Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 7 Fall of the Axe Man

The team gets about a month of downtime after the extraction job involving the Children of the Dawn. Saito spends his time job-hunting with no success. Torrent continues to be frustrated by bugs in his Wild Goose Chase program. Helios begins looking for a motorcycle he can fix up. Riptide begins spending time hanging with the local mobsters that occasionally come into the Golden Saloon, hoping to establish a possible contact there. Zen starts hanging out at a Solo bar called The Afterlife, in the hopes of hearing some word on Mr. M.

March 21st, 2037

At 10:00 PM Saturday night, Helios, Saito, and Zen are at their usual table at the Forlorn Hope, when the waitress indicates that bartender/owner John “Professor” Freeman is looking to hire them for a job. Zen approaches Professor and gets the details. A fellow South American War vet who goes by the handle Axe Man is a friend of his. He recently turned up nearly dead. Axe Man is a private detective who the day before was found in his office by the building janitor, bound and gagged with a bullet hole in the back of his head. Somebody botched the execution however. Axe Man is alive, although barely and is currently in an intensive care unit. Freeman has no idea what cases if any Axe Man was working on, but he was a friend, and nobody tries to kill Freeman’s friends and gets away with it. Freeman offers to pay each team member $500 up front plus an additional $500 if they find out who is responsible, and another $500 if the team “deals” with the problem.

Zen informs the other two and they decide not to waste anytime and look into the matter immediately. They call Torrent, who is at home working on his computer program, and Riptide, who is at work. They drive back to the apartment to collect their gear and pick up Torrent. They then swing by the Golden Saloon and pick up Riptide who has gotten out of work early using an excuse involving some unknown tragedy that has befallen his mother.

They drive to the address that the Professor gave them for Axe Man’s office. It turns out the PI has his office situated in the heart of the Combat Zone. While there is never a good time to be in the Combat Zone, it’s especially bad to be there late at night. Twice, Helios has to redirect his route to avoid driving through firefights.

Around 11:45, they arrive outside the office building. Helios opts to stay with the truck while the rest go into the building. They find Axe Man’s office, but they also find the door locked. Riptide delights at the opportunity to use his new lock picks. Unfortunately, Axe Man employed a good quality lock, foiling Riptide’s attempts to pick it. Saito decides to show him how it’s done and tries to kick the door in. Apparently the strike plate is reinforced as Saito’s foot bounces off of the door. With his legs still recovering from the wounds he took last month, Saito hobbles down to the truck and gets his shotgun. He returns and uses the weapon to shoot out the hinges of the door.

Once inside, they begin to search for clues. There is little to find, however, as the private investigator’s computer and paper files have been removed. The trip seems futile until Torrent uncovers a hidden fire safe. Just then, Helios radios from the truck that their activities have drawn the attention of a group of local punks.

Torrent grabs the fire safe and all but Saito make their way downstairs. Saito positions himself at a window with his M-16 where he sees seven street punks starting to encircle Helios’ truck. They flash hardware, including a couple that appeared to be wired with smartgun links, and demand that Helios give them the truck. In response, Helios produces his shotgun and demands that they give him their shoes. They then indicate that if they can’t have the truck then nobody can.

Helios fires the first shot as a firefight breaks out. Riptide, Zen, and Torrent arrive at the front door where Riptide tells the group he is going to through a grenade he has left over from the last mission, and then tosses a flash-bang grenade into the street. Zen was not on the last mission and so is completely caught of guard and the bright flash and loud bang stuns her. A couple of the punks are also stunned. One of the punks runs to the alley while two of them circle around and shoot at Riptide who is lightly wounded. The others open fire on Helios who is changing weapons. Riptide throws another grenade as Torrent shoots from the doorway. Helios shoots from the truck as Saito opens fire from the window above.

