Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 6 Children of the Dawn

The team only gets two weeks of rest after their trip to El Paso when a new opportunity comes their way.

February 7, 2037

Not having been involved in the last mission, Torrent has had plenty of time to develop his new anti-trace program that he calls “Wild Goose Chase.” After finishing the code, he runs it through some basic trials, and it promptly crashes. He begins the long debugging process, and begins to wonder if he was a bit too ambitious with this project.

Meanwhile, Riptide is manning his booth at the Golden Saloon when he is approached by a fixer known as Hand. Hand indicates that he is working for some beavers, (local slang for corporate wage slaves), and is looking to hire an edge runner team to rescue some children from a cult. He asks the group to meet him in a restaurant at the New Harbor Mallplex on Monday at noon. He also indicates that his clients are not going to want to hire a bunch of scrubs, so they may want to show up looking like they are reasonable successful at their jobs.

February 8, 2037

Several of the team members go shopping to pick up some “interview clothes” to wear to the meeting, rather than their usual thrift and discount duds. While Zen hates the idea of turning down a paying gig, she has not had nearly enough time to recover from her wound sustained on the last mission and reluctantly opts to sit this one out.

February 9, 2037

The team goes to the mallplex, which is their first visit. They are amazed by the massive complex that not only contains three sprawling floors of stores and restaurants, but also has multiple residential towers, a medical facility and a school. A person could literally live at this mall without ever having to leave.

They meet Hand at McDonalds where he introduces them to Dillon and Mary Frost, and Max and Alice Rebo. Both couples spent some time as members of the Cult of the New Dawn. They had decided to leave the cult a few months ago and made arrangements to relocate from the cult camp in Colorado to Night City. But when they returned to pick up their children, they were told by the cult that their children did not wish to leave and were not allowed to see them.

The team is being hired to retrieve four children: Maryl and Darla Frost, aged 13 and 15 respectively, and the Rebo’s twin sons Donny and Alto, age 11. The families will pay the group $2,000 per child returned, for a potential total payout of $8,000. Just as the individual team members begin having thoughts of getting paid to blow away a bunch of crazy cultists, Hand drops a proverbial bomb. While the two couples are having this dispute with their former fellow cult members, they still empathize with the cult and wish not to see anyone harmed. To that end, they are willing to double the payout if no cult members are killed or seriously injured during the operation. The team agrees. Each team member receives $1,000 in advance payment to help cover any expenses.

While a non-lethal approach was not what they had in mind, not to mention well outside of their usual modus operandi, a potential payout of $16,000 is enough to convince the team to try a non-lethal approach. However, they are not equipped to perform this type of operation. Luckily, they’re at the mall. A trip to The Ammo Dump results in the purchase of a couple of shotguns, beanbag shells, sleep-gas shells, and some flash-bang grenades. While most of the team shops for guns, Torrent finds a computer shop and purchases a cellular-link module for his cyberdeck.

February 10th 2037

This day is spent making arrangements for the trip. Helios and Saito install folding stocks on the shotguns they purchased, and Torrent wires up the Cellular-link to his cybermodem, and activates a data-plan for it. Each team member seeks permission to get out of work for the rest of the week. Everyone is successful at this endeavor except Saito. Despite his boss’ refusal to give him time off, Saito leaves anyways.

Torrent also does some online research on the Cult of the New Dawn. They are a modern Taoist offshoot that believes that in order for humanity to reach its potential as a harmonic society, all governments and corporations must be eliminated. They are generally considered non-aggressive, but have been known to associate with other groups that have similar goals but engage in more violent tactics.

A brief discussion takes place on how to get to Colorado. Ultimately, it is decided that a road trip is in order using Helios’ pickup truck. Although it is the slowest route, it allows them the greatest freedom of movement.

February 11th, 2037

Wednesday morning, the team piles into the truck and hits the road. It’s an eighteen and a half hour trip to Radium, Colorado where the cult camp is located. While on the road, Torrent tries out his cellular modem and is able to jack into the Net. He is unable to find any Net presence of the cult in Colorado but is able to find a For Sale listing on the property. A check of utility records indicates a major drop in energy usage a few weeks ago. All signs point to the cult having packed up and moved away.

When they reach Radium, Helios and Saito decide to recon the camp on foot. Moving through the Colorado Mountains in February proves to be a chilling experience. They reach the camp to find it occupied by a group of nomads. Helios recognizes the group as members of the Mountaineer Nomads, a clan he has some history with. The nomads indicate they only know that the camp was abandoned a few weeks ago, and the former occupants traveled in a northerly direction. They invite the team to join them for the evening. One of the nomads suggests checking with the realtor who is listing the property to find out where the cult went.

Helios and Saito return to the truck and share the information, including the idea to check with the realtor selling the property. This results in a frustrated sigh from Riptide who had been suggesting that coarse of action all evening, but nobody listened. The team as a whole returned to the camp where Riptide realized he also knew some of the Mountaineers, whom he had run into during his days in Las Vegas. Most of the team beds down in one the cold bunkhouses. Saito hangs out with the nomads, getting hammered on homemade liquor in front of the fire. Torrent manages to eek out a cellular signal this far from civilization and runs the Net. He is able to find the realtor’s data fortress and cracks it with ease. He finds an address for Hank Johnson, the man who apparently owns the camp property. He is currently listed at an address in Warren, Idaho.

February 12th, 2037

In the morning, everyone piles into the truck to head to Idaho. They expect Saito to be pretty hung over, but he is up before the rest of the group, showing no signs of the previous evening’s drinking.

Another long day rolls by as the team spends seventeen hours on the road. They reach Boise, Idaho around 11:30 PM. A brief discussion is made about possibly spending the night in Boise, but they quickly decide to push through to Warren.

February 13th, 2037

At 2:30 AM, the team rolls into Warren, Idaho. They learn that the address they have is a couple of miles outside of town. They get a couple of rooms at a local motel, and set up their base of operations there.

Most of this day is spent doing recon on the facility and research. They discover the new cult site to be a former concentration camp from the 2010’s when Idaho was run by a bunch of Neo-Nazis for a few years. Saito observes the comings and goings of individuals for several hours and determines that the men and women of the cult bunk in opposite ends of the camp. Since they are extracting two boys and two girls, this fact complicates matters slightly. Saito also observes guard towers every 1,000 feet along the perimeter with armed guards carrying sub-machine guns.

Riptide interacts with the locals and learns that the cult sends a contingent into town every Tuesday for supplies. He also learns that the local sentiment towards the cult if fairly indifferent. They are a little wary of the cult, but the fact is the cult hasn’t caused any trouble, and they buy supplies from the local merchants, which helps the local economy.

Torrent hacks the cult’s computer system, and downloads some files but is unable to find information on their targets. The cult’s computer contains no black ICE, but a lot of tracer programs and an LDL (long distance link) hidden behind multiple code gates. All he can figure out is that the LDL leads to a computer system located somewhere in Alberta, Canada.

February 14th, 2037

The team decides to strike this evening around midnight. Riptide suggests that if this was a concentration camp at one time, maybe there is some record of escapees. If so, whatever method they used to get out may possibly also be used out get in. Torrent does a media search and finds an extensive article written on that very subject. He also tracks down the author’s home phone in Boise. Saito places the call and speaks with the author who shares that some people escaped the camp by cutting the fence wire directly beneath one of the guard towers, where it is difficult to observe the fence.

Torrent decides to crack the cult computer again. He is concerned about the high level of tracer programs, and since his Wild Goose Chase is not operational yet, he is fairy vulnerable to a trace. He decides to use an old hacker trick of running his signal through a very convoluted route. He runs the Net, jumping LDLs through Salt Lake City, Mexico City, Paris, Minsk, Tokyo, Melbourne, Delhi, and back to Salt Lake City. Tracer programs would have a hell of a time following that. He easily cracks the cult’s data fortress. Letting curiosity get the best of him, he enters the doubled gated section of the fortress and jumps the LDL hidden inside. He suddenly finds himself in a virtual reality construct of a marble pillared temple. Sitting on one end of the hall is a man with an enlarged head with multiple cables descending from the ceiling and plugging into his head. The man introduces himself as Dr. Kilacho, the founder of the Cult of the New Dawn. Torrent discusses the nature of the cult with the Doctor, who seems remarkably patient with a Netrunner who has just hacked his system. Dr. Kilacho sticks by his claim that his followers are a peaceful group, but indicates that he has no intention of helping anyone steal away members of his cult.

