Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 45 - Sunset on the Dawn

April 5th, 2041

A new corporate war has officially begun. In the aftermath of the corporate war between CINO and OTEC, the corporation’s two security contractors, Arasaka and Militech respectively, are now in direct conflict with each other.

April 6th – April 8th, 2041

The corporate war quickly escalates. The two corporations have begun unleashing their paramilitary troops and equipment. Reports of power armor and tanks being used in conflicts are starting to become more common. The nations and states that have “hosted” these conflicts have thus far been willing to overlook them as long as collateral damage has been kept to a minimum. Both corporations have also been making considerable payments to governments to avoid sanctions as a result of their actions.

April 9th, 2041

Riptide gets a phone call. On the other end of is a voice from the past, one Dr. Kilacho. The doctor has urgent need for the team`s services. Apparently Arasaka has decided to move on the compound that belongs to the Cult of the New Dawn cult located in Warren, Idaho. The reasons for this is currently unknown to the doctor, but he considers these cult members to be his children, and it is therefore very important that they be protected. His communications have been cut off with the compound so he has no way of warning them as to what is coming. He offers Riptide a sizable sum of $250,000 if they can get to Warren, Idaho and rescue the cult members before Arasaka attacks. Riptide negotiates for a half million dollars to which Dr. Kilacho agrees without hesitation.

Riptides calls his contact at Militech, Colin Fisk. He asks Colin if Militech has any assets in the Warren, Idaho area. Collin tells him that Militech does have a small operations base in Boise, Idaho, but it is pretty much locked down right now due to a recent incident. He tells Riptide that he’s not likely going to be able to offer much help or equipment. He does also mention however that there was a recent theft at the compound, with a couple of large crates of assault rifles having been stolen. Riptide asks if Militech has a hangar at the Boise Airport that they can make use of as a staging area. That request Colin is able to oblige.

Helios calls his buddies in the nomad group known as the Mountaineers. He asked if there’s any way that they can get to Warren, Idaho with a couple of trucks to help them transport some people. They indicate that they are willing to help for the right price. They also inquire as to whether there was any chance that they were going to get shot at. Helios indicates that there is a small chance that might happen. The price is negotiated and the Mountaineers indicate they’ll be able to bring a couple of trucks to Warren in about a day’s time.

The team begins to make preparations and gather their gear. They make arrangements to rent a vehicle and two motorcycles in Boise to be ready when they arrive. Dr. Kilacho has already made arrangements for a private jet.

In the afternoon, the team is all loaded up and head to the Night City Airport. There they take the private jet to Boise, Idaho. Once in Boise they waste no time and unloading the gear from the plane and getting into the vehicles. They then immediately head out to the Warren.

April 10th, 2041

Shortly after midnight, the team arrives at the gates of the compound belonging to the Children of the New Dawn. Riptide goes up to the gate and demands to speak with Huntley, the man he’d work with the last time they were there. The guards make him wait several minutes, but eventually Huntley shows up. Based on his disheveled appearance, it’s clear that they rousted him out of bed.

Riptide quickly begins to explain the situation. Huntley seems to be having difficulty believing that Arasaka wants to raid their little compound. He does eventually agree to let them in. He takes them to one of their storage buildings where he shows them several crates that had recently showed up. The team looks inside the crates and realizes that these are the weapons that were stolen from the Militech base in Boise. Huntley has no idea why they showed up here or where they had even came from. At first the team thinks this is an opportunity to arm all of the cult members until it is pointed out that while the crates are full of assault rifles, there is not a single round of ammunition included.

Riptide again talks about needing to evacuate the compound. They ask why the Kilacho has not warned them himself. He explains that Dr. Kilacho has been unable to reach them. The cults own computer techs confirm that they are overdue for contact with Kilacho. Riptide is ultimately able to convince Huntley and the others they need to evacuate the compound. They begin packing up their personal items, but the one thing is going to take the longest is the computer server that has been used to house Dr. Kilacho’s construct. Doctor Kilacho’s consciousness is not currently in the server, however he will eventually need to return to it at some point, so the cultists refuse to leave it behind. They indicate that should take roughly two hours to disassemble it.

