Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 26 The Hunt

The group gets about a month of down time before their next job. They spend the time healing up and replacing damaged gear.

October 19th, 2038

Riptide gets a call from a corp named Ross Crowe. He is a Managing Director at Biotechnica. It seems that he is in need of some investigative work and would rather not involve the police at this time. He says he got Riptide’s contact info from another Biotechnica employee, who Riptide assumes must be Tobias Luna.

Riptide drives over to the Biotechnica office to meet with Ross. He is met by Ross’ assistant Phil Sanders, a junior corp that clearly thinks he’s a bigger player than he is. Phil takes him into Ross’ office and is then immediately dismissed.

In the meeting, Ross explains that another director, Malcolm Flint was found dead that morning in his bed. His wife awoke to find him dead next to her. She had not been awoken during the night, though that may have been explained by the fact that she practices chemically enhanced sleep. But Malcolm showed no signs of a struggle and there was no sign of forced entry. The alarm system had not been tripped, and the CCTV system was missing several minutes of footage in the early morning hours. Biotechnica was preparing to perform an autopsy.

Riptide calls Mouse and has him poke around Flint’s home computer net and see what he can learn. Riptide then hits the streets and starts inquiring about if anyone had any recent dealings with big shots at Biotechnica. He ultimately ends up with a name: Black Knight. He is a fixer who works out of an abandoned warehouse district on the northwest side of Night City. He has a strong reputation as a reliable and confidential dealer. The confidential part concerns Riptide as this means it won’t be easy to get Black Knight to share what he knows.

Later that morning Mouse calls and says that Flint’s system was hacked, and that both the access control and security systems were compromised. It was the work of a talented runner, which means there is no hope of tracing the source of the hack.

Around noon, Riptide gets a call from Ross. He says that they have finished the autopsy of Flint and found that he had been injected with a neurotoxin that stopped his heart. They could find no injection point.

Riptide calls Zen and asks her to use her resources at Infocomp to see if she could find who might make a neurotoxin like this. She does some research and learns that a Japanese company called SubTech had a shipment turned away by customs that apparently contained an illegal shipment of an unknown neurotoxin. The shipment was meant for a company called Super Nova Technologies.

In the afternoon, Riptide gets another call from Ross. Another employee, Dustin Palmer was found dead on a toilet in one of the office restrooms. His cause of death appears to be identical to that of Flint’s. Palmer also worked in the same department as Flint. Riptide asks what the department does and Ross explains that they negotiate deals for joint ventures with other companies. They are currently negotiating with EBM for a cybernetics project, Petrochem regarding a new CHOOH plant, and WorldSat on an advertising deal.

Further research on Zen’s part reveals that SubTech was shutdown a year ago by the Japanese government when it was learned that SubTech had ties to a death cult that was planning some terrorist attacks.

She also learned that Super Nova Technologies went out of business a few months ago. There was a fire that destroyed their main laboratory. Investigation into the incident by the Fire Department indicated that it was caused by arson. As a result, the insurance company did not pay out, and Super Nova was unable to recover from the loss.

After learning that Dustin Palmer worked directly under Malcolm Flint, they inquire as to who is next in line in that department. They are informed that the next two are Theodore O’Conner and Sarah Williams. Ross Crow has already moved them to a secure room to be watched.

Riptide drives down to the old warehouse district and locates Black Knight’s home. It appears to have reinforced doors and windows, access control, and a CCTV system installed. Riptide calls Mouse to see if he can hack it, but it appears that Black Knight’s system is off the Net.

He then asks Mouse to hack Biotechnica’s data fortress to monitor their security system for tampering similar to what happened with Malcolm Flint. Mouse is clearly not excited about trying to hack the mega-corporation’s system. Still, he says he will need to score some software and then will make a go at it. A couple hours later he calls back to say that he succeeded, but he took a hit from a zombie program, which has left him with a massive headache.

A short time later, Riptide gets another call from Ross. Theodore O’Connor is dead. He was sitting in the secured room with Sarah Williams when he swatted at his neck as if bitten by a mosquito. He then dropped dead a few moments later. Checking the body, she found a tiny needle stuck in his neck. Video surveillance of the room confirms her story.

