Episode 38: Into the Eye of the Storm
As a GM I feel the need to explain the course this campaign has taken. Two of us, me and Mike deFevers have been gaming together for almost 25 years together. Our sons now play with us along with a group that has been together for almost as many years. We started playing Cyberpunk about 20+ years ago, and have switched back and forth to various systems over the years (Battletech, WoD, Mega Traveler and a number of others). The Fourth Corporate War was an implied and then promised ‘Event’ that we had waited for as we ended each of the other Cyberpunk Campaigns that had brought us each a group of fun and experienced characters. Finally, we got back to Cyberpunk after a long and fun flirtation with WoD. A new group was started (with the occasional older character making an appearance) and we began in 2019 with the first San Morro adventure (Security Solutions Campaign).
We didn’t want to jump right into the war since we had some new players (and originally the Cyberpunk adventures were just going to be a short respite between WoD episodes). It was my intention to give everyone the chance to develop highly skilled characters that could deal with the War, not as just a background for some fun adventures, but to be at the center of what was happening in the world. The Killer Bees started as a small, inexperienced group with some connections (Rose’s grandfather, Kagekaze, and a small parade of older characters passing through) that would enable it to rise above the other mewing teams and play (or at least be present in a significant way) a central part in the events as they unfold.
I am a firm believer in Role-playing over Roll-playing, but this is Cyberpunk and violence plays a part in this world. Of late we had just finished the Shadow War portion of the conflict. The violence of the Shadow War (as was played by us) was very low key. Stealth and subterfuge was the order of the day in those adventures, which was as it should be. I spent the entire Shadow War and never once fired a weapon in conflict. I got to punch out a poser (one hit) in the Chris Carney story arc, and I killed one Conover Security Agent in Episode 30 (one strike from ambush) who was watching our “(not so) safe house”. The violence and brutality of the ‘standard’ Cyberpunk campaign was muted, but the threat of it hung over the team. It made for suspense like a wonderful old Japanese samurai film with everyone being so polite, but under that veneer of civility you just knew that blood and mayhem might be just a wrong word or deed away. Also, we were not in a faceless city where (in the right area) you could get away with killing those who were your enemies, or might be you enemies, or (for the less Empathic) those whose sight offended you. Chamberlain was Middle America, where “everyone knows you name”, and when you sneezed, the phone would ring and someone would say, “Bless you.” Ted Salonich gave us a near perfect Shadow War that challenged the Killer Bees in ways that had not been done before.
Now we are in the Hot War. More of the older characters from our various previous campaigns have and will be making appearances as both PCs and NPCs. As a GM, I would be remiss in not letting my players bring in these characters (or at least have some input as NPCs using the influence they had acquired during play), which they have been patiently waiting to play again (some for a decade or more on their fading character sheets) for a (hopefully not) last hurrah. The past couple of episodes I have we run have had a lot of conflict. Hello, this is the (Hot) Fourth Corporate WAR. War is violent and bloody (yes, yes, with long stretches of boredom too, which I have tried to show; see Episode 33: The Siege of Morrison Square). Those stretches gave the players the option of role-play, which some did, and others did not.
The Killer Bees are in the Eye of the Storm in this war. They are not the movers and shakers (although, their actions have shaped events), but have been forged as the weapons that are and will be used in some of the central events of the war. We will probably only play through this war once, so I did not want this to be totally about what happenings on the fringes of the conflict. Many Cyberpunk Campaigns are about these ‘fringe’ activities. I strongly feel that if the Team was going to be involved, then it should be (in the end) involved in “the thick of it.” So while most of our Hot War deals with the main events we also deal with what unscrupulous people do to take advantage of the mayhem. That being said, then away we go!
Saturday, July 23, 2025:
Bea, Rose and Ken take a Combat Cab to their lawyer’s downtown, but when they try to get on the highway they are stopped. Bea is arrested by NCPD. Rose and Ken are sent on their way. At the lawyer’s office they tell them about Bea’s arrest and they start to look into it. The business of the day is the setting up of offshore bank accounts in which to stash the individual’s ill-gotten gains. This is done at the cost of 10,000eb in fees.
The lawyers find out that Bea is suspected of being one of the ‘terrorists’ involved in the orbital strike on Night City. She is in city custody when the state pre-empts prosecution. Then Federal authorities demand jurisdiction and it goes to court. Anything more than a verbal interview is forbidden till the courts hear the question of jurisdiction on Monday.
After Rose and Ken come back from the lawyers, Kagekaze comes to teach. He offers Rose a chance to do a clan sponsored strike. The target is Amanda Green from Episode 10 of this chronicle. She goes to Playland by the Sea every Sunday morning. The only point of attack is when she leaves and she is walking with only one bodyguard on the wide covered walkway from the beach to the parking lot. Only someone Amanda Greene knows and trusts could get close. Does Rose want the job? And the answer is a confused yes. She is confused that the clan would offer her such an assignment. Does it signify their official ‘acceptance’ of her?
Sunday, July 24, 2025:
Rose is given a bio toxin to use to kill Amanda and a protective gel to use on herself so she could handle it safely. The toxin has a six to ten second onset time. Rose approaches Amanda and used her acting to put her at ease. She applies the poison by a friendly reassuring touch. Before it takes affect Rose strikes the bodyguard with a called shot head strike and kills him dead. Amanda dies a few seconds later from the poison. Clan netrunners suppress all the security footage of the kill and she gets away clean.
That afternoon Sergeant Gibbons of the NCPD cybercrimes division shows up with Walter Cox of Net Watch (and a SWAT team) looking for a netrunner named Quazz. It seems Quazz has looted the accounts of “Slim” Jenkins’ Toyo-Chevrolet dealership. They have recovered most of the money but are still missing about 33,000eb. Do they know anything about this?
Rose leads them to Quazz and introduces them. (Much to the astonishment of the rest of the group) They ask Quazz about the money. Now, funny thing here; you see Quazz did take the money for the very best of reasons, in his little AI mind, but he is not stupid and sees where this is going. He announces he has a diagnostic to run and shuts himself down (not really, but it looks so). Netwatch wants to seize the physical memory containing Quazz but that would shut the system down and Rose won’t permit that. She calls her lawyers. The Netwatch official calls his superiors as they try to work this out. Meanwhile, Quazz realizes he has a little time so he downloads himself to an abandoned system in Hong Kong to escape. By the time it is worked out (7 hours later) Quazz is long gone and so is everything in the system. The building’s defense computer turns on, but that is about it. The cameras on the monitors are what were assigned when Quazz “left”. The entire security system is now crippled. No one is very happy.
