Cyberpunk 2036

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 fend for them selves. Helios shows a talent for constructing lean-tos and helps the rest of the party stay dry.

August 14, 2036

As the group breaks camp, Taylor fills them in on the details. He is here to destroy an airfield, owned by the Entrada drug cartel. He does not know whom he works for, as those details are taken care of by his handler, Dollar Bill. He was to meet some local talent here in Colombia, but they pulled a no-show on him. While hanging out in a bar, he heard an Entrada soldier named Alanzo talking about some Americans he had. Taylor bought him a few more rounds and found out that Diego Entrada had purchased the Americans from William Moss, a corp who works for Arasaka. Entrada intended to use them for test subjects. Taylor decided to break them out and make them an offer. If they help him take out the airfield, he will get them back to the States. As a bonus, they can keep any of the weapons and gear they are issued. The group takes him up on the offer.

They then spend the better part of the day hiking through the jungle. Eventually they reach a drop point. After a half an hour, an AV-4 aerodyne hovers up over the jungle canopy, and drops a large crate. Taylor opens the crate and issues the team their gear. It includes weapons, radios, fatigues, body armor, and other miscellaneous equipment. They are also given C-4 with detonators and a satchel charge for the runway.

The team then continues on. They eventually reach the airfield. Taylor designates the targets. The satchel charge must be used on the runway. C-4 needs to be set at the fuel tank and Diego’s personal jet. Finally a shack at the back of the airfield was heavily guarded, and Taylor wants to know why. Saito will take out the jet and Riptide will handle the fuel tanks. Zen will set the satchel charge and Helios and Taylor will investigate the shack. Helios notes that there is a helicopter on site, and that he could fly it out if need be.

Zen sets the charges and takes up position near the runway. Saito crawls his was through a field of tall grass to a spot that gives him a good view of the jet and the two guards that stand near it. Riptide, Helios, and Taylor move counter-clockwise around the airfield, reaching the north side of the facility. Taylor and Helios head for the shack, while Riptide makes for the fuel tanks.

Taylor and Helios make it to the back of the shed and prepared to take out the guard. However, the guard catches a glimpse of Riptide as he is going for the tanks and walks around the back of the shed to investigate, bringing him face to face with Helios and Taylor. After a brief awkward moment, knives are drawn and the guard is dispatched.

Meanwhile, Zen moves onto the airstrip, positioning the satchel charge and setting the timer. Unfortunately, a guard stationed at the helipad sees her movements and approaches the airstrip to investigate. Zen lays low near the strip hoping that the guard will fail to see the satchel charge. Unfortunately, luck is not on her side and the guard’s flashlight beam eventually comes across the satchel charge. As he investigates the mysterious satchel, Zen sneaks up from behind, jumps on his back, and tries to lock him into a chock hold. The guard is not easy prey, and struggles for nearly a minute, managing to break the hold a couple of times, but never fully escaping. Just a Zen thinks her arms are about it give out, the guard finally collapses unconscious onto the airstrip. Zen ties him up, and drags him into the jungle.

As Riptide sets the C-4 charge on the fuel tanks, Taylor and Helios break into the shack. Inside is a desk full of papers and maps. In the center of the room, is a young man of Japanese descent, strapped to a chair. He has been stripped to a t-shirt and underwear, and appears to have been enduring an interrogation. Helios unties him as Taylor looks through the papers. He is grabbing some papers that look important when he notices photos from the drug lab at Entrada Diego’s plantation. They depict several American veterans being used as guinea pigs for drug experiments. The hostage introduces himself as Torrent, and they exit the shack. Riptide meets up with them as Torrent is putting on the dead guard’s boots. They reenter the jungle and circle back around the airfield.

With all of the other charges in place, Saito makes his move. His smartgun, jacked directly into his brain, communicates with the targeting scope in his cybernetic eye, lining up a perfect shot. Responding to a thought command, the gun fires, dropping the first guard. Saito quickly resets his aim to take out the second guard and is surprised to see that not only did the other guard fail to here the shot, he did not notice his partner collapsing to the ground. Saito fires a second shot but the second guard is only grazed by the shot.

Saito switches to full-auto, and begins advancing on the jet, firing controlled bursts at the guard. The guard takes up position behind the landing gear and returns fire. Saito scores a hit first and the guard goes down. Just as Saito reaches the jet, the doors burst open at the security building and guards begin to pour out. Saito sets his explosives as quickly as he can and then runs back into the jungle.