As the cult members begin packing their things, Saito and Zen set up det chord in various locations on the compound fence so that if needed, they can blow holes in the fence to escape in various directions. They also plant multiple claymores along the road leading up to the front gate of the compound. They then take up watch in guard towers in opposite corners of the compound. Helios stands on top of the truck that he will be driving. Riptide concentrates his efforts on keeping the packing operation moving as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Around 2 a.m., Helios picks up the heat signature of an AV-11 assault aerodyne. He watches as it hovers above the ground roughly ½ mile away. From the aerodyne drops 10 figures that literally hit the ground running and begin moving towards the compound at superhuman speed. Helios quickly realizes that all 10 are wearing combat power armor. As the power armor suits close on the compound from the west, an Arasaka Combat 10 APC pulls up to the front gate on the south side.

Zen opens fire on the APC despite knowing there is little chance she will damage the armored vehicle. The vehicle responds by opening fire with a turret mounted minigun on the guard tower that Zen is in. She is forced to hit the ground as the entire tower is saturated with flying lead.

On the west side, the power armor troops reach the fence and easily push their way through it. On the south side a squad of ten men in standard combat armor emerge from the APC wearing insignias that mark them as Arasaka soldiers. They begin moving towards the front gate. The APC’s minigun continues to pelt the guard tower with bullets, forcing Zen to stay down.

Saito opens fire with his sniper rifle, the armor-piercing electro-thermal round puncturing a suit of power armor, dropping the PA trooper. The remaining PA troopers immediately return fire on Saito’s guard tower. He is forced to duck and cover, but from his protected position he hits the detonator button on the claymores mounted by the front gate. Half of the soldiers moving towards the front gate are instantly shredded.

The cultists finally finish loading up Helios’ truck. He plugs into the vehicle link and starts it up. He begins driving towards the east side of the compound. The cult’s bus, loaded with most of the cult members, follows right behind him. He hits a detonator button, setting off the det chord on the east fence blowing a hole in it big enough for him to drive his truck through. As he emerges through the fence however, he sees a heat signature of something off in the distance on the east side of the compound. It takes him a moment to realize what he’s looking at, an Arasaka walker tank. The tank, mounted on six legs, is slowly making its way towards the compound. It has clearly detected the truck making a break for it, and its main turret turns towards the truck. Helios slams the truck hard to the right as the tank open fire. The truck takes a couple of hits from the tank’s autocannon, but it still continues to function.

The cult members that have been packing up the server finally finish their task. They start up their truck and begin to drive toward the compound fence. However they are quickly met by several of the Arasaka PA troopers who open fire. The driver and his co-pilot are instantly killed. The power armor troopers split up with half of the squad beginning to secure the server equipment, while the other half continues to deal with Saito in the guard tower.

Out of the back of the Combat 10 APC emerges a full conversion cyborg wearing a Hard Rock Café t-shirt. As the other members of the Elite Squad continue to exchange fire with Zen, the cyborg casually strolls through the front gates and starts walking towards where the PA troopers are securing the vehicle with the server.

With the truck Helios was driving now out of the compound, and the one holding the server equipment clearly disabled and in the hands of Arasaka, Riptide decides to get on his motorcycle and get out of the compound. As he’s leaving however he comes in the line of sight of the cyborg who opens fire with his 14 mm heavy pistol. The bullets blow large holes in the engine of the motorcycle and it immediately dies beneath Riptide. Riptide is able to quickly recover and is instantly on his feet and moving towards the exit.

Saito risks being hit to take a shot with his sniper rifle. He hits the cyborg square in the head. The cyborg is clearly surprised to be hit, while Saitos equally surprised the cyborg is still standing. The cyborg begins to move towards cover but Saito fires again this time knocking him down. Unfortunately the exposed Saito is then hit by fire from the power armor troopers, one of the rounds shattering the bone is right arm.

Helios parks the truck where there is thickest copse of trees that he can find, hoping to shield it from the firepower of the walker tank. Unfortunately the bus full of cult members is not so lucky, and is quickly riddled by bullets and cannon fire from the tank. The bus is quickly disabled and about a third of the cult members are killed. The surviving called members evacuate the bus and run towards where Helios has parked his truck.