After having thrown the second grenade Riptide moves out of the doorway toward the truck. Unfortunately, this is what the punk in the alley has been waiting for, and Riptide finds himself being shot at with no cover. Riptide opens fire with his sub-machine guns, and hits the punk several times despite the punk’s hiding around the corner for cover. Torrent drops one punk and Saito and Helios each take down a couple. Fifteen seconds after the shooting started, all of the punks are stunned, unconscious, or dead. Torrent strips the gear off of the leader, as the team piles into the truck and heads back to the apartment.

March 22nd, 2037

At 1:45 AM, the team arrives back at their apartment. Riptide picks the lock on the safe and the contents inside are revealed. There is a set of photographs, an audio chip, a paper printout of some computer code, several data chips, a 3×5 card, and a separate photograph.

The set of photographs show a young professional couple in various locations. There are no identifying notes on the photographs, but it appears that Axe Man had been following them.

The audio chip is a recording of a phone call between an unidentified male and a female who at one point is referred to as Violet. They are discussing the elimination of a man named Laugher, who is the leader of a booster gang called the Spikes. He is to be eliminated this Wednesday the 25th. Riptide has heard of the Spikes. He knows little about them other than that they have a reputation for violence and a rivalry with a group called the Wire Cult.

Torrent examines data chips and finds they contain programming utilities. Their primary purpose seems to be for constructing data fortresses.

Torrent also examines the printout out of computer code. It also appears to be for a data fortress. It seems to be an invisible fortress that can be attached to an existing fortress to leech data from it.

The 3×5 card contains the name Irina Lovodny. It also contains an address located somewhere in the Combat Zone. The card contains no other information.

The single photograph shows a smiling young man in his early 20s. He has a modified cyber deck and interface plugs. He is in an apartment standing in front of the window. Through the window can be seen part of a sign on the building across the street that says “EDITERR”.

With the clues thoroughly examined everyone decides to catch a few hours of sleep. They arise again in the late morning, at which point everyone except Saito goes shopping. He stays behind and goes through the business listings to see if he can find anything associated with the name EDITERR.

In the early afternoon, the rest of the team returns from shopping. Saito continues to look for the name as Torrent begins data mining for the name Violet. The only thing he can find that may be related, is a fixer named Violet who has worked with a number of Booster Gangs and is thought to have worked with the mega-corp DMS. Helios goes into work to work on an old motorcycle he bought from Jimmy Two Teeth and Zen goes apartment hunting. Riptide tries to see if he can learn any more on the Spikes, but has little success.

That evening, everyone except Torrent and Helios takes the bus to The Afterlife to mix with the Solo crowd to see if anyone has heard of Violet. They have so very little to go on and get minimal results. Those who have heard of Violet believe that she is a ghost, meaning she is little more that a name used by others for credibility. Having struck out there, Zen starts making a list of other random bars they could visit to try and learn more about Violet. Saito and Riptide consider making a trip into the Combat Zone to find the Spikes. They realize they have no way to get there without Helios’ truck, and Zen realizes she needs to get to work. At about 11:00 PM, they take the bus back to their apartment.

With Zen heading off to work, Helios, Saito, and Riptide get into Helios’ truck and had into the combat zone. Helios loses the driver side window in a random shooting spree, but no one is hurt as they reach their destination. They locate the Spikes home base, and park across the street. A look out approaches the truck and demands to know what they are up to. Riptide puts on his game face and stands up to the ganger. He insists he has important information for Laugher and needs to speak with him. The Spike tells Riptide that he can come in, but needs to leave his shotgun in the truck with the ladies.

Riptide is escorted into the building, walking through rooms with strung out punks and shelves of stolen merchandise. He is eventually led into a room with a group of about two-dozen gangers. Sitting on a raised dais is Laugher, the leader of the Spikes. Riptide offers an exchange of information. He questions Laugher about the clues they found in Axe man’s office. Laugher has little to say, but does recognize the “EDITERR” sign. In exchange, Riptide plays the recording. Laugher immediately recognizes the male voice and demands that a Spike named Savage be brought to him.