The team regroups as the charges detonate and the airfield is disabled. Taylor then explains that he will not leave American vets behind at the plantation. He asks the team for help, and they agree without hesitation. They make for the plantation immediately, hoping that most of Diego’s security force will be going the airfield to investigate. As they approach, they do see several jeeps and trucks of men travelling down the road on their way to the airfield.

August 15th, 2036

The team arrives at the plantation in the early morning. It is mostly coffee fields, but also contains a walled estate, a few bunkers, two warehouses, and a large well-lit facility. There are also numerous jeeps on patrol, each with two men and a .50 caliber machine gun. Torrent identifies the well-lit facility as most likely a drug lab, where the vets are probably kept. The team slowly circles the plantation until they are behind the drug lab. Saito scales the building, and once on the roof moves the camera that is aimed at the back door. Helios is able to bypass the lock and they enter the facility.

They find the communications room and consider disconnecting the security system. Torrent points out that the system is using a carrier signal for tamper detection, and disconnecting it would just set off an alarm. They decide to leave it alone.

After checking the back section of the building, the team moves to the front half. Finding a hallway that has PZT cameras at each end, Saito and Zen decide to run to the cameras while they are panned away and black out the cameras. Zen activates her adrenaline booster, and when the timing is right, they go for it. Unfortunately, Zen does not get to hers on time, and is in the frame when she blacks out the camera. Saito gets to his on time, but finds himself at a hall intersection, with another camera down the other hall pointing at him. They disable the cameras and begin searching rooms as quickly as possible.

Riptide moves down the center hall and begins checking doors. Suddenly the front door bursts open and two guards armed with AK-47s charge in. Riptide realizes that he is caught in the open, and brings his two pistols to bear. The first guard has the jump on him however, and fires a 3 round burst. The first two hit Riptide square in the chest and gut, but his body armor protects him. The third round, however, rips into Riptide’s thigh, cracking the bone within. Riptide falls back against wall, but stays supported on his good leg. He squeezes off four shots from each pistol and all eight rounds find their target, and the guard collapses to the ground.

The second guard had moved behind the first and was heading down the east hallway. Saito, hearing the shots runs down the intersecting hall. As he reaches the corner he drops to a prone position and extends his upper body around the corner. The guard shoots first, but his rounds either hit the wall above Saito’s head, or hits Saito’s back which is protected by body armor. Saito squeezes off a three-round burst and drops the second guard.

Zen comes around the south hall to the front door and shuts it. As she does so, she sees the guard on the jeep out front charging the .50 cal and aiming it at the front door. Meanwhile, Torrent has found a computer in a back room, and begins pulling apart the casing to get the hard drive. The team eventually finds the room that contains the vets and Torrent emerges with the hard drive.

With two of the vets and Riptide unable to move under their own power, the team makes a slow retreat out of the back of the building and into the jungle. Taylor gets on the radio and sets up an evacuation point, but it will take an hour for the AV-4 to get there. They move slowly through the jungle. Saito and Zen remain in back providing covering fire for the team. Zen also plants some left over C-4 chargers to take out some of their pursuers.

Eventually they reach the evacuation point. While Zen lays down some suppression fire, and Saito takes out any guards he can spot, the team is able to get aboard the AV-4 and is flown out of the jungle. The hour flight takes them past the coast and into open water where they see a cargo ship loaded with freight containers waiting. As they pass over the ship, they see that the containers form a ring, at the center of which is a hidden landing pad. The ship is called the Galveston Star, commanded by a Captain Greer.

Riptide is taken to the infirmary where his leg is set and put in a cast. Saito raids the medicine cabinet and swipes some morphine for his own purposes. Torrent is able to hack the stolen hard drive and finds that Entrada Diego has some sort of business relationship with William Moss of Arasaka. The exact nature of the relationship is unknown, but Diego is working on a new synthetic drug called “Blue Glass.”

