Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 23 The Ties That Bind

July 10th, 2038

Riptide arrives at work at the Golden Saloon, where his boss tells him they have a new girl who will be working there for a few months. He goes into the dressing room and immediately recognizes the girl as Lacy Ties, a girl he worked with back in Las Vegas. She is quite happy to see him as rumor has it back in Vegas that Riptide is dead.

When the Golden Saloon shuts down for the night, they head back to Riptide’s place. There they catch up on old times. Lacy explains that she has been mostly travelling the country, working in a location for a few months, then moving on. This is her first visit to Night City. Riptide is less forthcoming about what he has been up, stating that he moved to Night City and has been expanding his horizons. But when he explains what he has been up to in Night City, she points out that it sounds just like what he did in Las Vegas. She spends the night with Riptide and in the morning he takes her to the EZ Overnighter where she has a coffin rented.

July 11th – July 13th, 2038

Everyone goes about his or her normal routines.

July 14th, 2038

Riptide and Lacy are talking at work when she admits to him that she started touring after she was fired from her gig in La Vegas. She used to work for the same outfit as Riptide, and he would go with her to parties where she was hired as a stripper, to keep the party goers in line. The reason she was fired was because she had a habit of stealing cash or other small valuable from the places that hosted the party.

She asked him if he remembered the party for some young Arasaka executives. He indeed remembered it well, as it got completely out of control and he had to crack a few skulls in order to get himself and Lacy out of there safely.

It turns out at that particular party she stole a wallet belonging to a guy named Burton Chambers. It had some cash in it, but it also had an important looking data chip. Riptide recalled the name from his time spent in Detroit. He asked if she still had the data chip. She indicated she did, but kept it in a safety deposit box, because she thought she could make use of it some day.

Lacy also points out that she is tired of living in the coffin and asks if she can stay with Riptide while she is in Night City. He agrees, and she moves in. The other members of the team are a bit leery of this new development, but mostly keep it to themselves.

July 15th – July 21st, 2038

Everyone goes about his or her normal routines. Riptide and Lacy spend most of their time together.

July 22nd, 2038

At 3:00 AM, Riptide and Lacy are exiting the side door of the Golden Saloon, and begin to walk toward the company van. It is pouring rain outside. Suddenly, Lacy’s body is thrown hard against the wall and she collapses to the ground. A large bullet hole in her head reveals the cause. Riptide snatches up her purse and ducks behind the van for cover. Among her belongings he finds the safety deposit key. He pockets it and then calls the police.

From the opposite direction of the sniper shot, approach two men in body armor and assault rifles. Riptide dives into the van and starts it up as the two riddle the back of the vehicle with bullets. He tears out of the alley and a sniper shot blasts a hole in the windshield, just missing him.

He races into the Combat Zone and calls ahead to the rest of the team. As soon as the door to the garage opens he pulls the van in and tells Helios to secure the place and check the cameras.

When everyone else is awake and assembled, he explains what happened. They look up the serial number on the key and find out that it belongs to the Las Vegas branch of the First Bank of Tokyo.

At 6:00 AM, Riptide makes arrangements to meet with Colin Fisk, a contact that he has been cultivating over the last couple of years. Colin leads an Arasaka strike team based in Night City. They agree to meet in an hour at the New Harbor Mallplex.

At 7:00 AM, they meet. Riptide asks if he knows who Burton Chambers is. Colin explains that Chambers is a hotshot corp that has skyrocketed up to a VP position in the Detroit office. It’s unusual, not only because of Chamber’s young age, but also because he is Caucasian. Usually only Japanese employees ascend that high in Arasaka. Beyond that he knows little of use. Riptide asks Colin to keep him informed, and they go their separate ways.

By 8:00 AM, the team has loaded up the rental van, and takes a road trip Las Vegas. By 6:00 PM, they roll into the city limits. They rent a couple rooms for the night. While there was much talk of checking out the nightlife, ultimately they decide its best to stay at the hotel and keep a low profile.

July 23rd, 2038

In the morning they drive to First Bank of Tokyo. Riptide, Torrent, and Helios wait in the van while Zen and Saito go in. They present the safety deposit key and are ushered into a private room where they are presented with the safety deposit box. The attendant leaves them alone and they open the box.

Inside is $5,400 in cash, a pair of diamond earrings, and a data chip. They pocket these items and leave the bank.

As they are making their way out of Las Vegas, they happen to spot a helicopter about a 1,000 ft up that seems to be following them. They drive to the airport, knowing that it is a no fly zone, and the helicopter would need special permission to follow.

