Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 8 Dial M for Murder

With the Axe Man investigation finally put to bed, the team begins working on some personal plans. Torrent starts work on his new program idea that he calls “Wraith.” Riptide successfully pitches to the Golden Saloon owner his idea for a side business that he would manage involving strippers appearing at parties. Saito and Zen remain in the hospital getting stitched together from the shoot out at the Western Bar.

April 5, 2037

The team begins to formulate a plan to start a “salvage” business, or more accurately a scavenge business, picking up the pieces from various firefights and stripping anything valuable from them. Needed resources are listed and a vague business plan is put together.

April 6, 2037

Riptide heads down to the local body-mod boutique and has himself injected with a serum containing millions of nano-bots. The microscopic robots go to work on his skin, rebuilding it at the molecular level. The result is a somewhat tight and leathery looking skin, but its now strong enough to deflect a small caliber bullet.

April 7, 2037

The team members go about their usual routines.

April 8, 2037

Helios, Torrent, and Riptide venture into the Combat Zone in search of a cheap (free) place to set up shop. The Combat Zone is divided into small territories controlled by various booster gangs. The team is savvy enough to know that the first step to acquiring some space in the Combat Zone is to first find a booster gang you can do business with.

Their first stop is to talk to the only guy they know who knows his way around the Combat Zone. This means going back to the Mediterranean to talk to the Manic Hispanic. He’s happy to see them and has news. A Hispanic gentleman, likely Columbian, was in a couple of days back asking about the team. The man, calling himself Alonzo, did not know anybody’s names. He just had their descriptions. Their manic contact did not give him much more to go on.

Back to the reason they were there, he suggested they talk to a nihilist gang calling themselves Death in the Afternoon. They run out of an abandoned convenience store on the east side of the Combat Zone.

A trip to the east side finds the Death in the Afternoon hangout. There they meet the gang’s leader Neil. It becomes clear real quick this gang has a very anti-corporate stance as Neil questions them about any corporate affiliations they might have.

Riptide is in the zone as he begins his pitch to Neil about using a building in their territory as a base of operations. By the time the wheeling and dealing is done, the team has acquired two back-to-back buildings for their use. One is an old auto-repair garage and the other is a four-unit apartment building. Death in the Afternoon agrees to let them use the space and help keep others away from the building in exchange for 35% of the teams take and an understanding that they do not do any salvage work in Death’s own territory.

The three check out the property. The repair garage is a three-bay facility and the apartments are single bedroom apartments about 800 square feet each. Most of the doors and windows are missing and there is no power. After Torrent electrocutes himself, he and Helios are able to get the power back up again.

April 9 – April 12, 2037

Saito is released from the hospital. The team spends the next week devoting all of their free time to restoring the two buildings, including knocking a hole in the adjoining walls to create a pass through.

April 13, 2037

Zen is released from the hospital. She finds she has a message on her cell phone from Irina, asking to speak with her. Zen calls her back and learns that an Alonzo Nava had visited Irina. He asked her the same questions he had asked the Manic Hispanic. During the conversation, he received a phone call from someone he referred to as Violet.

April 14 – April 15, 2037

Work continues on restoring their new base of operations.

April 16, 2037

Zen receives a phone call from Dollar Bill. He tells her that Irina was found dead in her home, shot twice in the back. The team heads to her home and investigates. Inside they find a hand written note stating:

Your interference in my business may cost you your life. I am willing to spare you if you are willing to turn over your brother’s cyber-deck to me. Otherwise my Hispanic friend will return.

At the bottom of the note is a contact number. Torrent looks up the phone number and finds out it is a direct line for room 601 at the Havenford Hotel. It is registered to a Vanessa Ryker.

Outside, the team encounters the local kids, now led after the death of Miguel by a girl named Rita. She states that they did not witness the murder, but saw the man who had visited her a few days back. His description matches the one that the Manic Hispanic gave. She also indicates that he drove off in a new red Nissan Metro-Car with a Ron Walker Car Dealership sticker on the back.

Torrent hacks the Ron Walker Dealership computer and finds that the car was purchased by the The Advocet hotel concierge for a Mr. Alfonze Martinez. The Advocet is located directly behind the Havenford Hotel. Torrent attempts to access the Advocet’s computer but finds their security quite high and has to abandon the attempt.

Zen continues to search Irina’s home for clues. The rest of the team drives downtown to pay a visit to room 601 of the Havenford Hotel. They jimmy the lock and find the room in use, but currently unoccupied. There are a couple of empty suitcases and a closet full of women’s clothes. The desk in the room has a file folder on it. The folder contains some very basic information on the Axeman. An envelope inside contains a typed note: “In response to your request, the safe house in Pacifica is available for your use.” An address and security pass card are also in the envelope. Torrent looks up the address and finds it is a property owned by Diverse Media Systems.