Torrent jumps back through the LDL and exits the system. Jacking out, he ponders what it was that he just encountered. Was Dr. Kilacho simply part of the VR construct, a systems operator tied directly into the host computer, or perhaps some form of AI? Although curious, Torrent decides it is best to leave it alone for now.

The team decides to enter the compound under the guard tower closest to the women’s section of the camp. There they will get the girls first, move to the men’s section on the other side of the camp and procure the twin boys. They will then make for the perimeter where Torrent will be waiting with the truck. However, they realize that without knowing which bunkhouses their targets sleep in, the mission would be extremely difficult.

Despite his concerns about heightened security, Torrent decides to make a run on the cult’s computer one more time. Again, he first constructs a web of signal bounces to complicate traces; he cracks the fortress and begins sorting through files. He eventually comes across member information that, among other things, indicates which bunkhouses their targets sleep in. With that key piece of information, the team decides to move forward with the extraction that evening.

Torrent drives the truck to the north side of the compound at the rendezvous site. Saito, Helios, and Riptide move to the southeast corner of the compound and stealthily move to under one of the guard towers. Helios takes his mono-sword and begins slicing through the chain link fence. While they are hidden from sight, the noise of the popping chain links draws the attention of the guards in the tower above. As one begins to descend the tower to investigate, Saito and Helios push their way through the fence and move to ambush the guard. Riptide stays outside the fence and hides in the foliage. As the guard moves under the tower to look around, Saito sneaks up behind him and chokes him out. He then runs up the stairs and disables the guard still in the tower in a similar fashion.

After securing the guards, they move to the women’s bunkhouses and locate the one that houses the Frost sisters. Helios picks the lock and they move into the pitch-black room using their cybernetic enhanced vision to see. The find the girls and snatch them up, hands held tightly over mouths as they are pulled out of the bunkhouse and into the woods. Once in the cover of the trees, the team explains that they were sent by the girls’ parents to bring them home. Initially, the girls are reluctant and express a desire to stay with the cult. However, Riptide launches into a surprisingly impassioned speech that is so moving, even Helios and Saito begin to miss their parents.

With the girls now swayed, Riptide escorts them outside the perimeter and begins to lead them around the compound toward the rendezvous point. Saito and Helios stay inside the compound, using the large clusters of trees as cover as they make their way across the vast campground.

The girls ask Riptide how he was able to avoid the cameras in the bunk area. He promptly radios this bit of information to Helios and Saito, just as they realize that have a group of guards moving toward them in the woods. They split up and move to flank the guards. Having created enough space between them, then hunker down and allow the guards to move past them. Once the guards have most passed them, they continue on their way towards the men’s bunkhouses.

As Riptide passes the northeast tower, he notices that the guards are watching the men’s bunkhouses lying in wait. Realizing that they have been detected, Helios and Saito switch to a more aggressive approach. Saito begins to run toward the northeast guard tower as two spotlights suddenly flash onto him. Helios kicks in the door to the Rebo twin’s bunkhouse and opens fire with his shotgun. There is panic in the bunkhouse, but Helios’ shotgun is loaded with sleep gas shells. He slings the shotgun and scoops up the two boys.

The guards open fire on Saito. He is hit in the leg but continues to press forward. With all the attention on Saito, Helios is able to move toward the north fence unnoticed. Riptide is able to draw the attention of the north tower, which turns its spot light and guns on him.

As Torrent watches the situation, he sees Saito taking fire from the northeast tower, and Helios moving toward the fence, still about 100 feet from the perimeter. He then looks up to see one of the guards in the north tower roll black his sleeve revealing a bionic arm. The arm shifts slightly as a concealed grenade launcher pops up. Hitting the gas on the truck, Torrent bounces through the shrubs and tall grass, lobbing a flash-bang grenade over the fence to distract the guards.

Saito is struck a second time in the arm, but tunes out the pain as he reaches the tower steps and begins to climb up. The guards in the north tower are distracted momentarily by Torrent’s grenade. This gives Riptide enough time to draw his two Beretta 2010s, and fire them full-auto at the searchlight, causing it to shatter in a shower of sparks. He sends the girls on ahead to meet up with the truck.

Saito arms a flash-bang grenade and lobs it into the northeast guard tower. As soon as it goes off he enters the tower where the two guards are stunned. A boot to the chest sends one guard flying over the rail to the ground below. He immediately grabs hold of the other guard and incapacitates him as well.

Torrent pulls up to the fence where Helios is cutting through with his mono-sword. Riptide begins laying down suppression fire on the north tower, first with one Berretta, then the other. He burns through his ammo quickly, but it gives Torrent and Helios enough time to load the children into the truck. Saito hopes his bleeding leg still has some strength left in it and leaps out of the tower to the ground below, outside the perimeter. Both he and Riptide are able to make it to the truck and pile into the back. With Helios once more at the wheel, they drive back to the road and quickly put some distance between them and the compound.

February 15th, 2037

They drive on through the night and all of the next day, returning to Night City, California around 8:45 PM. Using a public phone, they call Hand in advance, and make arrangements to drop off the children. Once they reach downtown they head straight for the Mallplex where the exchange is made: Four children for the remainder of a $16,000 payout. Not bad for a week’s work.

Episode 5 A Hard Road to Go

After the events of the The Agency Job, the team spends the next few weeks resting and recuperating. Torrent buries himself in his programming work, and Riptide gets his small collections operation up and running. Everyone is slightly on edge due to the mysterious Mr. M who has apparently been sent to Night City to eliminate the team.

January 21, 2037

Around 11:00 PM Zen, Riptide, Helios, and Saito are hanging out at the [Forlorn Hope]], downing a couple of beers, discussing recent events. Riptide and Saito notice a woman walk into the bar, look around the place, and than place a call on her cell phone. After a short but heated discussion on the phone, she hangs up and talks to the Professor, who is the owner/operator of the establishment. He points her in the team’s direction.

She approaches and introduces herself as Marlo. She is a transportation facilitator whose regular muscle has apparently fallen through on her. She offers the team $500 each for a couple hour’s work escorting her and her cargo to an airstrip in the central valley. The team insists on $750 each. She is clearly annoyed by the demand but admits she has little choice. The catch is that they have to leave now, and don’t have time to stop at home to get their gear. Armed only with pistols and limited ammo, they agree to go with her.

She drives them to a warehouse in the harbor district in which she has parked a big Kamatsu-Peterbilt semi and trailer. Helios gets behind the wheel of the semi, with Saito riding shotgun and Zen in the back. Riptide rides with Marlo in the sedan. She explains to Riptide on the way that she is running a shipment for Militech to the airstrip, where a plane she has chartered will fly the cargo to El Paso.

January 22, 2037

The trip to the central valley is uneventful. When they pull into the air field a little after midnight, Marlo signals by flashing her headlights. In the distance, another set of headlights flash in response. She pulls farther in and the other car pulls forward revealing an identical sedan. Driving the other sedan is a man named “Hollywood” Henderson. Wearing leather pants and matching leather jacket with a glowing neon collar, he sports a perfect flat top, cut laser precise.

She urges Hollywood to hurry and tell the flight crew to get the plane up and running while she and the team transfer the cargo. She wanted to be in the air by Midnight and it was now quarter after. Just as they begin to return to the semi to move it closer to the plane, the airfield is rocked by an explosion and the plane is engulfed by a massive fireball. Saito and Zen begin scanning the area for intruders, but Riptide observes that the explosion appeared to originate from inside the plane. Since Marlo was running 15 minutes late, the bomber likely intended for her to be up in the air when the bomb detonated.

Refusing to be intimidated, Marlo decides just to drive the cargo to El Paso. She offers to up the payment to $1,000 but ultimately agrees to $1,100 each. She will drive the sedan up front with Riptide. Helios and Saito are once again in the semi, and Zen rides with Hollywood, who will drive the other sedan behind the semi. By 12:30 AM, they are on their way to El Paso. No one bothered to check the plane wreckage for survivors.

They drive for over six hours straight before finally stopping in Indo for some fuel and stimulants. A quick shot of “Nuke-Juice” and everyone is wide-awake despite already being up 24 hours.

On the road again, they pass into Arizona around 8:50 AM. About an hour and a half later, Marlo pulls off the interstate in favor of taking a state highway. When asked why, she says that usually on a trip like this, she would go through Phoenix. But, if there is another sabotage attempt, Phoenix is likely where it’s set up, so she is opting to go around it instead.