Kagekaze comes to teach on Sunday.
Monday, July 25, 2025:
Kagekaze comes to teach. Rose offered extraction of a willing doctor on his way from the Mary Waters Memorial Hospital in San Morro to his ‘girlfriend’s’ apartment. It pays 100,000eb plus vehicle support. No aerial combat is permitted. It must happen the next evening.
Bea has court hearings.
Tuesday, July 26, 2025:
The day started quietly with Kagekaze coming to teach Rose. There is an announcement of a free concert this Friday at Morrison Square. Downtown Bea’s court hearings continues.
The Killer Bees plans the extraction with great care. The route from the hospital in San Morro to the ‘girlfriend’s house’ in West San Morro will probably follow one of two routes. They know the car will come over San Morro Creek on one of two bridges. They place Lulu in an alley across the creek where she can watch both bridges. They keep the Armadillo (with the M60 instead of the 40mm Auto GL in the turret) two blocks west of there in a position with Doctor Freeman driving. Rose, Jose and Ken wait in the back of that vehicle. The car with the doctor and his Militech guards take the south bridge and the team swings into action. They intercept the car two blocks from the bridge as they pull out in front of the target vehicle from a side street and continue for a half a block. Then the Team jams on the brakes and open back door. Now, of course, the limo driver slams the car in reverse, but Ken fires his Heavy EMF Launcher and the EMP shuts the car down. The two bodyguards jump out of the back and use their doors for cover. Rose and Jose jump out of the van and start to approach the back doors. Lulu pulls up on the limo’s left and kills the first guard, which saves Rose from being shot by him. Unfortunately, as she passes the driver’s window, the chauffer shoots Rose. Jose is hit in the leg as the bodyguard fires from under his door on the other side of the car. Now Rose is going to shoot back but at that moment Doctor Freeman puts the Armadillo in reverse and slams into the limo knocking it back a number of feet. This spoils Rose’s shot, but the door that the remaining Militech guard was behind sends that bodyguard sprawling into the street where Jose is able to kill him. At this point there is a muzzle flash from inside the car. The extractee has shot the chauffer dead. This doctor turns out to be Dr. Michael Smith (one of Rose’s other characters and the son of Admiral Jane Smith, one of Ken’s other characters), who had served with Rose (and Bea) in “Blackjack” Pershing’s mercenary unit during our Liberian Campaign. They all pile in the Armadillo and head to the alley behind the Baltic Hotel where Dr. Smith is to be delivered. (See map in Episode 34 for location of Baltic Hotel.)
The getaway is not completely clean. The armadillo (well known to every Militech operative in the area) is spotted by the patrolling Militech AV sent to investigate. The AV fires a minigun burst at the fleeing vehicle but misses due to shot being at extended range. Doctor Freeman bangs a left on the first side street to take the AV on a ride through the narrow streets. All he has to do was to reach the Baltic Hotel, which is under the protection of Hazard Inc., who will not tolerate a Militech AV shooting in their neighborhood. Well, that is plan anyway. The AV has to slow down to make the turn but is still able to fire on the Armadillo. Well, the gunner botched the roll and blew up a car coming down the street the other way. It looked like they might get away.
Wrong! Doctor Freeman rolls a “1” on the drive test to take a hard right at the next corner. The following roll confirms the botch, but he spends his Luck to help lessen the effect of the botch. He rolls a “10” for the botch, which is modified to a something less than a total disaster, and he slams the vehicle into the building. The fact they had all declared they were secured (seatbelts etc.) in the vehicle and the armor on the vehicle protects them from all but a little light damage. They pile out. Ken grabs his Heavy EMF Launcher and waits for the AV, while the rest flee with Doctor Smith. The pursuing Militech AV comes down the street and swings sideways to bring its armament to bear on the Armadillo. The salvo destroys the truck. Then Ken hits with his Heavy EMF Launcher and the AV continues sideways down the other street as the pilot tries to make a controlled landing. Ken doesn’t wait to see result, but the sound of a crash followed by an explosion and a fireball rising above the apartment buildings tells the story. The hand off is made and everyone makes it home safely. Back in San Morro, Mr. Greene, the head of Militech security there almost pops a blood vessel when he learns what has happened and who has done it.
Wednesday, July 27, 2025:
The party is called to a meeting tomorrow to give a deposition in support of a lawsuit against Militech for unlawful imprisonment a few weeks ago during the Ocean War. There is a 5000eb fee for doing it.
Rose calls Takashi in Japan and has him come over (in the NET) and look at the shell of a machine that WAS their defense computer. Takashi finds Quazz has moved back in, but is lying low. Takashi convinces Quazz to come out of hiding and the little AI talks to Rose. Of course, Rose wants to know why he robbed “Slim” Jenkins’s automobile dealership. Quazz explains that he was watching Slim’s advertisements on television and “Slim” said (and he shows the ad clip), “I have so many great deals, and that it’s just like stealing from me! But, hey, we want your business so just come on down and just “rip me off”. And repeat business is our specialty, so, when you’re done, just come on back and do it again.” After which, Quazz added, “So, I did!” This somewhat amused the Bees, so they get Quazz to promise not to do it again, but let him keep the money.
Kagekaze comes to teach. He says he will be busy for the next few days after this. They are paid for the Doctor Michael Smith extraction.
Meanwhile, downtown at Bea’s court hearing an attorney from the ‘Boys in Black’ speaks at the hearing as a ‘friend of the court’. They claim that both Bea and Jose are in actuality high-level employees of Arasaka and they assert corporate immunity for the two. Surprisingly the judge agrees. Militech and the Federal authorities go berserk! Bea is released to Arasaka before Militech and Feds can get a higher court judge to overturn the legally shaky decision.
Thursday, July 28, 2025:
Rose and Dr. Freeman arrive at the meeting in corporate center to give a deposition in support of a lawsuit against Militech for unlawful imprisonment a few weeks ago during the Ocean War. As they walk into the lobby they see Mr. Green, head of San Morro Militech Security, and his bodyguards enter the lobby from the elevators. The two Killer Bees are recognized immediately. Militech security leaps into action and attempts to detain the two. Rose drops a smoke pellet and escapes. Dr. Freeman is forced to the ground and detained. Suddenly there is much gunfire and a corpse (one of the bodyguards) drops on the Doctor. Mr. Green has been assassinated. This is a hit authorized by Senator Roy deChartier (done by the super solos) and not an Arasaka hit. Doctor Freeman is detained for a few hours and released by 5pm as their none-involvement (except as an unknowing decoy maybe) was recorded by a news crew.
