Cyberpunk 2036

Episode 28 - Data Haven

The team was able to close out the remainder of the year without incident. Normally, two months without work was frowned upon, but they were pretty banged up right about then, so the time off was appreciated.

January 14th, 2039

Riptide is working at the Golden Saloon when he is approached by a Filipino man named Kona. His is a fixer with a big job opportunity. He is offering 60 large for a two-part task.

The second part of the task will be stealing a personnel file from a data haven in an undisclosed location. But before that, they need to complete the first part of the mission.

The first part involves stealing a helicopter from an OTEC facility located in Night City. It needs to be stolen on the evening of the 18th, and taken to a designated spot out in the desert. There they will immediately set out on their second task. Riptids accepts the job.

January 15th, 3039

Zen uses her resources at Infocomp to find out what she can on OTEC. She learnes that the full name is Ocean Technology & Energy Corporation. The company specializes in sea going vessels and platforms. Their main source of income is offshore oil rigs and the ships that service those platforms.

Riptide does his own research, but on Kona. He learns that he is a small time dealer whose preferred market is stolen vehicle parts. A $60,000 data theft seems like a big score for such a small timer.

Saito stakes out the OTEC station. It is set on the water’s edge, fully fenced with a warehouse and two small hangers. He watches as a Bell-Huey CCK lands on a chopper pad. Technicians come out, fold up the rotors, and wheel it into one of the hangers.

That evening, Zen hitches a ride on the bottom of a transport truck bound for the secure warehouse across the street. Once inside, she sneaks over to the building that was closest to the road. She then sets up two cyber-cameras that can be accessed via Mouse’s computer and aims them at the OTEC facility.

She then tries to use the same method to get back out. Unfortunately, the truck hits a bump and she loses her grip. She narrowly avoids being run over, but someone has spotted what has happened and armed guards were now approaching her position. When the first guard arrives, she is able to subdue him and use him as a human shield long enough to make her exit.

Afterwards, Saito watches to see what the reaction inside the warehouse facility is. The staff and security are focused on the warehouse inventory, trying to see if anything has been stolen or vandalized. No one even comes close to spotting the cameras that are aimed at the facility across the street.

January 16th, 2039

This is Mouse’s day to do what he does. He records all of the video from the cameras watching the OTEC facility. He also hacks their computer system to see what they have for security. At the end of the day, he makes his report.

The fence surrounding the facility has vibration sensors. Pretty much every square foot of ground space is covered by cameras. OTEC uses its own security and does not contract it out. They have two guards on staff at anytime, working in 8-hour shifts. There are also 3-4 technicians on the premises at any given time.

While all of this is going on, Helios goes in search of a transponder for a helicopter. It takes some looking and a few thousand dollars, but he is able to find one.

January 17th, 2039

In the early morning hours, Saito and Riptide drive out the OTEC facility. Around 8:00 AM the two security guards who have completed their shift, drive off of the site and head towards their homes. Saito and Riptide each follow one guard. They are able to determine where each guard lives, and their living situation, including family, schedule of spouses, kids, and home security systems.

They then return back to the team headquarters. There they sit down and iron out a plan to steal the helicopter.

January 18th, 2039

During the day, Riptide and Saito each visit the homes of the guards they had followed. In both cases, the guard is secured, and then the edgerunner waits for the family members to return home and then they are secured as well.

Then they each drive the guard’s vehicle to the OTEC facility. They arrive around 11:00 PM. Each pulls up to the gate and uses the guard’s security badge to open the gate. First Riptide pulls in and then Saito does as well. They drive the vehicles into the hanger where the guards typically park.

Then, before the gate can close, the rest of the team, in a Robo-Rental van, piggyback in. This of course immediately alerts the guards already there with guns drawn. The team members are able to stall the guards long enough for Riptide and Saito to come up from behind the unsuspecting guards and relieve them of their weapons.

The guards are tied up and thrown into the back of the Robo-Rental. The return button is hit, and the vehicle begins the process of driving itself back to the Robo-Rental lot.

Helios begins the process of swapping out transponders while the others go into the warehouse and secure the technicians. The techs offer little resistance. Mouse hacks in remotely and disables the security alarms and cameras.