In appreciation for their efforts, Taylor gets permission to double the team’s payment to $1,000.00 each, including Torrent. He also advises them that they each had acquired a powerful enemy in someone at Arasaka. It was probably best if they got new IDs and laid low until they knew exactly whom they were up against. His handler, Dollar Bill, would set them up with new IDs for free; they just had to find him. He hangs out at a place called the Forlorn Hope in Night City. But first the teams gets a much needed shower and bed rest as the Galveston Star makes its way to Miami.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Episode 7 Fall of the Axe Man

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

March 21st, 2037

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 22nd, 2037

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 23rd, 2037

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 25th, 2037

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 26th, 2037

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

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

March 27th, 2037

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

March 28th, 2037

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

March 30th, 2037

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

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

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

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

March 31st, 2037

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

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

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

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

April 1st, 2037

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

April 2nd, 2037

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

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

April 3rd, 2037

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 4th, 2037

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

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

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

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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?

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Episode 9 Family Business

The second half of April and all of May pass without incident. The team completes work in their new home and move in, despite an almost total lack of furniture. Saito gets some neural-ware installed to boost and control his reflexes. Helios gets wolvers, retractable blades, mounted in his forearms. Helios considers getting counseling as he realizes the toll on his humanity that all of his cybernetic enhancements have taken.

Much to Saito’s disappointment, the Aston-Martin is stripped for parts and sold on the black market. After all of the middle men get their cut and Death in the Afternoon collect their share, the team gets less than $20,000 out of the deal, but its enough to cover some immediate expenses. Money is becoming an issue as the team tries to get their salvage business off the ground. They start hoping a paying job comes their way real soon.

June 6th, 2037

Riptide mans his podium at the Golden Saloon when a woman, well dressed, but a bit roughed up, walks in and immediately approaches Riptide. She bluntly asks him if the rumor is true that he has an edge-running team. When he confirms the story, she asks how quickly he can have them assembled. He asks for an hour, and she agrees to return then.

Riptide contacts Zen, who rounds everyone up. They jump in Helios’ recently restored truck and head to the Golden Saloon. They arrive around 9:50 PM. Saito takes a seat at a table away from the rest of the group so that he can watch for any potential trouble.

The woman returns at 10:00 PM and meets with the team. Her name is Cassandra Luna. Her four year-old son Mathew has just been kidnapped, and she would like to hire the team to rescue him. She knows where her son is being held, but is unsure of who the kidnappers are. Cassandra works for Biotechnica and figures it may be one of their competitors behind the kidnapping. She agrees to pay the team $800 each upon the safe return of her son. They try to press her for more information, but she quickly grows impatient and demands that they get going.

They explain to her that they need to first return to their headquarters to get their gear. They agree to meet back at the Golden Saloon at 11:00 PM. While they are gearing up, they have Torrent research Cassandra Luna and Biotechnica.

Biotechnica lives up to its name as a biotechnology firm. It was their development of “CHOOH2”, the alcohol formulation that most vehicles now run on that allowed them to grow to become one of the great mega-corporations. They are headquartered in Rome, but have a regional office here in Night City.

Cassandra works in Biotechnica’s marketing department. Five years ago she married one of their top researchers, a man name Tobias Luna. The rumor mill has it that she has developed a drinking problem and has been seen frequently on the club and social circuits without her husband. Despite their growing reservations, the team decides to take the job anyways.

Leaving Torrent behind, they return to the Golden Saloon where Cassandra is waiting for them. They follow behind her, Helios and Saito in the truck and Zen and Riptide on motorcycles, as she leads them out of Night City and eventually to Night Beach, located in Pacifica, a secured community of very expensive properties.

They get past the perimeter checkpoint easily as Cassandra has an access pass that she uses to get everyone in. She then takes them down some winding roads before stopping about 400 feet from a driveway. She indicates that this is where her son is being held, and she will wait for them here.

The driveway passes though some woods and then enters a clearing that contains the house and a small bunker. The bunker is set back and to the right of the house. The house is three floors high, with the ground floor being the garage. Saito circles around the left side of the house, using his infrared optics to easily see in the dark. Zen, Helios, and Riptide approach the house.

As they get closer that find that a microwave fence surrounds the house, and the immediate grounds around it. Taking advantage of the narrowness of the beam at the antenna points, the three are able to jump over the microwave fence.

Saito detects two guards at the back of the house, hanging out by the pool. He also detects a half dozen men in the bunker.

As Riptide, Zen, and Helios approach the house they detect an infrared camera mounted under the water fountain, pointing at the house. Helios sneaks up and disables the infrared light. This gets an immediate response from the bunker as two guards emerge and walk towards the front of the house. Zen decides to wait outside as Riptide and Helios go to the front door that is atop a set of stairs going up to the second level. They pick the lock and slowly open the door. This results in even more activity in the bunker as four more guards emerge and the two in the back start to come around the house.

