Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 30 - The Osiris Chip

The team was home for about a week and a half before their next opportunity came up. Zen did some job hunting, Helios worked on selling their chopper, and Riptide, inspired by his success in Las Vegas, looked to expand his Super Fly sales in Night City.

April 10th, 2039

While working his job at the Golden Saloon, Riptide is approached by a man who is looking to speak to him. The man introduces himself using the handle Ripper. It seems that Ripper has a job lined up working for a local booster gang. Apparently this booster gang, called the O-Zoners, has found itself an opportunity for a big score. However, the members may have bitten off more than they can chew, so they are looking to hire a little outside muscle. That’s where Riptide’s team comes in. They agree to meet the next day at the Forlorn Hope. There, Ripper will introduce them to one of the O-Zoners gang members, who can discuss the deal in more detail.

April 11, 2039

The team meets at the Forlorn Hope. After a short time Ripper arrives with a woman he introduces as Julie Electra. Julie explains that the gang intends to make a hit on a convoy owned by the Humanatech Corporation. This convoy will be passing through part of the Combat Zone. More importantly, it runs through their territory. They’re not exactly sure what the trucks will be transporting, but they do know that the company has a $2 million insurance policy out on it.

When asked how they know about the insurance policy, Julie tells them that the gang’s hacker Rex Nex learned about it. The intention was to hit the convoy and steal what they can. They will then sell off everything and divide it evenly amongst all the members. The gang has 25 participants, plus the team, and Ripper. The gang would be meeting the next night to discuss the details of the hit. The team agreed to show up.

April 12, 2039

The team meets at the O-Zoners hangout. Their leader is a man who goes by the name Mach 3 Mach. He is a man who is heavy on both cybernetics and ego. He and Zen begin to immediately clash. There they are also introduced to Kid Stealth, Mach’s sycophantic
side kick, and Rex Nex, the net runner who learned about the convoy. They also briefly meet Chain , a sullen figure who prefers a skulk in the corner.

After the booster gang equivalent of pleasantries is exchanged, its time to get down to the details. They learn that the gang has already designated a street intersection as the place to make the hit. The street runs along a series of buildings and apartments owned by a Chinese businessman named Leo Fong, that the gang has strong ties with. Fong has already given the okay to use that street as their point of attack.

Mach 3’s plan is to wait until the convoy comes around the corner and then open fire with everything they have to disable the trucks. His guys will then run in and grab everything they can.

Zen immediately balks at this plan, indicating that there is too great a chance of damaging the cargo. The two argue to a stalemate until Chain recommends that they listen to what the edgerunners think. Mach 3 clearly hates Chain’s interference, but acquiesces.

The team decides it is better to hit the convoy before it turns the corner. The street prior to the intersection contains a parking lot and some small buildings on the west side, and a series of ruined buildings on the east side. They decide this is the better point of attack as there is likely to be less collateral damage. Friend or not, the Fong may not like his buildings being damaged.

They decide to divide the gangers into teams, each having a different vehicle to target. They also designate a couple of them to act as scouts to go farther up the convoy route to warn the ambushers of when the convoy was arriving. They then procured a couple of heavy vehicles that they could use as roadblocks to try and pin the trucks in.

After much arguing and debating, the plan is finalized. Mach 3 offers Zen the opportunity to celebrate in his bedroom. She declines. Everyone departs and goes their separate ways to prepare for the big score.

April 13, 2039

The next evening, everybody arrives and gets into their positions. Saito, along with Mouse, takes a position near the top floor of an apartment building on the south side of the intersection. Helios waits in one of their vehicles, that is parked in the parking lot. Zen and Riptide take up positions on opposite sides of the southbound street near where the vehicles will be coming in. Ripper positions himself near the top of a building on the northeast side of the intersection. There he anchors a heavy machinegun that he intends to use on the trucks.