Around 11:30 AM they arrive in the town of Bend. The town is barricaded off and some of the locals are armed and standing guard. Marlo, Riptide, and Saito disembark their vehicles to investigate. Initially they are concerned that it may be some form of ambush, but learn that the area has come under frequent attacks lately by roving bandits, and they have made the town of Bend a frequent target. They agree to allow the convoy in to refuel and get supplies, but they ask that the team not stick around, because an escorted semi is almost guaranteed to attract the bandits.

The team begins to discuss how they will defend the convoy with the limited armaments they have. Luckily, there are certain benefits to doing work for Militech, which Marlo reveals when she opens the semi’s emergency weapons locker. She takes out a “BullDog” full-auto shotgun, which Riptide takes. Saito takes an “Anti-matter” 30mm Cannon. Zen is unable to decide between a grenade launcher and a Squad Assault Weapon, so she takes both.

It isn’t long before they are able to put these weapons to use as a little over an hour after leaving Bend, the bandits strike. With two pick-up trucks, five dune buggies, and four motorcycles, the band of over 20 men converges on the convoy. The motorcycles attack the lead vehicle. From the back seat, Riptide opens fire with the automatic shotgun. Saito realizes that sometimes a huge gun is not ideal. The only way he could fire the Militech Cannon out of the passenger side is if he sat on Helios’ lap. Not only would that make driving difficult for Helios, but it would be a bit awkward for both of them. Saito instead lifts the cannon on to the top of the semi and climbs out onto the roof. Zen launches a grenade that misses its mark but still explodes between two dune buggies. The damage done however, is minimal.

Back up front, Riptide chews up one of the motorcycles with the shotgun, but it somehow stays running. Apparently these bandits know how to maintain their vehicles because Saito puts a 30mm round into the grill of one of the pickups, but it still keeps running as well. Zen puts down the grenade launcher and picks up the SAW instead. Meanwhile, one of the bandit vehicles pulls along side the semi cab, and one of the passengers attempts to grab hold of the driver’s door. Helios is able to swerve away, preventing the bandit from grabbing hold.

Things start to go in the team’s favor as Riptide blasts the motorcycle again and it goes down. A second round from the 30mm cannon finds the pickup’s driver as Saito eliminates one of the pickup trucks. Zen lays down suppression fire on one of the dune buggies. The two passengers are able to get under cover, but the driver is struck by multiple rounds and crashes the dune buggy.

When bandits realize that their small arms fire does not pack enough punch to get through the armor on the semi and the sedans, they begin targeting tires instead. Riptide drops a second motorcycle with the shotgun, and Saito takes out another cyclist with the cannon. Another heavy burst from Zen’s SAW takes out another dune buggy.

Riptide switches sides to take out the last motorcycle. Saito also switches sides to destroy the other pickup truck. Zen chews up another buggy with the SAW, but it stays running. Helios swerves the semi into one of the dune buggies, crushing its front end.

Having lost over half of their group, the bandits break off their attack, emptying out their weapons in parting bursts of fire, or “Screw You” shots as Riptide calls them. Everyone begins celebrating the successful defense of the semi when Hollywood notices Zen is awfully quiet. He looks into the back seat to see her unconscious and bleeding from the head. One of the bandit’s bullets had found its mark. Stopping the convoy, the team rushes to do first aid. Saito is able to staunch the bleeding and stabilize her.

Around 2:00 PM they arrive in Tucson. Hollywood is familiar with the city and directs them to a ripper doc who can do a better job of patching up Zen. He injects painkillers and disinfects the wound, and stitches her up, but she remains unconscious. Hollywood then leads them to a roadhouse to get some lunch. With Zen asleep in the semi’s bunk, they enter the “Hammered Thumb.” They are a little surprised that a guy like Hollywood, with a very hip-hop style, would recommend what was clearly a country & western bar, but the food is indeed good.

After lunch, as they are making their exit they see Marlo talking to a man she introduces as Sedge Laduras. He operates a panzer, which is a vehicle that is half hovercraft and half tank. He makes his living transporting goods across the desert as well. Everyone makes some small talk before they part ways. Marlo mentions that she has known Sedge a long time and considers him a good man, but also states that he is “the most mercenary bastard you will ever meet.”

Unfortunately, her words prove prophetic as a couple hours after leaving Tucson, they see the panzer closing in on them with its weapons armed. Realizing that the semi could never outrun the panzer, Saito recommends they stop the convoy. He will back track a little, and get into a position where he can hit the panzer with the 30mm cannon. Marlo attempts to radio Sedge but he does not respond.

The panzer stops about 400 meters behind the semi and opens fire with its 20mm autocannon. The blast rips open the side of the trailer, damaging some of the crates. Saito fires the cannon, damaging one of the panzer’s engines. The panzer’s turret swings to Saito’s position and opens fire with its co-axial machine gun. Saito is able to fire another shot, destroying the engine before being forced to take cover behind a large rock, and he is lightly wounded as he is struck by flying chunks of rock as the machine gun chips away at the boulder.

Helios hammers down on the accelerator as the semi begins to gather speed in an attempt to escape. The panzer begins to follow the semi and opens fire with its TOW rockets. It fires two rockets, but both miss their target. Saito takes aim and destroys the panzer’s other engine.

Marlo turns the sedan around and returns to the panzer. Riptide questions her judgment, put she points out that Sedge was likely hired to take out the shipment, and would not kill her. Luckily for him, she is proven right as Sedge surrenders. He reveals that he was offered $10,000 to destroy the shipment by a rival transporter named Sandra Bonetti. Both Marlo and Sedge prove to be complete professionals and part peaceably, although she declines his request for a ride to the next town.

Around 9:00 PM the convoy arrives in El Paso. Approximately 20% of the cargo was lost in the panzer attack, but Marlo is still pleased none-the-less. She charters a small plane to take the team back to Night City yet that evening. Having been up nearly 40 hours straight, and no more adrenaline or stimulants running through their veins, the team has no trouble sleeping all the way back home. They are also too tired to realize they now indeed consider Night City home.

Episode 4 The Agency Job

After the events of Girls Night Out, Riptide is in the hospital, Zen is stuck in the cramped apartment healing, and the rest of the crew return to their jobs. Eventually, both Riptide and Zen heal sufficiently to return to work as well. Helios continues work on the truck and eventually gets it up and running. Jimmy Two Teeth sells it to him dirt-cheap. No more bus passes for Helios.

December 20, 2036

Being a Saturday Night, Riptide is at his usual post, manning the stage-side bouncer station at the Golden Saloon. Boredom is starting to creep in. The team hasn’t had a job for seven weeks. Riptide’s attempts at networking have been slow as well. Apparently street punks and edge runners have had Christmas shopping to do to. He wished Zen would get her ammo sorted out. He is tired of eating his scop standing up because she has the kitchen table piled with 7.62 mm rounds. His thoughts are interrupted by the DJ sending up the next girl. Oh yeah, and if he has to watch one more stripper in a “sexy elf” or “sexy Mrs. Clause” costume, he is going to put his own brains on the wall.

Thankfully, things become interesting when he is approached by a man dressed in black, with slicked back white hair. He indicates that he heard Riptide is part of an edge running team, and he is looking to hire one. He introduces himself as Kronos, and agrees to meet with the team the next day.

December 21, 2036

Because Kronos had inquired if any of the team were SCUBA trained, Helios spends the morning at the mall, in the “Dandy Mountain” sporting goods store. There he picks up some re-breathers and a SCUBA skill chip.

At 2:00 PM, they meet Kronos at the Forlorn Hope. He indicates that he works for an “agency” that needs to have some work done that they cannot be linked to. It seems that a drug lord by the name of Diego Entrada, with the cooperation of the Columbian Government, has been smuggling drugs and a special ops team in and out of the U.S. via a private yacht. Kronos believes that the yacht is currently anchored in the New Harbor Marina. He doesn’t know which yacht it is, but he does know where to find out. The Columbian Consular received an information packet, which Kronos believes contains the identity of the yacht. He hires the team to break into the Columbian Consulate, learn the identity of the yacht, locate it, and introduce it to the bottom of the marina. He gives them a satchel charge that they can use. He also offers $1,000 each in payment, but after some haggling, agrees to $1,250 per person.