Meanwhile, outside, Helios and Saito are waiting in the truck when they see a worried looking gang-member run across the street and into an alley. Saito’s gut telling him this may be important; he bolts after the fleeing ganger. The ganger is a faster runner that Saito, but is slowed by the darkness of the unlit streets. Saito’s infrared optic in this cyber-eye negates that disadvantage and he is eventually able to catch up to and tackle the punk. They wrestle briefly before Saito is able to subdue him. He radios to Riptide and then drags the punk back to the Spike’s hangout. As suspected, the fleeing ganger was Savage.

Riptide, Saito, and Laugher take Savage into a private room and interrogate him. Savage admits he was contacted by Violet and was offered $5,000 to help set up Laugher. Violet’s reasons are unknown, but Savage was interested in the money and the potential to become the new leader of the Spikes. Violet will contact him on Tuesday with specifics. He has no way to contact her. Laugher wants to kill Savage, but Riptide convinces him to let Savage live and see how this whole thing plays out.

March 23rd, 2037

Laugher orders a Spike named Skeevey to take the three to the location in the photograph. He guides them to a crack house that used to be a hotel. The old neon sign still works, displaying the hotel’s named MEDITERRANEAN. The building across the street where the photo would have been taken appears to have recently burned down. The three begin to question Skeevey about what happened, but he has little information. This location is not in the Spike’s turf, but rather in an area controlled by their rivals, the Wire Cult.

Riptide and Saito go into the Mediterranean to see if anyone is coherent enough to talk to. They meet an amped up young man who calls himself “The Manic Hispanic”. He recognizes the Netrunner in the picture as Dimitri Lovodny. He also states that he saw members of the Wire Cult hanging around the apartment building shortly before it burns down. They pay him 20 bucks and head back home after dropping of Skeevey.

Before they go to bed, they wake up Torrent and have him research Dimitri Lovodny and the Wire Cult. He is able to find an address for Dimitri, the Royale Apartments, the building that was burned down. His research into the Wire Cult turns up that they are a particularly blood thirsty booster gang that is known to have its own members fight each other in deadly pit fights to determine pecking order with in the gang. They are also known for sporting crude cyber-ware such as hammer spikes and implanted chainsaws.

On her way home from work that morning, Zen stops by the Good Night Rooms and Coffins, by the marina and looks at a two-bedroom apartment that is available for rent. It’s about as run down as their current place, but offers more breathing room than the one-bedroom they currently reside in. It is located in a larger complex called The Arcade, which is primarily a meeting place for teens. The apartment building is sandwiched between a youth outreach center and a music and instruments emporium. The second floors of all three buildings combine to form a large teen-club and arcade. She agrees to take the apartment.

When she returns to the apartment to share the news, she finds Riptide and Saito preparing to return to the combat zone. They want to check out the address on the 3×5 card listed next to the name Irina Lovodny. She joins them as they take the bus to Jimmy Two-Teeth’s where they convince Helios to let them borrow his truck, promising that nothing bad would happen to it. Unfortunately for them, somewhere in the combat zone a punk got his hands on an anti-tank mine and thought it would be funny to plant it in the street, the very street the team drives the truck down. They resulting explosion destroyes the front passenger wheel, bends the axle, and shreds several engine components. After calling Helios to pick up the remains of his truck, the team hoofs it the remaining nine blocks to Irina’s house.

They arrive at the address to find a single family home, painted a horrific bright yellow, located in one of the better border areas of the combat zone. Saito heads around back and Zen takes the side of the house by the driveway. Riptide approaches the front and rings the doorbell. Getting no response, he produces his lock picks and easily defeats the key lock. He goes to the back and lets Saito in. They discover that the house has already been ransacked. The only item of interest they find is a photo of a man and a woman, whose similar appearance indicates that they are likely twin brother and sister. The man in the picture is the Netrunner from the other photo, Dimitri Lovodny.

