Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 38 - Block Party

May 18th, 2040

Riptide inquires with Katrina Jones regarding buying a full dossier on Harvis Renaldo. Turns out Infocomp charges $50,000 for that kind of information, more than the team is willing to spend on revenge.

Riptide than calls his old pal Colin Fisk, who is still working for Militech in Detroit and still bored. Riptide offers him the job of eliminating Harvis. Colin agrees for $25,000, but will need a few weeks before he can pay a visit to Night City.

May 19th – June 1st, 2040

All is quiet. The team devotes time to developing their now legit towing and salvage business.

June 2nd, 2040

The team learns that they have been awarded the city contract for all municipal towing needs. This single contract will triple the size of their operation.

June 3rd – June 13th, 2040

They quickly learn that legit businesses don’t pay nearly as much for all the work, but you get shot at less.

June 14th, 2040

Zen gets a call from Roxie. After some brief catching up, Roxy says that business for her and Krissy has been so good that they currently find themselves overbooked. She has a job they would like to pass on to the team if they are interested.

It seems that a night club called Block One opened up on the west side six months ago. A cybertech company called Hawkeye has been dumping tons of money into it. Roxy’s employer wants to know why. An easy $15,000 just to find out what Hawkeye’s interest is. But they could earn ten times that, if the team comes up with something tangible that the employer can monetize.

The team immediately begins some preliminary research. They learn that Hawkeye is based in Boston and specializes in neural-ware. Block One is owned by Cyrus Redblock, a low ranking mob man whose minions the team have recently tangled with. Word on the street is that Block One hosts some illicit gladiator fights.

That evening, Saito takes his friend Baja , the exotic prostitute, out to Block One. The front of the building is all darkened glass with “Block One” in giant purple neon letters. The music being played inside is blasted out of external speakers so that everyone within a five block radius can hear it.

The line is long, but eventually they get in. The first floor of the two story structure is one large dance club. A stage for live bands is on the far end.

After an hour of observation, Saito notices people handing cash to a doorman to be let through a non-descript door. Noticing that people seem to be paying $50 a head, he walks up to the doorman with Baja and hands him $100 cash. The doorman lets him through.

Beyond is a set of descending steps. Down in the basement they traverse a poorly lit hallway to a small arena where two men are duking it out. Bleachers surround the platform. On one side is a glass wall behind which more viewers watch. One observer sits in a most prominent chair. It is a woman who watches the match with a disinterested look.

One of the combatants gets the upper hand and stuns his opponent, knocking him to the ground. As he stands triumphant over his defeated adversary, all eyes look to the woman beyond the glass. She gives a thumbs down, at which point the winner fighter kills his opponent.

They head to the room beyond the glass and see that it is another bar area. The dress of the patrons and price of the drinks indicates that this is where the big spenders watch the fights. Saito speaks with some of the patrons and learns that there are 5 tiers of fighters. The top tiers only fight on Fridays and Saturdays. The current reigning champion of the ring is a man known as The Beast.

June 15th, 2040

The following evening, the team heads to Block One. Helios hangs out in the back to observe the comings and goings at the service entrance. The others head inside. When the time comes, they pay their fees and head to the lower level.

As they watch the fights, they mingle with the crowd to learn what they can. They learn that they club is managed by a man named Kristoff Masters. Cyrus Redblock has never actually been seen at the club. The team suspects that he owns the club on paper only.

They learn that the woman who judges the fallen fighters in called Lady Death. Rumor has is that she is the widow of one of the fighters who was killed. After some observation, they begin to suspect she does not particularly enjoy her role.

Saito runs into Kristoff Masters and speaks with him. Kristoff fits the role of congenial host well and tells Saito of how he moved to Night City from Boston to manage the club for Cyrus Redblock. He even openly tells Saito that the rumor about Lady Death is true and she works for the club as a way to pay off her husband’s debt to the club. How her husband acquired that debt is not explained.

June 16th, 2040

In the early morning hours as the last of the club staff are heading home, Saito watches the parking lot. When he sees Lady Death leave he approaches her. She is very reluctant to be seen talking to him, but agrees to meet him at the Mallplex later that day.

In the early afternoon, Riptide, Saito, and Zen head to the Mallplex. There they meet Lady Death whose real name is Laura.

She tells them that there is clinic on the upper level of the club. She has never been up there, but is told it is for providing first aid to the fighters. Her husband had some neural-ware installed in that clinic including an experimental reflex booster. The booster seemed to work, but made him emotionally unstable. Getting the implants is how he incurred the debt.

They offer to give Laura the money to pay her debt in exchange for her silence on the matter. She agrees.

The fighters are ranked by five tiers, Tier Five being new fighters and Tier One being their best like The Beast. Her husband wasn’t offered the implants until he reached Tier Two. If a fighter wins two fights in a row, he improves one Tier. If he loses two in a row, assuming he survives, he drops one tier.

Fighters are recruited at the club by a small Chinese man named Koda. He watches the crowd and picks out potential fighters. Everyone immediately looks at Helios, whose stature and grafted muscle makes him look like a cage fighter. He is not too thrilled with the plan that everyone is thinking of, but eventually agrees.

She tells them that also in the crowd are numerous solos on the payroll. They blend in and only act if there is trouble. In addition, the lower and upper levels have corporate security types keeping an eye on things.