Helios and Riptide hop in the truck and head out to the Steiner Building, which is the office building that the consulate is located in. Torrent drops into the Net, and locates the Consulate’s data fortress. His decryption program easily cracks the code gate. Unfortunately, a Pit Bull spots him and immediately begins running a trace. Torrent begins skimming files but finding little of value. His time is limited because of the trace, plus an attack program attacks, trying to fry his deck’s CPU. Torrent is able to raise a shield program in time and defend the attack. However, he is forced to log off before he can complete his search. Knowing the Pit Bull will have an easier time finding him unless he relocates, Torrent catches a bus, with Zen and Riptide along for the ride, and finds a Net café that he can use.

Saito and Helios arrive at the Steiner Building. It is a two-story office building. The consulate is located on the second floor. The buildings in the area are well spaced, and appear to have a similar level of security. Luckily, being a Sunday, traffic is light.

Torrent, Zen, and Riptide find a suitable establishment for Torrent to use. Apparently, the consulate does not use an active sysop, as the gate codes remained unchanged. Again, Torrent is able to defend himself against the attack program, but again is forced to log off early to avoid the Pit Bull trace. The team decides to relocate again and find another location.

Saito and Helios perform walks around the building to map out doors. There are no outside cameras but the doors all have electronic locks. The first level has at least two Arasaka Security guards, which does increase the danger level. The two sit in the truck and begin brainstorming attack methods.

Finally at a third location, Torrent is able to get into the consulate sub-grid and find the terminal map. This allows him to determine the relative location of the Consular’s office, which should speed up the search. Once again the trio are on the bus, this time to meet up with Helios and Saito at the Steiner Building.

They meet up and return to their apartment to get their equipment and finalize a plan. Zen would approach the building in a supposed drunken state and try to gain access to the building. She would then attempt to neutralize the two guards and let the others in.

They return to the Steiner Building after dark. Saito sets up in back of the truck where he has a view of the lobby. Riptide, Helios, and Torrent approach the building away from the lobby and wait to move in.

Zen enters the unlocked foyer and tries to gain access to the lobby. One of the Arasaka guards opens the door to see what she wants. She acts drunk and claims she needs to use the restroom. While the guard seems to believe that she is drunk, he proves unwilling to break protocol and let her in. He is about to shut the door when she wedges her self in, and zaps him with the gang-jazzler. She tries to hold him up, but he proves too heavy. Instead she allows herself to be pulled down with him, but turns to keep him between her and the guard stationed by the elevators. The guard opens fire with his sub-machine gun as he runs for cover, but does not score a hit. Zen begins to pull the unconscious guard with her as she tries to get behind the security console. As she does so, she hears the other guard radio for back up. A couple members of the team have had enough experience with Arasaka Security to know that the guard’s call would bring an AV-4 loaded with a pissed-off Arasaka strike team to their location in a matter of minutes. Riptide, Torrent, and Helios rush in.

When the guard comes out from behind cover to open fire, Saito takes his shot. The electro-thermo round punches through two plates of armored glass and strikes the guard. He is badly wounded but still alive. The guard opens fire and hits Helios. Helios, though wounded, returns fire and finishes off the guard. Helios and Torrent run into the elevator and head to the second floor. Riptide checks on Zen, holed up behind the security counter and then sees the security console. There is a map of the second floor, and monitors indicating that there are two shotgun-armed guards patrolling the back hallways.

On the second floor, Helios takes one step out of the elevator and bullets from three different guns slam into the elevator doors. He quickly jumps back and prevents Torrent from stepping out as well. Checking that his assault rifle was still set to full-auto, he steps out of the elevator car and sprays down the entire room. One guard dives behind a counter, another drops behind some chairs. The third is unable to get out of the way and goes down after catching a few rounds. Torrent steps out behind him and shoots at the guard behind the chairs.

Hearing the gunfire being unleashed upstairs, Riptide runs to the elevator and heads upstairs. As he steps out, he sees Helios pushing a magazine into his rifle as Torrent trades shots with a guard behind the counter. Riptide makes his way to the door that leads to the back hallway. He opens it to find a guard standing there who blasts him in the chest at point blank range with a shotgun. His armored vest absorbs most of the impact, but the severe stinging in his chest says it didn’t stop all of it. Despite being rocked back by the impact, he pursues the guard into the hallway and guns him down with his two pistols.

Another shotgun wielding guard appears at another hall door and adds his firepower to all of the lead that’s already flying around the waiting room. Eventually, the three guards fall, but all three members of the team are wounded. Unfortunately, there is no time to rest as that AV-4 is undoubtedly lifting of from the helipad, high atop the Arasaka Tower.

Riptide and Torrent run to the Consular’s office and force their way in. It takes a few minutes to find the hidden safe, but they locate it and crack it. Taking the contents from the inside, they rush down a back stairwell and out of the building. Outside, Saito is at the wheel of the truck, and Zen and Helios are already inside. Riptide and Torrent pile in and Saito takes off down the street. They are no more than a couple of blocks a way when they see a black AV-4 hover over the Steiner Building and men in black tactical gear descend on ropes to the building’s roof.

As they drive away, Torrent goes through the information that they pulled from the safe. The ship is called the “Celeste”, sails under a Norwegian flag, and is registered as privately owned by a Kjell Onsen. The ship has deployed a special ops team employed by Diego Entrada, to a small airfield outside of Night City. The exact objective is not stated. Furthermore, a Mr. M was also dropped off. His mission is also unknown.

The team returns to their apartment. Torrent drops off the terminal he grabbed from the consulate. Torrent then takes off to acquire some software, while Zen and Riptide catch a bus down to the East Yacht Marina. The marina contains only a single building, but the rest is open space. However, most of that space is in pitch-blackness. The property is protected with a chain-link fence and a guard gate. Zen decides to scale the fence and make a run for the office building. Riptide, a bit surprised by Zen’s impulsive move, quickly follows afterward.

Unfortunately, both of the solos fail to notice the vibration sensor on the fence. They are on the ground inside the fence for less than a minute when two armed guards come running from the guard gate. Realizing that they would never get to the office building, the two instead make a break for the docks. The guards open fire, but are literally shooting in the dark.

Zen and Riptide reach the dock, which is unfortunately well lit. They run up an anchored yacht and look for an unlocked door, but find none. As the two guards scramble onto the yacht, Riptide boosts Zen up to the roof, but she is unable to pull herself up in time. The guards find them and order them to surrender. Riptide tries stalling by asking the guards for help boosting Zen up. The guards are briefly distracted by Riptide’s odd request when Zen leaps from the roof onto one of the guards. Unfortunately, the guard opens fire and strikes her three times. Both Zen and the guard are stunned. When the other guard turns to help his partner, Riptide’s old arena football instincts kick in. He launches at the guard and drives his shoulder into the guard’s gut. As they hit the rail, Riptide raises up sending the guard somersaulting over the railing and into the cold bay water. The first guard recovers and pulls his SMG out from under Zen and tries to take a shot. Riptide sidesteps the shot and places his pistol against the guard head. The guard surrenders.

Riptide handcuffs the guard to the railing and takes his weapon. He runs off of the ship and down the dock. He is waiting at the end of the pier when the other guard fishes himself out of the water. Riptide disarms the guard and brings him back to the yacht. As Zen recovers and bandages her wounds, Riptide handcuffs the other guard. They then learn the bad news that the guards have already called the police who are in route. The two solos find a motored raft in the back of the yacht, deploy it, and escape into the bay.

Helios, Saito, and Torrent are in the truck on the way to the marina when they make radio contact with Riptide and Zen. When they learn of the situation, they decide to find where the Celeste is anchored through the Net. They stop at a Net café and Torrent jacks into the Net. Using his recently acquired Chinese Water Torture program, Torrent works his way through the wall of the data fortress. Once inside, he finds he picked a good place to burrow in. He finds himself at the CPU and is able to quickly go though the files. The second file he checks is the harbor map detailing where the Celeste is anchored. He logs off and the team returns to the truck. The whole process takes less than three minutes. However, as they are piling into the truck, they see NCPD squad cars speed down the street on their way to the marina.

They rendezvous along the harbor away from the marina. Everyone gets into the motor raft, except for Torrent who stays behind as wheelman. As the rest of the team heads toward the Celeste, Torrent finds a public phone and places an anonymous call to the police regarding the airfield.

On the water, the team gets within a kilometer and a half of the boat when they notice it is equipped with marine radar, which means that in all likelihood, they can be detected. Zen arms the satchel charge and hands it to Helios, who, now geared up in his wet suit and re-breather, takes the charge and drops into the water. The raft then moves at a tangent to the boat, hopefully alleviating any suspicions.