At 7 pm it is announced that has Mayor Mbole Ebunike has steps down as Mayor due to ‘Health’ reasons and is replaced by Gavin Haakensen, the former Deputy Mayor.
At about 11pm, Mayor Ebunike’s family is extracted (by Super Solos) from their apartment in San Morro. The building’s roof camera records a custom AV flying right over their HQ fleeing from the scene. Unknown to the party this is Doyle (Ken’s original character from this chronicle) flying Mayor Ebunike’s family to safety. Doyle is a personal friend and former neighbor of the ex-mayor and his family.
Friday, July 29, 2025:
In the afternoon there is the free band concert in Morrison Square. Alison Meadows from NET54 is there doing a follow-up story on the neighborhood. Jose sees her and goes over to her. Now, the player who runs Jose is one of our newer attendees and is the son of Rose’s player (one of the founding members of this group, which started before the young man was even born) and has grown as a role player since starting to play in this group. He has noticed that in our games Reputation is what gives the characters access to all sorts of goodies and the better paying jobs. Jose recognized an opportunity and (without consulting anyone) went over to Alison Meadows. He asks her, “Would like an interview with the country’s most wanted terrorist?”
Of course, the young media (with visions of Emmys in her head) said, “Absolutely!” So out goes the interview, live! Jose used the opportunity to slam Militech. Well, Seth Greene, who had succeeded his father as security chief in San Morro is watching. In his mind this is just too much!
An 82 mm mortar shell lands in the square near the end of the interview wounding many people, and ending the night’s festivities. It is fired from San Morro proper on the orders of Seth Greene. The deaths of his sister and father have pushed the young Militech executive over the edge. Alison asks to spend a couple of days with them so she can get to know the neighborhood, and promises not to show anything too illegal that they might do. The Killer Bees agree.
Alison goes with the group back to their building, shoots some preliminary footage, and does a few interviews with some of the residents. Just before midnight, she is wrapping up for the night. She, her cameraman, Rose and Jimmy (his turn on console detail) are in the command center, when Rose gets a phone call. It is Kagekaze. He informs her that 4 Militech AVX-9C Vipers are moving into position around Morrison Square and 2 Behemoth APCs are coming. Oh, yes, eight Militech MT-4 MBTs have taken up bombard positions along San Morro Creek. (These could not hit the group’s building, but are intended to have a chilling effect on the Morrison Square Neighborhood Association, whose building is very much in their line of fire.) Seth Greene has decided to end his “Killer Bee” problem once and for all! Kagekaze estimates they have between one and three minutes before Militech kicks in their door. Kagekaze tells her she should try to hold. Arasaka is sending reinforcements and they should be there quickly. The Killer Bees briefly consider running but that would leave all of their tenants, whom they have developed a strong relationship with, at the not so tender mercies of Militech. The Killer Bees get ready to fight!
They call the Association, who are already mobilizing. Jimmy and Louie Lam go to the front lobby and set up a cross fire to cover the front door. Doctor Freeman, Ken and Jose go up to the second floor at the crossing of the two halls and wait to respond as a reaction force. Lulu Lam, who was dressed in full combat armor, is sent to the roof entrance with the scorpion missile launcher (loaded with a spytech missile) to wait for the AVs to get closer. The Killer Bees communications are suddenly jammed so Rose, whom Cleo trained in Electronic Warfare, trodes into the defense computer. Inside she finds herself floating above the virtual battlefield with Quazz. All the building’s sensors, its electronic warfare suite, communications and weapons are at her control. Rose uses the suite, which successfully frees their communications and jams Militech’s (in an area 100 meters around the building). This turns out to be the key factor in the battle. Unknown to them, the fourteen surviving members of the Iron Sights, supported by two Militech covert operatives have moved into the building behind the group’s HQ. The covert operatives have looped the exterior cameras and disconnected the C-6 charges on the front door. Well, actually they disconnected where the old charges were, not the real ones that Cleo had installed after the attack in Episode 31. Still the cameras have been blinded and that is unknown to the Killer Bees at this point. The Militech plan is to have the two APCs with their AA threat troops attack the front and garage door simultaneously as the Iron Sights breach a back door that the group had sealed up for security reasons. By jamming their communications the two APCs can’t coordinate their strike, and the Iron Sights panic and jump off too soon. As the Vipers close, they started broadcasting that this is a Militech security operation and everyone should stay inside.
At this the Iron Sights blow the back door too early. This alerts Rose to the fact that the cameras have been looped and she starts to try to undo the damage and get them back on line. The reaction force rushes down the back stairs to meet the incoming threat. They take up positions to cover the 1st floor hall where it turns and branches off to the garage. A major firefight develops.
Meanwhile, in the defense computer, Quazz notifies Rose that the audio sensors over the front door have picked up a large tracked vehicle stopping outside, and the sounds of heavy footfalls are heading towards the door. The video screens show nothing. Rose tries to time the footfalls at their loudest (the most men being in the blast zone). She makes a great roll to calculate it and triggers the door charges. The behemoth APC has turned its rear to the building’s front door (after all they believed the charges have been disconnected) to bring their 40mm Auto GL in the small turret in front to bear on the Association Building, where they assume any fire will be coming, so they want their best armor facing that way. The 6-C explosion enters the vehicle before the rear hatch can be closed and the APC went up in a fiery explosion. All nine troops and the crew went down. The combat borg that is leading them is seriously damaged. On the roof, Lulu hears the commotion in the alley from the roof door which she had opened just a crack. Against orders and without telling anyone she tries to sneak up to take a look over the side of the building. Well, that door is well known to Militech and one of the covert operatives is watching it with a Barrett M-90 sniper rifle. He shoots Lulu in the head killing her instantly. The Killer Bees remain unaware of this. Rose finally gets the rear area cameras back on line and she sees the Iron Sights massing for another attack in the back alley. Unknown to the attackers the back alley around the building is seeded with claymores so Rose detonates the mines. It kills or wounds most of the gangers who then break and run.