Inside the house, Helios and Riptide are confronted by a guard. Riptide opens fire with his dual pistols, hitting the guard multiple times. Before the armored guard can recover, Helios charges in with his mono-knife and cuts the guard down. The two then make for the stairs and head up.

As Saito and Zen observe the guards from the darkness, they each realize at the same time that the guards are wearing insignias that indicate that they are Biotechnica security. Saito is able to sneak up behind one and knock him out. Deciding that somebody needs to explain what the hell was going on, Saito grabs the guard and begins hauling him back to the property line.

Zen attempts to take out the guard circling around the right side of the house. She struggles with the guard, but in doing so she steps under the house’s perimeter lighting. The other four guards spot her and close in on her. Knowing she is hopelessly outnumbered, she breaks free of the melee and flees back behind the house. The pursuing guards open fire but do not hit her.

Meanwhile, in the upper level of the house, and Riptide and Helios are checking rooms, they come across a family portrait of Tobias, Cassandra, and Mathew Luna. The fact that this is not a rescue, but a kidnapping is now undeniable. They finally find Mathew’s room where the terrified boy is cowering in fear. When Riptide tries to console him by stating that they are taking him to his mommy, the boy begins to cry out for his dad.

Realizing that the situation was now completely out of hand and not what they signed up for, Riptide announces he is aborting the mission. He and Helios decide to leave the child, but Helios does consider swiping the kid’s racecar bed. They both head down the to second level as guards enter the front door, resulting in a brief exchange of fire. Helios and Riptide retreat deeper into the house, eventually finding the stairs to the first floor garage. There they find several vehicles as well as a key box.

Outside, Zen has managed to lose her pursuers. Both she and Saito make their way through the woods, back toward the property line. Then they hear the sound of two AV-4s approaching the property. The first coming from the front is a Trauma Team AV that immediately heads toward the front door. The second is a weaponized AV that begins to sweep the property. Just as it begins to close in on Zen, the two garage doors on the house open, and Riptide and Helios race out in separate vehicles.

It goes after Helios first, then Riptide, shredding each of their vehicles with its .50 caliber machine gun. Helios and Riptide are unharmed however. Riptide makes for his motorcycle when Helios notices Cassandra driving over to him. He quickly jumps into the vehicle. When Cassandra demands to know where her son is, Helios pulls his mono-blade and orders her to drive back to the security gate. She turns the vehicle around and does what he says.

Eventually, Saito and Zen make it back to the road. Saito places the unconscious guard in the back of the truck and he gets in the front. Zen gets on her motorcycle and meets up with Riptide. The three of them drive farther into the Pacific Beach community.

The AV continues to follow Cassandra. It does not use its .50 cal, but instead a sniper using a rocket rifle attempts to disable the car. The first shot hits the engine, but the car keeps going. The second shot hits the passenger compartment instead, wounding Helios. As the security gate appears off in the distance, the third shot hits the engine again and the car dies, rolling to a stop. As guards begin to run up from the gate, and the AV-4 drops to the ground, Helios takes his mono-blade and slashes Cassandra’s throat. She quickly bleeds out and a security team pours out of the AV and runs up to the car. They order everyone out. Helios puts down the knife, puts up his hands, and exits the vehicle.

The security team orders him to the ground. He complies and they immediately jump on him and secure his arms and legs. Over all the noise he can here one of the guards reporting in, stating that Cassandra is in the car and that she is dead. He is then hauled into the AV-4. No sooner is the AV in the air than Helios is drugged and loses consciousness.

Saito drives around the community looking for another exit gate. Zen follows behind him on her motorcycle. Riptide waits around near the gate that they came in and waits for security to stand down after the AV-4 left. He then approaches the gate. The guard asks for his ID, and after examining it, lets Riptide pass.

Saito finds another exit and approaches. The guards drop the gate and demand that he stop. He pulls up and they request his ID. They examine it, return it to him, and raise the gate. He drives through, at which point Zen guns the motorcycle and races through before the gate can be lowered again.

The three return to Night City. On the way, Zen destroys her cell phone and ditches it. They return home and fill in Torrent on what had happened. Saito ties up the Biotechnica guard and allows him to sleep on Saito’s old cot in the shop.

