Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 47 - Of AIs and Meat Puppets

May 19th, 2041

Riptide contacts Kaitlyn Jones for some information. She immediately asks what he wants since the only time she hears from him is when he needs something. He apologizes and then immediately asks her about Biotechnica and Tobias Luna . She says she will look into it and update him over dinner at the Wing Chang Chinese Restaurant, the most expensive restaurant in Night City. Riptide also contacts Mouse to see how things are going with him. Mouse wants to know why Biotechnica showed up at the beach the other night when the team was unloading their cargo. Riptide doesn’t have the answer to that and tries to enlist Mouse’s help but Mouse says he is too busy right now.

Riptide has dinner that evening with Katrina. The food and service are excellent, but the information is what he came for. She tells him that Tobias had resigned three days ago and his replacement, Phil Cohen does not know where he is. Tobias seems to have disappeared. There is no record of him taking transportation out of Night City, but he did remove his son from school and seems to have disappeared with his father. The only other information she could find on Tobias is that he was looking for a hacker named Flatspin Some follow up investigation with Riptide’s street contacts reveals that Flatspin hangs out at the Caf-Caf Coffee House.

May 20th – May 23rd, 2041

The team members focus on their own individual concerns as wells as maintaining the salvage business.

May 24th, 2041

The team pays a visit to the Caf-Caf. Kahale watches out front while Saito monitors the back. Riptide andZen head inside.
Inside the Caf-Caf, the space is divided into two sections, a net café on one side, and a Brain Dance Center on the other. Riptide asks the girl behind the counter if she knows who Flatspin is, and she points to a very large African American man sitting in the Brain Dance Center. Riptide and Zen approach him and ring the “doorbell” a button that lets a jacked-in person know that someone in the outside world needs to talk to them. The man comes out of his session and Riptide asks him if he is Flatspin and what he knows about Tobias Luna. The man claims he is Flatspin, but says he has never heard of Tobias. Flatspin says he specializes in finding people. Zen notices that there’s something slightly off about the man in the way he responds to questions. They try asking him further questions but he refuses to give them any more information.

They offer him some money to do an immediate search for Tobias Luna. Flatspin agrees and says it will take several minutes. They step away from him and give Mouse a call. They asked him to monitor what Flatspin is doing to find Tobias Luna. Mouse is growing increasingly irritated with constant interruptions to his work and demands a $1,000 for his time. Zen can’t believe that he is charging them for this, but agrees.

They go back in and speak to Flatspin. He says he has found nothing. He can do a much deeper dive but it will take much more time and money.

They call Mouse to see if he was able to trace Flatspin’s activities. He tells them that Flatspin did nothing as far as he could tell and that his only communication from that point is to another table on the other side of the Caf-Caf specifically table number 12.

They look over to table number 12 and see a young woman who is jacked into the net. They walkover and hit the doorbell button. The woman emerges from the net and asks them what they want. They ask her why she is communicating with the gentleman on the other side of the room. She gives them an odd look and says she has no idea what they’re talking about. They ask her about Flatspin and Tobias Luna, and she says she has never heard of either of them.

Zen calls Mouse and says the girl has no idea what they are talking about. Mouse says he does not know what the exact communication was, but the two were definitely sharing what appeared to be some form of sensory data.

They confront the woman again, this time a little more forcefully. After some thinly veiled threats, she relents and admit that she is Flatspin. She says that the man on the other side of the room is someone whom she pays to let her use as a meat puppet that she can control and communicate through. He acts as a human false front because he appears much more intimidating. People tend to take him more seriously and are less likely to mess with him.

She explains to them that Tobias Luna had approached her and asked her to look into the location of a man named Alfredo Bruga. They recognize his name as the man that they were told that Burton Chambers was looking for. It turns out that she was already looking for Alfredo Bruga on behalf of someone else. She turned Luna down because she figured he knew that she was already looking for Bruga, and she felt helping him would be selling out her other client. She did not know whom the other client was, as she was being paid through an anonymous service.

They offer her some immediate cash if she is willing to throw them a bone and tell them some of what she’s learned so far. She is reluctant at first but they convince her they do not care who her client is. She tells them that Alfredo was a financier for Eurobank. He up and disappeared a couple of months ago. He owns several holdings worldwide including a home in Paris, a Greek restaurant in Nice France, a castle in Edenborough, a wind farm in Houston, and he’s owns a shipping company in Seattle.

They thank her for the information, and tells her that the offer still stands to find Tobias Luna for them. She agrees, and they go on their way.

May 25th, 2041

Zen pays a visit to Krissy to see how she is doing. The young solo is still working on getting used to her new cyberlimbs having lost most of her natural limbs in the explosion in the Combat Zone during a mission that went badly.