They team meets up and travels to Biotechnica. They inspect the room. The only ways into the room would be the door, which closes flush with the wall, and an air vent. The air vent seems to be the only place from which the shot could be taken, however, it to O’Conner’s right, and he was hit in the left side of the neck.

The team decides that Sarah Williams is not safe inside Biotechnica and relocate her to their own secured home. They also learn that Biotechnica’s preliminary examination of the needle indicates that it is some sort of cybernetic nano-device with a self-contained delivery system.

October 20, 2038

Saito calls Mouse and asks him to research what happened to the employees at Super Nova after the business shut down. Mouse says that despite the fact that he has spent all night throwing up as a result of the Zombie attack, he will see what he can do.

Riptide checks in with Ross and leans that Ross’ assistant Phil Sanders has stolen the needle. They already sent a security team to his home at the New Harbor Mallplex.

Mouse calls and says that most of the employees of Super Nova Technologies were hired away by other companies. The company founder and owner, Dr. Shamburg, was missing however. He disappeared around the time of the lab fire.

Riptide continues to stake out Black Knight’s place. In the early afternoon a tactical van rolls up and a strike team assaults the building. There is an exchange of gunfire and then silence. Riptide watches as the team ransacks the place. He calls Saito to come back him up. However, before Saito can get there, the strike team regroups in the van and takes off.

Riptide follows them through town to a residential area. The team again moves in on an apartment building. Riptide calls Saito and redirects him to his new location. Again, before Saito can arrive, the team exists the building and takes off. Riptide decides to let them go and waits for Saito to arrive.

A short time later, Saito arrives and they investigate the apartment. They find the place trashed and a man apparently beaten to death. Close examination indicates that he is still alive but barely. They are able to resuscitate him long enough to learn that the men were looking for Dr. Shamburg. He gave them the Shamburg’s address, which is where they were heading now. Saito calls Jarvic and asks him to pick up the nearly dead guy and get him to a hospital. Riptide calls Dr. Shamburg, using the number he got from the man, and warns him that some men are on the way. He instructs Shamburg to go to the Ron Walker Auto Showroom and wait for him there.

As Saito and Riptide make their exit, they are stopped by two men. One introduces himself as Mr. Lam, an agent for Arasaka. He tells them that he too is searching for Dr. Shamburg and Shamburg stole something that belongs to them. How he knew they were in contact with Shamburg is unknown. Riptide tells them that they are going to meet him now. Lam indicates that he will follow them.

On the way to Ron Walker’s, Satio and Riptide both take separate routes and are able to lose the Arasaka agents. Saito heads straight to Ron Walker’s while Riptide goes to Shamburg’s apartment.

At Shamburg’s, he sees the same strike team searching the building. He then heads towards Ron Walker’s.

Saito gets to Ron Walker’s and quickly spots Dr. Shamburg. He just as quickly explains what is going on and gets Shamburg to agree to go with him. He is about to leave when the Arasaka agents enter. He is able to evade them and make his escape just as Riptide rolls up.

They quickly make their way to their safe house, the former home of Irina Lovodny. Once there, Shamburg explains that the device is a prototype he created called the Nano-Fly. It is remote controlled, can bypass most security systems, and can deliver a lethal payload of neurotoxin. He sold the device and its design specs to Arasaka. He gave them the specs, but before he delivered the device and its control unit, he learned that Arasaka was going to shut down his company. So he ran off with the Nano-Fly and its control unit. Using a fixer named Fireman, he sold the unit. He has been lying low ever since. Saito remains there while Riptide returns back to their home in the Combat Zone.

Saito gets in contact with Jarvic who has the man they found tucked away at REO Meatwagon’s emergency clinic. Jarvic says that the man is a fixer named Fireman. Talking with Fireman reveals that he sold the device through another fixer named Black Knight. He also recalls that before losing consciousness, one of the strike team members mention they should talk to someone he called “The German.” Another strike team member agreed, but referred to the contact as “Wolf”. The team recalled that they once did a job for a German solo named Wolf Reimann, who they knew had done regular work for Militech.

