Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 41 - The Beginning of the End

The team gets a couple months rest after narrowly avoiding a trap meant to kill them. They are not unscathed though, as most spend the time in medical recuperation. Especially Helios, who ends up having two cyberlimbs installed to replace his arms that were burned off. He is forced to have some of his other cybernetics removed as he is already borderline cyber psychotic.

November 13th, 2040

In the business news, global shipping company IHAG has gone bankrupt after Eurobank suddenly called in all of IHAG’s depts. IHAG had racked up the debt again OTEC in algae production and processing.

November 14th, 2040

OTEC, a corporation that specializes in ocean based power and food production, and CINO, the largest producer of ocean going ships, platforms, and other equipment begin competing to buy up IHAG stock and assets. The CEO of IHAG was set to sell a large chunk of stock to OTEC, but the deal falls through when he commits apparent suicide.

November 15th – November 18th, 2040

Zen begins packing up the belongings of Krissy and Roxie and places them in storage. She terminates their lease at the Mallplex. Ripper donates $25,000 to the O-Zoners to help them bolster their ranks.

November 19th, 2040

Word on the street is that Militech is looking to hire combat netrunners.

November 20th, 2040

Mysterious attacks on the New York and Tokyo stock exchanges leads to serious data corruption. One of the hardest hit companies is OTEC, which has to suspend its attempts to buy IHAG stock.

November 21st, 2040

Netwatch announces that the stock exchange hacks were traced to CINO operatives. Two CINO netrunners are arrested by Interpol.

November 22nd, 2040

CINO announces that it has acquired 36% of IHAG’s stock, while OTEC is still recovering from the data hack.

November 23rd, 2040

Word on the street is that OTEC has signed a security contract with Militech, while CINO has a contract with Arasaka. Riptide talks to Colin Fisk about some possible work opportunities. Colin says that is getting to be more likely every day. At dinner with Katrina Jones, she tells him that the corporations are talking about a possible corporate war between CINO and OTEC. What worries some as that it will pit Militech against Arasaka, two companies that already hate each other.

November 24th, 2040

In the news, a bomb detonated and destroyed the Berlin office of Interpol. The two arrested CINO hackers were inside at the time.

November 25th, 2040

OTEC gathers its largest shareholders in Antigua to put together a buyout package for IHAG stockholders.

*November 26th, 2040_

Cuba, announces that several of the Caribbean Islands have been infected with the Black Plague, including Antigua. Cuba has sent peace keepers and emergency workers to the infected islands.

Later that evening, Riptide gets a call from Colin. OTEC has 14 VIPs on Antigua that need to be extracted. Since Colin knows for a fact that the team has managed to infiltrate a well guarded island before, he proposed to Militech that they send the team in. He offers $75,000 and reminds Riptide that the team owes him. They settle on $100,000.

The plan is to fly to Barbados in the morning, where they will be helicoptered to a submarine that will take them to within two miles of Antigua. They will have to swim the rest of the way. The Plague outbreak is a hoax, but the presence of Cuban soldiers is very real. The VIPs are staying at the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort.

The team gets geared up, including some SCUBA skill chips for those who did not already have them. Ripper fires up his printing station and in a few hours has documents including passports, itineraries and fake hotel reservations. None of it would pass verification, but it should convince the average peace keeper that they have been on the island since before the quarantine was imposed.

November 27th, 2040

In the morning, the team boards a plane and takes the nine hour flight to Barbados. They meet Colin Fisk there, who has the chopper waiting. He reminds them that Cuba has Antigua under quarantine so no one is allowed to leave the island. Once they get a hold of the VIPs, which include OTECs CEO and a US Senator, they need to get them off the island. A sub can meet them to pick them up, but the sub will not come within 2 miles of the island. The sub will also not surface if there is an eminent danger. He hands Riptide a sat phone and escorts them to the chopper.

They head out to sea onboard the chopper. After an hour, the helicopter comes to a stop, hovering above the water. After a few minutes, a submarine breaks the surface. The helicopter lands on top and the team is transferred to the sub.

It’s a 12 hour trip in the cramped confines of the sub. The team uses this time to check their gear and review their forged documents.

November 11th, 2020

Shortly after sunrise, the sub emerges two mile off shore from Antigua. It remains exposed just long enough for the team, now fitted in full SCUBA gear, to get into the water and begin their trek.

Two hours later, the team emerges on a beach and quickly makes for some trees. They store their gear in a large copse of trees located on a golf course. They quickly change into their “vacation” gear, and make for the club house.