After roughly 20 minutes, the transponders are swapped and the team climbs into the CCK. Helios then flies the chopper out to the meeting point.

They arrive in the desert where they meet with Kona. He explains that they will be stealing the data from an offshore data haven roughly 180 miles out to sea. The data haven is owned and operated by Infocomp. The file they need is on an EBM employee named Fredrick Shumann.

The data haven has a 10-man guard team as well as an automated defense system designed to eliminate enemy ships and aircraft. He explains that they need not worry about that though, because the chopper’s transponder will let the platform know that it is a friendly.

The team needs to go immediately. Once the chopper is discovered stolen, its transponder code will be taken off of the platform’s friendly list.

The team immediately takes off, but not for the platform. They instead return to the OTEC station. Luckily no one seems to have yet discovered what happened. Helios swaps out the transponders again, returning the correct one to the chopper. About 15 minutes later, they are airborne and on their way to the data haven.

About an hour later they come upon a platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. On one end is a helipad. Next to that is a freight elevator positioned between two surface to air missile systems. Behind that is a control tower and back behind the control tower is a couple of loading cranes. As they approach the helipad they see ten guards in armored Infocomp uniforms and equipped with submachine guns. Four of them are positioned on the helipad itself.

Helios brings the chopper down. Saito and Riptide, still wearing the OTEC uniforms, step out with Mouse. Two of the guards immediately approach them and demand to know who Mouse is.

Riptide explains that OTEC has reason to believe that someone has found an exploit in the computer hardware that OTEC used when constructing the platform. The guards explain that they cannot let anyone off of the helipad that is not preauthorized. Riptide agrees to go with one of the guards to the control tower to get things cleared up.

They head to the control tower where the head of security, a comms officer and the executive officer are waiting. Riptide tells the executive officer that he could call the OTEC team leader, but being 2:00 AM, he may not be apprised of the situation as the security issue came up at the last minute.

The officer makes the call, and as Riptide had hoped, the OTEC guy on the other end has no idea what is going on, but will make a call to his office to find out what was going on. The problem is that it would not be long before OTEC learns of what has happened to their chopper and then things will go south fast.

Zen gets out of the chopper and begins to chat up one of the guards. Saito then approaches another guard demanding to know what is taking so long. He insists that he be allowed to go to the tower to make sure his partner is okay. Eventually the guard gets tired of arguing and calls the tower. The head of security says he will go down to the helipad.

Riptide waits until the security officer is about half way to the helipad. Then he pulls his weapons and points them at the security guard still in the tower. He orders everyone to drop their weapons and they comply.

The head of security makes it to the helipad and explains the situation to Saito. Saito decides that he is satisfied with the explanation. The security head radios the situation to the tower. The comms officer calmly makes a reply as Riptide holds a gun to his head.

The head of security returns to the tower to find the rest of the command crew tied up and Riptide waiting for him. Riptide disarms him and secures him as well. Riptide then gives the all clear to his team.

Helios gets out of the chopper and approaches one of the guards and then sucker-punches him with a stun glove, knocking him out. Zen uses her gang jazzler to stun the guard that she has been talking to. Saito gets the guard he is conversing with into a chokehold and chokes him out.

For a moment they think they are in the clear, but then they notice one of the guards by the defense system approaching to check things out. Riptide kills the lights on the helipad giving his team the advantage.

Saito is able to sneak up on the guard by the STA launcher who seems to have not noticed what has happened and is radioing the tower regarding the lights. Another chokehold takes him down. Helios distracts the other guard while Zen sneaks up on him and subdues him as well.

The team now out numbers the remaining guards. Riptide orders the head of security to instruct the remaining guards to stand down. He complies and the team manages to take control of the platform without firing a shot.

Riptide calls up Mouse. Mouse takes a look around the control tower and points out that there is no data jack there. The executive officer explains that the door to the vault is on the back of the platform. No one on board the platform has a key.

Mouse and Saito head to the door. Mouse pulls the electronic key panel off and plugs in his deck. With in a few seconds, the door slides open.

