Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 10 - Son of Man

June 7th, 2037

Helios awakens to find himself on a train heading back into Night City. His last memory is of being knocked out by Tobias Luna’s security team. He returns home to find his own team less than thrilled to see him. They tell him that they are concerned that he may be bugged or monitored in some fashion and send him away. Eventually they agree to meet him in a park.

They meet later that same day. Jarvic is also there and has brought a full body medical scanner with him. The fact that a paramedic is able to bring such a device to a park seems odd, but Helios thinks little of it. The scan indicates that he is not bugged. They also draw blood to check for biological contamination.

The next day Helios goes to work. At one point during the day, Jimmy Two Teeth lets Helios know that someone has stopped by to see him. Helios goes up front and is greeted by a man who introduces himself as Tobias Luna.

Not too surprisingly, Tobias is furious that Helios killed his wife. He calls Helios a “cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch” and indicates that he knows where Helios lives, where Helios works, and with whom Helios works with. He would love nothing more than to slowly destroy Helios, but recent matters dictate a different course of action. It turns out the Tobias has an urgent task that requires exactly the kind of person he believes Helios to be.

Tobias is willing to call things even if Helios is able to perform this task. He demands that Helios report to the Biotechnica Night City office by noon that day, with his entire crew, including Jarvic, or he will destroy all of them. When Helios agrees, the garage and everything else melts away. Helios finds himself in a dark room, strapped to a chair. An IV is attached to his arm, and some sort of modified brain-dance machine is wired to his interface plugs. Guards rush in, remove the plugs, untie Helios a quickly usher him outside. As his eyes adjust to the bright lights, Helios finds himself outside the Plaza West Tower in the Corporate Center. It is still the morning of the 7th.

Helios tries his best to round everyone up. Things get tense, as he is unable to reach Zen and Saito until about 11:30 when they return from a trip buying cell phones and furniture. They manage to snag Jarvic and head back to the Corporate Center. At noon on the dot they are in an elevator heading up to Biotechnica’s office.

Once there, they are ushered into a conference room. Tobias enters the room and without introduction, kills the lights and begins to show images on a screen. The first is of a woman named Janet Bashire and the second is a man named Mark Thomas. Tobias indicates that the two have left the company and possess proprietary corporate information that cannot be allowed out of Biotechnica’s control. The team’s job is to kill both of them, along with a third party that they are travelling with.

Any questions are quickly deflected, and Tobias shows no sign of sympathy when Zen protests the idea of becoming paid murderers. Tobias informs them that an intercepted cell phone call indicates that Janet and Mark will be at Pier 34 at the New Harbor Marina at 1:00 PM, which is in 45 minutes.

The team quickly makes their way to the harbor only to find it is the site of a recent terrorist attack. Black smoke billows up from one of the warehouses, and police and firefighters are everywhere. Off in the distance they can see a freighter named “Potente” docked at Pier 34.

Jarvic uses his paramedic credentials to get himself and Helios in. Helios is able to sneak away and approach the Potente but Jarvic is immediately pulled into service helping the wounded. Zen manages to sneak in on her own as well.

By the time Helios gets to the Pier, the Potente is already leaving. He makes a flying leap for one of the mooring ropes, but comes up short and splashes into the water. Some dockworkers kindly fish him out of the bay.

Riptide calls in a bomb threat claiming to be responsible for the first bomb. This does little to draw off the police. Torrent hacks the harbormaster’s computer and gains access to the manifest. The ship is heading to Hong Kong, but does not list any passengers. The ship’s first mate however is listed as a Raphael Bashire. Gaining access to the harbor’s CCTV system, he is able to find a recording of Janet and Mark boarding the Potente. They have a small child with them. Zen again states that she will not be party to killing innocents, especially a small boy.

Investigating other areas of the harbor, they find a ship docked at Pier 12 called the Helena. It is owned by Biotechnica and is leaving that evening at 8:00 PM. A quick call to Tobias gets them passage on that ship. With a few hours to kill, the team makes arrangements for their extended absence and collects their gear.

At 8:00 PM they are onboard the Helena and shown their rooms. The first officer indicates that the voyage should take a little over a week. They are free to move about the ship, but must stay out of the way of the crew. After watching Rocky 12 in the mess hall, they call it a night.