Rose now had all the cameras back on line and sees the second APC pull up at the end of the alley that leads to the garage door. Another combat borg and nine troops rush up the alley. There are no explosives covering the garage door. The group quickly moves to meet that threat leaving only the front lobby defenders in place. The now mobilized building residents cover the blown open back door, just in case. The Killer Bees move their newly bought LATGM to cover the garage door and wait in hard cover. Militech blows the garage door and rains grenades through the smoke damaging a number of vehicles. The charge is met by the LATGM, Ken’s 14.5 assault rifle, and the heaviest weapon each defender had. The initial assault is thrown back. The behemoth APC turns towards the door and roars down the alley. It crashes through but stops in the doorway to clear the debris that now jams its auto cannon in the small turret. The LATGM fires and hit the APC. The turret stops turning. The Killer Bees fire the LATGM again and it punctures the armor killing the crew. The Militech troops retreat to the end of the alley. Unfortunately, the Vipers form up two by two to begin their attack runs on the building. Rose calls to Lulu to step out and commence firing, but of course nothing happens. Finally weapons fire erupts from the Association Building and the closest two Vipers go down immediately. A third Viper is hit and limps away, while the fourth pulls out of range. Other fire from that building cut down or scatters the remaining Militech troops. (The fourth Viper also detected 4 AVs, 5 helicopters and two Arasaka fighter jets coming in over the ocean from the west.) The Militech tanks at San Morro Creek commence firing on the Association Building.
The Association abandoned the upper floors of their building, but their remaining observers that they left report four of the tanks, four more Militech behemoth APCs and five ACPAs are coming over the 153rd Street Bridge and rolling on Morrison Square. Suddenly from the west a Bell UH-10 PAPC come in over the square and started to drop 5 PA suits/borgs. Initial dismay turned to joy as the Killer Bees saw that the craft had the markings of Colonel “Blackjack” Pershing’s unit. This is the Colonel himself and four of his best coming in to give their support.
Rose opens communications with the incoming reinforcements and receives data transmissions, which expand the virtual battlefield information that she and Quazz are receiving. The five incoming helicopters were Hippos, which contained two platoons of the colonel’s elite 1st battalion plus support units. Out of the water to the west emerged four of the Colonel’s Arasaka Daisasori Urban Combat Walkers to secure an LZ on the beach for the incoming troops. Militech commences a mortar bombardment of the Killer Bees building and the civilians are quickly sent to the basement. This entire time NET 54 reporter Alison Meadows is broadcasting live. With the children hurrying to the basement under Militech mortar fire in the background, Alison calls out for anyone to help save them from this ‘unprovoked’ Militech assault. Colonel Pershing orders his artillery to commence counter battery fire. From neighborhoods to the north mortars begin counter battery fire supported by his mobile 155mm guns from outside the city. He also orders two of his incoming walkers to advance and reinforce him in Morrison Square. The Battle for San Morro was joined!
Episode 39: The Battle of San Morro
Saturday, July 30, 2025:
(GM Notes: Colonel Pershing lands in Morrison Square with 2 other suits of APCA and 2 combat borgs. The Colonel’s main trade (besides being a soldier) is as a designer of powered armor and other similar military hardware. With his close business connection with Arasaka it was only logical to have him as a contributing developer of the Daioni Powered Armor Conversation. Adam Smasher will have to wait because this fight would be the first combat field test of the new unit. Regardless of the Colonel’s design skill, however, he has to pilot a stock model. As we approach the end of the Fourth Corporate War, I am starting to let people bring in other characters as the story permits. All of these other characters have been worked up for the past several years in the stories leading up to where we are, and many of the players want a chance to measure them against the biggest event in the Cyberpunk 2020 canon.
Takashi/Horse’s player brought another of his characters. This was Roca, the girlfriend of Col. Pershing, who wore her cyber steroid Dragoon fitted out with an eighty point APCA carapace. Roca is an interesting character and was from the third session of the Security Solutions’ Campaign. She is not really a borg, but a self-mobile AI with an “X-tech” computer. She has several bodies she can use, but prefers her Gemini. Besides her combat and NET abilities, Roca has taught herself all she can learn about bioengineering. She wants to be a flesh and blood person. Yes, she has Data’s Pinocchio Complex.
Doctor Freeman, who now wants to expand his cyberware business (ripperdoc clinic) in West San Morro, does not want to run around the country fighting a war. He therefore will start playing his character from “Blackjack” Pershing’s unit. This character is “Sarge”. Sarge is actually a retired general (rolled up using the military career rules in HoB. Since the player is not in any way the strategic genius his character is supposed to be, he had an “accident” that his diminished his tactical sense. The Sarge still has his combat skills and just likes to “mix it up” as an armored grunt now. He has a bio pod installed in a custom Eclipse, which is altered to look like ‘Master Chief’ from the Halo Series.
The late Lulu Lam’s player has created a ‘military character’ (this is the term we use for HoB generated PCs, which tend to be start very powerfully, so a player may have only ONE of these types. Lose it and you CAN NOT have another.) This character was put in one of Colonel Pershing’s Bombardier APCAs.
Screech’s player (yes, he had such a good time on his ‘one shot’ that he has kept the character and become a regular again, when not grounded by his mom!) brought one his old characters from the Security Solutions Campaign back. Cletus (or Kenny for short) is Colonel Pershing’s chief APCA and cyborg technician. Cletus is an old Texan who is an out and out racist. He has, in his downtime, undergone extensive Intensive Care Therapy to bring up his Empathy to a more acceptable level (5). In this time he has tried to work on his racial shortcomings. The bravery of the Liberian troops (all black, of course) has played on him during the Liberian Campaign. He brought his custom Sampson with cyber steroids, an 80 SP carapace covered with Reactive Body Plating. (Reactive Body Plating is not generally available but the Colonel had an in-game arrangement with the corporation that developed it, and they have traded a few items of high technology back and forth.) Yes, it is a monster suit, but he was a minority shareholder in Security Solutions and Colonel Pershing’s Power Armor Company and has made a small fortune along with a number of those characters from that time.
The fifth APCA is an NPC who was wearing an Arasaka C. He is sent to the apartment building due south of Morrison Square to shore up the defenses there. I didn’t want any NPCs on the group’s side for the following engagements.
I didn’t want the Battle of San Morro to become a series of episodes consisting of dice fests with a break for repair. However, I listen to my players, and most wanted a chance to pull out the ‘Big’ toys and have some fun. So, I decided that we would play out the opening engagement, where Colonel Pershing would throw his best (PCs) to stop the Militech’s attempt to crush Morrison Square. I would extend the results of that fight over the entire conflict for San Morro and then we could move on with our story.)