They decide to take a two-fold approach. Helios will go inside and see if he can get the attention of Koda. Zen and Saito intend to scale the building to get to the roof access. The problem is there are a lot of people who hang out outside the building. They will need to create a little chaos first.

That evening the team returns to Block One. Helios arrives early and is the first on the scene. He is there a couple of hours before he is finally approached by Koda. Koda tells him about the fights and explains that at the bottom tier, he gets paid $2,000 per fight plus a $500 bonus if he wins. Tier One fighters make $6000 a fight plus winner bonus.

Around 10:00 PM upstairs, Riptide sets off some smoke pellets. People quickly notice the smoke and a panic begins to break out. Security tries to calm everyone down, but Riptide “panics” and riles everyone up again.

As a stream of people begins to emerge from the club causing much confusion, Zen and Saito on the opposite side begin their ascent. They use a grapple gun and rappel their way to the roof.

Once on the roof they find the roof access. It is a hinged metal door secured by a padlock on the inside. There also appears to be a magnetic switch sensor that will alarm when the door is opened.

Down in the basement, there is no panic. No one seems to be aware of the chaos going on above them. The final fight of the night featuring The Beast takes place. He is clearly cyber-psychotic, likely drugged to maintain some level of self-control. He is a hulking figure with grafted muscle and skin weave.

Right before the bell rings, he seems to go into a trance. When the bell rings, he launches at his opponent with frightening speed. He is incredibly fast for a man his size and begins to beat his opponent. Helios recognizes the effects of a reflex booster, but one more effective than he has ever seen before. A few moments later, the fight is over and The Beast chalks up another win.

Up on the roof, Zen and Saito realize there is nothing more they can do tonight. The crowd outside is already settling down and they don’t have the tools to get past the door. They quickly rappel back down to the ground and disappear into the night.

June 17th – June 18th, 2040

A little follow up planning is done as the team considers their next move. They are certain that Hawkeye is developing a new form of advanced booster-ware and is using the fights to test it out. Technically this is enough information to collect their $15,000 pay check, but after some debate, they decide to collect the big payday by getting their hands on some design data.

Helios is on the schedule to fight next Tuesday. They decide that he will attend his fight and try to get a tour of the clinic.

June 19th, 2040

Helios has his first fight before the smaller Tuesday Night crowd. His opponent is another bottom tier fighter having his first fight as well. The bell rings and Helios levels his opponent with a single punch.

Koda is clearly impressed. He shows Helios around the facility, including the clinic upstairs. The clinic seems pretty straight forward although there is a surgery bay which seems a bit much for a first aid clinic and a number of corporate security types hanging around. There is also a room with reinforced walls and a door with a high security lock on it. Whatever secrets this place holds are in that room.

June 20th – June 26th, 2040

The team plans their next move. After days of debate about whether to just let Helios work his way up the ranks and possibly get the booster-ware himself, or break in and steal what they are looking for, they decide to go with the latter.

They discuss how to get through the roof access. Saito has a line on some thermite they could use to burn through the door. They then realize that if they are going to use thermite, they might as well burn through the roof right into the vault.

Helios fabricates a mount and anchor system to hold a section of the roof in place as the thermite burns around it. The others acquire the thermite along with Demolitions and Electronic Security skill chips.

June 27th, 2040

Its fight night again for Helios. Zen and Riptide decide to be the ones to scale the roof and burn their way into the vault. Getting up there without a crowd detraction will be difficult but pulling another stunt like the smoke bombs will likely draw too much suspicion.

Saito finds a comfy spot on a warehouse room a half mile away and sets up his sniper rifle. Zen and Riptide will exit back through the roof and Saito will cover their exit.

Down in the basement, the bell rings and Helios second fight begins. This time it takes him a full 30 seconds to drop his opponent, but he is none the less victorious.

Up on the roof, Zen and Riptide set up the anchor system and attach it to the roof. Zen begins pouring the thermite but loses control of it. An unanchored chunk of roof falls through to the room below making a loud noise.

They quickly pour the rest of the thermite, cutting out a section of the roof. They jump down as they hear men approaching the door outside. It sounds like they are waiting on someone with a key code. The men outside don’t seem too alarmed, but time is short

Zen scoops up the detachable hard drives while Riptide grabs two glass cylinders with some type of Neural-ware mounted inside. They hope they have what they came for because someone has begun punching in the access code to get into the room.

They begin rappelling to the ceiling when the door opens. A woman in a lab coat followed by two security men enters the room. There is a moment of shock as they unexpectedly see two people climbing through a hole in the ceiling. The security men quickly draw their weapons and open fire, but Zen and Riptide are already clear of the hole.

They run to the back of the roof and quickly stow away the items they stole. As they begin to step over the roof edge to rappel down, the roof access swings open. A security guard steps out, spots them and aims his weapon. Before he can open fire, he is brought down by a head shot from Saito’s sniper rifle. The two quickly zip down the ropes and make a run for it,

Helios has won his second fight and has made some more easy money. He can’t help but feel that due to the theft of the tech by the others, this club’s days are numbered.

June 28th, 2040

Zen turns over the data and devices they stole to Roxy who in turn gives it over to her employer.

June 29th, 2040

Zen gets word from Roxy that her employer will pay the full $150,000. Everyone is happy about the big pay day, but Helios can’t help but feel he is being denied a lucrative career as a cage fighter.