Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 49 - Burton Chambers Strikes Back

June 21st, 2041

Riptide, Saito, and Helios return to Night City. Zen remains in the hospital in Athens along with Kahale, who stands guard, watching over her.

June 22nd – June 26th, 2041

The team considers how to build on what they have learned. Thanks to Alfredo Bruga, they now know that Burton Chambers engineered the latest corporate war, but they have no idea why. Burton won’t be promoted any higher than he already is at Arasaka. Neither Arasaka nor Militech will profit from this war as neither is likely to survive as its going.

The mercenary group Lazarus will be the biggest benefactor as it will go from being the third largest private army to the first once all the dust settles. The team does some financial digging, but can find no financial connection between Burton Chambers and Lazarus. Burton would do no better if he worked for Lazarus as all of their top execs are ex-military.

June 27th, 2041

In the news, a major battle between Arasaka and Militech breaks out in Los Angeles. Kaitlyn Jones tells Riptide that one of Infocomp’s Sysops had expressed concern to her regarding the security of their central data base. The next day, he was found dead with his mind wiped. Since Arasaka provides the security for Infocomp’s data fortress, rumors of the Soul Killer virus have begun.

June 27th – 30th, 2041

Further research reveals that Petrochem has been making massive profits off of the current corporate war as it has been selling fuel to both sides. The team looks into whether Burton Chambers is invested in Petrochem. It turns out that the only major investments he seems to have are in Biotechnica, Arasaka, DMS, and the Prinn Institute
.
July 1st, 2041

Battles break out in Paris and Mexico City

July 2nd – July 9th, 2041

The team sits tight, working their businesses while keeping an eye on the news.

July 10th, 2041

Zen and Kahale return to Night City.

July 11th – July 13th, 2041

All seems quiet and uneventful.

July 14th, 2041

The team hears from Flatspin. They had hired her to find The Luna Family. She has had weeks of dead ends but now finally has a lead. She managed to find an image of Tobias taken a few weeks before his disappearance, taken in Aspen, Colorado with a woman. She did not know who the woman was either, but Flatspin seemed confident that this was the key to finally making some progress.

July 15th, 2041

Riptide is spending time with Kaitlyn when she tells him that the home of the Infocomp Sysop that had died had been found ransacked, although it is not known if anything was taken. She was able to confirm that he was working on a concern regarding their Arasaka data security.

July 16th, 2041

Governments begin deploying military forces around key assets in order to protect them from becoming collateral damage in the corporate war. The two mega-corps are still too powerful for any government to try to directly intervene.

July 17th, 2041

An uneventful day.

July 18th, 2041

An unknown mercenary unit has attacked the old neighborhood that the team used to be based in. According to the news, the street gang Death in the Afternoon was wiped out.

The team visits the area and learns that the mercs were led by a full conversion cyborg wearing a Hard Rock Café t-shirt.

Riptide calls Lt. Bubba McCarty, the head of the Night City SPARS unit. McCarty says he is not involved in the investigation, but the description of the cyborg tells him that it’s Adam Smasher. Adam’s meat body was blown up in Antigua, and he has been presumed dead ever since, but rumors of him back as a ‘borg abound. Saito believes this is the same ‘borg he shot at the Cult of the New Dawn compound, which would mean Adam Smasher is likely the one who has been tracking down users of .50 cal electro-thermo ammunition.

Riptide asks if McCarty can take down Smasher. McCarty says he would need some pretty solid evidence. Smasher has the favor of Arasaka, and Arasaka funds the Night City Police Department. They don’t control the department, but they can make McCarty’s life very difficult.

July 20th – July 23rd, 2041

The team gets in contact with the gang at the Forlorn Hope and anyone else they have been acquainted with, and warns them that someone is sending a message to the team, and they are writing it in the blood of the team’s allies.

July 24th, 2041

In the news, Militech withdraws from Chicago, conceding what remains of the city to Arasaka.

