Over the next couple of weeks, the team got a much-needed break. Saito spent most of that time in the hospital. Riptide andHelios got cyber-optics to replace their blinded eyes. Torrent indicated that he had a personal matter to attend to that would talk him out of town, and did not know when he would return.
August 14th, 2038
William Davis, the owner of Pocket Fluff Advertising, Inc, contacts Riptide. Riptide meets Davis in his office. There, William tells Riptide that his brother and business partner was murdered three days ago. The police have begun to suspect that William was behind it, so he wants Riptide’s team to investigate and find out who really killed his brother. He also offers a bonus if they can do it in a week.
William then shows Riptide a video montage of various commercials that Pocket Fluff has recently done as part of a milk promotion campaign. The commercials are edgy and make fun of Arasaka, Militech, EBM, the President, and hippies. Apparently Pocket Fluff doesn’t mind ruffling some very powerful feathers.
William has his secretary Mumashi Asura escort Riptide out. She hands him a copy of the video and says that if he has any questions, he should contact her or Maggie Evans, who was Tom’s secretary.
Riptide goes home and gathers the team. He shows them the video and explains the job. The team decides that the first order of business is to find a free-lance Net runner who can cover for Torrent while he is gone. Riptide knows of a guy who hangs out at the Golden Saloon that may be able to help.
August 15th, 2038
Zen goes into work at Infocomp and does some digging into police files. She is able to learn that Tom was shot in his car by what appears to be a gyro jet rifle round. He was shot while sitting in his car in a southwest neighborhood near the Combat Zone. Tom does not live anywhere near that neighborhood. A call to his secretary, Maggie Evans determines that he had no business dealings in that neighborhood that she was aware of.
Riptide spends most of the day trying to find out if there are any hitters who are known for using a gyro jet rifle. As he suspected, using such a weapon for a hit is rare, as it is loud and messy. However, his inquiries come up empty.
August 16th, 2038
Zen, Saito and Riptide go to the police impound to look at the car. Zen is able to use her Infocomp credentials to get a look at the car. While Riptide strikes up a conversation with the manager of the lot, Zen and Saito inspect the car. Saito is able to determine that the shot came from an upward angle, likely from a second floor location. Zen is able to find a small pouch tucked up under one of the seats. It contains Blue Ice, the popular synthetic drug.
Mouse is able to learn quite a bit about Pocket Fluff. It started out as a division of Turner Broadcasting before being bought by the Davis Brothers who turned it into a successful advertising business. They have offices in Seattle, New York, London, and Amsterdam. They have roughly 6,500 employees worldwide.
He also learns that Tom has a wife named Mallory and two children. The oldest is John, currently attending college in New Hampshire, and a 16 year-old daughter named Lisa.
Most interestingly, he learns that William owned 35% of the company and Tom owned 65%. According to legal filings, upon Tom’s death, Tom’s wife would get 45% ownership, with the other 20% transferring to William, giving him a total of 55% ownership of the company.
August 17th, 2038
The team spends the better part of the day involved in investigations. Talking to employees at Pocket Fluff they learn that Maggie Evans had worked for Tom for many years. Mumashi Asura was a more recent hire, having been brought on about a year and a half ago, having been hired through a temp service. They also learned that the commercials shown to them by William were part of an advertising campaign funded by the National Dairy Board. They also learned that DMS is the company’s biggest competitor.
Other investigations revealed that the area where Tom had been killed was Blood Razors territory. The team decided to go into the combat zone that evening to seek out the Blood Razors under the guise of looking to sell some Super Fly.
They encountered a couple of Blood Razors on patrol and got them to agree to take the Super Fly in exchange for some information. The Blood Razors indicated that the hit was done by one of the Voodoo Boyz, who had gone into Blood Razor territory without permission. They told the team where to find the gang and that their leader was a woman named Mother Sage.
They then drove into Voodoo Boyz turf and found their main hangout. The Voodoo Boyz would only allow one person to meet Mother Sage and it was decided that Riptide would be that person.
He went into the run down building lit by small fires and filled with the smell of cooking animals. Voodoo writings and fetishes were everywhere. Finally he was brought before Mother Sage, and older black woman dressed in Caribbean style garb. She was willing to give the name of the hitter, since he was not acting on Voodoo Boyz business at the time. But she had a price. Riptide was forced to give her $750 plus four ounces of his own blood. In exchange, he was given the name Skitterboy and an address.
August 18th, 2038
At 1:30 in the morning, they arrive at Skitterboy’s apartment building. Helios waits in the van, as Zen and Riptide head in. Saito goes around the back and climbs the fire escape.
They knock at the door but Skitterboy refuses to let them in. Finally, Saito sneaks in through the bedroom window and is able to get behind Skitterboy. Skitterboy, now at gunpoint, lets the others in.
They question him and he states that Tom’s daughter Lisa hired him to kill Tom. She hated her dad, and offered Skitterboy $20,000 to off him. Skitterboy gladly took the deal. They then take Skitterboy and head over to the Golden Saloon.
At 3:00 AM, Riptide calls William and asks him to come down to the Golden Saloon. William is less then pleased to be dragged out of bed that early, but Riptide convinces him that the matter is urgent.
