Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 12 Tough as Nails

After completing the mission in Romania, the team settles back into their routine lives. They spent most of their earnings to-date on a sophisticated security system for their home on the edge of the Combat Zone. With most of their savings spent, it was time to find more work.

September 28th, 2037

The team had learned that with John Freeman and his wife out of town, the Forlorn Hope is closed for two weeks. Ice Pick is left to babysit the building. Zendecides to hangout out at her backup place, The Afterlife. She happens across Krissy and Roxie, who are there for the same reason. While the girls make snide comments about the guys in the place, Zen happens to notice a familiar face from her past.

Across the club she spots Elizabeth Waterstone, another police officer from the arcology she worked at prior to being shanghied to Colombia. Zen keeps her distance; concerned about anyone from her past knowing she is still alive. She tries to get closer, observing that Elizabeth seems to be trying to hire some solos, but is having little luck. Then, unexpectedly, Elizabeth turns around, and the two are suddenly face-to-face.

Elizabeth is quite shocked to see Zen still alive. After an excited greeting, Zen takes her to a local diner where they catch up on each other’s lives. Zen explains what happened to her, and that she now operates as an edge runner here in Night City. Elizabeth explains that after the reactor meltdown at the arcology, she bounced from department to department until this past March when she joined the Federal Marshals. She operates under the handle “Nails” along with her partner “Gunsights.” They cover most of Southern California.

Then Zen asks why she is looking to hire solos. Nails explains that yesterday, Gunsights was arrested by the Night City Police. It seems that someone fingered him for drugs and the police got a search warrant for an apartment that Gunsights keeps in Night City. They found a kilo of Blue Ice cut with ‘Dorphs. It’s a fairly common drug, but the fact that he is a Federal Marshal makes it a big deal. He is currently in jail pending arraignment tomorrow. If he is convicted, he will be sent to jail where he will dead inside a week. They don’t isolate former cops in lockup anymore. It’s too expensive.

Elizabeth knows that Gunsights isn’t dirty. She is sure the Ice was planted, and she suspects who and why. Recently the two Marshals were transferring a member of the Capriani crime family. The Capriani’s have been big-time smugglers of Blue Ice into Night City for years, but only the small-time dealers ever seem to get convicted. The guy they were transferring knew why. He told the two Marshals that the Caprianis have several Third Precinct cops and at least three judges in their back pocket.

Gunsights put in a request to have the guy incarcerated in isolation for his own protection. It was denied, and their informant was killed in prison by another prisoner who happened to be a former Capriani enforcer. Then, yesterday, Gunsights is arrested for drug possession.

Earlier this evening, Nails got a call from one of her informants, a burned out fixer named Crazy Bob. Crazy Bob has a gift for picking out conversations in crowds, but isn’t smart enough to know how to sell the information for the right price, so he’s almost always broke. Anyways, Bob knows a guy who claims that he helped plant the drugs in Gunsights’ apartment. The guy is willing to testify as a witness if Nails can get him to the Federal Marshals Office in the Night City Justice Center.

She’s concerned that both the corrupt cops and the Capriani Family will be gunning for this guy, so she was hoping to hire some muscle to help transport him. Unfortunately, on her cop salary, she only has $2,000 to spend and no one seems willing to work that cheap.

Zen offers to help. She gets a hold of Riptide, Saito, and Helios and asks them to meet at their home. She agrees on the $2,000, but returns her share. In exchange, she asks Elizabeth to use her resources with the Federal Marshals to help find out who in Arasaka wants them dead. The team meets at their shop and gets geared up. Zen takes her motorcycle while the others take the truck. Helios states that if the truck gets shot up again, he is not fixing it anymore. He will get a motorcycle, and the rest of them can provide their own transportation.

They meet Nails at the diner, and they head over to the Rainbow Nights Club. Helios waits outside with the truck as the others go in. They find Crazy Bob who after a payment from Nails, indicates that he knows a guy named Hubert Treadwell, who helped plant the drugs. Hubert is holed up in an abandoned church and is waiting for the Federal Marshals to come get him.

Around 11:30 PM, they find themselves south of the freeway, on the edge of Blood Razors territory. Zen and Elizabeth pull their vehicles along side the church, while Helios parks in front. Everyone but Helios enters the church, which seems to be empty. Zen spots tracks in the dust that go up a spiral staircase in the front of the church. She and Elizabeth head up the stairs while Saito and Riptide remain downstairs.

Zen is up the stairs first and dives out of the way of a shotgun blast. Nails calls out to him identifying herself as a Federal Marshal. He demands to see some ID, which she tosses him. Then he begins to question the authenticity of the ID. Zen decides to try and sneak up on him in the darkness. Hubert must have some form of night vision however, as he immediately fires another round. This one strikes Zen dead on, but her body armor absorbs most of it. Zen rushes him and tackles him. He struggles, but is unable to get free before Nails puts the laser sight on her pistol right between his eyes and tells him to start cooperating.

Hubert explains that he and two buddies were hired to plant the drugs. He didn’t realize the guy who hired them was himself a cop until Hubert saw the guy on the news. Then last night, his two buddies were gunned down in a shoot out with some Third Precinct cops. Hubert is smart enough to know the score. The cop who hired him is tying up loose ends, and Hubert is likely next. If they get him to the Federal Marshal’s office, he’ll tell them everything.

Just then, a sedan pulls up in front of the church. Helios drives away, deciding to circle around the block. He radios the rest of the team and warns them. Upstairs, Zen leads the others too a boarded up window where she begins prying away boards to make an escape. Downstairs, Saito and Riptide take cover behind the alter.