Helios has never been under water before, but his brain acts as if on instinct as the SCUBA skill chip he plugged in feeds the needed information to his brain. Helios reaches the bottom of the boat and attaches the satchel charge. He then swims as fast as he can away from the boat to avoid the impending concussion. The charge detonates and an explosion rocks the yacht. It slowly starts to list to port and the team quietly celebrates a job well done. Unfortunately, the boat only lists so far and then stops.

Helios begins swimming back to the boat as the rest of the team turns and heads straight for the yacht. Guards are now on the yacht’s deck inspecting the damage. Saito takes a shot. Despite the distance of over a kilometer and the fact the he is in a speeding raft that is bouncing up and down, his first shot finds its mark and takes down a guard. The rest of the guards open fire. They cannot see where the shot came from, so they do not realize that the sniper is well out of their range. As they close in on the yacht, Saito takes a couple more shots, but misses. It is enough though to make the guards take cover, some returning to the interior of the yacht.

Torrent drives to the marina with the intent of stealing a boat to assist the team. However, his plan falls through when he arrives to find the marina crawling with Night City Police. He turns around and heads back to the harbor in the hopes of finding a boat there.

Helios reaches the yacht and finds the hole in the hull. He enters and sees that an automatic bulkhead has closed and sealed the hull. Prying open an electrical panel, he is able to jury rig the controls and the bulkhead begins to open. As more water rushes into the hull, the yacht continues to list further.

The team closes to within a few hundred yards of the yacht when they notice the ship beginning to sink again. But then from behind the yacht, a speedboat comes around and heads directly for them. Both sides trade shots and the two boats race toward each other. Saito takes a shot at the boat’s pilot and takes him out. However, the boat is still on a collision course with the raft.

Helios is about to swim out of the hull when he hears the bulkhead begin to close again. He returns to the control panel, knowing that he is in danger of sinking with the ship. He is able to lock the bulk head open this time and swims back out the hole at the bottom. With the entire yacht beginning to descend down on top of him, he manages to swim out from underneath the yacht and return to the surface.

Helios surfaces just in time to see a few hundred meters away, where Zen maneuvers the raft out of the way of the speed boat as it zips by. However, the boat’s wake ends up capsizing the raft and dumping Zen, Riptide, and Saito into the water. All three are able to recover and get back to the raft. But it is then that they see the speedboat coming around for another pass. Zen clicks her AK-47 to full auto and lays down some suppressive fire on the boat. One passenger is hit, while the other two drop down. Zen continues to empty the magazine as the boat passes by. One of the other passengers sticks his head up to take a shot, but is hit as Riptide and Saito return fire.

The speedboat starts to turn away. Off in the distance, they see a Night City Police boat begin to close on them. They quickly turn the raft back over and climb back in. They are relieved to see that the police boat gives chase to the fleeing speedboat, leaving them behind. The team picks up Helios and heads for the harbor where Torrent is waiting for them.

December 22, 2036

In the early morning hours, the team heads for home. A quick stop at a late night ripper doc gets lead pulled out of wounds, disinfectant applied, and lacerations sewn up. After popping a few pain pills, (except for Saito who seems to rely on heavier stuff) each team member calls it a night.

After getting as much sleep as they can, the team members return to their day jobs despite the pain and a lot of soreness. The news stations a buzzing about the terrorist attack on a privately owned yacht in the marina harbor. Nobody is sure who did it, but several local booster gangs are more than happy to take credit for it.

December 24, 2036

Riptide is manning his post at the Golden Saloon. It is Christmas Eve, so the crowd is a pathetic mix of punks and losers. How sad do you have to be to spend Christmas Eve at a strip joint? Unless of course the reason is you happen to work there. Kronos then walks in and thanks Riptide for a job well done. In addition to payment as promised, Kronos shares the information that the special ops team was apprehended at the airstrip. Not much information was gained on Mr. M, except that he is here to track down a group of wayward edge runners that Diego Entrada considers a loose end in need of snipping.

Is Riptide and the others his target? If so, does Mr. M. actually know that they are in Night City, or is his being here a shot in the dark? Speaking of shots, the bartender sets one down in front of Riptide. “Here’s to the upcoming new year!” he says. “Yeah,” Riptide responds as he picks the small glass up and tosses back the drink. “It looks like it’s going to be an interesting one.”

Episode 3 Girls Night Out

October 24th, 2036

Most of the team was relaxing at the Forlorn Hope. It had become a refuge from the 50-60 hour workweeks, and the cramped environs of their apartment. Helios was at work and Torrent was back at the apartment. He used the times when everyone else was gone from the apartment to relax and get some reading done.

Around 6:00 PM, a 6’x2’x2’ package arrives for Saito. Torrent lugs it up to the apartment and opens it up. Inside is a very large rifle and three boxes of ammunition. Torrent sets it aside and goes back to his reading.

At 7:00 PM, shortly after Helios shows up at the Forlorn Hope, Krissy and Roxie arrive. They are two solos that Zen has befriended over the last couple of weeks. Roxie is in her mid-twenties, wears a lot of black leather that goes with her jet-black hair, and is stunningly beautiful. Krissy is around 20, wears a lot of white leather, blonde and almost as attractive as Roxie. Swapping stories with them, Zen has learned that while Krissy and Roxie are effective solos and always get the job done, subtlety is not their strong point. They tend to create a lot of collateral damage.

Tonight, they are looking for more than just trading stories. It seems that they have been hired for an extraction job, and are looking to sub-contract out for a little help. There is a member of the Chinese Tongs in town tonight named Hu Jin Kang. He plans to meet with the local Tong members. Krissy and Roxie intend to extract him from his hotel before that happens and deliver him to their employer. They are offering $500 each for the team’s assistance.

Not ones to turn down work, the team agrees. They pile into the girls’ van and head to their apartment. Torrent, who was hoping to have a quite evening to himself is surprised to find the entire gang returning, plus two more. Krissy and Roxie explain that Kang is staying at the Kuroshita Hotel, but they don’t know which room. The team debates how to get Torrent into the Hotel’s office to hack their computer. Roxie asks why he doesn’t just hack it from the Net. Torrent is reluctant, since he only has a basic deck and one decryption program. Eventually he agrees to try it, and heads down to the local coffee house to make a run. Helios tags along in case trouble shows up while Torrent is jacked in.

Torrent runs the Net and finds Kuroshita’s sub-net. Easily cracking the code gate, he infiltrates the system, but draws the attention of the defense programs in the process. Quickly searching through the files he finds an encrypted log. Running his decryption program, the log reveals to be the guest listing. Searching for Kang he finds a H.J. Kang staying in room 1211. Dodging a DekCrash program on the way out, he makes his escape. Torrent returns to realspace, and lets the team know the location of Hu Jin Kang.

The team begins to plan the extraction. Roxie and Krissy intend to go into the hotel disguised as call girls, bringing Riptide along as the escort. They will first go to the top floor, set some explosives and then go to the twelfth floor. Once Kang lets them in, they will walk him out of the building. If he creates a scene, and security comes, they will blow the top floor as a distraction. The team is less than thrilled about that part of the plan, but it seems to be the SOP for these two. Saito will set up in one of the two adjacent parking ramps, Zen will patrol the ground floor perimeter, and Helios will be the wheel man.

Upon arriving, everyone moves to his or her position. Saito tries to gain access to one of the parking ramps but it is secured. Torrent runs over to try and bypass the system, but it proves too tough. Torrent returns to the van, while Saito sets up in the public ramp behind the hotel.

Riptide and the girls head up to the top floor and set the explosives. They then go to Kang’s room. Kang is reluctant to let them in, indicating that he made no such request. After Riptide states that the girls are “on the house” Kang relents and lets them in. The girls immediately pull guns on Kang and order him to come quietly out of the hotel. He complies. However, once in the hallway, where the guns have to be kept hidden, Kang immediately calls for help. In a flash, Riptide is on him, wraps him up in a chokehold, and puts him out. With a sigh of relief, Riptide begins to hoist the unconscious man up.

Unfortunately, at that exact moment, the elevator at the end of the hall opens and several guests step out. Krissy immediately goes for the detonator, but Riptide stays her hand. He explains to the patrons that Kang is passed out drunk and they are taking him to his room. For a moment, it looks like the ruse will work, but then one of the men reaches for his phone and calls security. Riptide is about to try another tactic, but realizes he’s got nothing. With a sigh of resignation he nods to Krissy.

