Episode 51 - The Island of Dr Monroe
August 16th, 2041
With the jet refueled, it returns to the island and again they request permission to land. Again they are denied despite their multiple requests. The team again consider their options when the pilot calls out in confusion and surprise. The team looks out the front of the plane and sees a massive flock of birds. They only have a moment to consider the fact that they are flying too high for birds when the flock hits the jet. Both engines absorb birds and quickly flame out. Multiple birds slam into the front of the plane, shattering the cockpit window and hitting the pilot, killing him. As the pilot collapses, the plane banks and pitches forward. With no pilot and no engines, the team watches as the ocean looms before them and they rapidly plunge towards it.
While the rest of the team begins to look for emergency gear, Helios makes his way to the cockpit, pulls the dead pilot out of his seat and straps in. The wind blasting him in the face makes it almost impossible to see, but he is able to assess that the manual controls are shot. He jacks into the vehicle link and begins to get a feel for the controls. Helios has never actually flown a jet before, but since both engines are gone, it’s really more of a glider than a jet at this point.
In the back, the team finds parachutes and life jackets and began to strap them on. The jet is moving too fast to jump though. Helios fights with the controls and is able to maneuver the jet into a glide. He might be able to get the plane to slow enough for the others to jump, but he will need to stay at the controls.
As the plane slows, the other team members jump out and parachute into the ocean several miles from the island. They watch as the plane glides the remainder of the way to the island, hits the beach and slides a full mile inland to the edge of the jungle. Unsure of Helios’ fate, they ditch their parachutes, group together, and begin the long, slow swim to the island.
At the edge of the jungle, a door opens on the smoking wreckage of the jet and Helios tumbles out battered and bruised. After making sure that all limbs and major organs were still intact, he begins pulling out weapons and survival gear and prepared to camp until the others arrive.
The others are swimming towards the island when they spot two sharks closing in on them. At first they hope that the sharks might ignore them, but them one takes a bite at Zen. Her body armor protects her from the worst of it, but in the moment of the attack, she sees that the shark is cyber enhanced with sensors and what looks like advanced neuralware, the very sort of technology the Prinn Institute is known for. Both sharks circle and attack. Targeting the sharks swimming around them while floating in life vests proves to be very difficult. Finally, Kahale, the four armed cyborg, is able to grab hold of one of the sharks using one pair of arms while blasting it at point blank range with the pistols in his other arms. Saito is able to draw a bead on the other shark and takes it out with his assault rifle.
Back on the island, Helios is making camp, tending to his many cuts and bruises when he hears movement in the jungle. He sees nothing and is about to switch to thermo-optics when an enormous black figure leaps out of the jungle and hits him, sending him flying several feet. He hits the ground and recovers quickly, but notices that he has gained several more deep cuts. To make matters worse, his attacker appears to be a large cyber-enhanced gorilla complete with a pair of wolvers. He checks is surroundings and sees his Militech Mark V rifle laying by the plane fuselage. Knowing he cannot get to it, he pops his own wolvers and decides to take on the gorilla.
It does not go well. The gorilla is as fast as Helios and way stronger. Every blow feels like a sledge hammer, and every slash of the wolvers cuts through his armor and into his flesh. If it weren’t for Helios’ subdermal armor and muscle grafts, the gorilla would have broken every bone in his body. Knowing he can’t win, he decides to go out fighting and charges the gorilla, who easily picks him up and throws him.
Helios hits the ground and waits for the gorilla to come over and deliver the killing blow. But when he looks up, Helios realizes he has landed a few feet from his Mark V. The gorilla seems to recognize the threat and begins to charge. Helios musters the last of his strength to lunge forward and grab the rifle. He rolls to his left, brings up the rifle and opens fire. The electro-thermal rounds rip into the gorilla. The gorilla is stunned for only a moment, but it’s enough time for Helios to fire another four-round burst. The gorilla staggers and Helios fires again. Finally, the beast collapses. Helios simply lays back, staring up at the night sky, fairly confident that surviving a plane crash and a gorilla attack in the same day has to be some sort of first.
The rest of the team is closing in on the shore when they spot several more sharks closing in on them. Kahale uses the mini-missiles mounted in one of his cyber-arms to blast the sharks. The sharks are wounded but continue to close in. The team is better prepared and coordinate their attacks and are able to kill or drive off the sharks. Finally they make it to shore.