May 26th, 2041

Riptide contacts Mouse for some help but Mouse says he doesn’t have time to assist them in anything right now. Riptide asks Mouse who he was working for regarding the job they did smuggling in the crates off of the cargo ship. Mouse says that naturally he’s not at liberty to say.

Riptide asks Kahale who he was working for, and Kahale says that the job was given to him by a man named Edgar Cole. The team remembers Edgar Cole as a former Biotechnica employee with whom they worked with the help smuggle the clone Adam to the Midway Freehold.

May 27th, 2041

Riptide contacts Edger Cole and asks him about what was in the packages that they helped smuggle. Edger says he can’t say but he would have thought that the team would have put two and two together by now and figured it out. He gets nothing more from Edgar, but when he gets together with the rest of the team and they discuss it, they realize that there’s a high probability that the crates that they smuggled in were probably some form of mainframe system meant to house Masslight.

May 28th, 2041

They decide to head to the warehouse where they last left Mouse to confront him and find out what exactly is going on. They find the warehouse has installed some state-of-the-art security equipment, with no visible way to open any of the doors or windows. They contemplate how to get in when one of the doors suddenly opens on its own.

They step in and find computer equipment sprawled everywhere. Mouse, who looks like he hasn’t eaten or slept in days is busy running some cable across the room when he sees them enter. He is less than pleased to see them and demands to know if they are sure no one followed them. They assure him that they were not and that no one knows about this place.

They ask him if he’s working for Masslight and he says yes. They are about to question him further when the room is filled with the sound of a voice emanating from every direction. The voice says it’s Masslight and that he realized that Arasaka had discovered his location at the Midway Freehold so he decided to move to Night City. They ask him why he would come to Night City he says that he believes that this is where the end game will take place. They ask him what he means by the end game. Masslight says that forces are in play that will be coming to a head within the next few weeks, and there was a high probability it would be centered here in Night City. He will not divulge any further information as he is not yet confident enough in his calculations, but he does say that not only is the team in danger, but all of humanity as well. He has not yet decided what steps, if any, he would take to save them.

They ask him what help he would be willing to give them, and at this point all he is willing to say is that the key to discovering more about what was going on lay in finding Alfredo Bruga and Tobias Luna. They ask him why Arasaka is looking for him, and the AI tells them that Arasaka has begun a campaign of eliminating every intelligent construct and independent AI they can find. Dr. Kilacho was one of those constructs that they sought out and destroyed.

Masslight and Dr. Kilatcho had worked together on some research regarding the translation of human consciousness into digital form. This was the task for which Masslight had been designed by Biotechnica. Masslight determined that there was great danger in Biotechnica gaining this technology, so with the help of Dr. Kilatcho, he escaped.

But Biotechnica was not the only one researching this type of technology. Raven Micro-Cybernetics had developed an implant that was designed to record brain patterns to help facilitate this sort of translation. The technology was stolen by Torrent, who didn’t fully understand its intent, and had it implanted in his own head. It was destroyed when he took down the Arasaka prison.

There was also an attempt by Infotech called Project Apotheosis that was co-funded by Biotechnica. The nature of this project is currently unknown to Masslight.

Arasaka itself had dabbled in this type of technology years ago when they had created the Soul Killer virus. However use of the virus was so controversial, that it almost destroyed the company. They claim to have wiped out every copy of it and destroyed the research, however it is strongly believed that copies of the virus still live within Arasaka’s most secure vaults.

The team leaves Mouse and Masslight to their work. They question what Masslight is really up to and if he had just threatened to destroy humanity.

Riptide calls Colin Fisk and asks him what he knows about where Arasaka keeps its most protected assets. Colin says that he believes that Arasaka has several vaults located within its world headquarters in Tokyo, but beyond that he knows nothing. Riptide inquire as to what Colin knows about Alfredo or Tobias, to which Colin answers he knows nothing.

Apoc contacts Saito and lets him know that someone has been putting feelers out in the arms market looking for private citizens who have been buying up .50 Caliber Electrothermal rounds. Since that is a short list of people and Saito is on it, Apoch felt it best to give Saito a heads up. Saito checks with Dollar Bill, the fixer with whom Saito buys the tank killing ammunition. Dollar Bill confirms that someone has been tracing sales of the ammo, but so far he knows, no one has traced a purchase to him or to Saito.

Saito speculates that this may have something to do with the incident with the Cult of the New Dawn, since that is the last place where he used his .50 caliber Electrothermal Rifle and Arasaka was directly involved. Riptide calls the surviving members of a cult, and ask them if anyone has been asking about the team. They indicate that they are not aware of anyone that was looking for them.

A picture was beginning to form. A picture with bigger implications than what any of them had imagined. But just as things seemed to start to come together, they couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was slowly tightening a noose around them.