An hour later, William Davis arrives at the Golden Saloon. The team tells him that it was his own niece that put out the hit on Tom. At first he refuses to believe it, but the team convinces him otherwise. He shows them Tom’s family photo that he carries with him and they notice that Lisa is wearing Voodoo Boyz colors.
William then offers them another $5,000 to bring Lisa to him. She should be at home and he has all of the security codes. They agree. Riptide stays with him and Skitterboy, while the other three go to get Lisa.
In an extremely rare moment for the team, the extraction of Lisa Davis from her home goes completely without a hitch. With the security access codes they are able to drive right up the family residence and into the garage. Once inside, they stealthily move to her bedroom, and secure the girl with minimal effort. They are able to drive off with her without waking anyone else at the residence.
At 7:00 AM, they arrive back at the Golden Saloon. William questions Lisa about the hit. She swore she knew nothing about it. Zen’s experience with interrogation tells her that Lisa is telling the truth. So they bring Skitterboy into the mix to sort things out.
He still insists that she hired him. It turns out that Lisa had been complaining that her dad was demanding that she get out of the Voodoo Boys. In her anger, she told Skitterboy that she wanted her father dead. A short time later, he got a call from a woman offering him $20,000 to kill Tom Davis. Skitterboy assumed it was Lisa. Zen looks at the call history on Skitterboy’s cell phone and determines that the phone call came from the Pocket Fluff offices.
They secure Skitterboy back in the van and head back home. William took Lisa home. They get a hold of Mouse and have him go to work on hacking the Pocket Fluff phone records. It takes him some time but the only thing out of the ordinary is that Mumashi frequently made calls to a competitor of Pocket Fluff’s, a Japanese company called Kishi Corporation.
At 7:00 PM, Mouse contacts Riptide to inform him that he did some background checking on Kishi Corporation. It turns out that Arasaka owns controlling interest in that company.
Riptide attempts to call William. When he answers, Riptide tries to explain that he believes that Mumashi is the one behind Tom’s Death. William, however, indicates that Riptide has called the wrong number and hangs up. The group remains puzzled for a couple of minutes until Riptide’s phone rings. Riptide’s caller ID says its William, but when he picks up, no one is on the other side. In the background he hears William and Mumashi arguing. Riptide suspects that William may be in trouble. After making a few more calls, he is able to determine that William’s last known whereabouts was on his way to his office.
They pile into the van and make their way to the office building that Pocket Fluff is located in. When they arrive, Helios recognizes another van parked there as having also been parked outside of Skitterboy’s apartment. The team decides to head in. On the way, Saito deflates the tires on the other van.
They head up to the Pocket Fluff office on 7th floor. When they arrive, they find William working on a bottle of whiskey. He says that Riptide was right. Mumashi was working on a plan to black mail the two brothers into selling the company to Kishi. However, when Tom indicated that he was interested in selling Pocket Fluff to DMS, which had recently made an offer, she had him killed to prevent the sale. Now with the edgerunner team in danger of figuring things out, she had to go for broke and had William sign over controlling interest at gunpoint. He then says he will double the fee if they can recover the signed papers.
The team scrambles back to the elevators but finds two armed men waiting for them in the reception area. Bullets are exchanged at high velocity. Saito takes down one with his gun, and then tackles the other one. The others decide to take the stairs.
As they burst out of the building, they see a car that was parked out front driving away. They get in their van and attempt to pursue. Upstairs, Saito incapacitates his opponent and tries to catch up to the others.
Realizing they may not be able to catch up to Mumashi, Zen calls Jarvic on the off chance he might be working and in the air. Luck is on the team’s side as Jarvic’s medical crew is currently out and about in their AV-4. He agrees to fake mechanical difficulties and sets down in a busy intersection right in front of Mumashi’s car. A man steps out of the back seat of the car and fire’s on the team’s van.
Helios and Zen argue over Helios’ plan to launch a grenade at the car. Riptide suggests that he back the van out of the traffic jam and try and circle around to flank the car. Zen and Riptide then exit the van under fire and move towards the car. Helios uses the sidewalk to back up the van and proceeds to head around the block.
Another gunman gets out of the back of the car and the two solos shoot it out with Zen and Riptide amongst the stuck cars at the intersection. The driver of Mumahsi’s car rams into the car behind them and then drives up onto the sidewalk to squeeze around the AV-4. Zen is forced to deal with both gunmen as Riptide concentrates his fire on the fleeing car.
Jarvic’s AV is forced to leave as sirens can now be heard in the distance. Zen dispatches the two gunmen as Riptide successfully disables the fleeing car, which is now almost a block away.
The driver of the car steps out and opens fire as Mumashi gets out of the passenger side and makes a break for it. Riptide shoots the driver while Zen guns down the fleeing woman.
The sirens are getting closer as Helios comes flying around the corner from the other direction. He pulls up to Mumashi’s body and quickly scoops up her briefcase and is rolling again. Riptide and Zen jump as he passes by them. They circle back towards Pocket Fluff and pick up Saito who has been running after them.
Back at HQ, they evaluate the mission and declare it a success. They collected one of their biggest paychecks to date with minimal injuries to anyone. Maybe their luck was finally changing.
Oh yeah, and maybe somebody should let Skitterboy out of the van…