The front doors open and in walk four men in suits, each carrying a pistol. One has his aimed at Crazy Bob who seems to have been brought against his will. Riptide and Saito open fire from behind the alter. The four men dive for cover behind pews. Crazy Bob, who suddenly finds himself being ignored, immediately runs back out the door.

The two sides exchange fire. Riptide laments the fact that they don’t make alters out of stone anymore as several of the enemy’s rounds rip up the wooden alter. Eventually, three men go down. The fourth retreats out the door and back into the waiting sedan and drives off. Helios sees the sedan drive off as he is coming back around the corner. He considers following them, but decides instead to pull up next to the church.

About this time, Zen is able to pull enough boards away and climb out a window onto the roof of the first floor. She, Nails, and Hubert then climb down to the ground. Everyone meets out front and decide its time to head to the Marshals’ Office. Hubert is placed in the truck and they convoy back towards downtown.

They don’t get very far when a spot light from a police AV overhead shines down on them. They hear several squad cares in the distance closing in as well. Nails radios that she doesn’t think they will make it all the way to the Justice Center. She can have the Marshals send a unit to meet them some where along the way. The team considers what is in route to the Justice Center and realize there is one place almost right on the way: the Forlorn Hope.

Saito points out that they are going to need all of the help they can get, and asks Zen to call Roxy and Krissy. She agrees, and the two solos are more than happy to help. At first Zen asks them to box the cops in, which Roxy points out its nearly impossible. After some arguing, the girls decide to just meet the team at the Forlorn Hope. They offer to call Ice Pick to let him know what’s coming.

Despite some skilled maneuvering, a couple of cop cars are able to get along side Helios’ truck and Zen’s motorcycle. They open fire on the team. The truck absorbs most of the damage, but Zen has to rely on her body armor, which gets chewed up. Saito pulls out the big Towa rifle, plugs in the smartgun link and goes to work. Three shots from the big gun take out two of the squad cars. Meanwhile, Riptide leans out the passenger side window with his shotgun. Firing solid slugs, he takes out the spot light on the AV overhead.

They are only a few blocks from the Forlorn Hope when the police pursuit gets called off. Things seem to be looking up when suddenly they are under fire from both sides of the street by members of the Capriani crime family. The hail of bullets shreds tires and destroys engines. Zen manages to keep her motorcycle under control as it dies beneath her. Nails, in her own vehicle in the back, has avoided the worst of the fire, but her vehicle is disabled as well.

Only a half-block from the Forlorn Hope, everyone scrambles down the street to the side door where Ice Pick is waiting for them. They immediately take up positions behind tables. Ice Pick remains up front to watch out the windows.

In the back alley, several loud thuds are heard, followed by the slamming of brakes. Roxy and Krissy enter through the alley door and indicate that several men had been approaching from the alley and no one was watching the back door. Roxy has her favorite grenade launcher while Krissy is sporting a new, not yet on the market, Militech Mark V assault rifle, which she is dying to try out.

The fight starts with suppression fire from outside blowing out the windows. The team decides to return fire from their positions in the middle of the bar. Ice Pick, stationed at the window finds himself pinned down by fire from both directions.

A group of mafia thugs assault the side entrance. The firefight is brief as Roxy scatters them with her grenade launcher. The second wave assaults the front door. This group makes better use of cover and is out of Roxy’s line of fire. They take longer to repel, and they manage to score some hits on the team. Body armor keeps everyone standing though. After the second wave fails, the mob guys scatter.

They are shortly replaced however, by squad cars from the Third Precinct. A voice on a mega-phone orders them to surrender, but the team holds their ground. From the front they hear the sound of metal shod feet. To their horror, they see a full-conversion police cyborg walking up to the front entrance. Zen goes full auto on the ‘borg. The armor piercing rounds rip up his armor, but he isn’t slowed down. He responds by firing an arm mounted machine gun that sends most of the team diving for cover. Saito is in the back, and therefore outside the suppression zone. He lines up a headshot with the Towa rifle and scores a direct hit. A massive dent appears in the side of the cyborg’s head, but there seems be minimal penetration. None-the-less, the ‘borg stumbles for a moment, then goes down.

While the cyborg has everyone’s attention on the front door, a five-man SWAT team storms the side entrance. Armed with assault rifles loaded with AP rounds, they open fire on the group. One targets Roxy and wounds her badly. A second aims at Saito, but the bar absorbs the worst of it. The other three target Helios, Riptide, and Zen, each scoring hits, badly chewing up armor and flesh. Krissy avenges her partner with a burst from the Mark V, its 6.5mm electro-thermo rounds punching through the heavy armor, dropping one of the men.

Up front, the ‘borg begins to get back up again. Zen again full-autos at it, causing it to again stumble and go down. Riptide and Helios redirect their fire at the SWAT team, but their bullets do not penetrate the heavy SWAT armor. Saito fires the big gun at one of the SWAT members, wounding him in the leg.

The three remaining SWAT members are now inside the bar, closing in on their targets. To make matters worse, the cyborg, though badly damaged, is again getting back up. The team changes out magazines and reposition themselves behind what remains of the furniture, preparing to make their final stand.

Suddenly a voice booms from the sky above, ordering the police to stand down. The Marshals have finally arrived. The SWAT team and the cyborg retreat. The Marshal’s AV-4 lands in front of the building as armed men disembark. Hubert is retrieved from behind the bar and taken to the Justice Center.

Nails says thanks and good-bye, promising to look into who had sent the team members to Columbia. Krissy calls a trauma team to pick up Roxy. She’ll be fine, but she’s going to need some patching up. In less than twenty minutes, the place was quiet, as the team, and Ice Pick stand in the remnants of the Forlorn Hope. They can only imagine what the Professor’s reaction will be when he gets back.