Riptide callshis contact within Arasaka, and asks him about the Nano-Fly. His contact says that the device was always thought to be a rumor. He also mentions that if Arasaka is interested in the device, it would likely be to destroy it, not use it. Arasaka is in the security business and such a device would be a threat to that business.

In the afternoon, Mouse gets to work trying to track down Phil via his cell phone. Meanwhile, Riptide tracks down someone with contact information for Wolf Reimann.

Riptide makes contact with Wolf, who remembered them from the job in Romania. He tells Riptide that he was asked by Militech to track down and retrieve Dr. Shamburg. Riptide tells him that they are after something that the Doctor has and that they should coordinate with Wolf to find the Doctor. Wolf says he will be catching a flight shortly to Night City to take over the investigation himself. The team realizes they need to wrap this up before he gets there.

Back at the old Lovodny house, Saito continues to babysit the Doctor. There is a knock at the door and Saito answers to be greeted by one of the neighborhood kids. The kid informs him that there is a sedan full of men parked a block away, watching the house. Saito contacts the others, who immediately make plans to return to the house and relocate the doctor.

Riptide is the first to get back to the neighborhood, but once he is within a couple blocks of the house, he finds a police roadblock in his way. An officer standing at the roadblock explains that Arasaka is conducting a training exercise. Riptide calls Colin, who tells him that Arasaka is getting ready to assault the house. Riptide lets Saito know what is waiting for him.

At the house, the doorbell rings. Saito answers to find this time Mr. Lam at the door. Mr. Lam states that he would like to speak to the Doctor, and place him in Arasaka’s protective custody. He then offers the team 50,000 Euros to retrieve the Nano-fly, which Arasaka intends to destroy. They would give the team just enough of the remaining pieces to take back to their employer to get paid for solving the murders.

The others arrive to discuss the matter. First they wonder how Mr. Lam found them, but then they remembered that their motorcycles had been sitting outside of the apartment building where they first met him. Those same motorcycles were now parked outside this house.

They then decide to agree to Mr. Lam’s terms. They hope they were not giving over the Doctor just to be liquidated, but it is hard to pass up the big paycheck.

They then head to Phil’s apartment at the Mallplex. It has already been gone over by a Biotechnica tactical unit, but maybe they missed something. The apartment turned out to be well searched, but they did learn that Phil had a Blue Ice habit. His dealer was a man named Tangent. Riptide knew this fixer had a reputation for being an untrustworthy weasel who would sell out his own grandma.

They head out to the Mallplex parking lot, where Tangent sells drugs out of his van. It takes a bribe of 1,000 Euros, but they learn that Phil is holed up at the EZ Overnighter in coffin 172.

They then head over to the EZ Overnighter. When they are a few blocks away, Riptide spots the van from the Militech strike team parked on the street. Thermo optics tells them that the van is empty. They stop long enough to disable the vehicle and continue on their way.

When they arrive, they contact Mouse and have him hack the Overnighter’s security system and keep an eye on the facility for them. He hacks in, only to find another Netrunner in the system. A battle in cyberspace takes place as the two runners trade attack programs. The other runner is clearly corporate backed and has a wide array of nasty programs. Mouse is outmatched but hopes to stall the runner before he is taken out. However, for a brief moment, Mouse spots an opening in the other runner’s defenses and launches a Deck Crash program. The other runner is knocked out of the system.

Mouse happily informs the group of his success but warns that Militech will know that they are there once the booted netrunner tells his comrades.

By this time however, the team is already in place. Saito is up on a roof, overlooking the Overnighter complex. Zen and Riptide sneak around the back and near to where the Militech men are gathered. The scene has a strong sense of familiarity, as this is the same place that they fought Union Force during the incident with Ricco Estevez.

Zen closes in on one of the men and hears a report on the radio that three edgerunners were moving in and that someone named Remmy was on his way. She had no idea who Remmy was, but she knew the three were she, Saito, and Riptide. Once she was close enough to the solo, she took him out with her Gang Jazzler.