Well, Blackjack and his team are in the tactical loop of the Association and the Killer Bees. The Militech assault has a main force moving west up the center with flanking attacks on the left and the right. The left (north) wing is moving along under the south side of the highway. Hidden in the houses north of the highway are two squads of infantry of Blackjack’s 2nd Battalion with a HATGM crew. They engage that column (1 MBT-4 and 1 Behemoth carrying a squad of infantry). They fire into the rear of the tank and destroy it. A firefight develops that halts that wing’s advance. Half of the central force and the whole southern wing concentrate on the Association Building’s block. The other half of the center force heads to the block north of the Association Building. Morgan’s people are confident that they can hold their block, and request a small reinforcement for the tall apartment building on the south side of the square next to the AutoMat (the NPC Arasaka B pilot). They ask that the bulk of the Colonel’s men stop the force moving on the block just to the north of them on Kramer Street between 152nd and 153rd streets. The Colonel requests a few soft troops to assist them and moved to the low L-shaped mall on the SE corner of that block. The Killer Bees sent Ken, Doctor Freeman, Louie Lam, and Jose in full Arasaka Combat Armor with heavy weapons to assist them.
The two teams rendezvous at the back door of the mall in the alley west of the building and entered the two-story structure. They advanced south down the main corridor, and left Doctor Freeman, Ken and the Bombardier APCA guarding the door facing east out to the small plaza at the center of the building. The others continued towards the main door at the south corner facing east. Ken sees smoke filling up the southern end of the street, which he correctly deduces is covering the Militech advance on the main doors. The sound of Militech APCAs smashing through the glass walls around the main entrance confirms this. The Colonel fires scatter smoke bouncing the shells around the corner of the corridor where it turns east to the main door and the three APCAs charge with the two remaining soft troops coming up carefully behind to support them.
Two Militech Commandoes backed up by five infantry (3 assault rifles, SAW and a Heavy LAW) take the charge of a Daioni, a Dragoon, and a custom Sampson (all with 80 SP armor carapaces). One Commando takes on the Daioni, the other faces the Dragoon, and the LAW and infantry fire on the Sampson. The Militech APCAs scored some hits but doesn’t stop the advancing borgs. The Colonel closes and engages in hand-to-hand combat with his mono PA swords. The first blow tears into the Commando’s chest destroying the BCF-4. The second sword blow lops off the Commando’s (and the pilot’s) leg. Pershing orders the pilot to surrender (or die). The Militech pilot pops his hatch and surrenders. Roca in the Dragoon launches a flying kick using her Panzerfaust at the second Commando and scores a head hit. That head goes sailing off into the smoke. It lands between two advancing infantry of the second section of the infantry squad. That and the screams of their comrades convince those two to turn around and head back across the street. Cletus in his Sampson blows the HLAW soldier to chunks as all 10 rounds from his 14.5 Assault Rifle hit. Jose and Louie cut down the remaining four men killing all but one outright. Roca steps on that one.
Now that left three more infantry moving forward. Two of the three back out of sight. The third soldier armed with a RPG-B has balls of brass, steps out, and fires at the Dragoon. Now, it does do some damage to the torso’s internal structure, but it doesn’t really even slow her down. The next turn arrives and the Militech soldier ends up going last. The group just turns and looks at this lone soldier. A moment of silence ensues. The soldier, who has expected to be turned into “red mist” backs away gratefully into the smoke and retreats across the street. The players then secure the building. Doctor Freeman looks after the downed Militech APCA pilot and manages to save his life, and reattach his leg, which will still be of little use to him until he finishes a long period of recovery. They receive a report that the Militech tanks have destroyed one of the advancing walkers.
The Militech response was to order those remaining five infantry to fall back deeper into the building they had retreated to, and watch for any advance by the Team. Militech also rolls up a tank to the SE corner of 153rd and Kramer intersection. They face their front (with the HATGMs) towards the mall where the group is hunkered down. The large turret faces west down the street and small turret was pointing northerly to cover Kramer Street (and the mall, if need be). The Colonel asks Grimjaw (and the Colonel does make a point that this is not an order but a request that can be refused) to slip up to the SE corner of the mall and shoot his Arasaka EMF launcher at the tank to try to short out its electronics (so they could rush it I assume). Well, it worked against a car and an AV, but against a heavily armored MBT it would have taken a roll (with d10s) averaging 8+ on all 20 dice. The shot fails to affect the tank, which immediately responds with a HATGM that blows Grimjaw into tiny chunks. A moment of silence is held for a brave (and very cool) character.
The Association then calls for help. They have been pushed out of the east and south sides of the block they hold and are holding in the lobby of their building and in the Clam Shack next door. Andrea, the borg Sergeant-at-Arms of the Association, has been killed, but had taken one of the Militech Commandos with her.
A couple of Association enforcers came up to relieve the Colonel’s group as they fell back west to the back of their block and then called for a smoke screen to cover their crossing of 153rd Street south. The Team crosses successfully and makes it to the Association lobby. There they take over the defense of the lobby as most of the remaining Association people fell back to their fortified basements. Sensors are able to tell them that the Militech troops are setting charges in two locations (one on the east wall and one south wall) of the lobby. The sensors miss the charges being set on the east wall of the 2nd floor mezzanine. The team sets up and waits for the Militech assault. Roca waits in a first floor alcove on the north side of the elevators (which are located on the east wall). The Bombardier waits in the westernmost office on the south wall with Colonel Pershing waiting in the office just east of that. On the north staircase to the mezzanine, Jose sets up low to the ground. On the north side of the 2nd floor mezzanine Cletus stands his ground with Louie Lam lying on the floor overlooking the 1st floor giving him support.
Breeching charges blow holes in the wall on the first floor in the south side of the east wall and the east side of the south wall. Smoke grenades follow the storm of debris that showers the room. Everyone waits, but nothing happened. About ten seconds later another breeching charge blows a hole on the south side of the east wall on the 2nd floor mezzanine followed by more smoke, and then they come. Roca peaks around the corner (she can “see” through the smoke) and sees infantry entering. She immediately unleashes a barrage from both her 40mm Auto GLs. Out of the smoke above a commando came around the south walkway. Jose, Cletus and Louie opened fired. The Commando does likewise. The Militech borg staggers under the fire. Louie is riddled, and fails his death save. The targeting beams from the Commando activated the Reactive Body Plating on Cletus’ Sampson and he dodges the fire directly although he takes some AoE damage from the missile hitting the wall behind him. His armor shakes that off. Outside the Militech tank that led the southern pincer of the assault enters Morrison Square and closes on the building’s main door. The remaining Daisasori Walker has maneuvered through the streets and gotten behind that tank. The walker now pours weapons fire into the tank’s rear facing. The exploding tank lights up the darkened square.