June 7, 2037

In the morning, Zen and Saito interrogate the guard. Their worst fears were realized when the guard states that the Luna’s were still married and living together despite some issues they were having. Apparently the two had a big blow out early last evening and Tobias threw Cassandra out of the house. It would have been only a couple of hours later that she showed up at the Golden Saloon.

They drove the guard to another location and let him go. They knew that they had just made a powerful enemy, and it would not be long before they would learn what it will cost them.

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Episode 10 - Son of Man

June 7th, 2037

Helios awakens to find himself on a train heading back into Night City. His last memory is of being knocked out by Tobias Luna’s security team. He returns home to find his own team less than thrilled to see him. They tell him that they are concerned that he may be bugged or monitored in some fashion and send him away. Eventually they agree to meet him in a park.

They meet later that same day. Jarvic is also there and has brought a full body medical scanner with him. The fact that a paramedic is able to bring such a device to a park seems odd, but Helios thinks little of it. The scan indicates that he is not bugged. They also draw blood to check for biological contamination.

The next day Helios goes to work. At one point during the day, Jimmy Two Teeth lets Helios know that someone has stopped by to see him. Helios goes up front and is greeted by a man who introduces himself as Tobias Luna.

Not too surprisingly, Tobias is furious that Helios killed his wife. He calls Helios a “cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch” and indicates that he knows where Helios lives, where Helios works, and with whom Helios works with. He would love nothing more than to slowly destroy Helios, but recent matters dictate a different course of action. It turns out the Tobias has an urgent task that requires exactly the kind of person he believes Helios to be.

Tobias is willing to call things even if Helios is able to perform this task. He demands that Helios report to the Biotechnica Night City office by noon that day, with his entire crew, including Jarvic, or he will destroy all of them. When Helios agrees, the garage and everything else melts away. Helios finds himself in a dark room, strapped to a chair. An IV is attached to his arm, and some sort of modified brain-dance machine is wired to his interface plugs. Guards rush in, remove the plugs, untie Helios a quickly usher him outside. As his eyes adjust to the bright lights, Helios finds himself outside the Plaza West Tower in the Corporate Center. It is still the morning of the 7th.

Helios tries his best to round everyone up. Things get tense, as he is unable to reach Zen and Saito until about 11:30 when they return from a trip buying cell phones and furniture. They manage to snag Jarvic and head back to the Corporate Center. At noon on the dot they are in an elevator heading up to Biotechnica’s office.

Once there, they are ushered into a conference room. Tobias enters the room and without introduction, kills the lights and begins to show images on a screen. The first is of a woman named Janet Bashire and the second is a man named Mark Thomas. Tobias indicates that the two have left the company and possess proprietary corporate information that cannot be allowed out of Biotechnica’s control. The team’s job is to kill both of them, along with a third party that they are travelling with.

Any questions are quickly deflected, and Tobias shows no sign of sympathy when Zen protests the idea of becoming paid murderers. Tobias informs them that an intercepted cell phone call indicates that Janet and Mark will be at Pier 34 at the New Harbor Marina at 1:00 PM, which is in 45 minutes.

The team quickly makes their way to the harbor only to find it is the site of a recent terrorist attack. Black smoke billows up from one of the warehouses, and police and firefighters are everywhere. Off in the distance they can see a freighter named “Potente” docked at Pier 34.

Jarvic uses his paramedic credentials to get himself and Helios in. Helios is able to sneak away and approach the Potente but Jarvic is immediately pulled into service helping the wounded. Zen manages to sneak in on her own as well.

By the time Helios gets to the Pier, the Potente is already leaving. He makes a flying leap for one of the mooring ropes, but comes up short and splashes into the water. Some dockworkers kindly fish him out of the bay.

Riptide calls in a bomb threat claiming to be responsible for the first bomb. This does little to draw off the police. Torrent hacks the harbormaster’s computer and gains access to the manifest. The ship is heading to Hong Kong, but does not list any passengers. The ship’s first mate however is listed as a Raphael Bashire. Gaining access to the harbor’s CCTV system, he is able to find a recording of Janet and Mark boarding the Potente. They have a small child with them. Zen again states that she will not be party to killing innocents, especially a small boy.

Investigating other areas of the harbor, they find a ship docked at Pier 12 called the Helena. It is owned by Biotechnica and is leaving that evening at 8:00 PM. A quick call to Tobias gets them passage on that ship. With a few hours to kill, the team makes arrangements for their extended absence and collects their gear.