April 14, 2039

The convoy is supposed to roll through at 1:00 AM. As the time approaches however, they get no indication from the scout team the convoy is approaching. Soon, 1:00 AM passes with no sign of the convoy. They begin checking in with all their teams when they realize that one unit of gangers, that was positioned on the south end of the intersection with the trucks they were going to be using as barricades, was not reporting in.

Riptide is moving along one of the buildings on the west side of the parking lot, when he hears something drop near him. He looks down to see a frag grenade just moments before it explodes. His armor protects him as the blast knocks him off of his feet.

Then there is the roar of rockets, as two missiles are fired from two buildings overlooking the parking lot. They streak across the parking lot and hit the two gang vehicles that were to be used to haul away the cargo. The vehicles are instantly destroyed in an explosion of fire and metal.

Ripper immediately opens fire with his heavy machine gun. High-caliber lead streaks across the street and parking lot into the buildings where the missles came from.

Saito then notices with his thermal vision, a large group of men moving from the south. The group then splits, with some of them moving up towards Ripper’s position, others entering the building that Saito and Mouse are in, and the others heading across the street to the building where Zen is located.

The new arrivals immediately begin exchanging fire with the O-Zoners. Ripper continues to fire on the buildings where the missiles were fired. Zen abandons her position and immediately begins running down the steps to exit the building she is in. Saito and Mouse prepare to hold their ground, as several of the assailants are moving up towards them.

Zen is able to get out of her building and immediately starts heading west. Riptide is watching her position when he realizes that there is another large group of men coming from the west parallel to her position. It is too late, and she is the target of automatic fire. She returns fire but is clearly outgunned and is forced to retreat. Riptide attempts to offer supporting fire, but soon finds himself under fire from the group that came from the south.

The men that came from the west split off into two groups. Some of them go in pursuit of Zen, while the others head north towards the parking lot where Helios is located. Ripper begins to concentrate his fire on a third group of the men that are now coming from the north, having apparently dispatched most of the O-Zoners.

In Saito’s building, the men arrive on his floor and begin moving down the hallway towards the door to the room where he and Mouse are in. Saito begins opening fire, using his thermal vision the shoot through the walls to hit the attackers. A couple of the men are able to survive the gauntlet of fire and get to the doorway. Mouse dispatches one of them with his submachine gun, giving Saito time to pick off the other one.

Zen almost finds herself cornered in a crossfire, but is able to force her way through a door into one of the buildings. A couple of the men give immediate pursuit. Viewed up close she realizes that the new arrivals are heavily cybered men, who appear to be in a state of cyber psychosis. They completely ignore the pain and injuries that would kill a normal person, and their pursuit is relentless.

The men moving towards the parking lot open fire on the vehicle that Helios is in. He returns fire by launching flechette rounds from his grenade launcher.

Riptide moves north trying to locate Elektra and Mach 3, the only members of the gang who seem to have survived the assault from the north. He too finds himself pinned in by these cyber psychotic attackers. What seems odd is that though the demeanor of their attackers clearly indicates cyber psychosis, these men were acting and coordinating as a cohesive unit, something that those in the throes of cyber psychosis do not do.

Zen makes her way through the building and escapes out the other side. Riptide is able to circle around across the street, where he and Zen meet up with Helios. Getting supporting fire from both Ripper and Saito, they are able to secure a defensible position from the attackers.

But then things get immediately more complicated as Mouse indicates that several AV-4s from the Cyber SWAT team have been dispatched and would be there within moments.

Everybody immediately scrambles for their vehicles in an attempt to abandon the location. Most were able to make a clean getaway. Unfortunately for Zen, she drew the attention of one of the first AV-4s to arrive. It’s spot light immediately lights up her motorcycle as she attempts to make her escape.

She races down the abandoned streets of the Combat Zone, but the AV-4 stays tight on her rear. A voice from a loudspeaker orders her to pull over. Instead, she takes a tight corner and heads down a narrow alley. She flies out onto the street on the other side, only to have another AV-4 pickup the pursuit. This time a voice indicates that they will use deadly force if she does not pull over.

