Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 53 - The End of the End

August 19th, 2041

Helios and Kahale stake out the Arasaka tower. They notice on a couple of occasions that a Microtech truck goes back and forth between the Microtech Building and the Arasaka Tower.

They contact Flatspin and ask her to pull as much data as she can on Korimichi, the head of IT for the Arasaka Night City office.

Riptide talks to Kaitlyn Jones about needing IDs for both the Arasaka community in Pacifica and the Night City Tower. She recommends a fixer named Grateful.

August 20th 2041

Mouse hacks the Microtech Mainframe. A daunting task for most netrunners, but with all of the hardware he has access to thanks to his working relationship with Masslight, he is able to get in and get out without incident. He is able to find two Microtech employees who have pre-established clearance to get into the Arasaka Security Bunker below the parking garage in the tower. Their names are Phillip McNalley and Matthew Woodward.

Riptide goes and meets with Grateful. Grateful’s prices are steep, but he can get them security badges for both Pacifica and the Arasaka Tower. The problem is that the Arasaka Tower badges won’t actually work for the access control system in the tower because computer security is too tight and planting the credentials in their system is impossible.
Once the team is back together, they discuss what else they need to do. They end up deciding to bring Ripper on board, as they will need all the help they can get.

August 21st, 2041

Kahale and Helios do recon on the two Microtech employees. Phillip lives in one of the New Harbor Mallplex Towers and Matt lives in an apartment building in Westhill.

August 22nd, 2041

Flatspin has the info on Korimichi and his family. Korimichi takes an osprey from his estate to the tower every day. The two kids go to school at an Arasaka school in Pacifica. Korimichi’s wife Andrea, has a limo that takes her shopping and to her various charity functions.

August 23rd, 2041

The team irons out the last details of the plan, like the fact that they have not considered their exit strategy. Kahale and Helios get their truck painted to look like a Microtech truck.

August 24th, 2041

Grateful delivers the ID badges. Militech is able to provide the Arasaka uniforms they need.

August 25th, 2041

At 7:00PM, the phase 1 of the plan is launched. Helios makes his way to Westhill to the home of Matthew Woodward. Kahale heads to the New Harbor Mallplex to the home of Philip McNalley. The rest of the team suits up in their Arasaka uniforms and begin the drive out to Pacifica.

Kahale uses Krissy’s Mallplex access card to get into the tower. He hangs out in the hallway until Phil arrives. Just as Phil has unlocked his door, Kahale shoves him inside and subdues him. He uses a retinal scanner to get a copy of Phil’s eye. He then asks for Phil’s PIN number. Phil refuses, but one broken finger later, he spills the goods. Kahale tells him to get comfortable as they will be there a while.

Across town, Helios arrives at Matt’s apartment building. He pops the panel on the door intercom and easily triggers the door lock. He finds Matt’s apartment and knocks on the door. When Matt opens the door, Helios tries to push him in. Matt was an offensive lineman in college and holds his ground, preventing Helios from making any headway. Helios draws his pistol and shoves it into Matt’s mouth. He has no problem getting cooperation from Matt after that. In a few minutes he has Matt’s retinal scan and PIN number.

The rest of the team, which consists of Riptide, Zen, Saito, Mouse, Ripper, and Krissy, arrives at the Arasaka controlled neighborhood in Pacifica. They show their security badges to the gate guards. After a cursory check, the guards let them in.

They drive to the estate of Ikara Korimichi. Zen and Riptide speak to the guard on the other side of the gate. He is suspicious of their claim that they are there to provide additional security. He asks to see their IDs and says he intends to call them in. Knowing that the IDs will not be in Arasaka’s system, Zen hits the guard with her gang jazzler as she hands him her ID. The electrical jolt causes him to collapse to the ground. Saito climbs up on top of the van and uses it to reach the top of the wall. He then drops down the other side and opens the gate. They drag the unconscious body of the guard into his guard shack and most of the team heads up the driveway to the house. Ripper stays behind and mans the gate.

At the house, they get out of the van and head to the front door. Riptide knocks on the door. He hears the sound of a gun being charged and dives out of the way as a hail of bullets punch their way through the front door. Saito kicks in the front door as Krissy lobs a frag grenade into the front hallway followed by a flash bang grenade from Zen. Saito and Riptide move in and kill or subdue the bodyguards who had taken up position in the hallway.

They spread out and search the house. Saito finds Ikara Korimichi in an upstairs bedroom with his family. Saito tells him that they are there to rescue him and his family.

Downstairs, Zen finds the security room and sees that there was a camera at the front gate, which explains why the house guards were ready for them. She realizes however, that they have a much bigger problem. It seems that the house security called for an Arasaka strike team for support and a squad was on its way via AV and would be there in a couple of minutes.