Several Militech men are standing around one of the coffins. Phil is with them, protesting as one of the Militech men begins going through his coffin. The team decides to move in. Zen opens fire at close range, while Saito snipes from the rooftop. Riptide offers supporting fire for Zen. Phil is quickly killed in the crossfire.

Zen finds herself outgunned, but Saito’s sniper fire helps keep the Militech men occupied. But then Saito hears something moving up behind him. He turns to see a full conversion cyborg, its light armor painted black, and his footsteps almost completely silent. The two exchange close range fire, but the borg quickly closes the distance to make Saito’s giant rifle useless. It attacks in hand to hand, Saito desperately avoiding its crushing blows. At one point, Saito out maneuvers, it, and it goes flying over the edge of the building. But the moment it hits the ground, it recovers, launches a grapple cable to the roof and quickly ascends back to the top.

Without Saito’s supporting fire, Zen finds herself in trouble and with in moments her armor, both external and internal is chewed up. Another burst rips into her flesh and she collapses to the ground dying.

Back on the roof, the cyborg returns with graceful ease. However, its fall and return gave Saito just enough time to recover and set himself with his rifle. A point blank shot slams into the borg sending it flying once more to the ground.

Meanwhile, the Militech agent that had been rooting around in the coffin comes out with the Nano-fly. He makes a break for the exit. The cyborg that was ready to go after Saito again, decides to instead meet up with the agent. There is a momentary exchange, and then the cyborg also attempts a hasting retreat. The cyborg moves alarmingly fast, but Saito is able to tag it with another round, slowing it down considerably. Another two well-placed electro-thermo rounds bring it down, but at this point it is already a couple blocks away from the EZ Overnighter.

Riptide contacts Helios to meet them there as quickly as possible. He then contacts Mr. Lam and tells him they have the Nano-Fly, but need medical support.

He then drives off the last remaining Militech agents and secures Zen’s body. Riptide then moves on to get to the cyborg, while Saito gets to the dying Zen and attempts to stabilize her body. He is able to keep her from bleeding out, but she will need medical attention and soon.

Riptide gets to the cyborg body at the same time that Helios arrives. They look at the body and see that the Nano-Fly and its control unit are attached to the cyborg. The cyborg, apparently some sort of stealth and infiltration model, was the one that had been controlling the Nano-fly. They are able to remove both the fly and the control unit.

An Arasaka medical team arrives, and they take Zen to the hospital. Riptide turns over the Nano-fly to Mr. Lam. Mr. Lam tells them that they will be paid immediately, but would not get the evidence they need to get paid by Biotechnica until next week. Riptide agrees. He also looks at his watch and realizes that Wolf would be arriving in a couple of hours. They had turned the Doctor, whom they told Wolf they would help find, over to his employer’s competition. What were they going to tell him?

While Helios gets the Militech van up and running again, Riptide contacts one of his coworkers with an unusual job offer. For a couple hundred bucks, he would need to drive to the airport, wait for the team to leave, then follow them, but lose them when they tried to shake him. His coworker thinks it odd, but wasn’t about to turn down the easy money.

They then go to the airport and meet Wolf at the gate. They tell him there is trouble and he needs to go with them immediately. He quickly gets into their vehicle as they speed off. Riptide explains that Arasaka took the Nano-Fly, kidnapped Dr. Shamburg, and then wiped out Wolf’s team at the EZ Overnighter.

Wolfgang is surprised by this but has little time to consider it as Helios reports that they are being followed. Riptide states that Arasaka got wind that Wolf was coming to the airport and was going to take him out there. Helios’ skillful driving allows him to shake the pursuer.

Wolf, now fully convinced to Riptides’ story, directs them to take him the Militech’s testing grounds south of Night City. They drop him off and return home.

As promised, about a week later, Arasaka produces the remaining pieces of the Nano-Fly. The team then turns the parts over to Mr. Crowe at Biotechnica. As promised, he pays them double their original fee.

The team is not sure how they feel about this mission. It was definitely profitable, but it meant doing some dirty work for their nemesis, Arasaka. Does this mean they could let bygones be bygones if the money is right?