Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 4 The Agency Job

After the events of Girls Night Out, Riptide is in the hospital, Zen is stuck in the cramped apartment healing, and the rest of the crew return to their jobs. Eventually, both Riptide and Zen heal sufficiently to return to work as well. Helios continues work on the truck and eventually gets it up and running. Jimmy Two Teeth sells it to him dirt-cheap. No more bus passes for Helios.

December 20, 2036

Being a Saturday Night, Riptide is at his usual post, manning the stage-side bouncer station at the Golden Saloon. Boredom is starting to creep in. The team hasn’t had a job for seven weeks. Riptide’s attempts at networking have been slow as well. Apparently street punks and edge runners have had Christmas shopping to do to. He wished Zen would get her ammo sorted out. He is tired of eating his scop standing up because she has the kitchen table piled with 7.62 mm rounds. His thoughts are interrupted by the DJ sending up the next girl. Oh yeah, and if he has to watch one more stripper in a “sexy elf” or “sexy Mrs. Clause” costume, he is going to put his own brains on the wall.

Thankfully, things become interesting when he is approached by a man dressed in black, with slicked back white hair. He indicates that he heard Riptide is part of an edge running team, and he is looking to hire one. He introduces himself as Kronos, and agrees to meet with the team the next day.

December 21, 2036

Because Kronos had inquired if any of the team were SCUBA trained, Helios spends the morning at the mall, in the “Dandy Mountain” sporting goods store. There he picks up some re-breathers and a SCUBA skill chip.

At 2:00 PM, they meet Kronos at the Forlorn Hope. He indicates that he works for an “agency” that needs to have some work done that they cannot be linked to. It seems that a drug lord by the name of Diego Entrada, with the cooperation of the Columbian Government, has been smuggling drugs and a special ops team in and out of the U.S. via a private yacht. Kronos believes that the yacht is currently anchored in the New Harbor Marina. He doesn’t know which yacht it is, but he does know where to find out. The Columbian Consular received an information packet, which Kronos believes contains the identity of the yacht. He hires the team to break into the Columbian Consulate, learn the identity of the yacht, locate it, and introduce it to the bottom of the marina. He gives them a satchel charge that they can use. He also offers $1,000 each in payment, but after some haggling, agrees to $1,250 per person.

Helios and Riptide hop in the truck and head out to the Steiner Building, which is the office building that the consulate is located in. Torrent drops into the Net, and locates the Consulate’s data fortress. His decryption program easily cracks the code gate. Unfortunately, a Pit Bull spots him and immediately begins running a trace. Torrent begins skimming files but finding little of value. His time is limited because of the trace, plus an attack program attacks, trying to fry his deck’s CPU. Torrent is able to raise a shield program in time and defend the attack. However, he is forced to log off before he can complete his search. Knowing the Pit Bull will have an easier time finding him unless he relocates, Torrent catches a bus, with Zen and Riptide along for the ride, and finds a Net café that he can use.

Saito and Helios arrive at the Steiner Building. It is a two-story office building. The consulate is located on the second floor. The buildings in the area are well spaced, and appear to have a similar level of security. Luckily, being a Sunday, traffic is light.

Torrent, Zen, and Riptide find a suitable establishment for Torrent to use. Apparently, the consulate does not use an active sysop, as the gate codes remained unchanged. Again, Torrent is able to defend himself against the attack program, but again is forced to log off early to avoid the Pit Bull trace. The team decides to relocate again and find another location.

Saito and Helios perform walks around the building to map out doors. There are no outside cameras but the doors all have electronic locks. The first level has at least two Arasaka Security guards, which does increase the danger level. The two sit in the truck and begin brainstorming attack methods.

Finally at a third location, Torrent is able to get into the consulate sub-grid and find the terminal map. This allows him to determine the relative location of the Consular’s office, which should speed up the search. Once again the trio are on the bus, this time to meet up with Helios and Saito at the Steiner Building.

They meet up and return to their apartment to get their equipment and finalize a plan. Zen would approach the building in a supposed drunken state and try to gain access to the building. She would then attempt to neutralize the two guards and let the others in.

They return to the Steiner Building after dark. Saito sets up in back of the truck where he has a view of the lobby. Riptide, Helios, and Torrent approach the building away from the lobby and wait to move in.

Zen enters the unlocked foyer and tries to gain access to the lobby. One of the Arasaka guards opens the door to see what she wants. She acts drunk and claims she needs to use the restroom. While the guard seems to believe that she is drunk, he proves unwilling to break protocol and let her in. He is about to shut the door when she wedges her self in, and zaps him with the gang-jazzler. She tries to hold him up, but he proves too heavy. Instead she allows herself to be pulled down with him, but turns to keep him between her and the guard stationed by the elevators. The guard opens fire with his sub-machine gun as he runs for cover, but does not score a hit. Zen begins to pull the unconscious guard with her as she tries to get behind the security console. As she does so, she hears the other guard radio for back up. A couple members of the team have had enough experience with Arasaka Security to know that the guard’s call would bring an AV-4 loaded with a pissed-off Arasaka strike team to their location in a matter of minutes. Riptide, Torrent, and Helios rush in.