Saito immediately drops all pretenses and tells Ikara that if he does not want anything to happen to his family he needs to do everything that he is told. The rest of the team quickly loads the dead and unconscious guards into their van and have Ripper and Krissy drive away with them.

Outside, the AV does a quick circle around the property before landing in the back yard. A squad of 10 men pour out and immediately move to the house. The team quickly surrenders and tells the strike team that they had arrived and chased off the attackers and that everything is under control. The strike leader says they cannot leave until the house has been cleared. Everyone’s IDs will have to be verified as well.

Things look like they are about to go from bad to worse when Ikara, with Saito’s subtle prompting, tells the strike team leader that he needs to immediately get to his office in the Arasaka Tower. The strike leader protests, but Ikara makes it clear that this is an order. The strike leader reluctantly obeys.

Everyone begins to load into the AV. Zen quickly radios Krissy and tells her that she and Ripper should return to the house and secure the family. She also tells her to relay to Helios and Kahale that Phase 2 of the plan, which was not supposed to start until tomorrow morning is an immediate go.

They take the 10 minute flight to the Arasaka Tower. The team tries to avoid eye contact with the strike team, which is not easy considering the cramped conditions. The team’s uniforms and weapons are authentic, but the IDs could fail. On top of this, no one will believe on close inspection that Mouse is a security guard, not to mention the fact that Zen is carrying a satchel full of thermite tubes.

After the world’s longest 10 minute flight, the AV lands on the roof of Tower A. There the team sees firsthand the SAM launchers and Phalanx guns that protect the building. The AV is lowered via elevator to the hanger beneath. There everyone unloads. Zen spots Adam Smasher talking to a young female flight technician. He is bragging to her about something he has that is very large, but being a full conversion cyborg, she’s not 100% sure what he is referring to.

They descend to the security level on the 126 floor. There again, Ikara uses his authority to let them pass the checkpoint after having only shown their IDs for visual inspection. They go to his office where they force him to add their credentials to the security system and issue an emergency work order for Microtech to deliver some computer equipment to the security bunker.

They then tell him to input their security badges into the system with full security clearance. He tells them that he does not have the power to grant security clearance, which is probably true, but they also know that with his access to the system, he could make it happen none the less. Reluctantly, he goes in and adds their clearance. They then hang tight for about 10 minutes before going to the next phase. Zen stays behind to watch Ikara while Saito, Riptide and Mouse head down to the 85th floor.

Meanwhile, a Microtech painted truck rolls up the parking garage with Kahale and Helios in front, and a disassembled bomb that Mouse modified to look like server components stored in the back. Militech told them that the chemical components that would mix to detonate the bomb would not be detected by the bomb sniffing devices if kept separate. The truck parks between the bomb sensors as a guard checks their Microtech IDs. They have modified versions of Phil and Matt’s IDs with their own pictures on them.

The gate guard checks their IDs, and lets them through. They pull into the bottom floor of the parking garage and unload the disguised bomb parts. They each take their payload and enter the man trap that leads to the security bunker. They enter their PIN numbers and take the retinal scan. The upgraded cyberoptics they had installed do the trick, mimicking the retinal pattern of the Microtech employee that each is replacing. A guard issues them each a radiation tag and escorts them to the data core.

As they carry their gear to the data core they have two concerns. They used the stolen employee IDs to get past security, but the people working in the data core room will recognize that these two are not the employees they claim to be. They will need to switch tags to the ones with other names, but they need to do that without the security guard seeing.

The second problem is that based on the signage they see in the bunker regarding radiation exposure, they realize that the Arasaka Tower is powered by a self-contained, mini-pile nuclear reactor and its down here in the bunker with them and their bomb.
They arrive at the door to the data core. Helios uses his PIN to trigger the door. The guard seems satisfied and turns to walk way. The two immediately trade out their ID badges and enter the room.

The two men working in the room turn to see them and immediately ask who they are. They explain that this is an emergency call, which is why Matt and Phil aren’t doing the work as usual. The two technicians are highly suspicious. First, they had never seen a four-armed cyborg doing IT work. Second, why were they not informed about it? One of them looks in the system and sees that there is indeed a work order for an installation, and it came from Korimichi himself.

The two techs agree to allow the work to be done but insist that they directly oversee it. Helios wants to take them out, but there are cameras in the room. Instead, Kahale tells them that Koremichi instructed him to send them up to his office. They don’t believe this at all, so one of the tech’s calls up to Korimichi’s office.