The team decides to wait until Vanessa returns. By 3:00 AM, with no sign of her, they make their exit.

April 17, 2037

Helios, Saito, Torrent, and Riptide drive out to Pacifica. At the security gate at the perimeter of the gated community, the guard comments that the house they are heading to has been busy lately. He then wishes them luck with the weatherizing. No one asks what he means by that.

They find the entrance to the property and drive up the driveway. Saito and Helios remain in the van, while Riptide and Torrent go to the house. Riptide picks the lock and they head in.

Inside the front door is a set of steps going up and another going down. Riptide heads upstairs and Torrent goes downstairs. Torrent finds little of interest downstairs but as Riptide is investigating the upstairs, he is approached from behind by someone who puts a gun to his head. A female voice asks what he is doing there. He tries to claim that he is there to weatherize the place. He sticks with his story, despite the fact that she clearly does not believe him.

Torrent can hear the talking upstairs and slowly makes his way up. Violet must have heard him however and pulls Riptide between her and Torrent as he comes up the stairs.
In a daring maneuver, Riptide grabs her arm and flips her over himself, throwing her down on the ground, all without getting shot. He asks who she is and she says her name is Vanessa Ryker, also known as Violet.

They continue to question her and learn that her involvement in recent events had nothing to do with Axeman or the Lovodnys. She was contracted by DMS to gain influence with the Wire Cult. Her method of doing that was to help the Wire Cult eliminate their primary rivals, the Spikes. After she reported the events to her clients, including the team’s involvement, Alfonze Martinez approached her. He seemed to also be working for DMS. He was very interested in any information she had on the team, which was little. A short time later, he indicated that the team had learned her identity and were looking to kill her to avenge the Spikes. He is the one that sent her to this safe house.

Sensing that this may all be a trap set up by Mr. Martinez, they decide to leave the house at once. However, they barely make a step towards the door when the house explodes. Riptide realizes he had enhanced his hide none too soon, as he is banged up pretty bad, but not critically injured. He finds Violet first, who is dead. He then finds Torrent, unconscious, and badly wounded. Riptide drags Torrent out of the rubble.

Helios starts to bring the van around when his passenger rear tire explodes. He drives up to the house anyways and another tire explodes. This time Saito is able to spot the muzzle flash of a rifle being fired from an out building several hundred yards away. A figure is then seen running at super-human speed from the building towards the woods. Saito lines up a shot and fires. The Towa rifle finds it mark nearly knocking the fleeing figure of his feet, but somehow he keeps going. Helios breaks into the separate garage and finds an Aston-Martin DB50. Unfortunately, it’s a two-seat roadster. With Saito driving, and Helios holding onto Torrent, they race off of the property. Helios goes on foot, and though it takes nearly an hour, he finds his was to the edge of Pacifica where he catches a train back to Night City.

Saito drops off Riptide and Torrent at the Stuart Hospital, where both are taken into surgery. Torrent ends up in the ICU while Riptide is placed in a recovery room. Saito then drives to their new home in the Combat Zone and camps out with the Aston-Martin. Meanwhile, Zen hires a lawyer to make sure that Irena’s estate ends up going to the local kids as she had intended.

April 17, 2037

Riptide is convalescing in the recovery room when a doctor walks in. Riptide happens to notice the doctor locking the door. He then notices that the doctor matches the description of the man who has been hunting them.

Being unarmed, Riptide knows his only chance is to engage the assassin in hand-to hand. Much to the assassin’s surprise, as well as the other patients in the room, Riptide bolts out of bed and charges the man. Mr. Martinez draws a 10mm ramjet pistol and opens fire on Riptide. The two grapple, with Riptide trying to disarm the man, while M tries to shoot Riptide at point blank range. Mr. M proves to be a trained grappler and getting a hold of him seems nearly impossible. M gets off several shots, but a combination of the short range, which reduces the effectiveness of the ramjet rounds, and Riptide’s skin weave, the new wounds do not prove fatal, although it takes every once of effort on Riptide’s part not to pass out.

Eventually, after a seeming eternity, hospital security shows up and manages to shoot the correct guy. Mr. M is killed. Riptide pockets the pistol.

The next day, Riptide is visited by the Night City Police who ask him about what he knows. Riptide claims to have no idea who the assassin was or what he wanted. There is also no way for the police to know that Riptide was in fact the one in the room that the assassin was after. When Riptide inquires about salvaging the body, the police state that it has already been claimed by Diverse Media Systems.

With Mr. M dead, that cloud that has been looming over them for several months has now passed. As usual, however, questions remain. M first appeared on the scene as an agent working for the drug lord Diego Entrada. Diego likely wanted the team dead for destroying his airfield and damaging his manufacturing facilities.

But more recent events seem to point to M working for DMS. As far as the group knew, they had never done anything to cheese off DMS. So who exactly was M working for while hunting down the team?