Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 15 Enter the Smasher

After the incident at Club Nero, Riptide and Saito spent some time recuperating at the hospital. Torrent finished work on a lighter version of the Wraith program he had created. He was getting ready to sell it when he realized that selling it directly may be dangerous as he could not count on his clients to keep quiet should someone come looking for the creator of the program. He began to consider using the services of a fixer.

Once out of the hospital, Saito spoke to Dollar Bill who was able to find him an Arasaka WSSE sniper rifle, which fires a .50 caliber electro-thermo round. It would cost a cool $5,600, and take a week to get, but Saito feels it is worth it.

December 7th, 2037

Riptide is hard at work keeping hands off of strippers at the Golden Saloon when he is approached by Hand. Hand has a corporate job for Riptide and his companions. A corp is being extorted by another corp, and intends to put an end to it. The problem is that the first corp doesn’t know who the second corp is because the second corp is using a law firm as a go between. The job is to find out who the extortionist is and eliminate him or her along with whatever evidence he or she has.

They settle on a price of $2,000 when the person is identified, and another $7,000 when the job is complete. The details are that the corp being extorted is named Cyrus Norton. The law firm is Howard, Fine, and Howard here in Night City. Once the person is identified, they are to contact a solo staying in town named Adam Smasher. They are then to assist Adam in eliminating the person and destroying the evidence.

Riptide punches out early and goes home to share the news with the team. When he gets there he finds out that Jarvic is in Torrent’s apartment, where the two are watching movies of an adult persuasion. He interrupts their little film festival to give the details on the job.

Figuring that there is no time like the present, Torrent downloads a selection of programs to his cyberdeck, and dives in the Net. He finds the Howard, Fine and Howard datafortress easily enough and uses his wraith program to pass through the wall. He is able to bypass a couple of watchdogs undetected as he looks through several files, finding mostly useless information. Unfortunately, the datafortress uses Black ICE and Torrent finds himself under attack by zombies, forcing him to jack out.

He waits for a while and then attempts a run on the datafortress again. Much to his surprise, the fortress walls have adapted to his wraith program and won’t let him pass through. So he instead uses his Raffles decryption program to crack one of the code gates. The program makes light work of the code gate, but a watchdog immediately starts barking when he enters. Torrent immediately goes to the remaining CPU to look at its files. He is attacked by a Datadarts anti-personal program but he is able to de-rezz it using his own anti-program. He begins checking files when he is attacked by another Datadarts program. This one is able to hit him as he takes a jolt of bio-feedback directly to the brain. Despite being stunned, he is able to de-rezz that program as well, and continues to search the files. He eventually finds a file containing the name Cyrus Norton and makes a quick copy of the information. Just as he completes the task, a NetWatch Netrunner appears. Torrent is able to jack out just before the Netrunner can hit him with a glue program.

Torrent has a splitting headache and is exhausted. Before he climbs into bed he shares the information with the group. The file contains Cyrus Norton’s address in Detroit Michigan. It also contains an address for an Alex Sizemore. Alex’s address is listed as apartment 36E located in the Alpha Tower of the New Harbor Mallplex. The Alpha Tower is an executive tower that requires access passes that only grant access to specific floors. The file also contains a small notation: a series of four numbers.

Riptide puts in a call to Adam Smasher. Adam sounds high strung but friendly enough. He agrees to meet them at the Forlorn Hope the next morning. In the mean time, he wants to know where in town he can score some action of the female persuasion. Riptide sends him to the Golden Saloon. This leads to an angry phone call a couple of hours later from the owner of the Saloon demanding to know why Riptide would send some borderline cyber-psychotic to his establishment. Riptide is able to salvage the situation by sending Adam to another establishment that may be more suitable to his needs.

December 8th, 2037

In the morning, Zen, Riptide, Jarvic and Helios go to the Forlorn Hope to meet Adam Smasher. Adam appears to be in his mid-thirties, of average height, but heavily muscled. He wears a bright orange “Hard Rock Café – Detroit” sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off and the neck enlarged.

He is excited to meet the team and is clearly pumped about going after Alex Sizemore. He asks Helios if they have met before, because he looks familiar, but Helios responds that he doesn’t think they have every met. Adam is is a little disappointed when the team looks to him for a plan. He clearly expected them to develop one. He indicates that the best course of action would be to hit Alex where he lives; giving them the best chance to take him out and find his “dirt file” at the same time. The team agrees, and begins to formulate a plan to get into Alpha Tower.

Adam says he has some shopping to do and leaves them to their planning. The Professor then indicates that somebody needs to pay Adam’s tab. Riptide inquires about the amount, and the Professor points to a neighboring table crammed full of empty beer bottles. Riptide calls Adam on the phone and says he wants the $2,000 they were promised for learning Alex’s identity. Adam returns and tosses them an envelope. Before he can leave again, Riptide points out the bar tab. Adam pays it and leaves again.