Again she tries to evade the police by turning down another alley, but again, luck is not on her side. Waiting on the other side of the alley is the first AV-4. They have her penned in. She is again ordered to pull over. This time she complies.

A van rolls up, and along with several C-SWAT officers, out steps Lt. Bubba McCarty. He recognizes her immediately. She is arrested and hauled into the vehicle. They throw her on the back seat, and two officers sit on her to hold her down.

The other members of the team and Ripper meet up at the Golden Saloon. After a few tense moments in which they accuse each other of a set up, they decide that neither was involved. But who was? The O-Zoners seemed unlikely as they just got decimated. Perhaps Humanatech. But why?

Helios decides to call Zen to see where she ended up. A male voice answers the phone. The two converse briefly until Helios realizes that it’s a cop and they are likely tracing the call. He hangs up. Saito goes one step further and pulls the battery on the phone. He then calls Buckshot Betty and asks her to stop by and pick up his gear, as he does not intend to return home.

A short time later, C-SWAT arrives back at the justice center and Zen is thrown into general lock up. There she sits with a group of female gangbangers, thieves, prostitutes, and a few girls who just partied a bit too hard.

She is then pulled out of general lockup. As she is escorted away, she sees Mach 3 being thrown into the men’s lock up.

She then finds herself sitting in an interview room with Lt. McCarty. She tries to be evasive, but he is not having any of it. But he does believe her claim that she knows nothing about the cyber-psychos.

He then lays it all out and says that he has the power to destroy her life and she knows it. If she does not want that to happen, she needs to help him.

He tells her that incidents of cyber-psychosis have been on the rise in that part of the Combat Zone, especially over the last few months. Oddly, many of the psychos they picked up, were not from that area. He wants to know what is going on, and gives her 72 hours to find out. He then lets her go.

She then heads to the Golden Saloon and meets up with the others. She tells them of her run in with Lt. McCarty. Saito immediately makes plans to hide all of his weapons. Ripper has never had a run in with the man, but knows him well enough by reputation.

Ripper is able to get a hold of Julia. She indicates that as far as she can tell, only four members of the O-Zoners are still live: herself, Mach 3, Chain, and Rex Nex. Mach is in jail, Chain is missing, and Rex Nex is back at their hangout. The team members do what they can to get a couple hours of sleep before beginning several lines of investigation.

Saito and Zen get authorization from McCarty to talk to the forensics specialists that have been examining the bodies. They learn that all the cyber-psychos they picked up in that part of the Combat Zone have had a wide variety of cybernetics, but all of them had a chip reader. Looking at the records they learn that all of them had at least one chip that was damaged beyond recognition.

Riptide and Ripper hit the streets to learn what they can about any ripper-docs working in the area. They learn that a mysterious ripper-doc know as Ju-Ju has been in the area for the last six months. Where he is located is unknown, but it is believed his shop can only be accessed through the sewers.

Mouse begins to learn what he can about Humanatech. He is able to pull up much of their financial records, but learns that their research projects, and the people who work on them, are pretty well secured. A call by Ripper to one of his corporate contacts confirms that custom chipware would be right up Humanatech’s alley.

They next visit Leo Fong. He knows nothing of the earlier events. He also seems to lament the loss of the O-Zoners, which makes it unlikely he was the one who betrayed them. In talking to him, they learn that up until last year, Chain led the gang. Fong tells them that Chain couldn’t handle the cybernetic upgrades and was starting to lose his grip. Unfortunately for Chain, the inability to handle upgrades is considered a weakness among booster gangs, and he lost control of the gang to Mach 3.

They then get a call from Julia. Mach 3 is going to be released due to a lack of evidence, and he is looking for some serious payback.

Riptide learns that a fixer named Captain Jack is a contact for Ju-Ju. They decide that since Helios is borderline cyber-psychotic himself, he should be the one to go.

Helios is able to meet with Captain Jack. He indicates that he is looking for some additional upgrades. Captain Jack looks him up and down and tells him to return at 11:00 PM, and they will go to meet Ju-Ju.