They followed the wreckage to the fuselage of the plane and find Helios passed out next the body of a large gorilla. The team takes some time to get themselves patched up and then head into the jungle.
They have been trekking through the jungle for several hours when they become of aware that they are being stalked. Thermo-optics reveals all kinds of life in the jungle, but a half dozen large cats stand out. The cyber-form panthers attack. They are extremely quick and are on the team in an instant. The cats move and pounce with lighting reflexes. Kahale lays down suppression fire with his heavy machine while the others take advantage and target the cats. Eventually the team is victorious, but they take more wounds with Riptide taking the worst of it.
August 17th, 2041
They continue on through the night, running on adrenaline. It isn’t long before they realize that they are being tracked by more cats. They are unsure they can survive another attack as banged up as they already are. They consult the satellite map they were given and decide to head up into the nearby hills. According to the map, there is a communications station on top of the one of the islands small mountains.
Around 3:00 AM they arrive at the transmission station. There is a com shack there that is unoccupied. They decide to hole up in it and get some much needed shut eye.
They maintain a watch rotation and notice that the longer they are there, the more birds there seem to be in the trees, watching them. As the dawn comes they are able to recognize the birds as the same kind they took down their jet.
Around 10:00 AM, they begin to head out. Saito notices that when Helios leaves the shack, the pattern of the bird calls changes. Listening closely he realizes that the chirps and clicks are a form of modified military code. Falling back on his training that he received a life time ago in the Mossad, he deciphers the code and realizes the birds are says “You killed my mommy.” Just like the birds, everyone begins looking at Helios.
Once everyone has wrapped their head around this new development, Saito tries communicating with the birds. At first, it does not seem to work, but when he indicates that Tobias Luna is in trouble and that they are there to help, one of the birds flies down and lands on Saito’s arm.
Certain now that he is somehow communicating with Tobias’ son, Mathew, Saito does his best to distract Mathew from the whole Helios having killed his mother thing and explains that they need to see Tobias because he is in great danger. Mathew communicates back via the chirps and clicks made by the bird, explaining that he does not know where his father is. He seems to have disappeared a few days ago. Saito asks where Mathew is, and Mathew responds that he is at the house. Zen and Riptide check the satellite map that Militech has given them and notice that near the central village on the island is a house standing alone on a hill. Saito tells Mathew that they will come to the house and help him find his dad.
They spend the next several hours trekking to the house on the hill. This time they are left alone by the local cyber-enhanced wild life.
As they approach the hill, they see a combat cyborg patrolling the grounds along with several cyber-form guard dogs. As they approach the house, the guard dogs close in, but then back off. This seems to be a cue for the combat cyborg to leave them alone as well, although it tracks them with its autocannon the whole way.
They arrive at the front door and knock. They are greeted by a full conversion cyborg butler who welcomes them in. He explains that this house belongs to the island’s director, Dr. Evelyn Monroe. She is currently touring the island, overseeing the various research projects taking place.
They ask him about Mathew, and he says that Mathew is upstairs and is not to be disturbed. They are taken aback when they ask him about Tobias Luna and the butler explains matter-of-factly that he is dead, as Dr. Monroe has killed him. The butler then offers them dinner.
The team sits at the dining room table having a rather nice meal. Saito scans the house with his thermos-optics and finds the boy on the top floor of the house. He asks to use the bathroom which is on the second floor. The butler escorts him there. While in the bathroom, he tries to communicate with Mathew, but gets no response.
After Saito returns, the team is finishing up their meal when they hear a helicopter approach. It lands on the lawn outside and a middle-aged woman steps out. She comes to the house and lets herself in. She introduces herself as Dr. Monroe and says she is a bit disappointed that they are still alive. Nothing personal, she explains, but the fact that they survived multiple attacks by the cyberforms, even when the cyberforms were being guided by Mathew via the videogame interface he is using, means the project still has a long ways to go. But since they have survived, she says she might as well show them what they came to see.
She motions for them to follow her and they do. They climb into her helicopter and are taken to one of the research facilities on the south side of the island. From the exterior, the facility looks old and ramshackle, with numerous guards and combat cyborgs moving about. But once inside, they take an elevator to the subbasement level, which reveals a state-of-the-art cybernetics research facility.
