Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 48 - Where in the world is Alfredo Bruga

May 28th, 2041

The day so far had been a busy one, with Masslight hinting at a doomsday scenario and evidence that someone is tracking the team down.

That evening, Riptide has dinner with Kaitlyn Jones. He comments that they have tapped all of their available sources and still have not made any progress on figuring out where Alfredo Bruga or The Luna Family were. Katrina suggests that maybe it’s time he puts on his walking shoes and starts pounding the pavement and knocking on some doors himself. She also suggests that it may be a good place to start would be to follow up on Alfredo’s holdings and see what they can learn from there. Riptide shares this advice with the rest of the team, and they decide to take the trip to Seattle to visit Alfredo’s shipping company, Holy Isle shipping.

May 29th, 2041

They take the 14-hour drive to Seattle, arriving on Wednesday afternoon. They talk their way past security and find themselves outside of the Holy Isle Shipping Company. Saito, Helios and Riptide decide to poke around the warehouse while Zen and Kahale go into the office to talk to the staff. Zen claims to be the owner of a latex manufacturing company looking to start up a distribution network. She gets a meeting with the office manager to discuss the details.

Meanwhile Kahale chats up the receptionist, and learns that Alfredo lives in Paris but does visit occasionally. Apparently the last time he came to inspect the warehouses was about 4 months ago. He also learns that Alfredo named the company after a poem about the Greek Iles, a place he is very fond of.

The others do not find much of interest in the warehouse, but Helios does find out that a ship named the Acadia will be heading for Greece in 4 days. Helios and Saito apply for jobs to work aboard the ship.

May 29th – June 1st, 2041

The team spends the next several days staking out the shipyards seeing if Alfredo or Tobias show up, but there is no sign of either of them. The day before the ship is set to set sail, Saito learns that he has been accepted to be hired on as a ship crewman on the Acadia.

June 2nd, 2041

The Acadia sets sail for Greece with Saito on board. The rest of the team takes a day and a half journey to Houston to visit the wind farm that Alfredo owns.

June 3rd, 2041

At the wind farm, the team talks to the site manager and learns a similar story: that Alfredo only visits a couple times a year and he hasn’t been here in about 4 months. The team decides to return to Night City
June 4th, 2041

Riptide contacts Mouse and asks him to do some digging on Alfredo Bruga. Mouse says that most of the urgent work he was doing for Masslight is now done so he has some time to help the team.

June 5th, 2041
Mouse contacts Riptide and says he’s learned that Alfredo was the one who called in the debt on IHAG, which resulted in the collapse of the company. It was this collapse that led to the corporate war between OTEC and CINO, which then evolved into the current war between Arasaka and Militech. He has also learned that Alfredo paid to have a chef from Kavala Greece flown to Nice, France to work in his restaurant there.

[[June 6th – June 10th, 2041*

The team goes about their normal routines while they figure out their next move. Riptide takes Katrina to spend a few days at a couple’s spa and retreat.

Ultimately it is decided that Paris will be the next stop in their list as Alfredo has a home there. They book a flight that leaves in three days.

June 11th, 2041

In the news, Militech launches a major assault against Arasaka in Chicago.

June 12th, 2041

The battle in Chicago turns into all out warfare and people flee the city by the thousands.

June 13th, 2041

The team, minus Saito, who is currently somewhere in the North Atlantic, boards their plane to France. Due to airline policy, they are forced to leave the explosives at home.

June 14th, 2014

At 3:00 AM local time, the team arrives in Paris and heads to the house they rented for the week to catch a few hours of sleep.

In the late morning, Helios and Kahale head to Alfredo’s house. They circle the perimeter of the small walled estate and take note of the security cameras. Thermo scans with their cyberoptics indicate that no one is home.

A short time later, Zen and Riptide arrive and go straight to the front gate. They hit the buzzer but get no answer. Kahale rips one of the cameras off the wall. Since this may have triggered an alarm, they decide to move quickly.

Helios picks the lock to the front door and they are in. A security panel starts beeping but Helios only needs moments to disarm the alarm. They search the house, finding very little of interest. Nothing seems out of place, but it would appear that they were not the only ones to go through the house.

Eventually, in the garbage can of one of the guest rooms, they find an invoice for a company called Safe Zone Safe Houses. It has a contact name: Erasmus Hano, and a number. The team decides to exit the house before any police show up.

Riptide calls Mouse in Night City where it is currently the middle of the night. He asks Mouse to look into Safe Zone. Mouse says he will in the morning.

The team decides they have done all they can do until they hear back from Mouse. Zen and Riptide spend the rest of the day taking in the sites. Helios and Kahale on the other hand, rent a car and take the nine hour drive to Nice.