They pull into the parking garage. Helios jacks another van. Once they have their stuff transferred, they hit the return button on the rental van and watch it take off on its own toward the nearest Rent-a-Robo. They then take the new van and drive back through the city. Unfortunately, their ruse must have failed as not only is the chopper still in the sky above them, but an APC is now following them from several blocks behind.

As they make their way through the city streets, Torrent uses his deck to crack the encryption on the data chip. He sorts through inventory and supply chain records and finds that several caches of weapons had been redirected to a man named Assan Al Fiaed. Zen and Saito recognize that named immediately from their days in the US Army and the Mossad respectively. Both had been present when his HQ had been raided and a dirty bomb had been detonated.

Riptide again contacts Colin. Colin states that he has learned that there is a three-man hit-team from the Detroit Office currently operating in Night City. They had arrived a few days earlier, but what they were doing in the city was privileged information. Riptide explains that he has some dirt on Burton Chambers and that it has already drawn the attention of Arasaka agents. Colin wants nothing to do with it and explains that if Riptide is smart, he will lose that information and disappear.

Riptide ends his call and leans out the front passenger side window. Using his pistols, he open’s fire on a motorcycle that is behind them. The cyclist is not hit but crashes his bike, instantly causing a traffic jam, and giving Helios an opportunity to lose the APC.

Suddenly the roof of the van caves in and the windows explode out as a result. Helios is able to maintain control of the vehicle as the suit of power armor that has just landed on the vehicle punches a hole through the roof narrowly missing Zen. Everyone looks to Saito to use his .50 caliber sniper rifle on the war machine, but he points out that the rifle is too big to maneuver in the van.

Helios swerves the van, nearly rolling it over. The power armor suit, which was preparing to open fire into the van with its machine gun is caught off balance and is thrown from the top of the van. Now behind the van he is in the cross hairs of Saito’s rifle. The first shot rips into the suit, but it does not falter. A second shot blows out the actuators in one of its legs and it collapses.

Unfortunately, as Saito squeezes off the second shot, the power armor suit launches a phosphorus grenade into the van. From the outside, the van appeared to glow. Inside, the light is blinding and the heat burns clothes and melts plastic. Luckily for the team, the windows being blown out allowed for enough heat to vent out that they were not cooked alive. They are all temporarily blinded however except for the driver. Helios’ one cyber-eye is equipped with anti-dazzle and continues to function, allowing him to see where he is going.

They drive out of the city in their windowless, smoking van and head out into the desert. Their sight begins to return for the most part. Helios’ one natural eye, and one of Riptides never work again, having been permanently blinded.

As their vision returns, they see the helicopter is still on their trail. Helios stops the van and Saito lines up a shot with his rifle. Despite the half-mile distance, the electro-thermo round finds its mark and a shower of sparks erupts and the chopper’s engine begins to billow smoke. The chopper, barely able to stay airborne, backs off. Zen tells Saito to hit it again, be he decides not to. The chopper will be lucky to land safely, much less be a threat to them.

At 8:00 PM, the team arrives back in Night City. Not wanting to risk returning home, they instead go to the former home of Irina Lovodny. Though she is now deceased, her home is being used by the local street kids that she supported when she was alive.

Once at her house, they begin to discuss their options. Initially they plan to use the data chip as leverage and possibly blackmail Burton Chambers. Torrent points out however, that none of the data on the chip actually points to Chambers. The only reason they know that it is linked to him is because Lacy had told Riptide that the chip came from Chamber’s wallet.

They opt instead to let the information be free. They have Torrent upload the information to several Net sites and allow it to get out on its own.

Zen contacts Death in the Afternoon to ask if they have seen any suspicious activity near their home. For a change, the DitA boys have nothing to report. Zen has the local kids dispose of the van as Saito calls his former coworker Buckshot Betty to come and give them a ride back home.

July 24th, 2038

Riptide again calls Colin, who tells Riptide that his team was out all night looking for a trashed van that was coming into the city, but they never spotted it. Colin could put two and two together and figured it was Riptide and his crew. He again implors Riptide to ditch the stolen information and lay low. He makes it clear that Riptide is not to contact him again until this has all blown over.

Riptide then receives a call from Roger, the owner of the Golden Saloon. He states that a rather unfriendly Japanese man had accosted him last night and demanded to know who had been hanging around with Lacy Ties. Roger knew it was Riptide, but not wanting to lose a good employee, lied and said it was Doug Anderson, a Saloon regular that had a habit of running up a bar tab and not paying it off. Roger is concerned though, because he figures the Japanese guy will figure out real quick that he lied once he gets his hands on Doug. He tells Riptide to resolve the matter quickly because he considers Riptide worth lying for but not worth dying for.