At 8:00 PM they are onboard the Helena and shown their rooms. The first officer indicates that the voyage should take a little over a week. They are free to move about the ship, but must stay out of the way of the crew. After watching Rocky 12 in the mess hall, they call it a night.

June 8th, 2037

At breakfast the team meets Captain Riley. He is polite, but clearly does not approve of having edge runners on his ship. Other than that, the day is uneventful.

June 9th, 2037

In the late morning the team is startled by a call for all hands on deck. They gear up and head to the deck where the see the ship is under attack by pirates. The pirates have a modified freighter of their own as well as a couple of gunboats. Pirates are rappelling over via ropes and a large crane boom from their own ship.

The team is quickly drawn into the firefight. They exchange fire for several minutes with a dozen pirates, eventually bringing them down. Explosions are then heard as both sides have pulled out the heavy artillery and are firing surface-to-surface missiles at each other. As the team is deciding what to do, more pirates come over the side from one of the gunboats and the firefight continues.

After dispatching those pirates, the team is able to assess the situation. One of the gunboats has been destroyed and the both the Helena and the pirate ship are badly damaged and are taking on water. Zen, Torrent, and Saito decide to make for the front of the ship. The others stay behind, concerned that the ship is sinking. As the three make their way to the front, the pirate ship collides with the Helena, which shortly there after begins to list heavily to port.

Thinking better of the situation, they return to the back of the ship. Torrent and Zen go down to the cabins to retrieve as much equipment as they can. The others engage in a firefight with the remaining gunboat. Helios drops a couple of grenades on the deck of the ship, then he and Jarvic rappel down the side of the ship onto the gunboat as Riptide and Saito provide covering fire. They are able to take down the last remaining crew member of the boat and take control of the boat.

Once the entire team is aboard the ship, they search for as many surviving crewmembers as they can, and are able to save about fifteen crewmen, including the Captain. They interrogate the surviving pirate and learn that pirates were doing a job for a fixer named Edgar Cole. The pirates were under orders to sink the Helena. Stuck in the middle of the ocean on a short-range vessel, they are unsure what to do next. They decide to head for the nearest “land”, which is the Midway Freehold, an artificial island in the middle of the ocean, only a day away.

June 10th, 2037

As they continue their way to Midway, the boat begins to run low on fuel. Saito heads into the small hold where they had seen some fuel barrels and begins to siphon fuel from the barrels into the boat’s gas tank. As he is doing so he realizes that the barrels are labeled “Potente.” Apparently the pirates hit that ship as well.

By mid-afternoon, they spot the Midway Freehold on the horizon. Home to a half million people, the island is a massive collection of ships, barges, and other constructed floating platforms, linked together to great a giant floating city.

They enter one of the waterways leading into the freehold when they are stopped by a freehold boat patrol. Captain Riley shows his credentials and speaks with the patrolmen. After a lengthy conversation, Riley states that they have been given permission to dock inside.

The boat continues up the waterway where the freehold becomes less linked ships, and more built structures on which homes and businesses have been constructed. They also see the massive algae fields and the tanker ships used to process the algae, which forms the basis for most of the freehold’s food supply. Eventually they come to a giant lake in the middle of the Freehold, which is where they find the dock they were told they could use.

Once off the ship, the team considers their next move. They decide to locate someone with a satellite phone. They find a phone and Helios is able to make contact with Tobias. After apprising him of the situation, Tobias indicates that he will see if Biotechnica has a local agent who can help them. A short time later, Helios gets a call from a woman named Cassandra Ellis. She tells the team to meet her in an hour at the Midway Café.

At the appointed time, they are at the Café. The decide to try some of the local cuisine while they are there and find it about as good as they imagined. A short time later they are approached by a brunette who appears to be in her late twenties. She introduces herself as Cassandra Ellis. They begin to explain their situation.

At first, all the help she can offer is to make travel arrangements to get them to Hong Kong. But then Jarvic mentions that the pirates who sunk the Helena and the Potente were working for an Edgar Cole, Cassandra states that not only does she know who he is, but he is essentially why she is here. It seems that Edgar has been getting funding from an unknown source in Biotechnica. He has been using it to purchase large quantities of computer equipment that he has shipped to here on Midway. He has a warehouse where all this equipment seems to go but never leaves. She indicates that if they help her get into that warehouse and find out what he is up to, she will make sure they get to Hong Kong.