The Colonel charges upstairs but the last Commando rushes out of the hole in the east wall downstairs. The Militech APCA trooper catches the Colonel from behind (actually Pershing just ignored him), and inflicts some damage. The Colonel makes an Athletic check and mounts the stairs so he can get a shot on the 2nd floor Commando. Roca and the Bombardier drop his back attacker with a salvo of weapons fire apiece. Pershing rocks the Commando on the mezzanine. Downstairs four Militech infantry came out of the smoke and lay some mostly ineffectual fire in the two metal giants on their floor. Roca dispatches those infantry on the next round. Massed fire drops the last Commando. The rest of the Militech troops break and run. The Team secures the lobby and rushes Louie to the infirmary (under a smoke screen). There they are able to revive him using the equipment they had acquired (stolen) from Conover.
Four Arasaka AVs come over the buildings from the west and unleash a barrage of missiles at the bombarding tanks. Two of the four are destroyed and one is damaged so badly it has to pull out of the battle. One of the AVs goes down to Militech return fire and another is damaged before it has to withdraw. With their artillery also now suppressed, the remaining Militech forces assaulting Morrison Square are now deprived of support so the remaining two tanks and shredded infantry fall back.
Soon, infantry from Pershing’s 1st Battalion that had been air landed on the beach advance to Morrison Square with the other two Daisasori Walkers from the west, while infantry from the 2nd Battalion link up from the north. A lot of hard fighting lay ahead, but the Killer Bees have done their share, and it has cost them dearly. Ken (Grimjaw) is dead and Louie Lam lay in a mortal wound state in the infirmary.
To the north at the Corporate Center in Arasaka’s tall, black tower Kei Arasaka looks on with satisfaction. He turned to Kagekaze and remarks, “It seems your granddaughter may well have been worth your sacrifice.” Kagekaze made no reply either in word or gesture.
The Battle of San Morro
I was not going to have the group slug its way through the battle. They are Edgerunners, and not soldiers (for the most part). Colonel “Blackjack” Pershing’s unit was brought here for this purpose. The Team will have plenty of opportunities to play with the “big” toys soon enough. The question remains: Why did this happen to the Killer Bees? The answer is this:
Kei Arasaka felt he needed a base of operations in a city with no Militech presence. Night City was perfect for his needs, but how to get their rival, Militech, out of the city was the problem. At the start of the Ocean War, Yoru Tomobiki, the head of the Night City Arasaka office saw this war had the potential of spiraling out of control, and if that happened they would need reinforcements (Edgerunners). He put together a group of bright young executives (Mark Kitagawa being one) and assigned each one of them a few allied Edgerunner teams to ‘keep an eye on.’ The Killer Bees’ early successes caught his attention. Yoru also noticed that Kei seemed interested in this not particularly well-known group too (because of Rose). Tomobiki had no idea why the Arasaka family was interested in them, but it intrigued him. Even though the Killer Bees last mission in the Ocean War was a total failure (see Episode 13), the fact that they did not break under interrogation, and escaped imprisonment impressed not only Yoru but Kei also.
Kei’s desire to rid Night City of Militech could not be fulfilled without getting rid of the large and legally contracted security force in San Morro. Militech had to be the aggressor and commit some act that would justify throwing them out of the city by force, if necessary. The bad blood between the Greene family (the father and Seth, at least) and the Killer Bees could provide that incident. The fires of that smoldering feud just needed to be ‘stoked’ in the proper fashion. An Arasaka disinformation campaign aimed at playing on the Greene’s growing dislike for the Killer Bees only got him so far. Hence, Militech Security in San Morro stopped the Bees at lot. The Team found this irritating and then took every opportunity to ‘pull the tail’ of Militech. Kei’s plans and Roy’s campaign against the Bright Circle worked in tandem to push Seth Greene to the edge, although neither Kei nor Roy were completely aware of each other’s designs. With Arasaka’s help Colonel Pershing had managed to post a company of his infantry from his 2nd Battalion in the combat zone neighborhood to the north of San Morro. His four Daisasori Urban Combat Walkers were posted underwater of the beach of West San Morro (with a mini sub to protect them). With the ‘trap’ set they only had to wait for Seth Greene to react. They did not have to wait long.
Arasaka had brought back Colonel “Blackjack” Pershing’s unit in relative secrecy from its last posting as a training unit working with Amazonian Security to train the Brazilian Army. Under the guise of R&R, troops were sent to Night City and then ‘reportedly’ returned to Brazil. In actuality, they had been matched up with fresh equipment. A few pieces were sent from Brazil to Night City, and a number of the more ‘irreplaceable’ items (Marder IFVs, 4 Leopard Mark III tanks, etc.) have been shipped to ‘Blackjack’s’ West Texas Headquarters and training center. Arasaka has assembled a force of two light regiments to secure Militech facilities in the western United States. This force is under the command of General Ubo Tanaka (see Shockwave for more details). Each regiment will serve as an ‘independent’ strike arm. Pershing commands one regiment and Colonel Noboru Genda commands the other, which is made up of crack Arasaka troops. It is General Tanaka’s plan (with Kei’s approval) to have the two regiments engage in a ‘friendly’ competition with each other on which unit can best complete their assigned missions. This competition will be friendly as Colonel Pershing has developed a good relationship with General Tanaka (and Kei). Pershing doesn’t know Colonel Genda that well, but they are committed to work together.