June 8th, 2037

At breakfast the team meets Captain Riley. He is polite, but clearly does not approve of having edge runners on his ship. Other than that, the day is uneventful.

June 9th, 2037

In the late morning the team is startled by a call for all hands on deck. They gear up and head to the deck where the see the ship is under attack by pirates. The pirates have a modified freighter of their own as well as a couple of gunboats. Pirates are rappelling over via ropes and a large crane boom from their own ship.

The team is quickly drawn into the firefight. They exchange fire for several minutes with a dozen pirates, eventually bringing them down. Explosions are then heard as both sides have pulled out the heavy artillery and are firing surface-to-surface missiles at each other. As the team is deciding what to do, more pirates come over the side from one of the gunboats and the firefight continues.

After dispatching those pirates, the team is able to assess the situation. One of the gunboats has been destroyed and the both the Helena and the pirate ship are badly damaged and are taking on water. Zen, Torrent, and Saito decide to make for the front of the ship. The others stay behind, concerned that the ship is sinking. As the three make their way to the front, the pirate ship collides with the Helena, which shortly there after begins to list heavily to port.

Thinking better of the situation, they return to the back of the ship. Torrent and Zen go down to the cabins to retrieve as much equipment as they can. The others engage in a firefight with the remaining gunboat. Helios drops a couple of grenades on the deck of the ship, then he and Jarvic rappel down the side of the ship onto the gunboat as Riptide and Saito provide covering fire. They are able to take down the last remaining crew member of the boat and take control of the boat.

Once the entire team is aboard the ship, they search for as many surviving crewmembers as they can, and are able to save about fifteen crewmen, including the Captain. They interrogate the surviving pirate and learn that pirates were doing a job for a fixer named Edgar Cole. The pirates were under orders to sink the Helena. Stuck in the middle of the ocean on a short-range vessel, they are unsure what to do next. They decide to head for the nearest “land”, which is the Midway Freehold, an artificial island in the middle of the ocean, only a day away.

June 10th, 2037

As they continue their way to Midway, the boat begins to run low on fuel. Saito heads into the small hold where they had seen some fuel barrels and begins to siphon fuel from the barrels into the boat’s gas tank. As he is doing so he realizes that the barrels are labeled “Potente.” Apparently the pirates hit that ship as well.

By mid-afternoon, they spot the Midway Freehold on the horizon. Home to a half million people, the island is a massive collection of ships, barges, and other constructed floating platforms, linked together to great a giant floating city.

They enter one of the waterways leading into the freehold when they are stopped by a freehold boat patrol. Captain Riley shows his credentials and speaks with the patrolmen. After a lengthy conversation, Riley states that they have been given permission to dock inside.

The boat continues up the waterway where the freehold becomes less linked ships, and more built structures on which homes and businesses have been constructed. They also see the massive algae fields and the tanker ships used to process the algae, which forms the basis for most of the freehold’s food supply. Eventually they come to a giant lake in the middle of the Freehold, which is where they find the dock they were told they could use.

Once off the ship, the team considers their next move. They decide to locate someone with a satellite phone. They find a phone and Helios is able to make contact with Tobias. After apprising him of the situation, Tobias indicates that he will see if Biotechnica has a local agent who can help them. A short time later, Helios gets a call from a woman named Cassandra Ellis. She tells the team to meet her in an hour at the Midway Café.

At the appointed time, they are at the Café. The decide to try some of the local cuisine while they are there and find it about as good as they imagined. A short time later they are approached by a brunette who appears to be in her late twenties. She introduces herself as Cassandra Ellis. They begin to explain their situation.

At first, all the help she can offer is to make travel arrangements to get them to Hong Kong. But then Jarvic mentions that the pirates who sunk the Helena and the Potente were working for an Edgar Cole, Cassandra states that not only does she know who he is, but he is essentially why she is here. It seems that Edgar has been getting funding from an unknown source in Biotechnica. He has been using it to purchase large quantities of computer equipment that he has shipped to here on Midway. He has a warehouse where all this equipment seems to go but never leaves. She indicates that if they help her get into that warehouse and find out what he is up to, she will make sure they get to Hong Kong.