July 25th, 2041

Zen and Helios are at work at Jimmy Two-Teeths when several squad cars roll up along with an NCPD APC. A couple dozen cops raid the place and place Helios and Zen under arrest. When asked what the charges are, they are told its drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, on the north side of town at the Platinum Saloon, police arrive at that site and place Saito and Riptide under arrest. Kahale is left untouched.

Kahale visits a nearby thrift shop and buys a briefcase. He then unloads all of his implanted weapons and goes to the Night City Justice Center. After passing through the extensive weapon scanning, he tells the Sgt. in charge that he is the team’s lawyer. The Sgt. doesn’t believe him for a second, but is too close to earning his pension to care. He takes Kahale to their holding cell and tells him that he has 15 minutes.

Kahale offers to break them out, but they quickly shoot down that idea. Instead they tell him to gather up whatever equipment of theirs that hasn’t been confiscated and to hire them a lawyer. They give him the number of the attorney who helped them set up the salvage business.

Disappointed that he wasn’t going to get is initiate a jail break, Kahale leaves and does as they asked. He goes to Jimmy Two Teeth’s and to their primary residence, but everything had been confiscated. All they would have to work with is what Kahale had plus what Saito has stashed at Baja’s
.
He next calls the lawyer, who based on the budget Kahale gives him, recommends an attorney named Dave Wilson.

July 26th, 2041

It’s all over the news and the scream sheets: Jimmy-Two Teeth’s, who holds the contract for salvage in all of downtown Night City has been shut down due to charges of drug trafficking. Investigators have also shut down the Golden Saloon and the Platinum Saloon as these establishments have the same owners.

Attorney David Wilson visits the team in jail. He tells them that police responded to an anonymous tip indicating that they were using their salvage business to move Blue Ice. Police raided the shop and found several cars had packages of Blue Ice hidden throughout them. Enough Blue Ice, in fact, to put them in prison for decades.

Wilson says they have a hearing tomorrow in which he will try to get them released, but the bond is going to be very expensive, like a $50 Grand each expensive. But he does know a good bail bondsman who will put up the bonds for 5% up front. Resources are limited, but they can’t clear their name from inside prison. Riptide, Zen, and Saito agree. Helios, on the other hand, decides it’s safer to stay in jail.

That evening, there are news reports at the Golden Saloon has burned down. Arson is suspected.

July 27th, 2041

The team has their hearing. Their actual court date will be August 16th. Wilson is able to convince the court to release the three team members on a $50,000 bond each. He contacts Barb Wiley of Barbwire Bonds, and she puts up the money. She also makes it clear to the team that if they try to leave Night City, she will know.

Zen and Riptide try contacting their corporate contacts regarding the city salvage contract, but no one is taking their phone calls.

One person who is taking Riptide’s call is Kaitlyn Jones. She is already on the case and has identified the five vehicles that police say they found the drugs in.

That evening in the news, Arasaka has attacked Militech’s Heywood facility south of Night City. It is now only a matter of time before the corporate war spills into the city itself.
Kahale gets a job as a bouncer at The Afterlife.

July 28th, 2041

Riptide starts working his street contacts. No one is aware of such a large quantity of Blue Glass coming into the city. Diego Entrada had been the primary supplier of the drug and since his demise, there has been very little coming into the states.

Zen calls Mark Vincent, the DEA agent they had worked with in Vegas. He tells Riptide that a large quantity of the product had disappeared after Entrada’s death. It has now reappeared at Jimmy Two Teeth’s. A strong case is being built against them that they must have stolen the drugs themselves and have been sitting on it this entire time. Mark is skeptical, but he says it does not look good for the team.

That evening a gas line break on the north side of town severely damages the Ron Walker Showroom and destroys the Platinum Saloon across the street.

July 29th, 2041

In the news: after successfully pushing Militech out of Chicago, Arasaka’s highest ranking non-Japanese executive Burton Chambers is put in charge of the Night City office.
The team has Mouse break into their own business servers to get a hold of the salvage records. They are able to determine where the vehicles with the drugs had been found.