They pass through several labs including one that contains Jace Grant, in cryo-freeze. They are about to ask why he is here when she waves them on to one final room. It’s a very spartan bedroom, although as pristine as the labs. A young thin blonde man is his 20’s is watching several monitors, but turns to greet them as they enter.
He commends the on finding their way here. Both Saito and Zen immediately ask if they are speaking to Tobias Luna. He confirms that he is. He fled to the island, both to be with Dr. Monroe, who he has been seeing for some time, but also to escape Burton Chambers.
He had been working with Chambers on a project that would allow someone to transfer their consciousness from one body to another. They had tried digital transference, both via the device that found its way into Torrent’s head as well as direct downloading, which is what Masslight had been created to assist with. They also tried cloning a person with a mind designed for transference, as with the clone named Adam.
They reached a major breakthrough nearly two years ago, when they realized they need not clone an entire person. Instead, they could clone an individual’s brain, mount it into a cyborg body, and have the person transfer their consciousness into that brain. They came extremely close to success, but ultimately could not successfully transfer consciousness.
Luna was frankly glad they failed. While fascinated by the project initially, he began to have doubts about effectively granting someone immortality by letting them jump from body to body, creating a mind that could exist both in physical world and on the net. When it became clear to him that Burton Chambers saw it as a form of apotheosis, he began to have his doubts. Chambers also talked about eliminating all of those who might be able to duplicate their work, such as Dr. Kilacho. It became clear that Chambers wanted this for himself only.
Burton Chambers believed that the creators of the legendary Soul Killer virus had figured out the secret to transferring consciousness. But they were all dead, and the virus was locked away, only to be used in an emergency. Luna believed the project dead at that point.
But then the new corporate war was started. At first Luna did not make the connection, but eventually figured out the Chambers had engineered the one scenario where Arasaka would bring the virus out of the vault, a war with Militech.
As soon as it was out, he made a copy and went to work. Things began to change rapidly. Chambers soon saw Luna as a rival, not an ally. He already blamed Luna for losing both Masslight and Adam. When he demanded Luna find out what the team was smuggling into Night City, another task at which Luna failed, Chambers sent Adam Smasher to kill him. Luna was able to disappear with his son before that happened. When he heard that Adam Smasher was killed by a direct head shot at the Cult of the New Dawn compound only to reappear a few weeks later in Night City, Luna new Chambers had succeeded, and likely used Smasher as a test to make sure it would work before trying it on himself.
With Chambers immortal, and having the keys to the resources at Arasaka, he would settle for now less than world domination. Chambers was the kind of man where anything less than everything was not enough.
Luna decided to wait out the end of the world here on the island. Unfortunately, Chambers has his spies at the Prinn Institute and he soon learned that Luna was there. He ordered Dr. Monroe to have Luna killed which she did, only to secretly have his brain transferred into this cyborg body. Luna tells them he has not yet figured out how to explain this all to his son.
He looks at Helios, the man who killed his wife and says, “That reminds me, I wonder if this still works.” He reaches into a drawer and pulls out a watch. He taps a couple of buttons on the watch and looks at Helios. After nothing happens for several seconds, he shrugs and puts the watch back in the drawer. When the team asks what that was about, he explains that shortly after Helios killed his wife, Luna had a nano-bot virus injected into Helios. He wondered if it was still there, but since Helios did not just fall over dead, they must have discovered the virus at some point and removed it. Between the seemingly indifferent attitude that Luna has regarding his murdered wife and the way he just casually tried to kill out Helios out of curiosity, the team wonders if he is any saner that Burton Chambers.
They ask him how to stop Chambers. He explains that there is likely a central server that functions as the hub for Chambers’ and Smasher’s consciousness. If the team can somehow cut them off from the net, and destroy that server, they will likely kill Chambers and Smasher once and for all. When asked where the server would be, Luna explains that he is certain that it is in the Arasaka Tower in Night City.
So all the team has to do is shut down the Net, storm one of the most fortified buildings on the planet and destroy a server that could be on any one of its 130 floors. Clearly it’s an insane idea. But then Luna points out that if they are able to save Chamber’s memories, they will likely have all the evidence they need to clear their names and get their lives back.
The plan is still insane, but suddenly it doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world.