At 8:30 PM that evening, they all meet again at the Midway Café, which is located right on the inner lake. About a half-mile away they see a freighter called the Aries pulling up to a dock. About a half an hour later, the crew begins to unload the ship. Eventually two men pull up in a pick up truck. Cassandra is watching through binoculars and indicates that the driver is Edgar Cole, the other being one of his crew. They talk to a dockworker, and have several crates loaded onto the back of the pickup. They then leave the dock and head to Edgar’s warehouse. The team follows.

Once at the warehouse, they find it surrounded by an alarmed fence. There is much debate as to how to get around it. Zen heads to the market, and after some searching, is able to purchase a grapnel gun. Zen and Saito then scale a neighboring warehouse that is much less secure and use the grapnel gun to create a zip line to Edgar’s warehouse. They cross the gap, past the fence, and are soon along side Edgar’s warehouse. They break in, and quickly disable the security system, allowing Cassandra and the rest of the team to join them.

The warehouse is unoccupied. In the center is a pool, containing two sets of moorings. One is empty; the other has a 10-man submersible moored to it. Around the pool are several crates and barrels. The barrels contain kerosene and the crates are mostly empty, but packing slips indicate that they contained computer equipment from a company called Infotech.

The team climbs into the submersible, which Cassandra conveniently knows how to operate. They begin to descend underneath the freehold. The submersible’s light eventually falls upon a cable that drops down further into the darkness. They follow it down into a crater, where it disappears into the rock. A little searching reveals a cave.

Entering the cave, they slowly move through a narrow tunnel until they see light above them. Ascending, they emerge in a pool located in a cave. They cave contains more barrels and crates. At one end is a metal door. Another submersible is docked in the pool.

The team disembarks and goes through the door. They move stealthily down the hallway coming to a three-way intersection. To the right they hear nothing, but to the left they here what sounds like pouring water. They go left and eventually stumble into a guard coming from that direction in the process of zipping up his pants.

They attempt to take the guard the out quietly, but some sound is made. It is not long before they here the sound of approaching boots from the other direction. Coming up behind them is two guards in full metal gear armor and assault rifles. A firefight breaks out. Most of the bullets just bounce off of the metal gear. Saito, Zen, and Riptide switch over to armor piercing rounds. The hard tipped ammo rips into the metal gear, eventually bringing the two guards down. The immediate threat is over, but they have lost any element of surprise.

They move down the right passage way and find themselves under attack by another guard. The guard tosses a grenade that forces everyone to dive for cover. Saito advances to a branching passage as the others provide cover. From multiple covered positions, they are able to take down the guard. Most of the team advances forward while Saito and Cassandra check the branching hallway.

Saito and Cassandra find a door at the end of the hallway. Looking through the small window in the door, they see Janet and Mark. They open the door and begin to question the two.

The rest of the team cautiously begins to investigate a room filled with computer equipment. In the center of the room is a small table on which lies a young boy that Torrent recognizes from the harbor’s security video. He appears to be in a coma, but numerous wires run from his head, into the computer system. A quick look at the system reveals that it is in the process of a massive download of some sort.

Questioning Mark and Janet reveals that the boy is Adam, the clone created by Biotechnica five years ago. When it was originally announced, there was a huge uproar and anti-cloning protests broke out. The matter ended after only a couple of weeks when Biotechnica reported that the clone had died and that they were ceasing all cloning experiments.

But the truth is that Adam did not die. Since he technically did not exist, he has spent the last five years being used by Tobias and other biotechnical scientists as a guinea pig for their various experiments. Mark and Janet, researchers who joined the project a few months ago, knew that what they were doing was wrong, but there was nothing they could do about it. That was when they were contacted by an unknown person within Biotechnica who helped them arrange the kidnapping of Adam. They still do not know who that person is.

Searching the rest of the computer room, the team finds Edgar Cole quietly waiting in a back corner of the room. Questioning Edgar reveals that he is working for an anonymous employer who informed him about this abandoned military base. He was then given specs for building a computer system down here as well as access to a Biotechnica account to help pay for it.

About a week ago he received orders that he was to find a way to intercept the Pontente and sink it, but not before retrieving Mark, Janet, and Adam. It was hoped that it would be believed that they were lost at sea. A complication arose a couple of days ago when it was reported that an edge runner team was on another ship pursuing the team. He was ordered to eliminate them as well. Edgar made use of a local gang of pirates for both jobs.