After considerable debate, the team decides to pose as a remodeling crew that needs to get into Alex’s apartment, 36E. They contact Torrent and ask him to hack the Mallplex’s server and see if he can get into their work-order system and drop in an approved work –order with security clearance for their group.

Torrent dives into the Net and hacks their system. It is not nearly was well defended as the law firm’s, and he finds what he needs quickly. Torrent forges some ID information and drops in some documents clearing the team for access to 36E. Torrent has little skill in forgery, but everything appears to be in order.

Helios then uses his ID printer to create IDs matching the information that Torrent placed in the Mallplex’s system. The team then goes shopping for equipment. Everyone purchases overalls. Some, expecting trouble, spring for armored overalls.

Once everything is set up, they load up the van that they had acquired during the Club Nero incident and drive to the Forlorn Hope. There, Adam was waiting for them with his own gear. Riptide had called earlier and let Adam know what he would need.

Everyone threw on their overalls, and loaded up boxes with weapons and gear, placing tools and other construction related items on top. They then drove to the New Harbor Mallplex. They pulled up to the service lot where they were stopped at a checkpoint. Helios, in the driver seat, hands the guard his fake ID. The guard glancs at it quickly and then waves them on through.

They pull up to the loading dock and begin to unload their equipment. A mall employee tells them that they will need to stop at the security office where their work-order will be verified, their boxes inspected, and their IDs checked. As they walk down the hallway towards the security office, Adam mumbles that he is concerned about the guards inspecting the boxes.

Riptide and Zen go into the office with everyone’s IDs. One guard watches them closely while the other looks at the IDs and the paper work. The second guard looks at the IDs and papers several times and then announces he needs to make a phone call. Riptide asks why, but the guard states that it is simply a formality. He then goes into a back room to make his call.

Out in the hall, Helios, who has been listening in, relays to the others what has happened. Adam apparently decides that their cover is blown, as he walks into the office, pulls out a silenced pistol, and shoots the guard in the head. He begins to search the body for a master access card. Riptide runs into the back room where the other guard is on the phone talking about apartment 36E.

At first Riptide tries to act innocent, and wants to know what the delay is. The guard doesn’t buy it though and goes for his gun. Riptide pulls his two pistols and opens fire. The guard goes down in a hail of bullets, but everyone in the receiving area hears the shots. As Riptide prepares to leave he hears a voice shouting on the other end of the phone to stand down, and that a strike team is on the way.

Javic goes back to the door to the loading dock to see how the other employees are reacting. The employees had heard the shots and were scattering. A side door opens and another guard steps out. Helios jumps on him and the two begin to wrestle. Saito heads to the other end of the hall, which opens into a larger hallway. On one end is a service elevator.

Adam Smasher steps out of the security room with the guard’s pass in his hand and gathers his gear. Riptide and Zen also emerge, and the group begins a discussion about whether or not to abort the mission, even as Helios continues to struggle with the guard. The matter is settled however when Adam heads toward the service elevator and asks, “So are we going to do this, or do you guys gotta go put your tampons in?”

Most of the group moves to follow Adam. The guard Helios is struggling with suddenly passes out. Helios pushes him away to see Jarvic standing there with a syringe gun. The two then catch up as everyone jumps into the elevator. Adam pushes the security card in and hits the button marked “36.” The elevator begins to ascend.

While the Muzak chimes in the background, the team preps their weapons. Jarvic quickly gets out of his jump suit, and begins putting on his Medic combat armor. He barley gets it on as the elevator stops and the doors open.

In the middle of the hall is a security guard who apparently did not get word about what was happening. He is about to take a drag off of his cigarette when he turns to see the elevator full of armed individuals. Time seems to stop for a moment and each side stares at the other. Then the door to Apartment 36E flies open and Alex Sizemore comes running out yelling, “Shoot them!” as he makes a break for the emergency stairwell.

The guard pulls his gun and begins shooting wildly as he runs after Alex. Riptide, and Adam open fire on the guard who manages to avoid being hit. Saito brings his M-16 to his shoulder and draws a bead on Alex. Just as Alex is about to disappear into the stairwell, he is brought down by Saito’s bullet. The guard does make it to the stairwell and begins sprinting down the steps as fast as his legs will carry him.

Torrent pulls open the elevator control panel and plugs his cyberdeck into its interface. He plugs the cyberdeck into his neural co-processor and a few moments later, seizes control of the building’s elevator system. He begins sending elevators to random floors and locking them their.

Jarvic and Zen rush into Alex’s apartment and begin to look around. It is a spacious luxury apartment with several guest rooms, a large living room area and a fully stocked bar. Jarvic bypasses all of this and continues searching, skipping rooms until he finds the one he is looking for: the office.

