barbelith

Episode 2
City Lights Receding

As they sped away from the collapsing building they had questions. Were they set up? Who had hired the team sent in before them? What happened to Mayhew’s notes? After arriving back at Ji-nan’s safehouse, they set to work in their van. Rusty disabled the recovered drones commlink and tracking device before restoring it to working order. A search of its systems revealed it to have come from a Shadowcorps dispatch center nearby between Redmond and Renton. Ji-nan, after healing herself, searched Glissa’s commlink and discovered that her schooling was in metahuman neuroscience (while Mayhew whose assistant she had been was a Roboticist). Rusty called up Anita to tell her the bad news. She was in a panic, having already heard about the destruction of the Sombra building. She asked them to bring her Mayhew’s recovered ID so she could show her employers they were at least on the trail. She also offered to find someone to help the team hack the recovered merc commlink.

They met at a nearby bar frequented by hackers and traffickers, the Commdrink. Rusty first did surveillance with his eyebot, then Ji-nan went in to try to overhear conversation. While Anita and the Dwarvish hacker she’d hired, Ricky, were both in a foul mood, everything seemed to be on the up and up. Rusty went to meet with Anita while Ji-nan kept watch. Anita seemed worried she was in over her head, but she went ahead and fronted the team 6000 nuyen to continue to hunt down Mayhew’s hard drive. While Ricky was trying to decipher the commlink, Rusty had to regain control of his eyebot from a particularly trollish troll at the bar, with an assist from Ji-nan who spilled a drink on him. The commlink from the Orc merc revealed that he had come from the same Shadowcorps dispatch center as the drone. Before they left, Ji-nan purchased a decryption program and an exploit program, to aid them in getting past the security system.

When they arrived at the Shadowcorp dispatch center, they saw only a lone guard out front and minimal signs of activity. Assensing told Ji-nan that there was magic in the building, and she was able to see at leas that there were more than a few people in the building. She sneaked around to the side, while Rusty hacked into the buildings security systems. He was able to replace the camera feeds with looped footage. Ji-nan failed to leap the fence, so Rusty used hacking to gain control of the security system of the building and turn off the electrified fence. Ji-nan scaled the fence and climbed to the roof while Rusty took stock of the target building and what they could determine from its security system. Ji-nan attempted to disable the magnetic lock on the roof but was unable to, however Rusty got it open for her.

As she entered the stairwell on the upper floor, she made some noise and had to quickly make a dive and hide as a drone was dispatched from the security office on the top floor. Luckily, Rusty disabled the audio feed from the drone without the Shadowcorps security chief noticing, and Ji-nan hid under the stairs where she could not be detected by visual. When she sneaked back up to the top floor, Ji-nan was able to perceive each of the people on the floor astrally. The security chief was alert, the sleeping prisoner, an awakened mage, stressed out and the manager in a state of near panic. Concerned that eventually the security chief would pick up on their intrusion, the runners devised a plot to take him out. Rusty disabled the camera feed from the ground floor stairwell, again without being detected by the chief (he was chiefly a drone rigger and not a hacker much like Rusty himself, and as such was ill used to other people on his network) to make it seem like a mechanical failure. The chief went to check out the camera. As soon as the dwarf was in the stairwell, Ji-nan sneaked up behind him and stuck him with a tranq pack.

Now with complete unfettered access to the security system, Rusty secured their intrusion, shutting down all defense drones and locking the night manager in his office. Ji-nan searched the security office, finding an HK-227X smartgun and a gas-vent system in the gun locker. She continued into the holding cells, taking care not to wake the prisoner and searched the holding case with the prisoner’s gear:a coffee mug (a magical focus) his armored vest and his commlink. Rusty then hacked into the dispatch office computer and learned that after the hard drive had been retrieved, it had gone back out along with a team of hardened mercs to a location in downtown Seattle. Hacking the manager’s computer and communications revealed that he had sent a team to Knowhere Arcology, a research living community run by Tyrell corps, which was also who had employed Shadowcorps to take out Mayhew and steal his research in the first place and further that he was already out of communication with that team, leading to his panicked state.

