Cyberpunk 2036

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.