The actual Battle for San Morro played out like this. Just after dawn both Arasaka and Militech were ‘persuaded’ to agree to a cease-fire. That morning was spent in negotiations as Arasaka brought up more troops, but prevented Militech bringing in too many more of their forces. At about 11 am a loud rumble was heard and felt in San Morro. Someone had blown up the San Morro NCART station, which was by this time filled with refugees. The NCPD came down from their positions holding the highway entrance/exit ramp to help with the rescue. Seth Greene used the opportunity to seize the ramp with Militech troops, which did not endear him to the city or the news media in general. The corporate troops insisted on searching each rescue vehicle completely, which slowed the rescue efforts considerably. Then came the bombshell. A Militech employee, whose family had taken shelter in the station and been killed, revealed on live TV that Militech had wired the station with explosives to prevent Arasaka from using the tunnels to get past Militech’s defensive line. The employee was not a plant, but an actual Militech employee whose life was shattered by his family’s death in the NCART station. Arasaka, who knew about the charges (one of their operatives actually set the explosives off), made sure that proof of Militech’s wiring of the station was made public. Mayor Gavin Haakensen called on Militech to withdraw from San Morro, and Seth Greene to turn himself in. This demand was refused, of course. The Mayor then officially authorized Arasaka to remove the Militech forces in San Morro. Arasaka naval forces cut of all water routes and Colonel Pershing’s troops launched a full-scale assault on San Morro. The Colonel and a number of other PCs present had been part of the original team that had cleared San Morro six years before, and turned it into a desirable neighborhood. They had information on the physical infrastructure of the area that was not available to Militech. The assault started with ship bombardment from Arasaka naval forces, three ortillery strikes, and Arasaka troops pouring out of places behind Militech lines.
By nightfall the US Navy ships at North Oak had cleared port and announced that all corporate warships were banned from the waters around San Morro on pain of immediate sinking. Arasaka ships with drew immediately. All through the night, Militech quietly withdrew their troops from San Morro leaving a small perimeter defense force. The force was quickly pushed aside in the next morning’s attacks, which took the hotel and resort with little fighting. Seth Greene was found in his office with a single gunshot wound to the head, and the pistol down at his side. Militech had refused to withdraw him, and were cutting their losses. He knew his corporation would disown him in a news conference later that day, and let him take the fall for everything.
Colonel Pershing was very careful not to fire any artillery or heavy weapons into the old historic downtown district of San Morro. He tried to keep the destruction of the neighborhood he had helped rescue six years ago down, but he didn’t let sentimentality get in the way of victory. There was one exception, however. Colonel Pershing and Senator Roy deChartier were both senior members of Security Solutions. The campaign ended with the Colonel hating Roy, and wanting him dead. Well, the two had similar allies and strong security forces so neither one was able to kill the other without dying themselves in the process. Yes, the Colonel could have hired an assassin, but Roy is a high level fixer (by now SA 10). The odds are pretty good Roy might find out before the hit went down, or that Pershing was shopping for a hitter. Brokering ‘wet work’ operations is one of Roy’s specialties. While the Colonel wanted Roy dead, he did not want to die as a result. Roy’s late father would have to be dealt with and he was more than the Colonel could deal with. Besides, Roy’s uncle, Pierre, was a good friend of the Pershing’s. All these relationships made the situation not a simple one.
It is amusing why the Colonel hates Roy. This hostility comes from the Security Solutions Campaign. It started when they were on an extended mission in Europe for Roy’s father, who had secured a Greek island with a small village and a villa as their HQ for this assignment. The villa was supposed to be empty. The morning after they arrived, they found a teenage girl sleeping in one of the bedrooms and all hell broke loose. They dragged the terrified girl out of bed, and into the kitchen for interrogation. It became obvious to Roy that she wasn’t much of a threat, but the Colonel stood behind her with his pistol drawn. Now here is where you have to have your communication skills down. The Colonel gave Roy a ‘look’ that Roy thought meant, “Is she (the girl) OK?” Well, Roy nodded yes.
What the Colonel was actually meaning was, “Should I kill her now?”
Pershing put two behind the girl’s ear killing her instantly. As it turned out, the girl was the daughter of the villa’s owner who had sneaked away from school while mom was away. “Mom”, in this case, was a high level Euro fixer, who served as Roy’s father’s number one lieutenant. (My intention with this NPC was to provide the Team with a useful “ally” with knowledge of the Euro “scene”, who also could be a minor pain in the ass.) Pershing wanted to just dump her body out at sea the next time they used the seaplane that was at their disposal. Instead, Roy told his father what happened and that it was a tragic accident (my bad). His father had to choose either his assistant or the Colonel, because one had to die. The assistant had a fatal car accident. Although Roy’s action saved the Colonel’s life, he has hated him ever since for it. If Roy hadn’t told his father, then Michelle (the assistant) would have hunted down the people responsible. With her connections she might have put it together, and that would be the end of Colonel Pershing. However, the Colonel took Roy’s telling his old man as a type of party treason, and has wanted him dead ever since.
The act that made any reconciliation impossible came later, when Doyle was called by his Family (he is a nomad with Vehicle Zen) to gather up his ‘friends’ and help defend a group of nomads squatting on a Petrochem site. (This was an altered scenario from the back of the core rulebook, Scenario Six: Camping Out.)
Roy’s ‘friend’, David Whindham (yes, that one), asked Roy to make sure that the team wasn’t there on a certain date. This is where Roy started building his alliance with “Billy Joe” Brentwood and David. Roy sent the Team on a low threat (but not according to the briefing) convoy detail. When the group returned, the nomads had been wiped out. It took a while, but most of the group found enough ‘proof’ that they had been used by Roy to help some of his political allies. It did not matter that this led to a huge increase in business for Security Solutions, and Roy used the ‘favor’ to help all the Team. Life just sucks sometimes!
Well after all that, the point is Roy owns the second tallest building in San Morro, and has a restaurant on top of the building that served as his HQ before he became a Senator. The Colonel, who has been thirsting for a little revenge, had his artillery level the multi-million-euro structure. All orders involving this action were delivered verbally and in person. All munitions records never recorded the attack. Still, when Roy learned of the building’s destruction he just knew who was responsible. The lack of ‘proof’ did not deter Roy.
All this is not known by the Killer Bees. After the Friday night assault was repelled, their part in the battle was over. Their HQ was damaged severely. The garage and all the vehicles in it are destroyed. On Saturday morning they were back trying to pick up the pieces of their home, and mourning Ken’s death. For the Killer Bees next two days of the Battle of San Morro was just distant thunder. They all wondered where they were going to go from here. In Arasaka’s big black tower downtown forces were already moving that would send them into the Hell of the Hot War.
Episode 40: You’re in the Army Now! (Damn!)
Militech has been thrown out of San Morro and now Night City is firmly(?) in Arasaka’s hands. The Killer Bees have made the world news again and a number of them have their reputations rising. Arasaka ‘suggested’ the Killer Bees sign up with Colonel Pershing’s forces, which is not too outrageous as two of the Bees are veterans of that unit.