A short time later, Ripper also meets with Captain Jack. He indicates that he is also looking for some upgrades. Captain Jack looks him up and down and tells Ripper that he cannot help him.

They then head over to the O-Zoner’s hangout, where they find Rex Nex hiding in a closet. They demand to know how he found out about the convoy.

He tells them that he met another Netrunner named Lazarus at an online BBS called Carnival. Lazarus had learned about the insurance policy Humanatech had on the shipment. He had set up a way that he would get the two million dollar payment if the shipment were lost. All he needed was for someone to take it from Humanatech. That’s where Rex Nex and the O-Zoners came in. They steal the shipment, sell it, and keep the proceeds. Lazarus cashes in on the insurance policy.

They tell him that Lazarus sold them out. He then realizes that he had told Lazarus the details of their attack plan on the convoy. That explains why they seemed to know exactly where everybody was. He is supposed to meet with Lazarus at Carnival later today.

They contact Mouse and ask him if he can trace Lazarus. Mouse invests in a stealth and a trace program and at the appointed time follows Rex Nex into the Net. At Carnival, Rex Nex meets up with Lazarus. The two speak briefly, but then Lazarus launches an enhanced Zombie program that cooks Rex Nex’s brain. Lazarus then dumps out of the Net. The encounter was brief, but long enough for Mouse to get a general fix on his position.

When he drops out of the Net, Mouse informs the others of what had happened. He tells them that he was able to narrow Lazarus position to within just a couple of blocks of where the ambush took place. He also tells them that the Zombie program was a corporate grade custom program. Since Lazarus is not a well-known hotshot Net-jockey, odds are he is corporate.

The group then discusses what they have learned so far. It would seem that the O-Zoners were set up by a corporation. But why? Why would a corporation want to wipe out a bunch of booster gangers? Perhaps they are using this area as a test bed for some new tech related to the mysterious chips and the cyber-psychos. The ambush was a way to purge the O-Zoners from the test bed.

A short time later, Mouse contacts them. He had begun cross-referencing Humanatech’s financial holdings with properties in that part of the Combat Zone. Although it is indirectly through a couple of other companies, Humanatech owns a large piece of property one block away from the ambush site. According to the records it was purchased for development, but then abandoned. It is now just a plot of land with a large fence around it.

The team remembers seeing it during the ambush. Those high up enough could see over the fence, but it was nothing but piles of dirt and half worked ground. Remembering that the mysterious Ju-Ju apparently lived in the sewer, Zen suggests that perhaps Humanatech did develop the site, just not above ground.

Just then, Mach 3 bursts in the door. He immediately accuses the group of setting up the gang. They are able to keep him from completely flipping out and when they tell him what they have learned so far, he calms down. He then begins to plan a raid on the alleged underground facility.

Once again, he and Zen butt heads. He wants to raid the facility, she wants to contact C-SWAT and let them deal with it. He argues that C-SWAT will confiscate whatever they find down there, which means he and the group end up with nothing. But if they do it themselves, and there is an underground testing facility for advanced cybernetics, it could be quite profitable. Zen argues that it would be suicide to march into a facility that is potentially crawling with cyber-psychos.

This time the others side with Mach 3. While they realize how dangerous this may be, they would like to get something for all of their troubles. So, they prepare to go in.

They return to the scene of the crime, and look for the sewer entrance nearest to the Humanatech property. They find one and descend into the sewers. They find a locked door that they easily bypass. They then continue down a narrow hall until they spot a PIR sensor up ahead. They can’t get close enough to it to disable it, so they need to come up with a way to spoof it.

Saito heads back to their headquarters and retrieves his ghost armor. Once back, he dons the suit, which blocks his body heat. He then moves down the tunnel towards the infrared sensor and sprays it with a foam that blocks its ability to detect heat. With that task completed they head down the tunnel until they reach a door.

The door is locked, but Helios picks up with ease. The door opens to reveal a brightly lit and very clean hallway. As they adventure forth, they come across a room with padded walls that contains men chained to the walls. Saito steps in and the men immediately lunge at him. Luckily the chains keep them at bay. It is clear that they are all in a state of cyber psychosis.