Zen is sitting at Korimichi’s desk keeping an eye on the IT VP when the desk phone rings. She answers and the person on the other end identifies himself as Eric Lash from the security bunker, and asks if he and his partner ae supposed to come up and see Korimichi. Figuring this was a ploy by Helios and Kahale, she says that indeed Mr. Korimichi needs to see them both right away.

The tech hangs up the phone and tells Kahale and Helios that he and the other tech will be back shortly. As soon as they leave, the two began assembling the bomb. Aware of the camera in the room, they go about assembling the bomb as casually as possible.

Back in Korimichi’s office, the phone again rings. Zen picks up the phone and says she is Korimichi’s secretary. The voice on the other end is Burton Chambers. He demands to speak to Korimichi immediately. Zen does her best to stall him, but Chambers becomes angry very quickly. She just drops the phone and heads out the door to go down to the 85th floor.

On the 85th floor, Saito and Riptide stand guard over Mouse. Mouse suddenly stirs and announces that he has found the information regarding Chambers frame job on them, and has downloaded it to his cyberdeck. He will now begin downloading it to an offsite location. He needs to get this done quickly, because once Militech launches its distraction attack, Masslight will drop the communications wall around the tower.

Several minutes later, Zen enters the IT room where the other three are and updates them on the situation. They agree to have Zen stand guard over Mouse while the other two go deal with Chambers. Shortly after they leave, she gets a phone call from Krissy. She can barely hear Krissy over all of the heavy gun fire in the background. Krissy yells about something big coming through the roof of the house and then the phone goes dead. Zen tries to call back there is no answer.

Zen then notices that Mouse is sitting in an awkward position. She checks to see if he is ok, but he seems totally lifeless. She unplugs him from the net, which should be a shock to him, but still no response. She tries to get him to respond but nothing. Mouse had been worried about encountering the Soul Killer virus in Arasaka’s data net, since they knew it had been released. It appears that his biggest fear has come true. Mouse’s body is still alive, but his mind is gone, taken by the Soul Killer.

Zen takes out her pistol and puts it to Mouse’s head. It didn’t seem right killing their longtime friend, but she reminded herself that he is no longer there, and pulled the trigger. Unsure of whether or not he was able to send out the information, she takes his cyberdeck and places it in her satchel.

Just then, sirens begin to wail. Pre-recorded messages play over the intercom telling troops to assemble for deployment. The Militech attack has begun. This means the communication wall would be dropped in moments, leaving only the satellite antennas to be dealt with.

Zen heads up to the roof to deal with the antennas. It was supposed to be Mouse’s job to disable the antennas, but it now fell to her. What she lacks in technical knowledge, she makes up for in tubes of thermite.

Saito and Riptide arrive on the 125th floor and go to Koremichi’s office. There they find Koremichi still secured. They then wait for several minutes for Chambers to arrive, but now hearing the alarm going off to muster the troops, they figure that it’s time to go see him.
They walk across the floor to where Chamber’s apartment is located. The door is not locked. They open the door and see Burton Chambers pouring himself a drink. He invites them in and offers them a drink. They enter the apartment but turn down the drink. They ask him where Adam Smasher is. He says that Adam is currently offsite dealing with another matter.

Zen is on the roof applying thermite to the antenna. As AVs full of troops come up to the roof via the elevators and take off, everything is too chaotic to notice what she is doing. As the super-heated thermite begins to melt its way through the transmissions lines, she quickly heads downstairs to the hanger to deal with the backup antenna.

Doing her best to not draw attention to herself, she slowly makes her way over to the backup antenna. She begins prepping the last tubes of thermite when one of the elevators to the roof begins to descend. She hears Adam Smasher’s voice over a loud speaker say “People argue over what’s more bad-ass, a full conversion cyborg, or wearing power armor. I say, why not do both?” On the descending elevator is a modified suit of Arasaka power armor. It’s massive, standing a good 12 ft. tall. It has a grenade launcher mounted on one shoulder, and a heavy machine gun on the other. In its hands it clutches a rail gun. Smasher uses the railgun to blast the two remaining AVS. “Just want to make sure you don’t go anywhere,” he says. Zen looks to try and hide, but the big power armor suit turns to look right at her.

Helios and Kahale finish assembling the bomb. They switch ID tags again to Arasaka Security badges that grant them access to the building. They are out of range with the rest of the team so they don’t know how the rest of the plan is going or if their IDs have been entered into the security system and will actually work. They return to the parking garage and grab their security uniforms and weapons. They then take the elevator to the 20th floor where they pass through the first security check point. Their ID badges pass inspection and they take the next elevator up into tower A.