The two find themselves staring down a long narrow hallway with another door at the other end. They approach the door and Mouse again goes to work on bypassing the lock. His first attempt is unsuccessful and another door closes behind them, sealing them in. An air pump engages and begins sucking the air out of the room. Mouse begins frantically working at the lock as the two begin to feel light headed. A few tense moments later the doors open.

Once inside, Mouse jacks into the data haven. After a few minutes, he unplugs himself and reports that he has a copy of the data file.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team makes sure that they have everyone on board the ship secured. Once everyone is reunited, they board the chopper and head back to the coast.

Once they are back over land, they fly back to the meeting place in the desert. They turn over the chip to Kona. He then asks them where and when did they want to meet for the money. Riptide suggests right here and now.

Kona explains that he needs to get the chip to his employer and then he can get paid. He will then pay them. Against their better judgment, they agree to meet him at the Golden Saloon at noon, which is now only a few hours away.

They then take the chopper back home. Once they got close to Night City, Helios takes the chopper in low, flying just a few feet over the roof tops, some times flying along streets below rooftop level. Eventually they make their way back home. Helios lands the chopper. He begins to fold up the rotors while the others take the other vehicles out of the shop. Then they roll the chopper inside.

A few hours later, Zen heads off to her day job. Helios contacts Dollar Bill and begins the ball rolling on finding a buyer for the chopper they stole. Saito and Riptide head to the Golden Saloon.

Noon comes and goes with no sign of Kona. When the clock strikes 1:00 PM, Riptide is on the phone trying to contact Kona, but his phone goes straight to voicemail.

Riptide then hits the streets trying to see if he can track down Kona. It isn’t long before he gets word that around 10:00 AM, Kona got into his car and then his car his car went up in a ball of fire.

Riptide then begins working his contacts, trying to figure out who might have taken out Kona. He learns that a solo known as Cynthia Red specializes in car bombs, but he could not get any other information on her.

Riptide then contacts the others to tell them what he has learned. Zen decides on a long shot and calls Krissy and Roxie. It turns out that they do indeed know Cynthia Red. She’s not a friend, so much as an acquaintance. They don’t know a whole lot about her, but they do know she hangs at The Afterlife.

Riptide and Saito decide to go to the Afterlife that evening. First, they go home and try to get some sleep, having now been up over 24 hours.

After cramming in a few hours sleep, the two head to the Afterlife. Unfortunately, Cynthia Red is nowhere to be seen. They decide to head home and call it a night.

January 19th, 2039

The team spends the day taking care of errands and attending to their day jobs. That night, Saito and Riptide head to the Afterlife.

Luck is on their side this night as they spot Cynthia Red. Not surprisingly, she has bright red hair, and possesses the poise of an experienced solo. She also seems to have company, as she is busy chatting up a man at her table.

Riptide heads outside and finds a corner dealer to make a purchase from. He then heads back into the bar and gives it to Saito. Saito in turn, gives it to the bartender along with a bribe and some instructions.

The two then hang out, patiently watching the table. Finally, the man heads to the bar and orders a couple of drinks. He returns to the table and resumes talking to Cynthia. Several minutes later he passes out. They watch as Cynthia looks momentarily perplexed, then relieves her date of his wallet and heads for the door.

Saito intercepts her and tells her she could do better than the loser passed out at her table. She laughs and tells him she could tell someone spiked his drink, and rightfully assumes it was Saito.

She says she likes a man who comes on strong, and so he does. A few minutes later, they are kissing. Unfortunately for Saito, she is equipped with a cyber-snake in her mouth and uses it on Saito. The electrical shock that hits him nearly knocks him out, but he manages to stay conscious. The two begin to struggle, and a crowd gathers. Riptide hangs in the back and watches to see how things play out.

Eventually security arrives and immediately throws Saito out of the club. The staff begins to then question Cynthia. Riptide can’t her what they are saying, but he watches as the questions turn to accusations, and soon one of the bouncers has the stolen wallet in his hand. A few moments later, Cynthia Red is out on the street as well.

Riptide follows her out of the club and to her car. She turns, ready for a fight, but then Saito arrives to back up Riptide.