Around 10:00 PM, the two arrive in Nice and go to the restaurant owned by Alfredo Bruga. It is also the restaurant where Alfredo flew in a chef named Pallav from Kavala Greece. They have a nice meal, and speak with the chef. He says he is a friend of Alfredo’s, but has not seen him in many months.

Afterwards, they stake out the restaurant and follow Pallav home. They check out the house and determine that no one else is living there. They begin the nine hour drive back home.

That evening, Mouse calls Riptide to tell him that the Safe Zone Datafortress is an ICEball. He doesn’t think it’s an actual functioning system, just a fortress crammed full of anti-intrusion software. After that fiasco, he checked around and found the company has two offices, one in Athens, Greece and the other in Paris, France. The company seems to have no other assets and did not seem to exist prior to two months ago.

June 15th, 2041

First thing in the morning, Zen and Riptide head to the Safe Zone office. There Zen again adopts her cover as the owner of a latex manufacturer looking to acquire some safe houses. The woman behind the desk informs her that the office manager, Ernesto, is not currently in, but if they leave her their contact information, she will give it to Ernesto. Zen asks about the company being only two months old. The receptionist says that this office is only two months old, but the company is much older. Zen also pushes her on how secure they keep their client information, and she tells them they have never had a data breach. Eventually they decide to leave her alone and go on their way.

As they head back to the rental home, they notice they have picked up a tail. They also get a call from Ernesto, who apologizes for missing them the first time and they agree to meet later that day.

About this time, Helios and Kahale come rolling back into town. The two groups communicate and update each other. Helios and Kahale begin tailing Zen and Riptide’s tail.

In the early afternoon, Zen and Riptide return to the Safe Zone office. As they go in, their tail parks on the street, followed immediately by Helios and Kahale. The two get out and Kahale steps in front of the vehicle, grabs the front bumper and lifts up the front end of the car. Helios stands at the driver side door and demands to know why he was following the other two.

The driver says he is an employee of Safe Zone who was asked by Ernesto to follow Zen and Riptide. He does not know why. Kahale sets the car down and Helios pulls the driver out of the car and announces they will all visit the office together.

Meanwhile, Zen and Riptide enter the office and are quickly introduced to Ernesto. He tells them a little about the company, insisting that they have been around for longer than two months. About then the other two arrive, and Helios demands to know why Safe Zone was following his “boss”.

Ernesto then admits they he has been monitoring their activity since they showed up at Alfredo’s house. He explains that Alfredo is a client of theirs, and has gone missing. He was to meet them at the airport in Athens, but despite Ernesto’s certainty that Alfredo got on the plane in Paris, he did not arrive at the arrival station at the Athens Airport. They are certain he is in Greece, they just don’t know where. Also, they don’t know if he was abducted, or ditched them for some reason. Either way, the company has a sizable financial penalty they will have to pay if any harm comes to Alfredo.

Since he understands that they are looking for Alfredo as well, he proposes that they work together. If they think they may have a chance to find Alfredo, his company’s resources will be at their disposal. The team accepts the offer. Ernesto says he will arrange a flight to Greece for them.

June 16th, 2041

The team spends its final day in Paris, and that evening board a plane for Athens, Greece.

June 17th, 2041

Early in the morning, the team arrives in Athens. They are greeted at the airport by Elini Nicolo, an operative for Safe Zone. She takes them to the hotel where they will be staying courtesy of Safe Zone.

Later in the morning, after the team has had a chance to get some sleep. Elini picks them up and takes them to the Safe Zone Office. There they are introduced to Erasmus Hano, the owner of safe zone. They discuss how Alfredo would have gotten off the plane without Safe Zone knowing. The team strongly suspects that he had help at the airport and asks Erasmus if he can gain access to records of who was working that day.

While Safe Zone looks into the airport personnel, the team has Elini take them to the shipyard as the Acadia arrives in port today. There they meet Saito who has taken the cheap but slow way to Greece. The nearly three weeks of ship work seems to have done him some good.

June 18th, 2041

They don’t have many leads in Greece, but the one that stands out is that Pallav the chef in Nice, came from Kavala Greece, just a few hours’ drive from here.

In the late morning, they arrive in Kavala. They spend the next few hours checking out every motel and hotel, looking for Alfredo. When that comes up empty, they stop at the restaurant where Pallav used to work. They speak with some of the staff there and confirm that he was friends with Alfredo and jumped at the chance to move to Paris to work there.

The final stop on their list was Pallav’s parent’s house. They drive up and thermo scan the house, revealing three adults inside. Zen and Riptide go to the front door and knock. They are greeted by an elderly woman and ask about Pallav. She confirms the story about Pallav and Afredo, but when asked if anyone else is home, she claims it is only she and her husband. The others circle around the home and Helios spots Alfredo Bruga sitting at the kitchen table.