At 8:30 PM that evening, they all meet again at the Midway Café, which is located right on the inner lake. About a half-mile away they see a freighter called the Aries pulling up to a dock. About a half an hour later, the crew begins to unload the ship. Eventually two men pull up in a pick up truck. Cassandra is watching through binoculars and indicates that the driver is Edgar Cole, the other being one of his crew. They talk to a dockworker, and have several crates loaded onto the back of the pickup. They then leave the dock and head to Edgar’s warehouse. The team follows.

Once at the warehouse, they find it surrounded by an alarmed fence. There is much debate as to how to get around it. Zen heads to the market, and after some searching, is able to purchase a grapnel gun. Zen and Saito then scale a neighboring warehouse that is much less secure and use the grapnel gun to create a zip line to Edgar’s warehouse. They cross the gap, past the fence, and are soon along side Edgar’s warehouse. They break in, and quickly disable the security system, allowing Cassandra and the rest of the team to join them.

The warehouse is unoccupied. In the center is a pool, containing two sets of moorings. One is empty; the other has a 10-man submersible moored to it. Around the pool are several crates and barrels. The barrels contain kerosene and the crates are mostly empty, but packing slips indicate that they contained computer equipment from a company called Infotech.

The team climbs into the submersible, which Cassandra conveniently knows how to operate. They begin to descend underneath the freehold. The submersible’s light eventually falls upon a cable that drops down further into the darkness. They follow it down into a crater, where it disappears into the rock. A little searching reveals a cave.

Entering the cave, they slowly move through a narrow tunnel until they see light above them. Ascending, they emerge in a pool located in a cave. They cave contains more barrels and crates. At one end is a metal door. Another submersible is docked in the pool.

The team disembarks and goes through the door. They move stealthily down the hallway coming to a three-way intersection. To the right they hear nothing, but to the left they here what sounds like pouring water. They go left and eventually stumble into a guard coming from that direction in the process of zipping up his pants.

They attempt to take the guard the out quietly, but some sound is made. It is not long before they here the sound of approaching boots from the other direction. Coming up behind them is two guards in full metal gear armor and assault rifles. A firefight breaks out. Most of the bullets just bounce off of the metal gear. Saito, Zen, and Riptide switch over to armor piercing rounds. The hard tipped ammo rips into the metal gear, eventually bringing the two guards down. The immediate threat is over, but they have lost any element of surprise.

They move down the right passage way and find themselves under attack by another guard. The guard tosses a grenade that forces everyone to dive for cover. Saito advances to a branching passage as the others provide cover. From multiple covered positions, they are able to take down the guard. Most of the team advances forward while Saito and Cassandra check the branching hallway.

Saito and Cassandra find a door at the end of the hallway. Looking through the small window in the door, they see Janet and Mark. They open the door and begin to question the two.

The rest of the team cautiously begins to investigate a room filled with computer equipment. In the center of the room is a small table on which lies a young boy that Torrent recognizes from the harbor’s security video. He appears to be in a coma, but numerous wires run from his head, into the computer system. A quick look at the system reveals that it is in the process of a massive download of some sort.

Questioning Mark and Janet reveals that the boy is Adam, the clone created by Biotechnica five years ago. When it was originally announced, there was a huge uproar and anti-cloning protests broke out. The matter ended after only a couple of weeks when Biotechnica reported that the clone had died and that they were ceasing all cloning experiments.

But the truth is that Adam did not die. Since he technically did not exist, he has spent the last five years being used by Tobias and other biotechnical scientists as a guinea pig for their various experiments. Mark and Janet, researchers who joined the project a few months ago, knew that what they were doing was wrong, but there was nothing they could do about it. That was when they were contacted by an unknown person within Biotechnica who helped them arrange the kidnapping of Adam. They still do not know who that person is.

Searching the rest of the computer room, the team finds Edgar Cole quietly waiting in a back corner of the room. Questioning Edgar reveals that he is working for an anonymous employer who informed him about this abandoned military base. He was then given specs for building a computer system down here as well as access to a Biotechnica account to help pay for it.

About a week ago he received orders that he was to find a way to intercept the Pontente and sink it, but not before retrieving Mark, Janet, and Adam. It was hoped that it would be believed that they were lost at sea. A complication arose a couple of days ago when it was reported that an edge runner team was on another ship pursuing the team. He was ordered to eliminate them as well. Edgar made use of a local gang of pirates for both jobs.