When the guard comes out from behind cover to open fire, Saito takes his shot. The electro-thermo round punches through two plates of armored glass and strikes the guard. He is badly wounded but still alive. The guard opens fire and hits Helios. Helios, though wounded, returns fire and finishes off the guard. Helios and Torrent run into the elevator and head to the second floor. Riptide checks on Zen, holed up behind the security counter and then sees the security console. There is a map of the second floor, and monitors indicating that there are two shotgun-armed guards patrolling the back hallways.

On the second floor, Helios takes one step out of the elevator and bullets from three different guns slam into the elevator doors. He quickly jumps back and prevents Torrent from stepping out as well. Checking that his assault rifle was still set to full-auto, he steps out of the elevator car and sprays down the entire room. One guard dives behind a counter, another drops behind some chairs. The third is unable to get out of the way and goes down after catching a few rounds. Torrent steps out behind him and shoots at the guard behind the chairs.

Hearing the gunfire being unleashed upstairs, Riptide runs to the elevator and heads upstairs. As he steps out, he sees Helios pushing a magazine into his rifle as Torrent trades shots with a guard behind the counter. Riptide makes his way to the door that leads to the back hallway. He opens it to find a guard standing there who blasts him in the chest at point blank range with a shotgun. His armored vest absorbs most of the impact, but the severe stinging in his chest says it didn’t stop all of it. Despite being rocked back by the impact, he pursues the guard into the hallway and guns him down with his two pistols.

Another shotgun wielding guard appears at another hall door and adds his firepower to all of the lead that’s already flying around the waiting room. Eventually, the three guards fall, but all three members of the team are wounded. Unfortunately, there is no time to rest as that AV-4 is undoubtedly lifting of from the helipad, high atop the Arasaka Tower.

Riptide and Torrent run to the Consular’s office and force their way in. It takes a few minutes to find the hidden safe, but they locate it and crack it. Taking the contents from the inside, they rush down a back stairwell and out of the building. Outside, Saito is at the wheel of the truck, and Zen and Helios are already inside. Riptide and Torrent pile in and Saito takes off down the street. They are no more than a couple of blocks a way when they see a black AV-4 hover over the Steiner Building and men in black tactical gear descend on ropes to the building’s roof.

As they drive away, Torrent goes through the information that they pulled from the safe. The ship is called the “Celeste”, sails under a Norwegian flag, and is registered as privately owned by a Kjell Onsen. The ship has deployed a special ops team employed by Diego Entrada, to a small airfield outside of Night City. The exact objective is not stated. Furthermore, a Mr. M was also dropped off. His mission is also unknown.

The team returns to their apartment. Torrent drops off the terminal he grabbed from the consulate. Torrent then takes off to acquire some software, while Zen and Riptide catch a bus down to the East Yacht Marina. The marina contains only a single building, but the rest is open space. However, most of that space is in pitch-blackness. The property is protected with a chain-link fence and a guard gate. Zen decides to scale the fence and make a run for the office building. Riptide, a bit surprised by Zen’s impulsive move, quickly follows afterward.

Unfortunately, both of the solos fail to notice the vibration sensor on the fence. They are on the ground inside the fence for less than a minute when two armed guards come running from the guard gate. Realizing that they would never get to the office building, the two instead make a break for the docks. The guards open fire, but are literally shooting in the dark.

Zen and Riptide reach the dock, which is unfortunately well lit. They run up an anchored yacht and look for an unlocked door, but find none. As the two guards scramble onto the yacht, Riptide boosts Zen up to the roof, but she is unable to pull herself up in time. The guards find them and order them to surrender. Riptide tries stalling by asking the guards for help boosting Zen up. The guards are briefly distracted by Riptide’s odd request when Zen leaps from the roof onto one of the guards. Unfortunately, the guard opens fire and strikes her three times. Both Zen and the guard are stunned. When the other guard turns to help his partner, Riptide’s old arena football instincts kick in. He launches at the guard and drives his shoulder into the guard’s gut. As they hit the rail, Riptide raises up sending the guard somersaulting over the railing and into the cold bay water. The first guard recovers and pulls his SMG out from under Zen and tries to take a shot. Riptide sidesteps the shot and places his pistol against the guard head. The guard surrenders.

Riptide handcuffs the guard to the railing and takes his weapon. He runs off of the ship and down the dock. He is waiting at the end of the pier when the other guard fishes himself out of the water. Riptide disarms the guard and brings him back to the yacht. As Zen recovers and bandages her wounds, Riptide handcuffs the other guard. They then learn the bad news that the guards have already called the police who are in route. The two solos find a motored raft in the back of the yacht, deploy it, and escape into the bay.

Helios, Saito, and Torrent are in the truck on the way to the marina when they make radio contact with Riptide and Zen. When they learn of the situation, they decide to find where the Celeste is anchored through the Net. They stop at a Net café and Torrent jacks into the Net. Using his recently acquired Chinese Water Torture program, Torrent works his way through the wall of the data fortress. Once inside, he finds he picked a good place to burrow in. He finds himself at the CPU and is able to quickly go though the files. The second file he checks is the harbor map detailing where the Celeste is anchored. He logs off and the team returns to the truck. The whole process takes less than three minutes. However, as they are piling into the truck, they see NCPD squad cars speed down the street on their way to the marina.