They spend some time at the clubhouse, getting something to eat and drink, talk with the locals, and recover their energy. They learn that no one has seen any actual signs of plague. Things are not much different than they normally are, other than no one being allowed on or off the island.

At 7:30 AM, they grab two taxis, one with Helios, Saito, and Riptide, the other with Ripper and Zen. They make their way north towards Deepwater Harbor, the main port of St. John. As they travel, they notice up ahead that traffic has stopped. The taxi driver explains that the Cuban peacekeepers have set up checkpoints at all roads that cross districts.

When the two taxis reach the checkpoint, soldiers first talk to the driver and then question the passengers. The team’s forged documents seem to pass muster, and after a short delay, they are allowed to move on.

When they reach the south side of Deepwater Harbor, the two taxis paths diverge. Helios Saito and Riptide head for Yepton Beach while Ripper and Zen travel to the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort.

At Yepton Beach, they inquire about chartering boats. The tour guides tell them that boats are still being allowed into the harbor but may not go beyond the entry point. The two watch a couple of patrol boats pass by. One seems to pass about every 20 minutes or so, and they appear heavily armed. Riptide and Helios discuss how they might get a better view of the harbor when Helios notices a flyer for parasailing.

Ripper and Zen arrive at the Resort and convince the security guard that they want to look around as they may wish to stay here on their next trip to Antigua. They stop at the main office and grab a map of the premises. They then head to a beach bar and have a drink. As they watch someone parasailing off in the distance near Deepwater Harbor, they strike up a conversation with the bartender.

During the conversation with the well-tipped bartender, they learn that two days prior, a couple of vehicles came and picked up the OTEC group. The trucks were marked as belonging to Mount St. John’s Medical Center, so everyone assumed they were being taken as a precaution due to the plague scare.

At noon, the team heads into St. John’s and meet up at Victoria Park, right near the Medical Center. They compare notes, and Helios reveals that while parasailing, he spotted a destroyer anchored just outside the harbor. The team begins to figure out how to get 14 people out of the medical center.

Although out of their element, Riptide and Ripper hit the streets and try to find out who the
local fixers are in town. They learn that if they want to acquire equipment off the grid, to talk to Mama Lola, who operates a pawn shop on the corner of High and Cross Streets, just a few blocks west of the park.

The two men head to the shop. They are about to go inside when they spot a cargo truck parked in a lot across the street painted with the markings for Mount St. John’s Medical Center. They call the rest of the team over. Helios watches the parking lot while the others go into the pawn shop.

Inside the shop, they see Mama Lola, fanning herself while chain smoking cigarettes. She is surrounded by several children who do not appear to hers. Hopefully, she runs a babysitting service.

They begin talking to her about what wares she is selling. Eventually they bring up the truck across the street. She says she has two trucks for rent, and for an extra fee, can be painted however they would like. Two days ago, the trucks were rented and handed been painted with the Medical Center’s logo per the clients request.

Outside, Helios is in the parking lot when he spots the second truck. He also notices a car parked across the street with an occupant who is taking his picture. The vehicle begins to pull away and Helios gives chase.

The car drives for several blocks, but thanks to traffic, Helios is able to keep up. Eventually, the car pulls into a parking lot. Helios blocks the car door and demands to know who the person is. The driver reveals himself to be Hans Jaeger, an Interpol agent.
In a surprise move, Helios reaches in through the open window and tries to grab hold of the agent. When Hans is able to deflect Helios’ grapple attempt, Helios pops his wolvers and stabs the agent in the chest repeatedly. A few moments later, the agent is dead. Looking around to confirm that there were no witnesses, Helios grabs the dead agent’s camera and wallet. Noticing that he has blood on his shirt, Helios removes the shirt and disposed of it. He then walks back towards the pawn shop.

Back at the pawn shop, the others make a deal with Mama Lola to rent the trucks, and have them painted to look like the local courier service. As part of the deal, she tells them that the person who rented the trucks was named Winston Lee. She figured him for an American ex-pat, likely a merc based on his military demeanor.

When they leave the pawn shop, they notice Helios is missing, but then see him come strolling up the street, oddly no longer wearing his shirt. They ask him why and he tells them he is just warm. Zen’s BS detector goes off and she gets him to tell them what really happened. Has Helios’ latest cybernetic additions finally put him over the edge? He was borderline psychotic before. Now hearing he just killed an Interpol agent makes them question his sanity.

They decide to deal with that issue later, and look through the camera that Helios had taken. Based on the images, it appears that Agent Jaeger has been surveilling Mama Lola’s for quite sometime. There are earlier images of a destroyed office building. Scrutinizing the pictures tells them that the photos had been taken in Berlin. They surmise that these are images of the destroyed Berlin Interpol office.