The rest of the team are startled out of the monotony of their tasks as nearly every window of the top floor explodes in a shower of glass. People begin to run from the hotel and security personnel can be seen scrambling about. Two security guards take up position outside of the loading dock where Riptide and the girls are to make their exit.

With the elevators in fire-safety lockout, Riptide and the girls make for the stairs. They are about halfway down the stairs when they encounter two armed guards coming up the stairs. With Kang in one arm, Riptide is able to bring only one pistol to bear. A firefight ensues. Krissy gets grazed by a bullet, but the damage is only superficial. In the end, the two guards go down, and Riptide and the girls continue their descent.

Outside, Saito lines up a shot, and indicates that he can pop the two guards. Zen insists on a less lethal approach and intends to knock them out. The others are skeptical of this tactic, considering how long it took her to disable one guard on that airstrip, and there are two guards here. Zen ignores their concerns and moves in. This time she intends to use more than a choke hold. She sneaks up behind the first guard as pair of metal prongs extends from the top of her right index finger. She touches the guard on the shoulder, his body stiffens, and then he collapses unconscious to the ground. The other guard raises his sub-machine gun and fires. Zen is close enough to bat it aside and strikes again with the “gang-jazzler” implant, stunning the other guard. She drags the bodies out of the way just as Riptide and the girls burst out of the loading dock door. Everyone piles into the van and swing around behind the parking ramp to pick up Saito.

They start heading towards the south side of town. While in route, they spot a sedan with Asian passengers following them. Losing them while driving the bulky van is unlikely. “I got this” say Saito as he drops to one knee and shoulders the big rifle. Roxie swings open the back door and Saito takes aim at the grill of the car. Despite the jostling of the van and the swerving of the car, Saito’s instincts as a sniper combined with the smart weapon linked to his nervous system, allow him to place a shot dead center in the car’s grill. The radiator explodes, blowing off the front bumper and the car hood. The vehicle swerves out of control until it slams into a fire hydrant. Satisfied with the result, Saito sets down the rifle and turns to see everyone staring at the rifle. He simply smiles and sits back down and Roxie closes the van door.

They drive to Little China to an apartment building where the girls’ employer Mr. Li lives. Zen, Riptide, and the girls take Kang up to the apartment. Repeated knocking on the door gets no response. Roxie, short on patience, shoots the lock and enters the apartment. There she finds Mr. Li lying dead in his recliner with his throat slit. She explains that Mr. Li worked for the Chinese Tongs and was skimming money from his bosses. Word came out that Hu Jin Kang was coming in from Hong Kong to inspect the books, an action that would undoubtedly reveal Li’s theft. Li hired the girls to bring Kang to him.

Zen begins to question Kang, who claims he is not Hu Jin Kang, but instead Ho Jun, Jin Kang’s brother. Zen’s experience as an interrogator tells her that unfortunately, he is telling the truth. Jun Kang is in town for a nephew’s Tae Kwon Do tournament, and knows little of his brother’s activities other than to say that Jin Kang is currently in Hong Kong. Apparently this whole job is based on bad information. It’s a good thing the girls got paid up front.

Time to regroup and head back to the van with Kang in tow. As they emerge from the apartment building, a car screeches to a halt in front of the van and five Japanese men with sub-machine guns begin to open fire. Zen shoves Kang back into the apartment building as Riptide draws dual pistols and fires as he moves from the building to the van. Zen and the girls follow behind him.

One gang member shoots up the windshield of the van. The windscreen holds but Helios and Torrent are forced to dive out of the way of flying glass fragments. They take up position behind the van doors and return fire.

Saito steps out of the sliding side door of the van and braces his rifle. As one of the gang members raises his weapon to gun him down, Saito fires the big rifle. The Japanese man screams as his thigh explodes, effectively severing his leg.

Two gang members run to the side of the building, giving them a flanking position on Helios. Helios is hit. The wound is not life threatening, but the shock takes him down. Riptide runs in guns-a-blazing, and gets to Helios’ position. He scoops the big man up, and stuffs him back into the driver’s seat.

Another gang member runs to the front of the van. Zen drops down and tries to hit him from under the van but misses. The two begin to trade fire under the van. Saito drops another with his rifle, while shots from Torrent and Riptide take down one of the gang members on the side of the building.

Krissy and Roxie emerge from the back of the van wielding a grenade launcher and a RPG launcher respectively. Roxie uses the RPG gun to explode the sedan, causing the gang member along side the building to run away in panic. Krissy lobs a shot in his direction from her grenade launcher, ending his escape attempt. Saito comes around the front of the van and places his rifle on the back of the gang member’s head. The ganger surrenders and the fight is over.

The team decides to leave, but Krissy and Roxie insist on getting Kang. They dragged him into this mess, so they want to make sure he gets out of it okay. As they are about to re-enter the building, a car speeds away from the back of the building. Kang can be seen trying to climb out one of the car windows, but a hand pulls him back in. As they are getting back into the van to pursue, another vehicle pulls up with Chinese men leaning out the windows getting ready to open fire.

Realizing that another firefight here was likely unwinnable, the team take the captured ganger with them as they quickly pile into van. Helios dismisses any concerns about his ability to drive in his current condition, as he tightly clutches the wheel waiting for the world to come back into focus.

The van speeds away from the apartment building in pursuit of the car containing Kang. Behind them the latest arrival joins the pursuit. Unfortunately the car in the back gains on them faster than they gain on the car in front. The back doors are thrown open as Krissy, Roxie, Zen, and Saito open fire on the chasing car. The car absorbs most of the rounds, but Saito’s 7.62 mm Electro-thermo round punches through the armored windshield, through the driver’s armored vest, through the driver’s chest and is finally stopped by the driver’s back armor. The car’s front passenger grabs hold of the wheel as the driver slumps and the car swerves onto the sidewalk.

With that problem dealt with, the van speeds forward to catch the fleeing sedan. Helios pushes the van to its limit, but being waited down with armor plating, the van struggles to keep up. In the back, Zen tries interrogating the hostage, using Torrent as an interpreter. First she inquires about handcuffs to secure the hostage, to which Krissy responds by handing her a pair of pink fuzzy handcuffs. The hostage’s tattoos clearly mark him as a member of the Japanese Yakuza. He admits that they did not actually know who Kang is either, but since the Tongs clearly act as though he is important, the Yakuza figured him for a valuable hostage. Attempts to get him to reveal where they were taking Kang fail. Further attempts to interrogate him have to be suspended as the passengers began getting thrown around the back of the van.

The sedan makes a couple of high-speed turns to try and lose its pursuers. Helios makes it through the first turn, throwing everyone else about the van. In the passenger seat, Riptide tightens down his seat belt as he tries to mentally will the van closer to their target. On the second high-speed turn, the top-heavy van proves too unwieldy and spins out. Helios throws the transmission in reverse and reorients the van. Riptide then sees the car that was chasing them is now back in pursuit and bearing down on them. Helios slams the van back in drive and stomps on the gas. The three-way chase begins again.

Once again, the back door swings open and Saito positions himself. A passenger in the car opens fire, but fails to hit anything. Saito fires the big Towa rifle, once again scoring a clean shot to the driver, killing him instantly. This time the car swerves out of control and smashes into a parked car. Slowly the van begins to gain on the sedan. Helios and Riptide exchange nervous glances as they see someone emerge from the sunroof of the sedan with an M-60 machine gun. The gunner locks down the bipod, and opens fire on the van. Helios does his best to swerve the clumsy vehicle out of the path of fire, but several rounds hit the van, including one striking Helios square in the chest. Luckily his armor holds.

Another volley slams into the van as Riptide points out their precarious position, since the sedan is out of their range, but clearly they are in reach of the M-60. But then he and Helios see the barrel of Saito’s Towa rifle extend forward between them. Riptide covers his ears, while Helios can only cringe as he prepares for the loud blast.

Saito takes aim at the gunner on top of the sedan. Unfortunately, the target proves too difficult to draw a bead on, and Saito’s shot goes wide. Another hail of 7.62 rounds strikes the van. The engine begins to sputter as smoke and steam seep out from under the hood. As the van begins to coast, Saito takes a final shot at the van itself. He hits the back of the Sedan, causing the back bumper to fall off, and the trunk lid to fly off.

The team debates what to do next when they notice that they are only a half block from the Sherrington Hotel. Torrent and Riptide go in to book some rooms as the rest of the team push the van into the parking lot. As they are signing the guest book, the hotel manager watches as the van rolls past the front office window and into the parking lot. He does not seem particularly phased.