Zen becomes aware of a group of local teenagers who are milling about beginning to close in on her. Some are armed with clubs and knives. Zen sizes them up and greets the one she believes to be the leader. She apparently picks correctly as he speaks for the group, demanding to know why she is there. Riptide and Saito emerge from the house. The kids don’t seem to buy her story that she is investigating a murder out of a sense of justice. Saito, short on patience, grabs the leader by the throat and demand he start talking. The increase in tension is immediately obvious, as some of the kids produce pistols, and heads begin to peek out of neighborhood doors and windows. Admitting that they are working a paid job, Zen convinces the kid that it’s in Irina’s best interest to contact them. The kid takes Zen’s cell number and says he will pass it on to Irina.

Around 6:00 PM, Irina calls. Zen suggests meeting at The Arcade. Irina indicates she would rather meet where an older crowd gathers. They agree to meet at the Western Bar at 7:00 PM.

Riptide, Saito, and Zen go to the Western Bar. It only takes a few moments to spot the kid from the house and a woman they recognize from the photo in the house as being Irina Lovodny. Saito and Zen join them in a booth while Riptide vigilantly keeps watch on the other bar patrons. The kid introduces himself as Miguel. Irina indicates that her brother is an up-and-coming Netrunner who recently scored a big job. It was apparently a big challenge, which he labored at day and night for weeks. A about a week ago, he took her out to dinner to celebrate his completion of the project. Again, he did not offer any details. As a gift, he gave her a photo of them two of them from a previous night out. She has not seen him since. After he went missing a few days, she hired the Axe Man to find her brother. Then she got word that the PI had been murdered. That same day she came home to find her house ransacked. The neighborhood kids, whom she had helped and supported for years, took her into hiding, where she has been since. The team takes the picture, and they part ways.

Back at home, they give the picture to Torrent to check out. He decides the best way to inspect the photo is with an optic scanner. Luckily they have one at Radio Hut. Thanks to months of kissing up to the boss, Torrent is the Assistant Associate Manager there and as a result has a key to the store. He runs over there in the middle of the night and scans the photo. Hidden within the image he finds a number sequence that he immediately recognizes as Net coordinates. He returns home and immediately jacks into the Net. After spending several minutes bouncing his signal all over the globe, he goes to the coordinates. The location is just outside the Infocomp data fortress. At the exact location is a single pixel, which no one would notice unless they knew where to look for it. Moving to touch the pixel his perception shifts and he finds himself looking at a smaller data fortress attached to Infocomp’s. He recognizes it as the leech program that he read the code for.

There are no gates, but knowing the layout in advance gives Torrent a big advantage. He uses his Japanese Water Torture program to penetrate the data wall at a point where file programs hide his icon from the defense programs inside. He inspects the CPU and realizes that the program must be hardwired into a device that is physically attached to InfoComp’s servers. Dimitri’s patron is either an InfoComp employee or has someone on the inside. Torrent checks the files and sees that most of them are filled with data on Arasaka, Militech, Petrochem, and SovOil. This is all valuable data that has been leeched from InfoComp’s servers. Torrent downloads a copy of the Arasaka and Militech data, and then hits the CPU with a Pi in the Face program to tie up the defense programs. He then approaches the LDL and sees it is currently transmitting data. He follows the signal to a wireless account. It is determined that the owner of this account is one Edison Wright.

March 24th, 2037
Most of the team spend the day dealing with their employment obligations. Torrent looks further into Edison Wright and learns that he is indeed an employee of Infocomp. He is also able to locate his home address and personal information. Attempts to access financial information are met with failure.

Helios goes to a Renta-Robo and rents a family cruiser van. After driving it off the premises, Torrent hacks into the Rent-a-Robo system and changes Helios’ ID information. He also finds a way to fool the system into thinking it has received payment, but doing so requires him to hack back into the system each day.

March 25th, 2037

The team travels in the van to the Spike’s home. There they learn that Violet has made contact with Savage and has instructed him to meet her near the marina at midnight, and to bring Laugher with him.

The team goes early to scope out the meeting place. Saito takes position up on a dock crane, as Zen finds a recessed area near the meeting point. The others wait by the van parked near by. Torrent finds a data cable for the facility’s cameras on one of the buildings and splices into it. He then uses his camera controller to tap into the camera feeds.