They next head to the last known address of Winston Lee. He lives in the Lower Gambles area of St. John. They reach his house in the early afternoon, but no one is home. Most of the team spend the afternoon staking out the house. Riptide uses his contacts to find out what he can about Winston Lee. What he turns up is that Winston does corporate work, mostly contracting out to security companies.

Around 5:00 PM, Riptide gets a call from Colin. OTEC has realized that they need the board members present in order to approve a buyout offer. The offer expires at end of day tomorrow. This is likely the whole reason behind the phony quarantine. It’s a delaying tactic to keep the key board members under wraps until it is too late. Riptide and his team needs to get the 14 people off the island no later than tomorrow evening.

The team decide that they no longer have the luxury of waiting for Winston to return. They decide to break in the house. A close inspection reveals that the house is rigged with explosives at all entry points. They decide to breach the back door. Zen disarms the bomb trigger and Ripper picks the lock.

Once inside, the house seems fairly normal until they get to the den. It contains numerous bomb-making materials as well as a card with the initials H.J. and a phone number printed on them. They take note of the fact that these are also the initials of the Interpol agent that Helios killed. They find a torn note page containing Mama Lola’s information and a photo of one of the trucks. They also find a delivery manifest for 12 automatic sentry machine guns. Finally they come across a photo of St. Vivian Richard’s Stadium, located in north central Antigua.

They make some basic inquiries and learn that the stadium is currently closed for renovation. If this is where the VIPs are being held, it makes them seriously rethink their exit strategy. Ripper and Zen head to the stadium, while Riptide, Saito and Helios head to the north shore to a place called Fitches Creek Bay.

At Fitches Creek Bay they find a fishing boat they can charter, but the operator says they can’t go very far with the quarantine in effect, though rumor is that it will be lifted in a couple of days. They only other boat is a power boat which is owned by a local resident. They try to get a better look via parasailing again, but are told that due to the proximity of the airport, no parasailing is allowed. Their options here are very limited, but this beach and the stadium are in the same district, so there would be no check points to cross.

Meanwhile, Ripper and Zen get a close as they can to the stadium. They are told by a security guard that the place is closed for renovations. They are not allowed to pass, but its close enough to see that the place is surrounded by sentry guns, a couple of patrolling jeeps, and an armored truck with a 75mm cannon. There is also a temporary barracks set up that some soldiers are seen coming and going from, but its not big enough to hold the VIP’s. They must be inside the actual stadium.

They also spot a farm house about a half mile away that appears to be abandoned. The north side of the stadium seems less well-defended as well. They decide to set up a base camp here. Saito and Helios head back to the golf course to retrieve their gear. They manage to get through the checkpoints without issue.

Riptide and Zen return to Mama Lola’s to see if she has any EMP grenades or signal jammers. She is not happy about them bothering her so late and tells them she has none of those things. They should check with Mama Danvers, who operates out of the lower gambles. She is more likely to have that stuff, but she will screw them on pricing.

NOVEMBER 12th, 2040

In the morning, they stop at Mama Danvers. She looks very much like a stereotypical white haired granny straight out of a lemonade commercial. She also does not have any EMP grenades or a signal jammer. She does however have an EMF grenade launcher and 5 grenades, you know, like all grandmothers do. They pay her inflated pricing and head back to Mama Lola’s.

At Mama Lola’s, they ask her if she has any IED type explosives. She says she had some landmines, but Winston Lee had bought up her stock. The team picks up the trucks, now painted to look like a courier service, and head out to the farm house. They then spend the next several hours formulating their plan.

When the sun sets, Riptide, Ripper and Helios get set up in the trucks. Zen moves to the tree line close to the northwest section of the stadium. Saito assembles is giant electro-thermo sniper rifle and gets into position inside the farm house.

As one of the jeeps drives along the road on the northwest side, the driver’s head suddenly explodes from the impact of an electro-thermo round. Before the gunner realizes what just happened, he suffers the same fate.

Zen then emerges from the tree line keeping the jeep between her and the closest sentry gun. She gets in the jeep and drives right up to the sentry gun, the jeep’s RID signal keeping the gun from firing. She then manually arms the first EMF grenade and attaches it to the gun. Within moments, the electrical discharge fries the weapon’s electronics. She then repeats the process at a second gun.

With the path now clear, the two trucks roll up to the less protected north side. This turns out to be an illusion however, as Helios’ truck hits a landmine, disabling it.