They question her about the hit on Kona. She says that Kona tried to change the terms of the deal with his employer, so his employer decided it would be cheaper to kill Kona and take the chip. She is reluctant to reveal her employer, but eventually admits it was Mr. Y, the same Mr. Y that had hired the team late last year to retrieve the stolen EBM chip.

Riptide explains that his team was the one to get the Infocomp data and he’d like to get paid for the work they did. She asks how much they are supposed to get paid and he tells her $60,000. She says she will ask Mr.Y about the money, but certainly cannot make any promises. Riptide and Saito let her go.

January 20th, 2039

Around noon the next day, Riptide gets a call from Mr. Y. Y explains that $60,000 is more than Kona had agreed to do the job for. He indicates however, that he will pay them their fee if they deal with another matter that has come up.

It seems that Kona was trying to engineer some sort of double cross, or triple cross as the case may be. In addition to screwing Mr. Y. and the team, Kona had also worked a deal with a man named Klaus Von Himmer, who was using Kona as a go between to extort Mr.Y. However, in his revised deal with Mr. Y., Kona wanted Y. to pay one million eurobucks for both the data on Shumann and where to find Von Himmer.

Mr. Y. had Cynthia Red kill Kona and take the data chip. Now however, he is concerned about this Klaus Von Himmer. With Kona dead, there is no real lead on locating him. If the team can find Von Himmer and eliminate him, Mr. Y. agrees to pay the full $60,000.

Their first course of action is to look into who is Klaus Von Himmer. It turns out he’s a newly escaped prisoner, who has spent the last few years in Brain Dance isolation. He was barely into serving his 39 consecutive sentences for murder when a power outage at the prison gave him an opportunity to check out early.

A background check indicated that although he was originally from Houston, Texas, he had worked in Night City for EBM, working as a courier. However, after blowing up an apartment building and killing 39 people, he was off to prison for the remainder of his life. He was out now, but the state decided to issue an arrest for his execution, which was then assigned to the State Executioner, Judge Julius Anderson.

Zen went to Infocomp to see what she could learn about Judge Anderson’s progress. While there, she learned that the company was offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of those who attacked their data haven. She briefly considered how to collect that reward, but then it was back to Judge Anderson.

It seems the Judge had tracked Von Himmer here to Night City due to an ill-advised call he had made to his mother in Houston. Anderson’s most recent action was to impound the remains of Kona’s vehicle. How Anderson knew the connection between Von Himmer and the now deceased fixer is unknown.

Luckily for the team, Riptide still has his contact working at the police impound yard. A quick phone call and a promise of a few bucks and they learn that Judge Anderson’s crew has not yet gone over the car remains. The two race over to the impound yard where they are allowed to examine the remains.

The car was once a Nissan Mage, but now is a pile of metal and plastic. They sift through the pile wreckage, trying to find anything useful. After nearly an hour of searching, they turn up nothing useful.

Then they notice that the car had contained a lot of after market parts. They sort those parts into a separate pile and begin to examine those parts specifically. They are able to determine that many of the parts came from a shop called The Dub Kings.

They are about to continue their examination when they hear a convoy of vehicles pulling into the impound yard. Riptide and Zen sneak over to the impound office and watch the proceedings on the security cameras.

Out of the vehicle come about a dozen officers in immaculate uniforms. But the last to emerge is a monster of a man, well over 6 feet tall and nearly as wide as he is a mass of grafted muscle. He too wears an immaculate uniform, but he sleeves have been removed, exposing his oversized arms. The badge on his massive chest indicates that this is Judge Julius Anderson.

His team works like a well-oiled machine, systematically going over the remnants of the vehicle, while he himself watches them, his hulking form standing perfectly still.

Having been contacted by the others, Helios heads over to The Dub Kings. He steps inside and is at first delighted to see the shop is run by fellow Thai like himself. But then they begin to talk in “tuner-speak”, an odd mix of English and Spanish, leaving him shaking his head.

He then tells them about being a fan of the Nissan Mage, and saw one that was completely tricked out and wanted to know if they knew who’s it was. The Dub Kings crew, eager to brag about their work, tell him that that car was their project that they did for a guy named Kona.