Helios questions what is going to happen when they detonate a bomb next to a nuclear reactor. Kahale says he saw a documentary once on these mini-pile reactors and says that it will be buried under so much concrete from the parking garage collapse that radiation exposure should be minimal. Helios then asks if the building still be standing after the reactor goes. Kahale just shrugs his shoulders. Not the answer Helios was hoping for as they ascend higher into the tower.

Burton Chamber’s apartment, Riptide and Saito have their weapons trained on Chambers. He seems none too worried. He sips his scotch and comments that it is the one drawback of being a cyborg, nothing quite tastes the same. He commends them on getting this far but he also reminds them of what he told them in the Night City Park. He is untouchable, and they are mere bugs under his foot. He tells them that he knows they got here via Korimichi and that Adam Smasher has eliminated the two team members that they left behind at Korimichi’s house. Nice try, but it’s over.

Saito agrees, thumbs the fire selector on his rifle to full-auto and empties the entire clip into Burton Chambers. The executive’s body lurches about from the bullet impacts and collapses to the floor. Saito inspects the body and sees that it is indeed a cyborg body; a very expensive one designed to look perfectly human. This is the second time he has killed Burton Chambers, but with the data core still operational, it will not be the last time they see him. Riptide points out that Chambers likely has an offsite back up system somewhere, so it is imperative that they don’t let him get outside the communications wall. Tower A has no method of escape any more, but Tower B is still operational.

In the hanger, Adam Smasher opens fire with the heavy machine gun at Zen. She tries to dive out of the way but is hit. The bad news is that she has some serious bleeding. The good news is that in his excitement to kill her, Adam Smasher destroyed the backup antenna that she was hiding behind.

The elevator carrying Helios and Kahale passes the 80th floor when their ear coms pick up the chatter from the rest of the team. The signal is full of static, but the message is clear. Blow the bomb and get to the roof of Tower B. Helios hits the button for the 90th floor and the two exit the elevator. Kahale pulls out the detonator and hopes that the two signal relays they dropped off on the way up do their job and carry the signal. He hits the button and after what seems like an eternity, the whole building shakes and seems to jump like a car going over a bump. All of the power goes out, but then emergency lights kick in and fire suppression systems go off.

The resulting chaos allows them to pass through the check point unchallenged. They run across the skywalk to Tower B. The elevators are not operational so they begin to take the stairwell the remaining 35 flights to the hanger.

Saito and Riptide reach the security level on the 125th floor. People are scrambling everywhere so no one stops them as they walk into the armory and find the two biggest electro-thermo anti-armor guns they can find. They then take the stairwell to the hanger.

Zen moves to increasing less effective cover as Adam Smasher continues to spray the area with machine gun fire. She is about to completely run out of cover when Riptide and Saito arrive from the stairwell. They fire their guns, hitting the PA suite and punching holes in the armor. Adam immediately turns is attention to them and begins pouring suppression fire into the stairwell. Both are hit, but their armor prevents the wounds from being fatal.

All around them echoes a loud sound like the rending of metal.

Zen runs up behind Adam Smasher and jumps onto the back of the PA suit. She holds on with one hand while opening one of the thermite tubes with the other. Adam Smasher drops his rail gun and reaches back and pulls Zen off his back with the crushing group of his hand. Zen is about to pass out from the pressure when she dumps the contents of the thermite tube onto the arm of the PA suit.

No longer suppressed, Saito and Riptide again appear in the doorway and open fire. Adam literally tosses Zen side and watches as the right arm of his PA suit melts off at the elbow. Now he is really mad and opens fire again with the machine gun on the stairwell door way.

This time Saito and Riptide are ready and duck back in time. But when the machine gun runs out of ammo, Adam switches to the grenade launcher and begins pumping frag grenades into the stairwell. Riptide and Saito are forced back to the security floor as a storm of shrapnel rips through the stairwell, shredding their armor and cutting into their flesh. They make it back to the security floor, but both are badly wounded.

Another loud sound is heard like the whole structure of the tower is groaning.

Zen regains consciousness and find herself laying on one of the AV elevator platforms. She rolls over to the controller and hits the ascend button. As Adam Smasher pumps grenades into the stairwell, the elevator takes her up to the roof.

She is laying on the roof of Tower A, applying some first aid to herself when she looks over at Tower B and sees an AV landing. Emerging from the hanger access is Burton Chambers, escorted by two security guards. She opens fire with her rifle but Burton Chambers merely laughs at her feeble attempt to stop him.

Suddenly, for everyone in Tower A, the whole world moves. There is a loud series of bangs and several of the crosswalks explode from metal fatigue and Tower A seems to shrink by several floors and then lean over and collapse into Tower B.