They leave the trucks outside as Riptide picks the lock to the door. He, Ripper and Helios head inside while Zen begins spotting and disabling land mines to clear a path out of there.
Once inside, they see a large banquet tent set up in the middle of the field. Riptide’s thermo-optic tells him the 14 VIPs are inside. Unfortunately, there are about a dozen soldiers and a suit of power armor guarding the tent. Since the detonation of the landmine, the element of surprise is no longer on their side. Helios and Riptide begin exchanging fire with guards. They have the advantage of cover from the stands while the guards are caught out in the open.

Zen continues to disarm mines and Saito tracks the armored truck that is now rolling up the road, its 75mm cannon beginning to aim towards Zen’s position. Inside the stadium, the power armor is powered up and sends a stream of high-velocity bullets flying at Helios, shredding everything around him, keeping him pinned down. Meanwhile other guards are beginning to flank Riptide.

Back at the farm house, Saito dials in his target with his cyber optic, patiently waiting for the right moment. When the moment arrives, a thought impulse travels from his brain, through his neural processor, down the implanted interface line, through the interface cable and into the sniper rifle. In response, the weapon launches an electro-thermo round out the window, across the farm property, over a road, into the stadium property where it strikes the vision port of the armored truck, shattering the armored glass and striking the driver.
The truck swerves off to one side. Zen uses the EMF grenade launcher to hit the truck. The grenade sticks, and moments later, the electronics in the vehicle are fried.

Inside, the power armor moves off from Helios and goes after Riptide, pinning him down with a hail of bullets. Helios takes advantage of the reprieve to target more of the guards.
Outside, Zen returns to disarming mines as Saito leaves the farm house to get into a position that lets him see into the stadium.

Riptide is able to take out the flanking guard but suddenly finds himself face to face with the power armor. The PA soldier swings his fist and hits Riptide, sending him stumbling backward but able to stay on his feet. Riptide realizes that one solid hit would likely kill him.
Helios sees one soldier head into the tent. He quickly follows him in and sees the man grab the Senator to use as a hostage.

The Power Armor swings at Riptide and misses. Riptide shoots at the suit, but doing only minimal damage. Suddenly the suit buckles as it is hit with a round from Saito’s gun. Another hit from the big rifle causes it to collapse.

Inside the tent, Helios begins to move toward the man and the Senator. The man tells Helios to back off, but he just keeps coming. Apparently he can recognize the look of a man riding the bleeding edge of cyber-psychosis, because once Helios is within reaching distance of the Senator, the man pushes the Senator towards Helios and runs away.

Moments later, the sounds of helicopters are heard in the distance, coming from the direction of the airport. Soon two small choppers can be seen approaching, armed with mini-guns and rocket launchers. Saito takes out one by hitting it in the tail rotor with his sniper rifle. The second one drops low to the ground and heads to the south side of the stadium to pick up the escaping guard.

With the area secured, they begin to round up the VIPs and load them on the one remaining truck. It’s a tight fit, but it the only option they have. They also grab the jeep and quickly get on the road. The chopper begins to follow them. The team realizes that the man who escaped was most likely Winston Lee.

They make there way to the beach, where the boat is chartered. The captain is not happy as they failed to mention that there would be a total of 19 people in their party. He gets snippy about it, but Saito draws his pistol to help convince the boat captain to cooperate.
Moments later, the boat is moving out into the water. They need to get two miles out before there is any chance of a pick up by the submarine. With the chopper watching from a safe distance, Cuban patrol boat comes around the bend and begins to close the distance. They being to launch mortars and rockets at the fishing boat.

With Helios at the helm, controlling the boat via his vehicle link, he is able to dodge most of the incoming fire. One rocket makes a glancing hit on the boat. Most of the canopy is destroyed and some minor injuries are suffered, but the boat remains sea worthy.
Saito takes a shot at the soldier manning the mortar and takes him out. Riptide opens fire on the patrol boat, punching holes in it with his ramjet pistols. The boat begins to take on water. Saito then shoots one of the rockets still in its tube, detonating the rockets and destroying the rocket launcher. With its weapons disabled and taking on water, the patrol boat backs off.

Saito takes a shot at the chopper but misses. The chopper backs off anyways as its clear they are not out of his effective range.

Riptide makes the phone call on his satellite phone. The team keeps a close watch on their surroundings as the fishing boat heads into the dark waters. Finally, they can see the submarine breaking the surface. They pull up along side, and the sub crew helps get the VIPs and the team aboard.

As the submarine submerges, the crew settles in for the trip home. Corporate work pays well, but when the corporations involved have the ability to quarantine island nations, and supply power armor to local troops, the stakes get awfully high. If a corporate war really is starting, then both the pay and the danger are about to ramp up.