Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 40 - Sweet Revenge Redux

July 6th – September 8th, 2040

The team gets roughly two months of peace and quiet between jobs. It gives them plenty of time to work on their personal objectives as well as improve their towing and salvage business. But there is such a thing as too much quiet, and the itch for some action begins to grow.

Riptide checks in with Colin Fisk to see how things are going with Harvis Renaldo. Collin says that he has run into a bit of an issue as Mr. Renaldo seems to have disappeared.

SHelios takes to regularly watching the news and he hears about the Mountaineers nomad clan has taken over a neighborhood in Heywood, much to the chagrin of EBM, the corporation that owns the neighborhood. Having run with those nomads a few years back, Helios considers paying them a visit,

September 9th, 2040

Riptide gets a visit from a man named Klaus who is looking for some assistance on a job. He has an asset retrieval job, and the team comes highly recommended. They agree to meet later that day with the rest of the team.

A few hours later, Klaus meets with the whole team, except Saito, who had to go to Los Angeles for reasons unknown. Klaus explains that he is looking to retrieve some black mail materials for his client, materials that are currently in the hands of the North American President of Tsunami Arms. They are in a safe in his office, which is located on a large, heavily guarded campus just outside the city.

Klaus has managed to secure an AV-8, and has had it painted to look like Tsunami Arms security. More impressive, he has the identity codes that will allow him to fly onto their property without getting shot down.

His plan is to fly the team to the office, drop them off and then leave as not to draw suspicion. The team goes in, secures the materials, and then signals him to return. He flies in, picks them up, and everyone gets paid. The team’s share of this little adventure is $50,000. They have to act in two days, otherwise Klaus’ ID codes for the AV-8 expire. Zen points out that they need to be careful as this reminds her too much of the Kalnier theft.

They agree to meet in two days at the old Brock Facility, an abandoned facility owned by DMS where Klaus has the AV stored. They then go their separate ways.

September 10th, 2040

The following day, the team begins immediately doing some research and recon. They are able to get blue prints for the office. They learn that there are numerous armed guards at the office, plus armed guards patrolling the campus. A response team is also on the campus on standby, and can be on site anywhere on the property in two minutes. There is at least one other armed AV-8 somewhere on the grounds.

The access control in the office building uses thumb print scanners. They manage to acquire a printer that can forge thumb prints. They pay Mouse to hack the Tsunami Arms network, where he is able to download copies of the thumb print records, allowing them to forge prints that give them full access to the building.

Riptide gets his hands on some uniforms and Ripper buys lots of explosives and remote detonators. They also get their hands on an expensive but handy signal jammer, which will hopefully keep the armed cavalry from showing up.

September 11th, 2040

The next morning, they have a plan in place and the equipment they need to pull it off. But then the phone rings. Riptide gets a call from a past client, Nasami Namura, the Yakuza man who hired them to retrieve a stolen horse back in April, though they never met him or even knew he was the one that hired them. The most memorable thing about that mission was Wilbur, the retired edgerunner, telling them to get out of the business before they have too many enemies haunting them. He told them this right before taking a bullet to the head from one of his old enemies.

In the early afternoon, Riptide heads over to Warehouse 123. This time there is no two-way mirrors, or go between spokesmen. He speak directly with Namura who points out that due to the success of their last mission, he now finds himself assigned to Night City indefinitely, rather than getting to return to Tokyo as he had hoped.

None the less, he was happy with the work the team did for him last time, so he has a new job for them. He wants them to steal a vinyl record collection, and they need to do it this evening. Riptide is about to decline when Namura points out that the collection is held by Ricardo Alament, the North American President of Tsunami Arms.

Riptide has been in the game far too long to believe in such coincidences, and demands to know what is up. Namura explains that he has tried to purchase the collection from Alament on several occasions, but has been rejected every time. He has since managed to get a man on the inside of the operation, to get some sort of leverage.