Things are looking rather dire for the team as Zen is still under suppression fire from the APC and several surviving members of the Arasaka Tactical Unit begin moving on her position. Sato is wounded and having trouble holding his sniper rifle. He takes another shot, downing another power armor trooper, but the remaining three are quickly moving to the base of his tower he is in. Helios is in a relatively safe position, but it’s only a matter of a few moments before the walker tank arrives and then they are all screwed.

Finally a sign of hope as from the south the headlights are seen from the two Mountaineers trucks. Helios directs all of the surviving cult members to move towards the oncoming trucks. Riptide opens fire on the APC using his ramjet pistols. The shells bounced off, but it distracts the APC for its continued onslaught on Zen’s guard tower. Helios uses his grenade launcher to launch a couple of flechette rounds at the Arasaka soldiers moving to the base of Zen’s guard tower. It slows them down but it does not stop them. Moments later they’re heading up the ladder towards the top of the tower. Zen is forced to jump out of the tower landing on the ground outside of the compound fence.

With the server equipment secured, the power armor troopers move towards the south end of the compound to provide assistance. They waive off the Walker tank as they decide to deal with the remaining team members themselves.

Over on the northwest tower, Saito knows that if he stays in the tower, he’s dead. Unfortunately, jumping from the tower is likely to kill him as well. Choosing likely death over certain death, he takes the leap. As he falls to the ground he triggers the don the explosives mounted in the base of the tower catching the power armor troops in the explosion. The power armor troops are ultimately unharmed but it takes them a moment to recover from what happened. This buys Saito enough time to peel himself off the ground and crawl into the brush outside of the compound.

On the other side, Helios is able to break away from the fight, get into the truck, and drive away. Riptide and Zen are not so lucky, and are captured by the power armor troopers. Each one is in the death grip of a trooper who carries them back to where the truck with the server equipment is located.

Once Saito is in the cover of the brush he opens fire on the PA troopers again, taking out another one. A few moments later the assault aerodyne returns and hovers a few thousand feet west of the compound. The PA troopers remain motionless. Saito takes a shot at another shot at a PA trooper and the aerodyne immediately opens fire on his position. Saito narrowly escapes getting killed, and realizes the troopers are triangulating his position and using the aerodyne to return fire. Not wanting to leave his team members behind, but knowing that the next pull of his trigger would likely get him killed, Saito slowly retreats farther into the forest.

Zen and Riptide are secured inside the APC and are questioned by an Arasaka officer. He demands to know what happened to the crates of military weapons. They let him know that the weapons were safely removing the compound already. The team is unsure why Arasaka wants the crate of weapons so badly, they have plenty of their own. The officer says he is willing to trade them for the rifles. Riptide gets ahold of Helios and also conference calls in Colin Fisk, but does so without letting Arasaka know. Negotiations commence and eventually they agree to meet at the entry to the compound at 4 a.m. to make the exchange.

They ask the officer why Arasaka is attacking the Children of the Dawn. He does not give them a straight answer but indicates that Dr. Kilacho was a threat. As they wait for the exchange time, they watch Arasaka technicians reinstall and modify the servers. After some sometime, once of the technicians gives a signal to the officer, who tells Zen and Riptide that Dr. Kilacho is no more.

At 4 a.m. the exchange takes place without incident. The weapons are given to Arasaka and Zen and Riptide are released. Most of the team opts to head for home, while Saito get dropped off in Boise and checks himself into a hospital. Riptide contacts Colin who indicates that Militech is going to take action against the Arasaka force at some point, but the team hears nothing more on this matter.

Later that day they hear on the news about how about Arasaka is taking some heat for assaulting The Cult of the Dawn compound. Their excuse is that the Cult of the Dawn was a front for Militech and was housing military weapons. They use the crates of Militech rifles found in the compound as proof of this fact. Naturally Militech denies these claims, insisting the rifles were planted.

The team does not receive the big payment they had been promised. Mouse does some digging and learns that Dr. Kilacho has disappeared off of the Net. It would seem that the purpose of Arasaka’s attack on the Cult of the Dawn was to eliminate Dr. Kilatcho. But why? What threat did he pose to them that they felt they needed to take time in the middle of a corporate war to eliminate him?