October 25th, 2036

Torrent jumps into the Net and checks for Police traffic. He determines that the car chase/shoot out has been reported and units are on their way. Saito runs down the street to where the bumper is laying, and relays the vehicle’s registration number to Torrent. He returns to the hotel just as a police hover cruiser zooms overhead spotlighting the street.

The team takes their hostage into one of the hotel rooms and handcuff him in the bathtub. Numerous horrific methods of torture are debated. However, Zen can tell that he would die before he betrays the Yakuza.

Torrent easily cracks the DMV database and finds that the sedan is registered to Tsuyomi Shipping. A quick scan through the city registry finds them located in the warehouse district. The team decides to move on the warehouse.

Helios breaks into another car in the lot and hotwires it. Once that is complete, he returns to the hotel room, indicating that he will sit the rest of this operation out. Saito holds the hostage under water in the tub until he stops breathing. The six edge runners then pile into the car that barely seats five, and make their way to the Tsuyomi Shipping office and warehouse.

They park a couple of blocks away and make the rest of the trip on foot. The warehouse has four bay doors in the north side, two pedestrian doors on the south side and one pedestrian door in the east side. The east door has two guards stationed by it. Torrent and Saito move toward the unguarded south doors. Riptide, along with Krissy and Roxie, observe from a position northwest of the facility. Zen circles around in an attempt to get to the bay doors.

Unfortunately, she is spotted. She quickly moves around one of the semis, only to come face to face with two armed dockworkers. They exchange fire as Zen charges at them, her rifle blazing on full auto. Riptide, along with the two girls, runs from his hiding spot toward the docking bays.

But then, two of the bay doors roll open, and four armed men prepare to fire on Zen, who is caught out in the open. Luckily, she has the lighting advantage and is able to avoid hits as she dives under one of the semis. Riptide also arrives, rolls under the other trailer, and opens fire with his dual pistols at the guards.

After failing to pick the door locks, Saito and Torrent move past the south doors, and continue around the corner. As the move north, they hear one of the south doors open. They turn back around the corner and open fire on two guards that have emerged. Torrent kneecaps one guard while Saito, now using a more practical AK-47, takes down the other. They go through the door and into the warehouse. They begin trading fire with guards located on a mezzanine. Both receive minor wounds from incoming rounds. Torrent hears someone jump down from the mezzanine and moves to investigate while Saito continues to exchange fire with the guards on the mezzanine.

Outside, the firefight heats up. Riptide, Zen, Roxie, and Krissy are exchanging fire with six guards. Riptide takes out two guards, but when he runs out of ammo he is forced to drop the pistols and switch to his Uzi. Zen takes out another guard but is seriously wounded while reloading her M16. Both she and Riptide team up against a guard using a semi cab as cover and take him down. Roxy and Krissy eliminate the other two guards.

Riptide hears someone entering the trailer above him. He climbs out from under the trailer, climbs into the loading bay and enters the trailer. There he is confronted by a Yakuza warrior wielding a mono-katana. He tries to shoot the swordsman, but his gun is batted aside. The swordsman’s first two slashes are absorbed by Riptide’s armored vest, but the thirds slashes deep into his leg, and Riptide collapses.

The swordsman reverses his grip and is about to deliver the killing strike when he head jerks back from a gunshot delivered by Torrent. At first Torrent is surprised at how well his aim proved to be. But then the swordsman straightens back up, blood pouring from the gash in the side of his head. Torrent raises his pistol to fire again, but the man’s cybernetics enhanced reflexes make him a streak of motion, as he is suddenly upon Torrent, ready to cut him down. But in his attempt to cover so much ground so quickly, the warrior over extends himself. Torrent’s Aikido training kicks in as he easily sweeps aside the sword swing and kicks the attacker’s legs out from underneath him.

But the Yakuza soldier is still not finished. He slashes the sword in a 360-degree arc, nearly cutting Torrent’s legs out from underneath him. Torrent tries to draw his gun on the man, but again, the slashing sword prevents him from finding his aim. Finally, Saito comes around the corner, having dispatched the other three guards and slams the butt of his AK-47 against the swordsman’s arm, causing him to drop the weapon. Finally, the warrior has had enough and surrenders.

Kang is then found in one of the offices. Saito releases him while the others begin gathering up equipment and weapons. A debate ensues over what to do with the swordsman. Eventually it is decided that he is to be brought along. They leave with both the car that they have stolen, along with the Yakuza sedan that is parked out front.

Their first stop is back at the Sherrington. There they pick up Helios and the dead Yakuza. Riptide is then taken to the hospital. Torrent drives Zen and Helios to find an all-night Ripper Doc to patch them up. They then ditch the stolen VMW and return home.

Saito stops at the Forlorn Hope, and checks with Dollar Billregarding the location of the Tongs. Unfortunately, Dollar Bill does not have that information. Saito, Roxie and Krissy drive back to Li’s apartment and leave the two Yakuza there. Saito also leaves behind a “confession” that pins Kang’s kidnapping and Li’s death on the Yakuza.

That leaves the matter of what to do with Kang. The girls are very apologetic to him, and much to everyone’s surprise, now that its over, he is not that upset. In fact he says it’s the most excitement he has had in years. They drop him back off at the Kuroshita Hotel, where maintenance staff are busy sweeping up glass and debris. Saito drops off the girls at a parking ramp where they have a back up vehicle and then follow him as he ditches the sedan. He is about to walk away from the car when a thought occurs to him and he searches under the backseat of the car. After a minute of rummaging around, he emerges from the back seat with the M-60. You never know when that might come in handy.

Episode 2 Welcome to Night City

August 17, 2036

After a couple of relaxing days aboard the Galveston Star, the team disembarks at the Miami port. Being everyone’s first visit to Miami, everyone is astounded by the impressive wealth of the city. Years ago, Miami basically declared itself a city-state, independent of Florida. The main reason for this decision was the citizens, wealthy to begin with, got sick and tired of being forced to fund the state’s wasteful spending. Apparently the move worked, because the massive glass encased skyscrapers that dominate the downtown give the city a startlingly clean look, something that is very rare nowadays.

As the team walks the streets (with Riptide on crutches) to the Miami Interstate Transit Port, it quickly becomes clear that they stand out. The cops, in their neatly pressed and spotless uniforms, eye the group suspiciously, as they move about town in fatigues and carrying military style duffle bags. The first order of business has to be getting some civilian clothes. Luckily there happens to be a shopping mall along the way.

With the clothes issue resolved, the team finishes its journey to the Interstate Transit Port. Moving through the clean, white painted, well-lit interior of the multi-floor structure, the group follows the ample signage to the ticket boot. From a distance, the woman behind the counter appears quite attractive in her pristine, body-hugging MITP uniform. But upon getting close to the counter, her slightly blank expression and repetitive movements reveal her to be an automaton.

She smiles and says, “Welcome to the Miami Interstate Transit Port Departure Ticket Terminal, what is your intended destination?”

Any attempt at small talk is met with a blank stare. This expression remains unchanged until someone finally mentions Night City. She smiles and says, “Here are your travel options:

Option 1 is a direct flight via passenger jet from Miami to Night City. The cost is $400.00 for a coach ticket, and $800.00 for first class. This trip has a travel time of 5 hours and 30 minutes.”

Option 2 is direct flight via dirigible from Miami to Night City. The cost is $100.00 for a coach ticket and $400.00 for a first class ticket. This trip has a travel time of 35 hours.”

Option 3 is a flight via dirigible from Miami to Atlanta. At Atlanta you would transfer to the Mag-Lev train which will take you the rest of the way to Night City. The double ticket cost is $250.00 for a coach ticket, and $750.00 for a first class ticket. This has a travel time of 7 hours to Atlanta via dirigible and 13 hours and 30 minutes to Night City via the Mag-Lev.”

What type of ticket do you wish to purchase and how many?”

After some initial discussion, Riptide suggests trying to get work on a convoy heading out west in exchange for free passage, maybe even a little money. Torrent and Saito both indicate that they have calls to make, so the group breaks, agreeing to rendezvous a few hours later.

Riptide takes to the docks where cargo is transferred from ships to trucks. He spends the next couple of hours trying to drum up some work, but being complete unknowns, the team doesn’t have much of a selling point. Ultimately, he comes up empty.

Saito gets a hold of his overseas contact in the Mossad, who indicates that they have been getting pounded by attacks from troops in Arasaka power armor ever since he disappeared. They do have a contact for him in Los Angeles named Apoc. He gets Apoc’s contact information.