Torrent joins the search while Adam watches the stairwell. Saito remains by the door to the apartment, as Helios and Riptide make sure that Alex is dead. Jarvic rifles through the office and finds an analog combination safe. He radios Torrent for the number sequence that was in the file. Sure enough, the combination opens the safe. In side he finds personal papers and well as $2,000 in cash, which he pockets. He finds two envelopes inside: one large one labeled “C.N.” and a smaller envelope labeled “A.S.” He grabs both.

Adam yells that an Arasaka strike team is making its way up the stairwell. Everyone double times it getting back to the elevator. Adam pauses briefly to arm a grenade and toss it down the stairwell. He then heads for the elevator as well. As the last of them jump into the elevator, three Arasaka soldiers rush into the hallway and open fire on the team. Bullets pour into the elevator, most striking body armor, but a couple bullets get through. No one is seriously wounded however. After what seems like an eternity, the doors shut and the elevator begins to descend.

While the elevator drops, and the Muzak plays, Adam asks for the info on Cyrus Norton. Jarvic hands him the envelope labeled “C.N.” Adam quickly looks through it and seems satisfied. He informs the team that he left the remaining $7,000 of his payment with the Professor. They could pick it up at the Forlorn Hope. He also points out that there is more than three members to a Arasaka strike team and that in all likelihood, the others were waiting for them at the bottom.

The team formulates a quick plan. At the last second they hit the second floor button. The doors open and they poor into the hallway. They run to the stairwell, but hear the first floor door burst open.

Adam turns and smashes his way through an apartment door. The others hear a woman scream and a man demand to know what it happening, followed immediately by a gunshot. The rest of the team enters the apartment to see a terrified woman and a sobbing child, and a man bleeding on the ground. Adam is already on his way to the far bedroom.

Most of the team follows on but Jarvic stops for a moment to check the man. He is still alive, but barely. He finds the man’s trauma card and breaks it, activating the transmitter that would summon a trauma team. Using his drug injection gun, he pumps a shot of ‘dorphs into the man’s neck in the hopes it will keep him alive long enough for the trauma team to get there.

The strike team can be heard in the hallway, but soon the sound of breaking glass fills the room as Adam runs right through the window and drops fifteen feet to the ground below. He barely breaks his stride as he takes off into the night.

The others all follow suit, but don’t land as gracefully. There are no broken bones, but a few twisted ankles and strained muscles.

At first they consider going for the van, but then the sound of an AV-4 coming off of the roof of the tower changes their minds. They instead scatter in every direction, hoping to get to and blend in with the crowds that flood the Night City streets after dark.

Most are able to do exactly that. But Jarvic suddenly finds himself in midst of a spot light as the AV hovers over him. Soon there is the barking of machine gun fire as multiple rounds chew up his combat armor. People began to scatter in a panic. Several innocent bystanders are struck. Another burst hits Jarvic who desperately looks for a place to hide, but his armor holds.

The machinegun goes quiet for a moment as its operator switches to armor piercing rounds. Luckily for Jarvic, those few seconds buy him enough time to find some cover to hide under it. The AV-4 circles the area for several minutes, but eventually gives up and flies away.

Riptide stops at the Forlorn Hope and talks to the Professor. As promised, an envelope containing $7,000 was waiting for him. Adam Smasher may be crazy, but he seems to be honest.

Everyone except Adam Smasher rendezvous back at their home. Money is counted and wounds are bandaged. They lost the van, but between the payment and the money Jarvic took from the safe, they made $11,000 in the run.

Jarvic opens the “A.S.” envelope and finds it stands not for Alex Sizemore, but for Adam Smasher. It seems Alex was assembling a dossier on him as well. It seems Adam spent his youth in a gang as well as in and out of jail. As soon as he was old enough, he joined the army, where he was part of an air assault unit. He went solo after that, working for several employers, but did repeated jobs for Cyrus Norton. Most were against Militech assets, and most ended in lots of collateral damage. The documents contained a list of some of his bloodier work.

When one particular incident is read aloud, Helios flies into a rage. The incident was a hit on a Militech employee named Edward Arp in March 27th, 2036. That was a day forever burned into Helios’ memory. It was the day he stood at an altar, facing his bride to be. Before the ceremony could be completed, an armed and masked strike team stormed the wedding and opened fire indiscriminately into the small crowd of attendees. Helios survived, but his bride didn’t. It wasn’t until later that he learned the target of the hit was an attendee named Edward Arp.

Helios spent the five months between that day and when he was captured and sent to Colombia searching for the killer. Now it turns out he just helped that same killer eliminate someone else. Adam’s comment about Helios looking familiar suddenly made sense. He demanded to know why Riptide did not say anything. It was Riptide that Helios was going to meet when they were both captured. It was Riptide who supposedly had a name for him of someone involved in the hit. But Riptide explained that the information he did have made no mention of Adam Smasher or Cyrus Norton.

Once the rage subsided, Helios remained in shock. He had him right there the whole time, and let Adam get away. He consoled himself with one thought thoughy. Now he knew who he was looking for, and he would have his revenge.