That man informed him early this morning that Tsunami Arms plans to be raided this evening and are setting a trap. The team member’s names were mentioned. It seems that someone has spilled the beans. He tells Riptide that rather than abort the mission, which would be the sane thing to do, they could use this fore knowledge to their advantage allowing them to complete their original mission plus get Namura his record collection, for which he will pay $100,000.

Riptide meets with the others and gives them the news. They call Klaus and insist that he meets with them. An hour later, they meet at the Golden Saloon.

Klaus denies their accusations and insists that he has told no one about the job. He tells them that is client is Sarah Lexington, a popular socialite. She dated Alament briefly and she wants some embarrassing photos back. They asked him about how he found the team, and Klaus says that Lexington’s body guard used to be an edgerunner and new the team by reputation and suggested them.

They did some background checking, and sure enough, Alament did date Lexington for a while. He was known to socialize with a number of starlets, including Shauni Kalnier, the Braindance star whose career was recently ruined.

So they still do not know how Tsunami Arms knew they were coming, but the extra pay day is too much to pass up. Plus, they realize they only have to make some small modifications to their plans in order to make them fit the new circumstances.

At 7:30 pm, a couple hours earlier than originally planned, they meet at the old Brock Facility and load their gear into the AV-8. The vector thrust jet launches into the air and flies the 10 minute journey to the Tsunami Arms facility.

The AV-8 slowly flies over the property, its ID code keeping it from being greeted by surface-to-air missiles. As they fly over a couple of the manufacturing buildings, Ripper drops a couple of large satchel charges onto the roofs.

The AV-8 then lands in front of the office building. The new plan calls for Klaus to remain parked there until they are ready to leave, something he is not happy about but has agreed to.

The team disembarks in their security uniforms, uniforms that have a lot less armor protection than the kind of body armor they are used to wearing on this kind of mission. They bring with them a wheeled cart to carry some of their gear, including the jammer, which they switch on.

They stroll into the office building and are greeted by a couple of security guards. Riptide explains that they are there to reinforce security for the raid that is supposed to happen later tonight. They security guards know nothing about it and gripe about being the last to be told anything.

The team uses the forged fingerprints to gain access to the upper level. They emerge from the elevator to see several offices. Ripper’s thermo-imaging in his cyber-eyes reveals about a dozen individuals waiting in one of the VP offices. They decide to not go to that one.

They go to the President’s office. They carefully inspect the door and see that it has a screamer alarm attached to it, but has an old fashioned key lock. After some meticulous work, they are able to bypass the screamer alarm and pick the lock. They enter the office and find the wall safe. Ripper has a safe cracking skill chip installed that feeds him the information he needs to defeat the safe lock. The safe door is opened and inside is an envelope.

They open the envelope and expect to see provocative pictures of Sarah Lexington. Instead there are several photos of Harvis Renaldo, who appears to have been beaten to death. They are not sure what to make of this development other than it explains how Tsunami got their street names.

While Helios and Riptide monitor the office with the people inside, Ripper and Zen roll the cart into the VIP lounge and begin loading record albums onto the cart.

The door to the office with the men inside suddenly swings open, revealing 10 security men. In the back are two other individuals, a male they do not recognize, but also a female that Riptide recognizes as Shauni Kalnier.

In that instant, it all comes together. They had ruined her career when Harvis Renaldo hired them to steal her master tapes from DMS. Ricardo Alament was a known friend of Kalnier’s. The people who hired Klaus pointed him in the team’s direction. The facility that Klaus parked his AV-8, which he somehow got the Tsunami codes for, was a DMS facility. As Zen had pointed out, this mission objective was similar to the Kalnier theft.

Tsunami Arms knew they were coming not because someone had leaked the plan. This was the plan all along. Alament was helping Kalnier get some payback for what they did to her.

This revelation doesn’t stop Riptide and Helios from acting as planned and throwing several flash bang grenades into the room. While everyone in the room stumbles about dazed, Riptide and Helios use needle guns armed with sleep drugs to sedate everyone.