At midnight, Laugher and Savage arrive on motorcycles and wait. Eventually a pickup truck with a cap on the back rolls up to the meeting point. Riptide begins to circle around behind the warehouses to get to a position near the back of the truck.

Suddenly the pickup’s windshield shatters as a stream of .50 caliber shells rip apart Laugher and Savage. The pickup slams into reverse and backs out of the alley. Saito fires an electro-thermo round into the engine block, but the truck turns out of the alley, and begins to drive forward to leave the location. Just before it disappears out of his line of site, Saito fires again, this time disabling the truck. It rolls past Riptide and then begins to coast to a stop. Zen jumps onto one of the motorcycles and chases after the vehicle, quickly catching up as it is now disabled.

As Riptide closes in on the vehicle he can here the machinegun turret still active, scanning for a target. Over the radio, Saito indicates that when he took his first shot, he could see that the vehicle did not have a driver, and must be remotely controlled. Riptide ducks down to stay under the turret’s arc of fire. He gets close enough to see that the turret is mounted in the bed of the pickup truck, with its twin barrels extending into the cab of the vehicle.

Zen rolls up behind the vehicle, safely outside of the turret’s line of fire. She checks underneath the truck for explosives. Not finding any, she drops the tailgate in the back and is greeted by a claymore that hits her square in the torso. The force of the impact lifts her off the ground, sending her reeling onto the pavement. Riptide rushes to her aid. Although in tremendous pain and gasping to regain her breath, a quick examination reveals that her layers of body armor have absorbed all of the damage.

While Zen takes a moment to lie on the ground and fully come to grips with what just happened, Riptide climbs into the back of the truck. He finds the power feed for the turret and disables it. He also finds the remote link and turns that off as well. Zen, back on her feet, climbs into the cab through the back and disables the claymores mounted at each door.

The team sets about cleaning up the scene, including disposing of the bodies, riding off with the motorcycles, and having Helios get Jimmy Two-Teeth’s wrecker and haul away the pickup.

March 26th, 2037

Saito and Zen meet with Irina at the Western Bar, but can’t remember why they wanted to meet. They do confirm that she has yet to hear from her brother Dimitri.

Torrent finally completes work on his Wild Goose Chase Program and begins to develop a watered down version that he can sell.

March 27th, 2037

The team returns to the Spike’s home to find the Spikes have been slaughtered. They go to the Mediterranean and talk to the Manic Hispanic and learn the Wire Cult attacked the Spikes while they were still leaderless after the loss of Laugher. They also learn that the leader of the Wire Cult is a guy named Crusher, and they learn where he is holed up. Zen checks out the Wire Cult’s neighborhood.

March 28th, 2037

Torrent is able to learn that Edison Wright takes the train every workday from his home in Pacifica. Saito determines that this is likely the best place to grab him. He takes a trip on the train as it makes its circuit through the various gated communities south of Night City where many hotshot corps make their home. He checks out the train, including its security system and guard patrols. The team decides to extract him on Monday. Saito would prefer to do a dry run first, but the team decides to go ahead anyways.

March 30th, 2037

The plan goes smoothly. Helios and Torrent wait in the van at a predetermined rendezvous point. Riptide, Zen, and Saito board the train in the corporate tower station where Edison also gets on to head home. The train rumbles through the subterranean tunnels underneath Night City until it eventually emerges above ground outside the city limits as it heads south. The three put on masks. Riptide and Saito spray paint cameras as Zen watches for the patrolling guards. Saito grabs Edison as Torrent remotely accesses the train’s emergency controls and triggers the emergency breaks as it passes the rendezvous point. They exit the train with Edison as Riptide throws in a flash bang grenade. They pile into the van and take off.

They take Edison to Irina’s house and tie him up in the basement. Conducting an interrogation, they learn that Edison was indeed stealing information from his employer to sell on the side. He worked with a solo named Justin Severik. Severik is the one who contracted Dimitri Lovodny to create the Leech program. After the leech had been installed on Infocomp’s server, Edison had told Severik to tie up any loose ends, which included Dimitri.