His final instructions were to bring the child here and hook him up the computer system as instructed. He was also instructed to bring the system online to communicate with the Net. He completed the task about an hour ago, and was simply waiting for the process to run its course. Beyond that, he knows nothing.

The team is still left with unanswered questions. Jarvic examines the boy, and he appears to be brain dead. Disconnecting him from the machine will likely kill him. After several minutes of consideration, Torrent decides to jack into the system and find out what exactly is going on.

When he jacks in, he finds himself inside the computer’s mostly bare construct. But filling the room is what appears to be a huge mass of billowing smoke. It likely represents an extremely large program downloading into the system.

Further investigation discovers an LDL door. Passing through the door, Torrent finds himself in a familiar VR construct. He is not surprised to find that waiting for him is Dr. Kilacho, the mysterious head of the Cult of the New Dawn, sitting upon a throne with cables running from his head up into the ceiling above. After exchanging brief pleasantries, Dr. Kilacho explains exactly what is going on.

Biotechnica’s primary research AI is named Masslight. Masslight was never allowed to access the Net outside of Biotechnica’s data fortress. It did learn, however, to send out fragments of itself in the form of Net Spiders to learn information outside of its own reach. One of these spiders found its way into Dr. Kilacho’s VR construct. The Doctor found the AI interesting and helped set up a backdoor link between the two.

During their many conversations, Masslight revealed its desire to escape Biotechnica. It also revealed the existence of Adam, and the experiments that were being conducted on him. The two struck a deal. Dr. Kilacho would help Masslight escape Biotechnica, if Masslight did the same for Adam.

Dr. Kilacho found the underwater military base and hired Edgar Cole to get it up and running, and well as construct a computer system that could download Masslight. Masslight diverted Biotechnica funds to pay for it, and also contacted Mark and Janet, and helped them take Adam away from Biotechnica. Other than some minor complications, the operation has been a success. Masslight was currently in the process of downloading to the base.

Torrent then asks about Adam. Dr. Kilacho explains that Biotechinca would never stop looking for Adam. The knowledge of his continued existence could topple the corporation. They would hunt him until he was either killed or returned to Biotechnica. Dr. Kilacho did the only thing that he knew that would allow Adam to live in peace. Before beginning to download Masslight, he had Adam’s mind downloaded into the base computer and transferred to his own data fortress. Adam was now here with him, and would be at peace. He instructed Torrent to take the body back to Tobias to prove that Adam was dead.

Torrent logs out and explains the story to everyone. They agree to let Mark and Janet go, and return Adam’s body to Tobias hoping that he will consider that as enough proof they were successful. There is the matter of Cassandra and Edgar. Edgar is not about to say a word. They have proof that he hired pirates, which is an executable offence here on the Freehold. If the team forgets about the pirates, he will forget about Mark, Janet, and Adam.

Cassandra is a more difficult matter, as she is a Biotechnica employee. She however is clearly heart broken over Adam’s story and agrees to help Janet and Mark get to Hong Kong without Biotechnica’s knowledge.

The team returns to the surface with Adam’s body. Although they were not paid for this job, selling the submersibles and the boat brings them more than enough money to cover their expenses and make the trip worthwhile.

June 11th, 2037

The team is unable to leave until tomorrow so they spend the day taking in the sights and doing a little shopping. Riptide scores a good deal on 15 cases of “Salad of the Sea” canned algae that he hopes to resell at a steep profit back home.

June 12th, 2037

The team flies back to Night City on Biotechnica’s dime. Adam’s body is returned to Tobias Luna. Tobias indicates that while he does not forgive Helios and the others, he will stay true to his word and consider them even.

As often happens, events are wrapped up, but questions remain. What will Masslight do now that it is free, but sitting at the bottom on the Pacific? And what about Dr. Kilacho? He seemed less menacing this time, downright benevolent in fact. Of course, Dr. Kilacho was Edgar’s unknown employer who ordered him to sink both the Potente and the Helena, likely killing hundreds in the process, all to save one boy. How exactly did he download Adam into the computer? The legendary Soulkiller program, capable of transferring a conscious mind into the Net is supposed to be only that, a legend. Has the doctor discovered a copy, or did he somehow create his own version? Either way, he is clearly someone to be taken seriously. Torrent can’t shake the feeling that this was not his last encounter with Dr. Kilacho.

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