Doctor has and that they should coordinate with Wolf to find the Doctor. Wolf says he will be catching a flight shortly to Night City to take over the investigation himself. The team realizes they need to wrap this up before he gets there.

Back at the old Lovodny house, Saito continues to babysit the Doctor. There is a knock at the door and Saito answers to be greeted by one of the neighborhood kids. The kid informs him that there is a sedan full of men parked a block away, watching the house. Saito contacts the others, who immediately make plans to return to the house and relocate the doctor.

Riptide is the first to get back to the neighborhood, but once he is within a couple blocks of the house, he finds a police roadblock in his way. An officer standing at the roadblock explains that Arasaka is conducting a training exercise. Riptide calls Colin, who tells him that Arasaka is getting ready to assault the house. Riptide lets Saito know what is waiting for him.

At the house, the doorbell rings. Saito answers to find this time Mr. Lam at the door. Mr. Lam states that he would like to speak to the Doctor, and place him in Arasaka’s protective custody. He then offers the team 50,000 Euros to retrieve the Nano-fly, which Arasaka intends to destroy. They would give the team just enough of the remaining pieces to take back to their employer to get paid for solving the murders.

The others arrive to discuss the matter. First they wonder how Mr. Lam found them, but then they remembered that their motorcycles had been sitting outside of the apartment building where they first met him. Those same motorcycles were now parked outside this house.

They then decide to agree to Mr. Lam’s terms. They hope they were not giving over the Doctor just to be liquidated, but it is hard to pass up the big paycheck.

They then head to Phil’s apartment at the Mallplex. It has already been gone over by a Biotechnica tactical unit, but maybe they missed something. The apartment turned out to be well searched, but they did learn that Phil had a Blue Ice habit. His dealer was a man named Tangent. Riptide knew this fixer had a reputation for being an untrustworthy weasel who would sell out his own grandma.

They head out to the Mallplex parking lot, where Tangent sells drugs out of his van. It takes a bribe of 1,000 Euros, but they learn that Phil is holed up at the EZ Overnighter in coffin 172.

They then head over to the EZ Overnighter. When they are a few blocks away, Riptide spots the van from the Militech strike team parked on the street. Thermo optics tells them that the van is empty. They stop long enough to disable the vehicle and continue on their way.

When they arrive, they contact Mouse and have him hack the Overnighter’s security system and keep an eye on the facility for them. He hacks in, only to find another Netrunner in the system. A battle in cyberspace takes place as the two runners trade attack programs. The other runner is clearly corporate backed and has a wide array of nasty programs. Mouse is outmatched but hopes to stall the runner before he is taken out. However, for a brief moment, Mouse spots an opening in the other runner’s defenses and launches a Deck Crash program. The other runner is knocked out of the system.

Mouse happily informs the group of his success but warns that Militech will know that they are there once the booted netrunner tells his comrades.

By this time however, the team is already in place. Saito is up on a roof, overlooking the Overnighter complex. Zen and Riptide sneak around the back and near to where the Militech men are gathered. The scene has a strong sense of familiarity, as this is the same place that they fought Union Force during the incident with Ricco Estevez.

Zen closes in on one of the men and hears a report on the radio that three edgerunners were moving in and that someone named Remmy was on his way. She had no idea who Remmy was, but she knew the three were she, Saito, and Riptide. Once she was close enough to the solo, she took him out with her Gang Jazzler.

Several Militech men are standing around one of the coffins. Phil is with them, protesting as one of the Militech men begins going through his coffin. The team decides to move in. Zen opens fire at close range, while Saito snipes from the rooftop. Riptide offers supporting fire for Zen. Phil is quickly killed in the crossfire.

Zen finds herself outgunned, but Saito’s sniper fire helps keep the Militech men occupied. But then Saito hears something moving up behind him. He turns to see a full conversion cyborg, its light armor painted black, and his footsteps almost completely silent. The two exchange close range fire, but the borg quickly closes the distance to make Saito’s giant rifle useless. It attacks in hand to hand, Saito desperately avoiding its crushing blows. At one point, Saito out maneuvers, it, and it goes flying over the edge of the building. But the moment it hits the ground, it recovers, launches a grapple cable to the roof and quickly ascends back to the top.

Without Saito’s supporting fire, Zen finds herself in trouble and with in moments her armor, both external and internal is chewed up. Another burst rips into her flesh and she collapses to the ground dying.

Back on the roof, the cyborg returns with graceful ease. However, its fall and return gave Saito just enough time to recover and set himself with his rifle. A point blank shot slams into the borg sending it flying once more to the ground.

Meanwhile, the Militech agent that had been rooting around in the coffin comes out with the Nano-fly. He makes a break for the exit. The cyborg that was ready to go after Saito again, decides to instead meet up with the agent. There is a momentary exchange, and then the cyborg also attempts a hasting retreat. The cyborg moves alarmingly fast, but Saito is able to tag it with another round, slowing it down considerably. Another two well-placed electro-thermo rounds bring it down, but at this point it is already a couple blocks away from the EZ Overnighter.

Riptide contacts Helios to meet them there as quickly as possible. He then contacts Mr. Lam and tells him they have the Nano-Fly, but need medical support.

He then drives off the last remaining Militech agents and secures Zen’s body. Riptide then moves on to get to the cyborg, while Saito gets to the dying Zen and attempts to stabilize her body. He is able to keep her from bleeding out, but she will need medical attention and soon.

Riptide gets to the cyborg body at the same time that Helios arrives. They look at the body and see that the Nano-Fly and its control unit are attached to the cyborg. The cyborg, apparently some sort of stealth and infiltration model, was the one that had been controlling the Nano-fly. They are able to remove both the fly and the control unit.

An Arasaka medical team arrives, and they take Zen to the hospital. Riptide turns over the Nano-fly to Mr. Lam. Mr. Lam tells them that they will be paid immediately, but would not get the evidence they need to get paid by Biotechnica until next week. Riptide agrees. He also looks at his watch and realizes that Wolf would be arriving in a couple of hours. They had turned the Doctor, whom they told Wolf they would help find, over to his employer’s competition. What were they going to tell him?

While Helios gets the Militech van up and running again, Riptide contacts one of his coworkers with an unusual job offer. For a couple hundred bucks, he would need to drive to the airport, wait for the team to leave, then follow them, but lose them when they tried to shake him. His coworker thinks it odd, but wasn’t about to turn down the easy money.

They then go to the airport and meet Wolf at the gate. They tell him there is trouble and he needs to go with them immediately. He quickly gets into their vehicle as they speed off. Riptide explains that Arasaka took the Nano-Fly, kidnapped Dr. Shamburg, and then wiped out Wolf’s team at the EZ Overnighter.

Wolfgang is surprised by this but has little time to consider it as Helios reports that they are being followed. Riptide states that Arasaka got wind that Wolf was coming to the airport and was going to take him out there. Helios’ skillful driving allows him to shake the pursuer.

Wolf, now fully convinced to Riptides’ story, directs them to take him the Militech’s testing grounds south of Night City. They drop him off and return home.

As promised, about a week later, Arasaka produces the remaining pieces of the Nano-Fly. The team then turns the parts over to Mr. Crowe at Biotechnica. As promised, he pays them double their original fee.

The team is not sure how they feel about this mission. It was definitely profitable, but it meant doing some dirty work for their nemesis, Arasaka. Does this mean they could let bygones be bygones if the money is right?


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