He did not know for sure what Severik did with Dimitri, but he does know it was Severik who shot the Axe man when he began snooping around looking for Dimitri. Having learned everything useful from Edison, the team decides to leave him in the hands of Miguel, who is looking to exact some revenge on Irina’s behalf.

Torrent begins to data mine the Net for Justin Severik. They learn he is a solo who usually works with a six-man edge runner team. He is known to hang out at the After Life. Riptide, Saito, and Helios visit the After Life that evening and find Justin Severik. He appears to be in his late 30’s. He is wearing an expensive suit and appears to be clean cut and polished. They do not approach but observe his actions. He remains alone at a table, drinking scotch, occasionally chatting with other solos that approach him. Eventually he leaves with six other men who were also at the club, but never together. They get into a black van and drive off.

March 31st, 2037

Zen gets a phone call from the Professor asking that they meet. She stops at the Forlorn Hope in the early morning. There the Professor explains he has a friend of the family who needs some work, so he would like Zen and her team to take him on for the remainder of this job. His name is Victor, though he goes by “Jarvic.” Jarvic currently works as a paramedic for REO Meatwagon.

Zen agrees and heads for home. At 7:00 PM she returns along with Saito and Helios. They find Jarvic being talked up by Krissy, who seems to be under the impression that Jarvic is a doctor. When she realizes her mistake, she excuses herself, at which point the team introduce themselves.

After giving a brief synopsis of the mission to Jarvic, they head to the Radio Hut where Torrent is working. They meet in the manager’s office/break room/conference room, and begin to plan Severik’s demise. They decide to have Saito position himself on the roof of the Central Hotel located across the street of the After Life. They would wait for Severik to emerge from the front entrance and Saito would take him out.

Zen and Jarvic go to the After Life to take a look around. Jarvic tells the bartender that he is looking to hire Severik, to which the bartender indicates that Severik is usually in on Mondays and Wednesdays. They decide to perform the hit the following evening. Zen drops Jarvic off at his home in the New Harbor Mallplex, and heads home herself.

April 1st, 2037

Helios drives Torrent and Saito to the back of the hotel. Helios picks the lock on the service door to let Saito in. Torrent hacks the Central Hotel’s data fortress and gains control of the elevators allowing Saito to get to the roof. Zen and Riptide hang out in the bar while Jarvic stakes out the street in front of the bar. Unfortunately, Severik ends up being a no-show.

April 2nd, 2037

Helios and Saito return to the After Life the next evening. They are not there long when they spot Justin Severik talking to a corporate type. When the corp leaves, they follow him and end up tailing him back to the Mallplex where the man apparently lives in Residential Tower Alpha. They are unable to follow him into the tower, but are able to observe that he exits the tower elevator on the 15th floor.

Torrent hacks into the Mallplex’s security system and is able to locate their man. He lives in Apartment 15c. The apartment itself is owned by Infocomp, as are all of the apartments on that level. They get a good picture of him and quickly find his name, Bob Morton.

April 3rd, 2037

Early in the morning, Zen gets a call from Miguel. He says it’s urgent that they meet. Zen agrees to meet at the Western Bar. Zen, Helios, Saito, and Jarvic head down to the Western Bar to meet him. When they arrive, they find Miguel sitting in the corner. He is badly beaten and bruised. Miguel admits that he did not kill Edison Wright, but instead ratted him out to Infocomp for an undisclosed sum. In all likelihood, Wright met the same fate anyways at the hands of the employer he betrayed. However, yesterday Miguel got a visit from a man demanding to know everything that Miguel knew about Edison Wright. Apparently, someone at Infocomp tipped him off about Miguel.

Miguel was severally beaten until he finally broke and gave the man the names and descriptions of the team members. Miguel’s description of his interrogator is easily recognized as Justin Severik. The team is less than pleased with Miguel. He begs forgiveness, but gets no sympathy from the edgerunners.