He asks them how much the mods cost, which they explained would run about $30,000, but Kona is a dealer in car parts, and provided many of his own. Not one to pass up a business opportunity, Helios tells them about his salvage business and that he would be interested in becoming a provider for them. They tell him they already have Kona, which reveals that they don’t know that Kona is already flat-lined. Helios gives them his contact info, and he begins to peruse the shop.

Back at the impound yard, it seems the officers from the State Executioner’s Office have noticed the same thing that the edgerunners did. They gather up their gear and load into the vehicles. Judge Anderson’s voice carries well, and they hear him tell the other drivers that they are going to The Dub Kings.

After the judge’s crew departs, Zen and Riptide locate the brain dance unit that was built into the car’s entertainment system. It is badly damaged, but they think that Mouse maybe able to pull some data off of it. They decide to take it back home.

Helios is still browsing the store when Judge Anderson arrives. He walks into the store and approaches the counter. He also asks the man behind the counter about the Nissan Mage, and the Dub Kings employee acknowledges that they did the work for Kona. Anderson then produces a photo of Klaus Von Himmer and asks if they have seen him. The employee denies ever seeing the person. Apparently Anderson does not believe him as he grabs the employee, pulls him over the counter and slams him onto the ground. The employee cracks and admits that the man in the photo is hiding out at his sister’s house. He gives up the address, and Anderson goes back to his vehicle.

Helios, who has been quietly watching the proceedings, radios Ritpide with the location of Klaus Von Himmer. Riptide and Zen are currently closer to that address than Helios and Judge Anderson. They race to the house.

They are the first to arrive. Zen heads into the narrow gap between the houses while Riptide goes to the front door. Zen finds herself face to face with a very large and unfriendly dog. She hopes it’s not viscous, but gives up on that notion as it chomps down on her leg.

This draws the attention of the woman living in the house. She grabs a shotgun and goes to the back door. Riptide takes advantage of this distraction and enters through the front door. He quietly heads up stairs and spots a man watching out the back window. Riptide quietly draws his pistol and approaches the man.

In the back yard, Zen is forced to stun the dog with her gang jazzler. The dog collapses in a heap. Just then a woman bursts out of the back door talking rapidly in a language Zen does not understand. Zen is able to grasp that the woman thinks that Zen has killed her dog.

Upstairs, Riptide talks to Klaus. He demands that Klaus turn over the data that he has on Mr. Y. Klaus is at first confused then realizes that Riptide is talking about his old boss at EBM, Edger Jaymes. He tells Riptide that he was framed for those murders. Riptide changes tactics and tells Klaus he needs to come with Riptide now as Judge Anderson is on his way.

Outside, Zen manages to convince the woman that the dog is not dead. She hears over her ear bead that Riptide is out of the house and on his way to the truck with Klaus. Zen slowly begins to back out of the backyard and heads back toward the street.

Just as Riptide and Klaus get in the truck, Judge Anderson’s convoy comes around the corner a couple of blocks away. They decide that Riptide should leave, immediately but casually. Zen will try and link up with Helios who has followed the convoy from The Dub Kings.

As Riptide slowly drives away, Zen goes back into the gap and returns to the back yard. She gestures to the woman that she is just passing through. She almost clears the backyard when the woman begins screaming at her again. This draws the attention of Judge Anderson who is coming up the front walk.

Zen breaks into a full run. She doesn’t look back, but she can hear the heavy footfalls of the State Executioner following her. He may be built for power, but he’s not built for speed, and she is able to put some distance between them.

In the truck, Riptide and Klaus head back downtown. Klaus explains that he used to be a courier for Edgar Jaymes. Edgar had paid a local booster gang to kill Edgar’s boss at EBM and make it look like a random gang violence incident. The only person who had info that could implicate Edgar was Klaus. He says it was Cynthia Red that blew up that apartment building and planted evidence to implicate Klaus.

Klaus says he planned to extort Edgar for enough money that he could disappear. His mistake was hiring Kona who apparently intended to sell him out. Riptide asks him where the data chip is, and he says it’s in a locker at the transit station along with some cash. Riptide says that in exchange for the contents of the locker, he will help Klaus get out of town.