The team heads over to Doug’s Apartment. They find that he is not home, so they break in. They debate how to handle the situation. Eventually they settle on having Riptide wait in Doug’s apartment while the other three would break into the apartment across the hall and wait there.

Saito moves the dining room table into the hall in front of the apartment door and sets his rifle up there. With Riptide in Doug’s apartment, and Saito, Zen, and Helios in the opposite apartment, the waiting game begins.

Several hours passed with nothing happening. Then the woman who lives in the apartment across from Doug’s comes home. Needless to say, she is quite shocked to find a man sitting at her dining room table with a very large rifle aimed at her. They are able to calm her down and learn that her name is Diana Goldman. They tell her that they are there to protect Doug. They have her stay in her bathroom until things are resolved.

Then Riptide, who is in the bedroom, becomes aware of sounds in the apartment. Someone has opened the door and walked in without him noticing. Riptide comes out of the bedroom and sneaks up behind the man who is staring out a window. He draws his gun on the man and questions him. At first he thinks the person may be Doug, but figures out that it is an Arasaka operative.

Riptide secures the operative, but realizes that the man has a tactical radio and has been in constant contact with someone. The team then hears the screaming sound of an AV-4 flying overhead. The craft drops into the parking lot and a strike team disembarks. The strike team charges into the apartment building and up the stairs.

Saito crosses over to Riptide’s side of the hallway. With two on each side of the hall, they pour firepower down the hall as the strike team makes its way in. Bottle necked in the hallway, the strike team quickly finds itself in trouble against the dug-in edge runners. Its only when one strike team member fires a fragmentation grenade down the hall, are they able to push farther in as the edge runners are forced to take cover.

Despite even that, the edge runners are able to stay dug in. But then the AV-4 swings around outside of Doug’s apartment and opens fire with its heavy machine gun. Riptide and Saito are forced to take cover to avoid being shredded by the high caliber rounds. The bullets tear through walls, threatening to take out Zen and Helios as well.

Saito is able to get to the apartment’s bedroom and used his anti-tank sniper rifle to fire at the AV-4. It takes a couple of shots into the cockpit, but eventually the AV-4 is forced to retreat. Saito, who is wounded by some shrapnel from the machine gun barrage, decides to try and get behind the Arasaka strike team. He jumps out the window and drops to ground level. He begins to make his way back to the main entrance.

As he approaches the door, he is hit by rifle fire from a van parked out front. Realizing that it’s the sniper team from Detroit; he returns fire as he scrambles into the building for cover. Unfortunately for him, the last couple members of the Arasaka team still standing have decided to retreat out of the building. As Saito is entering the building to avoid the sniper fire, the last two team members are on their way out. He suddenly finds himself caught in crossfire. He is able to take down one of the fleeing men, but is gunned downed in the crossfire.

The other edge runners pursue the Arasaka team out of the building, but come under fire from the snipers in the van. Once the last Arasaka member makes it to the van, they pull him in and the van takes off. The team has survived the day, but Saito is badly wounded. Had it not been for his body armor, he would likely be dead a couple times over.

They take him to the hospital, and finally return home.

July 25th, 2038

The team gets news that the US government has launched an investigation into Arasaka’s involvement with Assan Al Faied. Roger, from the Golden Saloon says that the Arasaka operative never returned.

July 26th, 2038

Riptide is able to get a hold of Colin. Colin tells him that Arasaka is in lockdown until the investigation is completed. He thinks that Riptide is absolutely crazy for releasing that information. He also indicates that the sniper team that killed Lacy has been recalled back to Detroit.

July 27th, 2038

The news is buzzing with the fact that the illegal arms shipment from Arasaka has been traced to a man in the Detroit office named William Moss. William will never be prosecuted however; as he apparently committed suicide once he realized he would be arrested.

The team doesn’t exactly buy the story however. They remember William’s name coming up as the man who arranged to have them shipped to Columbia. That means William Moss worked for Burton Chambers. Odds are his “suicide” conveniently stopped the investigation before it got that far up the latter.

This whole affair proved to be costly, but the team gained some important information. Zen and Saito are the only two left alive from the Assan raid a few years back. When Burton Chamber’s data chip with the arms deal info on it disappeared that night in Las Vegas, Riptide and Lacy were the most likely suspects. It made sense that Mr. Chambers would have it in for them. They also learned that Chambers will stop at nothing to have them eliminated, and has access to some vast resources and firepower.

Releasing the info on the Net made Chambers have to run to ground for a while. But for the team, and most likely Mr. Chambers, this was all far from over.