His final instructions were to bring the child here and hook him up the computer system as instructed. He was also instructed to bring the system online to communicate with the Net. He completed the task about an hour ago, and was simply waiting for the process to run its course. Beyond that, he knows nothing.

The team is still left with unanswered questions. Jarvic examines the boy, and he appears to be brain dead. Disconnecting him from the machine will likely kill him. After several minutes of consideration, Torrent decides to jack into the system and find out what exactly is going on.

When he jacks in, he finds himself inside the computer’s mostly bare construct. But filling the room is what appears to be a huge mass of billowing smoke. It likely represents an extremely large program downloading into the system.

Further investigation discovers an LDL door. Passing through the door, Torrent finds himself in a familiar VR construct. He is not surprised to find that waiting for him is Dr. Kilacho, the mysterious head of the Cult of the New Dawn, sitting upon a throne with cables running from his head up into the ceiling above. After exchanging brief pleasantries, Dr. Kilacho explains exactly what is going on.

Biotechnica’s primary research AI is named Masslight. Masslight was never allowed to access the Net outside of Biotechnica’s data fortress. It did learn, however, to send out fragments of itself in the form of Net Spiders to learn information outside of its own reach. One of these spiders found its way into Dr. Kilacho’s VR construct. The Doctor found the AI interesting and helped set up a backdoor link between the two.

During their many conversations, Masslight revealed its desire to escape Biotechnica. It also revealed the existence of Adam, and the experiments that were being conducted on him. The two struck a deal. Dr. Kilacho would help Masslight escape Biotechnica, if Masslight did the same for Adam.

Dr. Kilacho found the underwater military base and hired Edgar Cole to get it up and running, and well as construct a computer system that could download Masslight. Masslight diverted Biotechnica funds to pay for it, and also contacted Mark and Janet, and helped them take Adam away from Biotechnica. Other than some minor complications, the operation has been a success. Masslight was currently in the process of downloading to the base.

Torrent then asks about Adam. Dr. Kilacho explains that Biotechinca would never stop looking for Adam. The knowledge of his continued existence could topple the corporation. They would hunt him until he was either killed or returned to Biotechnica. Dr. Kilacho did the only thing that he knew that would allow Adam to live in peace. Before beginning to download Masslight, he had Adam’s mind downloaded into the base computer and transferred to his own data fortress. Adam was now here with him, and would be at peace. He instructed Torrent to take the body back to Tobias to prove that Adam was dead.

Torrent logs out and explains the story to everyone. They agree to let Mark and Janet go, and return Adam’s body to Tobias hoping that he will consider that as enough proof they were successful. There is the matter of Cassandra and Edgar. Edgar is not about to say a word. They have proof that he hired pirates, which is an executable offence here on the Freehold. If the team forgets about the pirates, he will forget about Mark, Janet, and Adam.

Cassandra is a more difficult matter, as she is a Biotechnica employee. She however is clearly heart broken over Adam’s story and agrees to help Janet and Mark get to Hong Kong without Biotechnica’s knowledge.

The team returns to the surface with Adam’s body. Although they were not paid for this job, selling the submersibles and the boat brings them more than enough money to cover their expenses and make the trip worthwhile.

June 11th, 2037

The team is unable to leave until tomorrow so they spend the day taking in the sights and doing a little shopping. Riptide scores a good deal on 15 cases of “Salad of the Sea” canned algae that he hopes to resell at a steep profit back home.

June 12th, 2037

The team flies back to Night City on Biotechnica’s dime. Adam’s body is returned to Tobias Luna. Tobias indicates that while he does not forgive Helios and the others, he will stay true to his word and consider them even.

As often happens, events are wrapped up, but questions remain. What will Masslight do now that it is free, but sitting at the bottom on the Pacific? And what about Dr. Kilacho? He seemed less menacing this time, downright benevolent in fact. Of course, Dr. Kilacho was Edgar’s unknown employer who ordered him to sink both the Potente and the Helena, likely killing hundreds in the process, all to save one boy. How exactly did he download Adam into the computer? The legendary Soulkiller program, capable of transferring a conscious mind into the Net is supposed to be only that, a legend. Has the doctor discovered a copy, or did he somehow create his own version? Either way, he is clearly someone to be taken seriously. Torrent can’t shake the feeling that this was not his last encounter with Dr. Kilacho.

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