The team visits the La Croix Restaurant. Two of the cars had been in an accident right out front. Staff at the restaurant report both vehicles were immediately abandoned. The staff give them a description of the two drivers.

They next stop at World Travel Agency. There they are given a similar story about two cars getting in an accident and both cars being abandoned. The description of the two drivers matches that of the two at La Croix.

Finally, they stop at the Hotel Hamilton. The fifth vehicle had been found parked near their valet parking. Once they had determined the car did not belong to a guest, they called to have it towed.

July 30th, 2041

That evening, Kahale is working at the Afterlife when he notices that two of the bartenders closely match the description of the two drivers. He contacts the rest of the team, who arrive in short order.

They begin asking around and learn that the two bartenders, named Allen and Gibson are a couple of small timers that will do just about anything for a couple bucks.
Zen tries to seduce them, but does not get anywhere. Saito tries another
approach and claims to be a porn producer and that he wants to us them in a movie. Amazingly, they buy it.

At about 3:00 AM, they pick up the two and take them to the motel where the movie is to be shot. Once there, they tie the two up and interrogate them. The two claim that the cars were given to them by a man named Alexander Crychek, who paid them to crash the cars and abandon them.

They do a little digging and learn that Alexander Crychek is the owner of the Rainbow Nights club, an aspiring music producer, and a member of the Russian mob. His two most lucrative businesses (allegedly) are drugs and human trafficking.

When they return home, they find Helios waiting for them. He finally got bored sitting in prison and posted bond.

July 31st, 2041

The team arrives at Rainbow Nights, a 24/7 dance club, and are ushered into the office area. They are told that Mr. Crychek does not come in until 9:00 PM. They demand to see him at once and indicate they are not leaving until they talk to him. Two hours later, they accept that he is not coming to see them, so they leave.

At 9:00 pm, they return to Rainbow Nights and again ask to see Crychek. This time they are ushered into his ridiculously large office that is mostly empty space except for his desk, a couple of lamps and a couch on which sits two girls who sole job it appears is to hold down the couch.

They tell him that they own Jimmy Two-Teeth’s and he offers his sympathies for their recent troubles. They point out that they know he is behind their recent troubles and he does not deny it. He simply dismisses it as nothing personal.

When they ask who he did this for, he says that to reveal his client could potentially be costly for him financially. He thinks about it for a moment and says there is a way they could make it up to him. He offers them a simple task that will gain him enough money to offset what he will lose by revealing his client.

He tells them that there is a band that he would like to sign to his new record label. The problem is that they are already signed to a competitor. It’s an all-girl synth-metal band called Electric Angel. He doesn’t think they are all that good, but they will be a big success anyways. He is hoping they will anchor his new record label. All the team has to do is get their manager to break their existing contract and sign with Cry Havoc records, Crychek’s label. He gives them a copy of the contract.

The team immediately heads to Club Atlantis, where the girls are currently playing a gig. There they track down Larry Nichols, the band’s manager. They speak with him and he makes it clear that he is not interested in signing the contract. They do their best to convince him but he tells them that no matter how good an offer Crychek makes, he would never sign that contract. When asked why, he explains that Crychek is a sex trafficker. He asks the team what they think happens to the girls in the band if they don’t prove to be the money makers that Crychek wants them to be. He will make money off of them one way or another. This gives the team pause and although no one says anything out loud, each debates the ramifications of their next actions.

Finally, Kahale towers over Nichols and explains that Crychek will not be denied. If they don’t comeback with a signed contract, Crychek will kill the girls, kill Larry, and probably his entire family. The intimidation tactic works, and Larry reluctantly signs the contact. The team takes the contract and drives back to Rainbow Nights. It’s a very quiet car ride.

Back in Crychek’s office, they produce the signed contract. He is most pleased. He tells the team that he was hired by three people: Douglas Anderson, Mike McDonald, and Shirley Samuels, the owners of West Side Towing, Auto King Towing, and Night City Towing respectively. West Side Towing had been the previous holder of the city salvage contract.
As they are about to leave, Kahale tells Crychek that if Electric Angel does not prove to be profitable for him, Kahale will buy their contact back from Crychek. Crychek is clearly amused by this offer, but agrees none the less.