Torrent checks his bank account and finds out that it has been cleaned out. He decides to call his mother, but hangs up before the line picks up. Taylor’s words about how someone powerful wants him dead come to mind. At least for now, it’s probably best to let that someone believe he is dead. Despite his concern for his mother, he walks away from the phone.

Eventually the team meets back at the Transit Port and purchases coach class tickets on the dirigible. At 10:00 PM, they board the cramped passenger space and begin the trip. Its 36 hours crammed shoulder to shoulder and knees to back with the other passengers. The smell of unwashed bodies and the constant noise of crying babies and yelling children make the trip seem even longer.

August 19, 2036

At 10:00 AM, the dirigible arrives at the Night City Airport. Unlike the clean and well-ordered appearance of the Transit Port in Miami, the NCA is crowded, noisy, and dirty. Eventually, they make there way to the train. Once on board, they watch the scenery pass as the train winds its way along the coast. They see several gated corporate communities with massive houses poking up from behind the walls. Paramilitary forces guard the gates and walls. Riptide makes a comment about how he intends to live in one of those communities someday. The others scoff at the notion the he would give up edge running and live in a posh neighborhood, but Riptide hints that for him, edge running is merely a means to an end.

As the Night City skyline grows closer, the skyscraping towers of the corporate zone can be scene off in the distance. Much closer though is the massive stretches of poor and destitute neighborhoods, including the ones that are so dominated by booster gangs that they have been designated as Combat Zones. But before the train reaches the city edge, it plunges into darkness as the tracks guide it underground for the rest of the trip. After someone comments about how dark it is, Helios and Saito both smugly state that they can see just fine, referring to the advanced optics in their cybernetic implants. “I can see fine too,” says Riptide, as he fishes his flashlight out of his pocket and switches it on.

Eventually they arrive at the central transit station in Night City. Riding up the escalators, they find them selves in the shadows of the massive corporate center towers. A quick check at a data terminal reveals that the Forlorn Hope is nine city blocks west of the station. They debate getting a taxi, especially for Riptide who is on crutches, but they ultimately decide to walk it.

At about 11:00 AM, they walk into the front entrance of the Forlorn Hope. The bar takes up most of the first floor of a converted office building. Banners and military insignias decorate the walls. The bartender, who is also the owner, introduces himself as John Freeman. He is a South American War vet, as are most of the regulars here. He indicates that Dollar Bill will be in around 5:00 PM.

Torrent surfs the Net using the public data terminal, trying to get a lay of the land. Saito places a call to Apoc and places an order for a weapon.

Right on schedule, Dollar Bill arrives, and the team introduces themselves to him. He has their new IDs ready. He indicates that the IDs are expensive to make, so they should take care of them. They are getting them free because they agreed to help Taylor rescue the POWs from the drug lab. As another vet of that war, Dollar Bill greatly appreciates their actions.

Inquires about a place to stay mostly leads to getting directions to the nearest coffin place. Torrent, however, finds an available one-bedroom apartment for only $1,100 per month. It would be cramped with five people, but its cheaper, and still roomier than a coffin. A phone call to the landlord reveals that they do not have enough money to cover the security deposit and first months rent. A loan with Dollar Bill is applied for and accepted.

Torrent and Riptide head to the apartment, while Helios, Zen, and Saito go job hunting. Torrent and Riptide find out why the apartment is so cheap. The place is filthy and infested with vermin. The crime rate in the building is sky high, with deaths being a common occurrence, despite the fact that it is located right across the street from the local police precinct. Torrent, having grown up in much more antiseptic environs, immediately runs to the store and stocks up on cleaners, rattraps, and insecticide. He returns, along with bedding for himself and Riptide, and sets about cleaning the place.

Meanwhile, Saito and Zen secure 3rd shift jobs patrolling warehouses as security guards. Helios gets a job as a mechanic at Jimmy Two-Teeth’s Repair and Custom. The jobs don’t pay much, but it will cover the rent and keep them in kibble.

Over the course of the next five weeks, the team settles into their new life in Night City. Torrent job-hops until eventually landing a nice paying job doing software engineering at Raven Micro-Cybernetics. He also gets a deal on a broken cyberdeck that he is able to fix and get running as good as new. Saito gets a second job riding shotgun for Red Cab, providing security for fares that go into the slums and combat zones. Zen picks up extra work at Guido’s Fashion Trim, providing stylish yet affordable looks for the fashionable Night City male. After going stir crazy for several weeks, Riptide is out of his cast and finally free. He scores a job as a bouncer at the Golden Saloon Gentlemen’s Club. The pay is horrible, but the scenery is nice. It also provides ample networking opportunities. Helios spends his free time at the garage trying to get an old truck up and running, that Jimmy promised to sell him cheap, although the definition of cheap is debatable.

Everybody was working hard just to make ends meet, only to go home to an overcrowded, shitty apartment. That’s life in the big city. But things were about to get interesting, and very dangerous. That’s life in Night City.

Episode 1 Colombian Cookout

August 13, 2036

A canvas covered army truck drives down the rough jungle road, its jolting movements awakening three of the four passengers in the back. All four are leg shackled and their arms are handcuffed to the bench seats. Eventually the truck enters a bustling village and backs into an alley. Two guards armed with AK-47s escort the passengers, (carrying the unconscious one) into a steel shack. The shack contains a few cots and a bucket for waste.

Eventually the unconscious one, and the only female in the group, awakens. Introductions are made. Riptide, a Caucasian male, bares multiple link plugs and a sardonic sense of humor. Helios, a male of American-Thai descent, also has plugs and based on his frame, likely had some muscle grafting done. Saito, a male of Semitic descent, also has plugs and a cybernetic eye. The female goes by Zen. She is of Chinese-American descent. Unlike the others, she seems to have no cybernetic enhancements. None of the four are very forthcoming about their backgrounds, but each is in the same predicament. Each was recently kidnapped and brought here. None of the four know each other, although Helios and Riptide met right before they were taken.

As the hours pass, Saito and Zen decide to conserve energy and lay on the cots. Helios tests the dirt floor and begins trying to see if he can dig his way out. Riptide paces for a while, but eventually claims a cot for himself.

Over time, sounds from the other door in the shack reveal that this is likely the back room of a local drinking establishment. Eventually the door opens, and two men enter. One of them is one of the guards that brought them here; the other appears to be an American in his mid-40s. The American introduces himself as Taylor Czarnecki, and the guard as Alanzo. He indicates that Alonzo told him the group was a bunch of troublemakers from America, but the captives say little in response. He then inquires if any of them have combat experience. Zen indicates that she does. They ask where they are and Taylor tells them that they are in Colombia. Alanzo, apparently not able to understand English, upon hearing the word Colombia, pulls Taylor out of the room and locks the door back up.

Sometime later, Riptide hears a distinct gurgling sound and a thump as a body hits the ground and is dragged away. Shortly there after, Taylor opens the exterior door, leans in and says, “Its good to see you are still here.”

Armed with the guard’s AK-47, he ducks into the shack. He tosses Saito the keys for the shackles as he explains that he has a proposition for the group. His first priority is getting them out of town.

Saito, having no reason to trust the man, darts at him in an attempt to snatch the rifle away. A struggle begins for the rifle. Realizing the contest won’t be resolved before guards are alerted, Saito changes tactics and lets go of the rifle, but as he does so he ejects the magazine, and keeps hold of it. This leaves Taylor with the rifle and Saito with the ammo.

Realizing that he will have to give them more to go on, Taylor explains that he needs their help, and they clearly are in trouble themselves. He has a truck waiting on the edge of town to get them away from here. Taylor will tell them the rest once they are safely out of town. Saito gives him back the magazine while Riptide comments that no doubt the truck sneaking them of town will be the loudest one in town.

They are able to sneak safely out to the edge of town where an old pick-up truck awaits. Taylor gets in the front while the other four climb in back. Sure enough, the truck has no muffler and a tendency to back fire. Despite this, they are able to make it safely out of the area. As they are driving along, Taylor passes back a canteen and some candy bars for the hungry and thirsty group. As they are sharing the canteen, Riptide decides to tell them about the time he was dating a porn star, who went by the stage name Megan Fux. The others wondered if they would regret that drink.

Eventually, the truck comes to a stop, and Taylor and the others get out. They hike a mile into the jungle and set up camp. Taylor has a tent, but the rest must