Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 11 The Impaler

After complete the events involving Biotechnica, the team has a couple months of downtime. The individual team members spend their time both developing the salvage business and their own individual pursuits.

Saito is finally able to find a job as a weapons safety instructor at the Night City Gun Range. It doesn’t pay much as he’s not teaching real gun fighters, but mostly corporate types who want to think their a bunch of edge runners because they know how to shoot a gun. His other clients are mostly lonely corporate trophy wives, which somehow makes the low pay and long commute worth it.

August 13th, 2037

While doing some paper work at the Golden Saloon, Riptide is approached by a man who introduces himself as Wolfgang Reimann. It seems his brother Franz is missing, and he wants to hire the team to help find him. Franz is an Interpol agent, who is supposed to be vacationing in Romania. Wolfgang has lost contact with Franz and is concerned about him. Unfortunately, Wolfgang has a problematic history with Romania, which makes going there by himself dangerous. Riptide agrees to have the team at the airport by 6:00 AM the next day.

He passes on the information to his teammates, including Jarvic who is struggling to pay his bills and is looking for more work. They all scramble to make work arrangements and prepare to be out of town for at least a week.

August 14th, 2037

They meet Wolfgang at the Airport bright and early the next morning. He takes them to a private room where he has their photos taken to complete some fake passports that indicated that they are Militech employees. They also have diplomatic cases that they can place weapons and equipment in that won’t be inspected by customs. He also issues those equipped with a chip reader, a Romanian language chip. Once this is complete, he takes them to a hanger where they board a Militech owned hypersonic jet. When asked if he is a Militech employee, Wolfgang says he is not, but someone in Militech owes him some big favors.

August 15th, 2037

The flight takes only about 10 hours, but with time adjustments, they find themselves landing in Romania around 6:00 AM. While in flight, Wolfgang explains that his brother was staying in Timisoara, a backwater village located at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. His last message from Franz was written on a post card purchased at the Begga Canal market in the village. It indicated that Franz was staying with a man named Paris Calachis.

Once through customs, the team embarks on a long cab ride. Around 8:00 AM, they arrive in Timisoara. They immediately head to the market to make inquiries. It does not take long to learn that Paris Calachis is the owner of a rare books and antiquities shop near by. However, a visit to the shop finds a sign stating that it is closed due to a death in the family.

Finding Paris’ home proves challenging. Jarvic, however, is able to learn the address of the home from a cobbler after agreeing to buy some shoes. The team travels to the address they were given and knock on the door. They are greeted by an old gypsy woman who closes the door after they inquire about Paris. The door reopens a couple of minutes later, now with a younger man standing before them. He introduces himself as Andre Calachis. He invites them in and offers them some soup.

Over soup, they discuss Franz Reimer. It seems that Franz was interested in Vlad Tepes. Also known as Vlad the Impaler, Vlad is the inspiration behind Count Dracula. Andre explains that despite his brutal ways, Vlad was a respected leader who protected Romania from its enemies. The people of Romania are less than pleased about what has happened to his image over time.

Franz had visited Paris’ bookstore because he was interested in the real story of Vlad Tepes. He had come to learn the legend that Vlad’s head was buried in the Monastery of St. George, which is located above an abandoned village in the Carpathian foothills. Paris took Franz as far as he could into the hills and dropped him off. They agreed to rendezvous at the same point in two days.

But, two days later, when Paris returned, Franz was nowhere to be found. A couple of days later, Paris failed to return home from work. Andre went to the shop to look for his father. He found Paris impaled vertically on a pike, in the same manner that Vlad would impale his enemies. Andre then agrees to drive the team to the same location.

While on the way there, Andre explains that after Vlad died, his head was separated from his body. His body was buried at his castle, but the head was never recovered. Rumors exist that claim that the monks of St. George intended to find the head and reunite it with his body. Later rumors also stated that sometime during the 16th century, monks of the same order were scene travelling the Carpathians with a jeweled casket just big enough to carry a man’s head. They stated that they were returning to their monastery

It was not to long after that that the village located near the monastery suffered numerous tragedies. Rumors of vampires and werewolves also began to spring up. Eventually the village was abandoned and most people stay away now.

Other rumors exist about a cult that still exists to this day that seeks the head of Vlad Tepes. They believe that if they can reunite the head with his body, Vlad will be resurrected and can restore the might that Romania once possessed.

At about 5:00 PM, they reach the drop off point. Andre agrees to pick the team up the next morning. Because it’s a three-hour hike to the abandoned village, the team wastes no time in gathering up their gear and head into the forest.

Around 8:00 PM, they arrive at the village. The sun is going down. Looking up, they can see the monastery perched on a cliff about a mile away. After a bit of searching, they find signs in the grass and foliage of where Franz had likely camped, although no trace of his tent or camping gear remain.

They do eventually discover, however, tracks that indicate that several individuals converged on Franz and carried him off. Spent 9mm casings indicate that Franz tried to defend himself. What is most disturbing though, is that his attackers appeared to be barefoot, but not entirely human. The footprints seem to be a cross between a man and a wolf.

By 9:00 PM, the sun is down and the area is pitch black. The team decides to make camp in the most defensible location, which would be the remnants of the chapel. The chapel, like most of the remaining village structures, still has its stone walls standing. The roof, doors, and any wood trim have long since rotted away however.