Then they hear the unmistakable sound of the AV-8 taking off. This is then followed by the sound of the 14mm cannon roaring to life. They look out the window and see multiple squads of men trying to approach the building, but Klaus is keeping them pinned down.

Zen and Ripper emerge with the cart full of albums. They grab Shauni Kalnier and decide to keep her as a hostage. They head back down the elevator, and are immediately shot at by the two first floor guards. They outnumber the security men and easily drive them back.

Ripper turns off the signal jammer and uses his remote detonator to set off the charges on the manufacturing buildings. That should keep some pressure off of them for a while.

Suddenly, the AV-8 drops quickly and hits the ground. Not sure what has happened, the team quickly runs from the building to the AV, dodging fire from the security teams. They quickly load up into the AV. Helios checks the cockpit and finds Klaus dead with 3rd degree burns on his hands and arms.

Helios pulls the body out of the AV and jumps into the pilot seat. He is glad he had thought to buy an AV piloting skill chip just in case this sort of thing happened. He is about to take off when suddenly a massive jolt of electricity rips its way through Helios. The skin on his hands and arms quickly blister and burn away. The jolt only lasts a couple of seconds, but it leaves Helios unconscious, his hands and arms burned black. He is lucky to be alive at all.

They pull Helios’ smoking body into the back of the AV, administering what first aid they can to keep him alive. As the security teams begin to move in they quickly consider their options.

Inspecting the pilot’s seat, they can see the controls are rigged to deliver the electrical shock. They can see no physical trigger. Perhaps it is triggered remotely. As this occurs to them, they remember that the AV went down right after Ripper turned off the signal jammer. They quickly turn it back on.

Zen pulls the AV pilot chip from Helios’ chip reader and plugs it into her own. She then sits in the pilot’s seat, bracing herself for a possible lethal shock, but none comes. Using a piloting chip she has not had time to acclimate to, using controls she has not had a chance to familiarize herself with, she begins to pilot a vehicle that was damaged in the fall. Despite all of this, she gets the AV off of the ground and pointed in the right direction.

They begin to fly way, and begin to feel a sense of relief. It is short lived however when warning sirens begin to go off. Looking around they see another AV-8 closing in. Ripper climbs into the gunner’s seat, and takes control of the cannon and grenade launchers.

A dog fight ensues, but the other AV-8 pilot clearly has the advantage. The team’s AV takes multiple cannon hits while Ripper is unable to get a bead on their opponent as the other AV pilot knows how to stay in their blind spots.

They almost make it to the suburb of Heywood when the AV takes a crippling hit, and Zen is forced to make a crash landing. The other AV hovers about getting ready to make the killing blow.

Realizing that they are just outside of Heywood, they get an idea. They disable the shock device and turn the jammer off. Ripper gets on the radio and informs the other AV that they have Shauni Kalnier on board. This has the desired effect, and the AV gives them some space.

At the same time, Riptide goes to work on his phone. While he never ran with the Mountaineers like Helios did, he did get to know some of them during his days in Las Vegas. He begins to work some old contacts.

The other AV continues to hover outside. The team is sure that more Tsunami security is on the way. Riptide gets a call from a Mountaineer in Heywood. He tells them that several nomads are on their way and will be there in a few minutes to pick them up. They have to hurry though as word has already reached the media that Shauni Kalnier is being held hostage and the cops and media are on their way as well.

They let Shauni know that they are going to release her and if she even thinks about coming after them again, they will not hesitate to flat line her. The nomads arrive in large numbers right before the media gets there as well. Mass chaos ensues.

When the dust settles, Shauni has been rescued and the team finds themselves in Heywood. They activate Helios’ trauma card and wait for an ambulance AV to arrive and take them back to Night City.

Helios is in the hospital, minus two arms. The team collects their bounty for the record collection. They barely survived what could have been a total disaster. Old Wilbur’s warning about getting out before they have too many enemies seems more poignant then ever.