Ji-nan decided to wake the prisoner, who revealed that he had been investigating Tyrell corps for A.W.E. the Awakened Weaponized Enforcers, a pro-metahuman radical group that also considers itself a defender of awakened mages. After Rusty opened his cell, he said that Tyrell corps had been kidnapping metahumans and SINless individuals, he believed for research purposes, though he had no evidence and had fallen out of communication with A.W.E. leadership, for obvious reasons. He strongly urged the runners to get in touch with the A.W.E. leadership in Portland, either with him or not. After a little discussion, Ji-nan gave him his gear told him to stay put, and got his info for the contact list- Dane McGowan, elf, wolf-shaman, Agent of A.W.E.

Ji-nan decided to sneak downstairs to try to see if she could find any remaining info or possibly some gear from the drone shop or armory. She made her way to the drone shop silently, and found a vehicle mount for a gun, a directional microphone, and a signal jammer (strength 3). She made noise coming though the door of the dormitory and then failed to see the nearest mercs wake up. She continued to make her way into the room until she found herself facing the barrel of a gun. She disarmed the startled merc in front of her with a quick chop, knocking the gun right out of his hand, only to be shot by the other freshly roused merc. Ji-nan was protected from the shot by her vest, but realized this run was beginning to get out of control. She quickly rolled back through the door, frantically whispering for Rusty to close it behind her. He did, but not before the disarmed merc himself made it through. One on one, however, Ji-nan’s martial arts training meant the poor security contractor didn’t stand a chance. He might as well have stayed in bed, for he soon found himself out cold once more.

Rusty locked the outdoor guard in his kiosk using the electronic doors, pulled the van around to the front, and “liberated” one of the GM/Nissan Doberman drones that had been part of the Shadowcorps building’s security systems. Ji-nan meanwhile, messaged Dane that the way was clear and front door open, but not for long, and beat a hasty retreat to the team’s mobile shop Bulldog Step-van. They hadn’t recovered Mayhew’s hard drive or even found out what he was working on, but they were one step closer to figuring out who had killed him and why.

acquired:HK-227X, gas-vent system, vehicle gun mount, directional mic, jammer rating 3, GM/Nissan Doberman Drone with Targeting 3 and Clearsight 3 autosoft and its own built in HK-227X, Dane McGowan Agent of AWE contact

“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…”-William Gibson

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Episode 1
Body Mobilized/Danger Obscure

It was a quiet evening in Redmond. A washed up scientist using the pseudonym “Rusty X” (Real name Thaddeus Adventure, surname suppressed by government) was offered a job by Anita Gunboots, his usual Johnson. This job was different from the look out work and border runs he had become accustomed to. Because of the possibility of extra pay and the need for a higher level of discretion than Rusty was used to, he called in a bodyguard and infiltrator he’d worked with before, pseudonym “Ji-nan Toxic.” Also washed up (people don’t exactly plan to become small time smugglers in boring Redmond) they had bonded over feelings of being used by the government and having a bit more life experience than the average junkie, ganger or suit.

The mission was simple enough:extraction. Even easier, the target wanted out and was in a lowsec type environment to avoid calling attention to the operation. A once promising robotics student, Dr. Jonathan Mayhew had fallen out of sight for two and a half years, only to turn up working for a single-A+ corp called Sombra Corporation. Sombra’s Redmond accounting office was a front for Dr Mayhew’s lab, and whoever Anita’s mysterious employers were they wanted to help Mayhew seek new opportunities elsewhere. Anita told Rusty and Ji-nan that Mayhew was prepared to meet them at midnight in his office, but that they should make it look like a kidnapping to avoid drawing undue heat to Mayhew himself.