Saito places himself on a wall as he takes the first watch. It is not long before he hears a soft padding noise. He awakens Riptide who in turn gets Helios up. Watching the darkness carefully they spot several large wolves stalking the village. One stands in the center of the village, looking directly at the chapel, while the other wolves disappear among the ruined buildings.

Saito and Helios do their best to look intimidating, trying to drive the wolves away. The wolves only seem to move closer. Riptide steps outside, standing at his full height, back straight, chest out, arms up, and teeth bared. The wolves give him one look and scatter. The others are impressed, and so is he because he didn’t think that would actually work either.

Once the issue with the wolves is resolved, they prepare to go back to sleep. But before they do, they notice a faint light off in the distance. They quickly realize that it’s coming from the monastery. They wake everyone else up and decide to immediately head for the monastery.

As they get closer, they begin to hear the sound of a group of people chanting in Latin. They are about to advance when they discover a patrol of two guards walking around the outside of the building together. Saito and Zen approach the guards from behind and try to take them down quietly.

During the distraction, the others move through the monastery entrance and begin exploring. They can hear the chanting begin to rise in volume and tempo. They search through a serious of empty old monk cells, but find nothing of interest.

Just as Saito and Zen have almost finished dealing with the two guards, another two-man patrol comes around the corner and immediately opens fire. Saito, Zen, and Wolfgang begin returning fire. The rest of the team, hearing what is happening outside, runs back to the entrance of the monastery. They emerge behind the other two guards and are able to eliminate all of the guards in the crossfire.

Seeing that the interior of the monastery splits in two directions, Helios, Zen, Wolfgang head right, while Riptide, Saito, and Jarvic go left. The latter group encounters mostly empty cells. The first group, move directly toward the back of the monastery where they are attacked by a couple of large humanoid wolf creatures.

Helios, who is up front, is forced to defend himself in hand to hand. Wolfgang tries to lend support but the ferocious creatures outmatch them. Things change when Zen arrives and uses her favorite full auto approach. Helios and Wolfgang dive for cover as she blazes away at the two werewolves. The creatures go down. Helios catches some friendly fire in the process, but his body armor protects him from the worst of it.

About this time, the other half of the team has reaches the back of the monastery from the other side. They too are attacked as a pair of the werewolf creatures pounce upon them.
They do their best to avoid getting into a melee and try to gun down the wolf creatures.

Helios and Zen come up from behind and consider attacking the werewolves from the rear. They realize however, that they are just off the central chamber. With the chanting now echoing loudly through the halls, they enter the chamber and stumble upon some sort of ceremony. The room is filled with several dozen seated people wearing robes. Off to one side is a corporate looking type with two bodyguards, watching the proceedings. At the front is a stage behind which is a large tapestry depicting Vlad Tepes. On the stage, lying on the alter is Franz Reiman. Two men stand over him, one holding a jeweled casket; the other is holding a wooden stake and mallet.

Helios and Wolfgang charge into the room. Helios opens fire on the man with the stake and drops him. He then leaps onto the stage and attacks the man with the jeweled box as Wolfgang unties his brother.

Zen charges into the room and again goes full auto as she attacks the corp and his two guards, who seem caught by surprise. She kills one guard and stuns the corp as the rest of the team comes into the chamber after dealing with the wolves. They have a hard time getting in however, as Zen’s gunfire has panicked the crowd, causing them to all rush for the exit. Riptide is finally able to get to the front and helps Helios subdue the priest with the casket. Zen uses the unconscious corp as a hostage to get the other guard to drop his weapons.

Saito carefully watches the crowd flood out of the chamber as Jarvic examines one of the werewolves. It appears to be some sort of vat grown genetic construct, controlled by a neural processor giving it the ability to follow basic commands.

Zen questions the bodyguard and learns that the corp’s name is Leaf Bergstrom. He works for Euro Business Machines Wet Technology Division. Apparently EBM is responsible for creating the werewolves and has sold them to the cult. Leaf is here to oversee how they functioned for a few days, and was scheduled to leave after the ceremony. Neither the guard, nor Leaf knows much about the cult itself.

Saito and Riptide interrogate the priest and learn that the cult is a front for a resurgent Communist Party here in Romania. The party is using the cult as a recruiting point for several rich and influential backers who have great respect for what Vlad Tepes had done for Romania. It turns out that Franz really was on vacation and happened to stumble upon the cult at the wrong time. The priest used the just purchased werewolves to retrieve Franz from his camp, and decided to use him as a blood sacrifice to impress the newly inducted cult members. Those same members are currently scattering about the countryside.

Jarvic examines the casket and breaks its seals and opens it. Inside he finds what appears to be a mummified head. Saito executes the priest, and the team returns to the rendezvous were they make camp.

August 16th, 2037

In the morning, Andres arrives on schedule and picks up the team. They ask him about where to sell the head. He says that the head belongs to Romania and is not theirs to sell. They scoff at him, but he refuses to help them unless they intend to turn it over to a museum. The team agrees to do so, hoping to score a finders fee of some kind. He takes them to a museum, where they turn the head over to the curator.

With that complete, they return to the airport where the Militech jet is waiting for them. By 6:00 PM that evening, they find themselves back in Night City. They collect their pay from Wolfgang. About a week later, they receive a check for $5,000 from the museum. They also here on the news that while it cannot be confirmed whose head it actually belongs to, it is indeed the correct age to be Vlad the Impalers’.