Zen is forced to grab hold of the elevator controller in order to avoid sliding across the roof and slamming into the side of Tower B.

In the hanger, Adam Smasher loses his footing, falls over and slides feet first across the hanger, one of his legs getting stuck in the stairwell door.

Helios and Kahale arrive at the Tower B Hanger. They just ran up 35 flights of stairs and pure adrenaline is the only thing keeping them from collapsing. They immediately begin to climb the access ladder to the roof.

They emerge on to the roof to see Burton Chambers getting into an AV. They immediately begin exchanging fire with the two security guards.

Saito and Riptide reenter the stairwell and see the leg of the PA suit sticking though the doorway. They cautiously approach and do not see any movement. The two push hard on the leg, making just enough room to squeeze past it. But when they are to get around the PA suit, they discover that the suit has been opened and Adam Smasher is no longer inside.

On the roof of Tower B, Burton Chambers climbs into the AV as his bodyguards trade fire with Helios and Kahale. They know that if that AV is able to fly outside of the communications wall, all of this will have been for nothing.

On the slanted roof of Tower A, Zen begins to consider how she can safely slide to the edge of the building and climb the 40 feet to get to the roof of Tower B. Several of the blast resistant windows have shattered, so she may be able to climb into the tower.

Just as she is preparing to slide down, a roof access hatch opens and out climbs Adam Smasher. He is no longer in his power armor, but he is still a full conversion cyborg and appears unscathed, whereas Zen is barely combat effective. He begins the climb towards her, yelling various horrible things he intends to do to her.

Over at Tower B, Helios kills one of the bodyguards as Kahale begins shooting at the AV. The AV appears to be up armored, and shrugs off the shots. It begins to lift into the air.

On Tower A, Adam Smasher reaches Zen and attacks with his mono-knife. Zen desperately tries to dodge the blows, but Adam is relentless. Suddenly he jolts as armor piercing slugs punch into his body. He turns to see Riptide standing by the access hatch with the big rifle he took from the armory. Adam slides down the roof looking to cannonball right into Riptide.

On Tower B, Helios takes down the other bodyguard as the AV begins to fly away. Kahale launches a full salvo of mini-missiles from his cyberarms. They strike the AV just as it clears the roof. At first the AV looks unaffected, but then there is a loud bang as smoke and fire begin to pour out of one of the vector thrust engines. Knowing that the AV was about to lose flight capability and that there is no surviving the 1,680 foot drop to the street, the pilot quickly turns the AV around and crashes it in the roof go Tower B.

On Tower A, Smasher slams into Riptide, sending his gun flying. Adam stabs Riptide with his mono knife. The ultra-sharp blade combined with Adam’s enhanced strength allow the knife to cut through Riptide’s armor and his skin weave and slice deep into flesh and bone. The wound is potentially fatal, but Riptide does his best to keep Smasher’s attention on him.

On Tower B, Helios and Kahale grab the access door on the AV and together, pull it off of its hinges. Kahale enters and is immediately attacked by Burton Chambers. The two cyborgs duke it out, but eventually the four-armed Kahale gets the upper hand and grapples Burton, holding him in place. Helios pops his wolver claws and decapitates Burton Chambers.

On Tower A, Adam Smasher is about to deliver the killing blow to Riptide when he feels the barrel of a gun pressed against his head. He turns to see Saito holding an anti-armor electro-thermo rifle against his head. He is about to make a smart ass comment when Saito pulls the trigger. Smasher’s skull explodes, sending pieces of metal and brain matter everywhere.

Saito helps Riptide staunch his bleeding. He looks up to see Helios standing on the edge of Tower B. He drops something off the edge and lands near Saito. Its Burton Chamber’s head. The brain case has cracked and brain matter is leaking out.

The team does a status check, each group learns that the other has survived and that Chambers and Smasher are dead. They can see that below them, multiple fires burn, and Tower A experiences another explosion and drops another few feet. It is likely only minutes away from total collapse. They then here the roar of vector thrust engines as several Arasaka AVs arrive. Their first reaction is to figure out how to fight or flee, but then they realize they are all wearing Arasaka uniforms and IDs.

Rescue teams rappel down ropes and begin doing triage on the team and the other wounded personnel. Eventually they are flown to Night City Park, where Arasaka has set up a rally point and emergency medical center. Over a hundred wounded people are being attended to.

Using the chaos and confusion of the scene, the team slowly and quietly disappears into the night.

It is finally over. Chambers and Smasher are dead, this time for good. They have the evidence to clear their names and get their lives back. But it cost the lives of three of their friends: Mouse, Ripper, and Krissy. Was it worth it? That will be for each of them to decide.