August 1st, 2041

The team pays a visit to Night City Towing. There they meet with Shirley Samuels and confront her about the set up. She denies it at first but breaks fairly easily. She tells them it was Doug Anderson’s idea. They put up the money to get Jimmy Two-Teeth’s to lose the contract and then they would propose a joint contract to the city. She said that Doug was pretty bitter about what they had done to him.

They then try to convince her to turn on the other two. She is again reluctant at first, but they make it clear to her that she really does not have a choice. She agrees but they insist that she stays with them. They load her into the van and take the 30 minute drive to Auto King Towing.

When they arrive it is clear that people are upset. When asked what is going on, one of the workers says about 15 minutes prior, a van rolled up, and ‘borg in a Hard Rock T-Shirt stepped out and grabbed owner Mike McDonald. He through Mike in the van and sped off. They have heard nothing since.

They team gets back in their vehicle and begin to look for the van. Zen gets a call from Adam Smasher. He asks her how things are going and says it’s nice to talk to her again. She’s not sure if he’s sarcastic, crazy, or both. He finally gets down to the matter at hand and says that someone wants to meet them this evening at the Night City Park by the lake. She agrees to meet and Adam hangs up.

Saito calls “Buckshot” Betty and asks her is she can meet them and give Shirley a ride home. Betty agrees and they cut Shirley loose.

That afternoon, Kahale walks into the lake and activates his internal oxygen supply. He then hunkers down beneath the surface. Saito gets access to the roof of the Hotel Hamilton with his sniper rifle.

At 10:00 PM the others arrive and wait by the shore of the lake. A few minutes later, Saito watches as an AV takes off from the roof of the Arasaka Tower and flies towards the park. There it circles once and lands next to the lake.

Adam Smasher steps out and greets the team. He then introduces Burton Chambers. Burton steps out, impeccably groomed and dressed, showing all of the confidence in the world. He greets the team and gets right to business.

He has come to make a statement and an offer. The statement is expressed merely by his being there, completely exposed. No matter what they think, the team cannot touch him. Also, and their recent misfortunes would indicate, he has the ability to destroy them.

In that context, he makes his offer. If they tell him where Masslight is, he will undo all of the damage that has been done, and they can get their lives back. If they don’t tell him where Masslight is, he will make all of the evidence that could exonerate them disappear, and their lives are over.

Everyone seems to look to Zen to make the decision. Saito, listening in on the coms, places a call to Mouse. He tells Mouse what is happening and that he better be prepared to bolt. Mouse is adamant that under know circumstances should they tell Burton Chambers where Masslight is.

Chambers reiterates that everything the team has worked so hard for has been taken away. He can give it all back. Meanwhile Saito relays to Zen that Mouse is screaming not to tell Chambers anything. Riptide uses the coms to tell Saito to call Lt. McCarty and let him know that Adam Smasher is at the park and that he has gone crazy.

After what seems like an eternity, Zen finally says no. Burton Chambers expresses his disappointment and tells Smasher to get back in the AV. He says they should remember this moment, when they could have fixed everything, but refused.

Saito lines up his shot and pulls the trigger. Much to everyone’s surprise, the shot misses. Saito curses as the building he has to shoot over must be generating a thermal he didn’t compensate for.

At the park, Chambers looks down at the impact point of the bullet and comments that that was not very civilized. Moments later, the second shot comes, hitting Chambers square in the chest and exploding out his back. The Arasaka executive falls to the ground in a heap. Everyone is surprised as to how easy that was.

The moment is shattered as Adam Smasher begins to laugh. As he closes the door to the AV he says “You guys are so predictable.”

As the AV begins to take off, Zen asks Saito if he can shoot down the AV. He says he could, but instead begins to break down his rifle. Although not yet sure how, he knew they had just been out played and he was done dancing to someone else’s tune for one day.

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