They rendezvous along the harbor away from the marina. Everyone gets into the motor raft, except for Torrent who stays behind as wheelman. As the rest of the team heads toward the Celeste, Torrent finds a public phone and places an anonymous call to the police regarding the airfield.

On the water, the team gets within a kilometer and a half of the boat when they notice it is equipped with marine radar, which means that in all likelihood, they can be detected. Zen arms the satchel charge and hands it to Helios, who, now geared up in his wet suit and re-breather, takes the charge and drops into the water. The raft then moves at a tangent to the boat, hopefully alleviating any suspicions.

Helios has never been under water before, but his brain acts as if on instinct as the SCUBA skill chip he plugged in feeds the needed information to his brain. Helios reaches the bottom of the boat and attaches the satchel charge. He then swims as fast as he can away from the boat to avoid the impending concussion. The charge detonates and an explosion rocks the yacht. It slowly starts to list to port and the team quietly celebrates a job well done. Unfortunately, the boat only lists so far and then stops.

Helios begins swimming back to the boat as the rest of the team turns and heads straight for the yacht. Guards are now on the yacht’s deck inspecting the damage. Saito takes a shot. Despite the distance of over a kilometer and the fact the he is in a speeding raft that is bouncing up and down, his first shot finds its mark and takes down a guard. The rest of the guards open fire. They cannot see where the shot came from, so they do not realize that the sniper is well out of their range. As they close in on the yacht, Saito takes a couple more shots, but misses. It is enough though to make the guards take cover, some returning to the interior of the yacht.

Torrent drives to the marina with the intent of stealing a boat to assist the team. However, his plan falls through when he arrives to find the marina crawling with Night City Police. He turns around and heads back to the harbor in the hopes of finding a boat there.

Helios reaches the yacht and finds the hole in the hull. He enters and sees that an automatic bulkhead has closed and sealed the hull. Prying open an electrical panel, he is able to jury rig the controls and the bulkhead begins to open. As more water rushes into the hull, the yacht continues to list further.

The team closes to within a few hundred yards of the yacht when they notice the ship beginning to sink again. But then from behind the yacht, a speedboat comes around and heads directly for them. Both sides trade shots and the two boats race toward each other. Saito takes a shot at the boat’s pilot and takes him out. However, the boat is still on a collision course with the raft.

Helios is about to swim out of the hull when he hears the bulkhead begin to close again. He returns to the control panel, knowing that he is in danger of sinking with the ship. He is able to lock the bulk head open this time and swims back out the hole at the bottom. With the entire yacht beginning to descend down on top of him, he manages to swim out from underneath the yacht and return to the surface.

Helios surfaces just in time to see a few hundred meters away, where Zen maneuvers the raft out of the way of the speed boat as it zips by. However, the boat’s wake ends up capsizing the raft and dumping Zen, Riptide, and Saito into the water. All three are able to recover and get back to the raft. But it is then that they see the speedboat coming around for another pass. Zen clicks her AK-47 to full auto and lays down some suppressive fire on the boat. One passenger is hit, while the other two drop down. Zen continues to empty the magazine as the boat passes by. One of the other passengers sticks his head up to take a shot, but is hit as Riptide and Saito return fire.

The speedboat starts to turn away. Off in the distance, they see a Night City Police boat begin to close on them. They quickly turn the raft back over and climb back in. They are relieved to see that the police boat gives chase to the fleeing speedboat, leaving them behind. The team picks up Helios and heads for the harbor where Torrent is waiting for them.

December 22, 2036

In the early morning hours, the team heads for home. A quick stop at a late night ripper doc gets lead pulled out of wounds, disinfectant applied, and lacerations sewn up. After popping a few pain pills, (except for Saito who seems to rely on heavier stuff) each team member calls it a night.

After getting as much sleep as they can, the team members return to their day jobs despite the pain and a lot of soreness. The news stations a buzzing about the terrorist attack on a privately owned yacht in the marina harbor. Nobody is sure who did it, but several local booster gangs are more than happy to take credit for it.

December 24, 2036

Riptide is manning his post at the Golden Saloon. It is Christmas Eve, so the crowd is a pathetic mix of punks and losers. How sad do you have to be to spend Christmas Eve at a strip joint? Unless of course the reason is you happen to work there. Kronos then walks in and thanks Riptide for a job well done. In addition to payment as promised, Kronos shares the information that the special ops team was apprehended at the airstrip. Not much information was gained on Mr. M, except that he is here to track down a group of wayward edge runners that Diego Entrada considers a loose end in need of snipping.

Is Riptide and the others his target? If so, does Mr. M. actually know that they are in Night City, or is his being here a shot in the dark? Speaking of shots, the bartender sets one down in front of Riptide. “Here’s to the upcoming new year!” he says. “Yeah,” Riptide responds as he picks the small glass up and tosses back the drink. “It looks like it’s going to be an interesting one.”