Helios takes a step outside and looks up and down the block. Parked up the street is the black van they had seen picking up Severik on Monday night. Suspecting an ambush, the team prepares to make a hasty exit. Saito moves to the back entrance while Helios moves to the front. Zen quickly hops onto her motorcycle and tries to draw off the van. Jarvic decides this would be a good time to hit the bathroom.

As Zen drives by the van, the side door slides open, and a solo holding a man-portable Towa Type 8 machine gun opens up on Zen. The hail of bullets shreds the back of her armor, wounds her, and disables the motorcycle. Zen is barley able to scramble to the cover of a building as a second volley from the machinegun is fired in her direction.

Helios spots a man coming up to the front of the bar. But instead of going to the door, the man produces a Militech Bulldog auto-shotgun from his trench coat and fires it through the bar’s storefront windows. The solid slugs easily rip through glass and wall alike. Saito is just about to exit out the back when he hears the hammering sound of the Bulldog, and returns to the bar. The bathroom door swings open as Jarvic crawls out of the bathroom.

The driver side door of the van opens and Justin Severik emerges. He and the machine gun carrying solo being exchanging fire with Zen. In the bar, Helios, Saito, and Jarvic trade fire with the solo with the auto-shotgun. The solo lays down some suppressive fire with the gun, which tears the place apart.

Having used up a magazine, Zen ducks around the corner to reload. As she gets ready to return fire, Severik is upon her. Implanted ripper claws extend from his hand as he launches an attack. The two trade rapid strikes and parries until Zen is able to land a hit with her gang-jazzler. Severik crumples unconscious to the ground. Zen is about the deliver the killing blow when she is again under fire from the machine gun.

While the firefight continues in the bar, Jarvic notices another solo armed with an assault rifle come in through the back. The solo spots Miguel cowering in the corner and guns him down. Knowing he has been outflanked, Jarvic charges the solo and attempts to grapple him. Jarvic is able to get a hold of him, but attempts to dislodge the rifle from the solo’s grip are unsuccessful.

Seeing what was happening behind him, Saito leaves Helios to hold off the shotgun guy, while he helps Jarvic. Working together, Saito and Jarvic are able to bring the solo down. Saito takes the assault rifle and returns to help Helios. Ultimately, Helios and Saito are able to bring down the solo, but both are injured, Saito quite badly.

Down the block, a stand off has occurred. Zen crouches with her gun to the head of the unconscious Severik as the other solo aims his machine gun at her. She demands that he put down his weapon. Surprisingly, he complies. She raises her gun to shoot him, but he quickly draws a pistol he had and gets off the first shot. Both miss, and Zen charges the man. He fires a second shot that hits Zen, but she is able to reach him and bring him down with the gang-jazzler.

Hearing sirens, Helios, Saito, and Jarvic head down the street toward the van. They find Zen pulling an unconscious Severik to the van, leaving a nasty blood trail. Unfortunately, the blood is not his, but Zen’s. Helios gets behind the wheel of the van and Jarvic tells him to drive to REO Meatwagon. While en route, Jarvic does his best to stabilize Zen and Saito.

They arrive at REO Meatwagon where Jarvic gets Zen and Saito inside. Helios remains in the van with the unconscious Severik. Deciding it was time to earn their paycheck, he waits until a passing ambulance siren creates sound cover, then he pulls out his gun and puts an end to Justin Severik.

April 4th, 2037

Riptide is disappointed that he missed out on all the action. He is left to wring as much cash out of this deal as possible. Over all, there is a lot to be happy about: another successful job under their belt, another paycheck earned, and the Axe Man has been avenged. After selling the rental van and scrapping Severik’s body for parts, they even make enough money to cover Zen and Saito’s medical expenses.

But there are still some loose ends that annoyingly remain unresolved. Who is Violet? Why was she getting involved in a turf war between the Spikes and the Wire Cult? Evidence linked her to DMS. Were they involved and why?

Finally, there is still the matter of the mysterious Mr. M. He is out there somewhere, hunting the team. Who would find whom first?

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