Zen and Riptide ask Elini to take them back to the restaurant where Pallav had worked while the others watched the place. They are gone for only a few minutes when Saito decides he has a bad feeling about this and goes to the front door. When the woman answers, he pushes his way past and confronts Alfredo.

Alfredo says that he has been on the run from Burton Chambers. He had several business dealings with Burton over the years that proved very profitable for Alfredo. He knew it was only a matter of time before Burton asked for something in return. Burton had contacted him and told him to call in the IHAG debt. Alfredo did not want to as it would kill the company and likely end his job at Eurobank. Burton made it clear that he did not have a choice.

Burton wanted the war between OTEC and CINO. It would be easy to think that this was a move to boost profits for Arasaka. But, Alfredo warns, Burton is an insanely ambitious man, who has already risen as far as he can at Arasaka. No, what Burton wanted was the war between Arasaka and Militech. Alfredo never figured out why. Burton needed this war for another reason. Something he wanted required this war to happen.

They ask Alfredo if he had any proof of this. He says no, but that doesn’t stop Burton from wanting to eliminate any loose ends.

Just then, tires can be heard screeching outside. Saito orders Alfredo to get upstairs. Pallav’s parents hide in the dining room. A van pulls up, and a half dozen armed operatives with sub-machine guns pile out. Three go to the dining room window, which is above their heads as the house is built on a slope, and other three make their way up the steps to the front door.

As Kahale circles around the east side of the house, Helios takes cover behind the short wall that surrounds the small front court yard, giving him full view of the steps.

Zen and Riptide are told over the coms what is happening and order Elini to turn the car around and go back.

At the house, one of the operatives beneath the dining room window smashes the window with the butt of his gun, and another throws a frag grenade inside. It explodes, killing Pallav’s mother and seriously wounding his father. The operatives get ready to scale up into the window when Kahale comes around the far corner and starts laying down suppression fire. One of the operatives catches several bullets, and all three duck for cover.

The other three coming up the front steps are stopped in their tracks when Helios opens fire. They return fire, but even though they have Helios outgunned, he has cover and the high ground, where as they are caught out in the open. Saito joins the fire fight, using the front door way as cover.

Elini, Zen and Riptide are only a couple of blocks away when they are t-boned by another car in an intersection. The driver and front passenger lob grenades into the car, killing Elini, and seriously wounding Zen. Riptide is also wounded, but still combat effective. He returns fire but is outgunned three to one.

At the house, Kahale ceases suppression fire and begins picking off the operatives. As with the front of the house, he is outnumbered, but has the advantage of cover, whereas the others are caught in the open. One by one, the operatives begin to fall until only one remains. He attempts to retreat to the van but Saito and Kahale converge on him and capture him.

Two blocks away, Riptide knows that to stay is suicide, but Zen is still alive and he won’t leave her behind. He leans over to the driver side, grabs the steering and puts his foot on the accelerator. The tires spin for a couple of seconds as the car separates itself from the other one. The other car has enough front end damage that it isn’t going anywhere. But this does not stop the people inside it from shooting at him. Keeping his head down while driving from the passenger seat, Riptide manages to drive away, only sideswiping three parked cards in the process.

Saito interrogated the operative who says he works for Erasmus Hondo. Their mission was to kill Alfredo Bruga. He did not know why and frankly hadn’t asked. As Riptide rolls up the front, hitting another parked car, Saito decides he has learned all he can and executes the operative.

Zen had a Trauma Team card and the team decides it is best to activate it and let her be. They can hear sirens off in the distance and knowing they are all packing hardware that is rather illegal in Greece, they decide to get Alfredo and get in the ops van and vacate the scene. Luckily for Zen the Trauma team unit arrives to pick her up before the local police get there.

Saito makes some calls to some old friends in the Mossad. They have an operative in Turkey who can meet them at the border and help Alfredo disappear again. They take the 90 minute drive to the border and hand him over. They then return to Athens.

In Athens, they find the Safe Zone offices have been cleared out. No sign remains that the company ever existed. Riptide calls Mouse and sees if he can track Erasmus Hando. Mouse is able to determine that Erasmus is on a flight to India. Saito again calls his contacts asks if someone can meet Erasmus at the airport and eliminate him. They assure him that it will be taken care of.

Zen is once again in the hospital and the rest of the team prepares to return home. Hopefully, Alfredo is out of Burton’s clutches for good. The new question left unanswered is why Burton wanted a war between Arasaka and Militech. As Alfredo had said, he really has nothing to gain financially has no room left for advancement in Arasaka. What did he have to gain by starting this corporate war?