They next come across the surgical room. Laying on a table is Chain, the former leader of the O-Zoners. It looks like he has had recent surgery to modify his neural processor. They take a quick look and see that the mysterious chip has not yet been inserted.

They are able to return Chain of consciousness, and unhook him from all the diagnostic equipment strapped to his body. Julie Electra then takes Chain and guides him back out of the facility, as the others press onward.

Behind the surgical room they find a chamber containing six cryotanks. Inside each cryotank is a sleeping solo. They all have a variety of combat related cybernetic upgrades. Each also has an identical neural processor with a chip reader.

On the other side of the room they find a vault containing a stock of assault rifles and ammunition. They take a couple of the rifles and several boxes of ammunition. They then pull all of the firing pins out of all of the remaining weapons.

They next come across a small guard room. They are in the middle of discussing how to handle the situation when Mach 3 charges in and opens fire. The gunfight is short as the guards are quickly dealt with. Unfortunately one of the guards is able to set off alarm.

The group presses forward again, this time with more urgency. Ripper sets of booby-trap at the door they just went through to prevent anyone from coming up behind them.

They next come across the circular hallway. They exchange gunfire with several guards. They seem to have the advantage until a full conversion board comes around the corner firing a heavy machinegun. He turns the entire hallway to the suppression zone, completely shutting down the progress of the team. They are able to spot what appears to be a man of slight build running behind the cyborg down a hallway that is blocked from their view.

Saito, who is not in the suppression zone circles around in an attempt to flank the cyborg. As he does so he comes in contact with the fleeing employee. A quick interrogation reveals that the employees named Artie Masters. Artie is the systems operator for the facility. He insists that he knows very little about what they do their, other than that they are working on a project known as the Osiris Chip. When asked where he was going, Artie explains that he was heading towards the director’s office, because he knows that there is a secret bolthole exit through which to escape.

Back in the hallway, Mach 3 uses his standard tactic of charging headfirst in danger. Unfortunately for him, this time he bites off more than he can chew, as he is ripped apart by the cyborg’s weapon .

Eventually, the ‘borg burns through all the ammunition in his weapon. As he begins the process of reloading, the rest of the team immediately come out from their cover and open fire on the cyborg. It is Zen’s massive salvo of armor piercing rounds that finally brings him down. They rush to the body and are able to yank the Osiris chip before it self-destructs.

The victory is short lived however, as the booby-trap that Ripper set goes off. Five of the six men they saw in the cryotanks are now converging upon them. The first one, having taken the full brunt of Ripper’s trap was already down. They move seemingly as one, concentrating their attention on Helios. They moved to open fire, however the guns do not work due to the absence of the firing pins. With their weapons disabled, the men from the cryotanks converge on the group in an attempt to engage them in close combat. The hand-to-hand melee is furious and bloody, but ultimately the team wins the day.

With the danger clear, they have time to further interrogate Artie Masters. He indicates that the team leader is a man named Dr. Charles Westhaven, a researcher for Humanatech. They ask him for access to the vault, Artie says he does not have access. Ripper ends up using a decryptor to crack the vault lock. Inside they find a wide assortment of cybernetic parts as well as a case containing several of the Osiris chips.

They contact Lieut. McCarty and let him know what has transpired. The lieutenant immediately sends out a cyber SWAT team to secure the facility. The team turns over everything they found in the vault…almost. They had swapped out one of the new chips from the case in the vault the one with they found in the cyborg, leaving them with one brand-new unused Osiris chip. McCarty thanks them for their efforts and send them on their way.

Although the initial job gave them nothing, Ripper was able to sell the chip for a nice fee, which was divided up amongst the group. They also may have gotten themselves on McCarty’s good side, which is not a bad place to be. They did miss out on one opportunity for revenge as they learn that Artie Masters, now in C-SWAT custody is also known as Lazarus.