Meanwhile, Zen seems to have lost the judge, but now she spots a police helicopter flying overhead. As she crosses a street, Helios comes racing up on his motorcycle. She climbs on and they take off. They start to head downtown when they spot the police chopper overhead.

At about this time, Saito is coming into the city via the highway, after spending the better part of the day working at the gun range. He is apprised of the situation and suggests that they go to the mallplex where they have a parking ramp that will provide cover.

He then contacts Buckshot Betty, who is on duty, but taking a break at a corner bar, and asks if she can head over to the mallplex and pick up his friends. She agrees.

Helios and Zen arrive at the mallplex and ditch the motorcycle in the ramp. They jump into Betty’s cab that is waiting for them and head over to the transit center.

Saito is the first to arrive at the Transit Center and locates the locker. He also spots a man in a suit watching the locker. He lets the other know.

The rest arrive. Riptide stays in the truck with Klaus. He gives the locker key to Zen who goes in with Helios. Zen circles around, gives the key to Saito and then gets behind the man watching the locker. Helios then goes to a fire alarm pull station, and pulls the lever.

The fire alarm is triggered. But instead of fleeing the building, most of the patrons look around to see if there is actually a fire. Finally security guards begin ushering people out of the building. Zen uses her gang jazzler to stun the man watching the locker and grabs his wallet. Saito goes to the locker, opens it, and grabs the case inside. They all then exit the transit center. They pull out just as the judge’s vehicles begin to pull in.

They begin to head back home. Zen checks the wallet and sees that the man is with the State Executioner’s Office. On a hunch, she examines the ID card. As she suspected, it contains a satellite transponder. She promptly throws the card out of the window. Saito checks the case and finds a pistol, a data chip, and $20,000 in cash.

Back home, they ask Mouse to examine the data chip. He says it does contain evidence to implicate Edgar James in the death of Daniel Cortez, another employee at EBM. The data chip is designed to note any copies that are made, so if they copy the data, Edgar James will know.

Mouse then looks into Cortez’ background. He finds out that Daniel was the Vice President of R&D for EBM’s Night City Office. He was killed in a gang-related shooting, after which his underling, Edgar Jaymes was promoted. Daniel was survived by a wife and two children.

Riptide hatches a plan.

January 21st, 2039

He asks Satio to rig up an explosive device big enough to take out the passengers in a car while he runs an errand. He then takes Klaus to a bus station and buys him a ticket to Houston. As promised, he gets Klaus out of the city.

When he returns, Saito has rigged up a bomb using some C-4 he had left over from a previous job. They then head out to The Afterlife. They spot Cynthia Red’s car. Riptide picks the lock and Saito plants the bomb under the driver seat. They then sit back and wait.

Around 3:00 AM, Cynthia exits the club. She climbs into her car. A moment later, the car goes up in a ball of fire.

When the sun rises, Riptide contacts Alisha Cortez, Daniel’s widow. He indicates that he has evidence that proves that her husband’s death was not a random act of violence. He is looking for $75,000 in payment for the evidence. She agrees to meet him in a coffee shop up in North Oak.

Around noon, Riptide goes to the coffee shop where Alisha Cortez and her lawyer Mr. Parsons are waiting. After introductions, they get down to business.

Mr. Parsons indicates that the $75,000 has been placed into an account and gives Riptide the numbers and passwords to access the account. However, he has placed a 72-hour hold on the funds. If the information proves to be useless, he will close the account and Riptide is out his money. If the information is useful, Riptide can withdraw his money when the hold expires.

Riptide asks what would prevent them from taking the chip and then closing the account before the 72 hours regardless of the value of the info. Mr. Parsons merely shrugs and points out that Riptide knows who Alisha Cortez is, while they don’t know who he really is. Riptide agrees and they make the exchange.

That evening, the team watches the news and sees special report from [[:jim stacey | Jim Stacey]], reporting on the arrest of Edgar Jaymes, on charges of conspiracy to murder Daniel Cortez.

Three days later, the hold ends,and they get their money. Between the Cortez payment, and Klaus’ stash, they make $95,000 plus have a helicopter to try and sell. Plus they have avenged a few deaths, making it a rare moral victory as well.