The runners went around 8 PM to scope out the Sombra building. It was located in a quiet part of town even for the burbs, mostly the kind of corporate officers low level management are sent to run when they’ve screwed up and there is no other way to make their lives more boring along with a few research labs and local businesses. Far from Redmond’s walled in subdivisions, grey high rises and squatters slums, there was pretty much no foot traffic. Parking their van at a gas station across the street from the Sombra building, Ji-nan was able to use her thermographic vision to pick up a small security team in the building, while Rusty picked up on the presence of several security cameras both inside and out of the target building.

They decided that the gas station would make a good place to stash their get away van, but that to avoid unwanted attention they should pay off the gas station attendant to forget they were there, as well as acquire supplies to help make the run look like a kidnapping. Picking up that something shady was going on, the gas station attendant tested their trustworthiness (and likelihood of being lone star) the only way he knew how: by making them do drugs with him. After an hour of smoking deepweed in the back and trying to pump him for info (to no avail, he spent all his downtime at the gas station on the matrix anyway) the runners stumbled out, with Ji Nan unable to stop perceiving the astral plane.

Immediately they knew something had gone wrong. The Sombra building had its windows broken in and there were signs of mayhem in the lobby. Ji-nan’s astral senses were overwhelmed with a sense of tragedy coming from the building. Ji-nan and one of Rusty’s camera drones went to investigate. As they got approached the lobby they saw the bloodbath within. Sombra’s security guards were all dead from gunshot wounds. Given Ji-nan’s enhanced hearing, she figured that it had to be a professional team using silenced weapons. Rusty was able to pick up that whatever security system Sombra had possessed it had been totally disabled, cameras alarms and all. Ji-nan’s presence alerted a sleeping drone left behind by the attackers. The GM/Nissan Doberman sent out a signal calling for a team of Shadowcorp mercs to come in as a clean-up crew and then began firing at Ji-nan. She took a shot but shrugged it off, and despite intoxication and injury, was able to put down that dog with help from her trusty side-arm.

Sensing that no more life in the building didn’t mean no more trouble, Rusty sent a rotodrone along with Ji-nan to try to see what they could recover from the lab. Knowing that they didn’t have much time before the cleanup crew arrived, they skipped the 1st floor of offices and proceeded to the second floor lab, the center of the tragic astral signature Ji-nan had picked up. The lab had clearly been stripped of any useful equipment or data. An augmented reality sign warned:lab personnel only when testing human subjects. On the floor in a pool of blood was Glissa Reid, Mayhew’s young assistant. Though no work documents could be found, a thorough search of her comm-link revealed a message to her mother proud to be working for Dr Mayhew on project Ramses. Proceeding through the lab to Mayhew’s office, Ji-nan saw the doctor himself lying dead next to his office chair.

At this point Rusty’s camera drone picked up a second team of mercs coming in through the lobby. After receiving the warning, Ji-nan frantically searched Mayhew’s office, only to discover that his computer, comm-link and notes were all missing. Grabbing Mayhew’s company ID, Ji-nan waited until the mercs entered the lab, then blinded them with a flash-pak’s hypnotic strobes. Shadowcorp’s mage and two goons were counting on the element of surprise, but they found themselves surprised instead. Between the Roto-drone’s accuracy and Ji-nan’s military training, they were able to handle the mercs with a torrent of bullets. Grabbing Glissa’s comm-link as well as the one belonging to the Shadowmerc lieutenant, Ji-nan decided that this run was already enough of a snafu and that it was time to make an exit before more goons from Shadowcorp showed up or worse, the Lone Stars. Rusty pulled the getaway van up along side the Sombra building and Ji-nan rushed down the stairs, salvaging the Doberman drone on the way out. As they pulled out into the road trying to figure out how to tell their Johnson they were coming back empty handed they heard a loud boom, and turned to see a plume of flame as the Sombra branch office collapsed into its foundations. Well, so much for being discreet…

acquired:ID mayhew, commlink glissa, commlink shadow corp mage, gm/nissan doberman heavily damaged

“Dilemma of civilized man; body mobilized but danger obscure.”-Phillip K. Dick

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