Kagekaze has asked Rose to sign up and the subtext of the request was that the clan wanted an agent in the ranks. Rose accepted;
The Colonel asked Bea personally, who has now been ‘fired’ by Arasaka, to rejoin and she has accepted.
Louie Lam jumped at the offer.
Jose is using his windfall to become a ‘borg’, so he will be generating a new character (He is thinking of a netrunner at present).
Doctor Freeman now has everything he wanted to start his research projects, and is a board member of the ‘Morrison Square Neighborhood Association’. He politely declined the offer of “going to war”, and will be playing Sarge, his cyborg from Episode 39.
Horse/Roca will be playing his cyborg, Longbow, from our Malagay Campaign (Chrome Berets). Actually he “borged” himself out with the proceeds from that campaign and has finished extensive therapy to bring his Empathy out of the toilet from that procedure.
With Grimjaw dead, that player will be bringing back Christie, who was one of the original members of the Killer Bees, who went home after the Ocean War.
The late Lulu Lam will continue to play the ACPA trooper he developed for the Battle of San Morro.
Screech will be going as Bea’s tank driver, but he will be in ‘NPC mode’ as the player will continue to play Cletus (from Episode 39). Of the other NPCs only Boom Boom will be coming as Bea’s tank gunner.
The name of the Killer Bees now has fame (and therefore value) so Arasaka wants some more return on its investment. As an inducement to sign up, Arasaka offered to repair the building they live in and will be speaking to the owner about letting the Killer Bees buy the structure at a ‘reasonable price’. Oh yes, they are paying very well too!
Colonel Pershing has organized his Recon Company into 16 Long Range Reconnaissance Teams. Because the AV gas shortage has grounded most aircraft, these teams will be equipped with ground transport. The teams have been equipped with a variety of equipment that they have been able to cobble together. The party’s designation will be Long Range Reconnaissance Team Seven (LRT-7) with the code name: the Killer Bees, of course.
Some of the teams will be fast, silent and deadly. However, that has never been the Bee’s style. They will be more of the slow heavily armored type with the firepower to blast any light forces sent against them. LRT-7 will have 3 parts. The first will be a Merkava IV-C tank (yes, there is no “C” version now but hey, it’s a future time!). Bea with Screech driving, Boom Boom as gunner and an old NPC friend of Bea’s from the Liberian campaign as loader will command this. They will have a custom Covert Operations APC/Van. This will be under the command of Rose, who will be in command of the entire team with the rank of First Lieutenant. Yes, there is nepotism involved here! In addition to an NPC driver and technician, Louie Lam, (Jose’s new character), and Christie will serve as the covert element as well as serving as soft troops in any larger engagement. The third part will be a cyborg/ACPA section, which will ride in a Marder IFV (see Chrome Berets) that has been internally modified to carry them. Sarge will be in command of this group, which will contain (in addition to the NPC vehicle crew) Longbow and the new ACPA trooper. The unit’s weakness is that they are VERY slow. The Merkava’s top speed is 40 mph on the road, and the Marder is only 50mph. What they lack in speed, they make up for in firepower. Still, it will take good leadership and tactics to survive.
The days after the Battle of San Morro find the Killer Bees recovering from the fight and getting a little more cyberware in a few cases. Blackjack’s unit still maintains troops in the area and posts guards on the team’s building as it is still serving as a hospital for the wounded. There are only two encounters of note during that time.
Tuesday, August 2, 2025:
The new covert operations APC arrives and is parked in the party’s garage. Rose has a hitch installed to pull the trailer that the Killer Bees had bought for the Elk County, NV mission. The garage has been cleaned out and a large soft cover has been placed over that section of the building to keep out the rain since the artillery had destroyed the roof. One of the features of the van is a three CPU computer. Rose is being briefed about its capabilities by her new tech when Quazz pops in to say hi. Needless to say the tech is taken aback. Rose explains that Quazz is the building’s computer AI. The tech is surprised that they had a computer that could support an AI and asks to see it. Rose shows him the computer and the tech informs her that the souped up PC that they call their ‘security computer’ could not possibly support an AI of Quazz’s complexity. At that moment three Netwatch cops, two NCPD cops, and two technicians enter the room with a court order to seize the computer holding Quazz. They have netrunners waiting in the NET to catch him if he tries to run again (hey, Netwatch learns!). The order is legal and the techs start to open the panels to get at the memory units that contain Quazz.
Now, here Rose is in a quandary. She just doesn’t want to kill them because that sort of thing will come back to haunt you. In this she is right as the people in there have transmitters that are broadcasting the encounter to Netwatch.
As she is trying to think of something to do to save Quazz (short of gunning down the cops), Dr. Freeman leans over and whispers in her ear, “Don’t we have a lot of troops in this building that you outrank?” Rose calls for a squad to report (they are in the room across the hall), and has them just bodily pick up the techs and walk them out of the building. The Netwatch goons turn to the NCPD officers and tell them to intervene. The cops look at the soldiers with automatic weapons and decline.
Rose then reminds the Netwatch officials that this area is under martial law and her unit is charged with enforcing that. They can walk out now with their dignity, or she will have her soldiers bodily toss them out the door! Netwatch backs down, but says that the troops will be pulling out soon, and then they will be back. They have the NET covered so there is no escape for Quazz. The Netwatch weasels then leave.
At this point, the group has noticed that Quazz is more than just an ‘Igor; style program, and as annoying as he can be, they all are starting to like him. The Team all start to think of ways to save Quazz.
Wednesday, August 3, 2025:
Early in the morning, Rose gets a call from the building guards that there are three people here to see Quazz. Rose has now changed the orders of the guards to challenge anyone they don’t know. The team goes to the front door expecting to have to deal with another group of Netwatch goons. They are surprised to find three geeky-looking nerds waiting at the door. Two guys and a girl stand there looking really out of place (a little nervous). One of them is wearing a Night City University tee shirt. When asked what they wanted, the three reply that Quazz had called them to come down here. (The looks on the Team’s faces were priceless, as they had no idea what this was about.)
Rose just replies, “Sure, why not!”
Quazz was happy to see the three and introduced them to the party. They were Dexter, Ellen, and George, three grad students from Night City University’s Computer Science Department. They were three of the six people Cleo had hired to help her program Quazz originally. As they three talk to Quazz, the Team began to realize that Quazz has friends. Apparently the little AI had used some of his stolen swag to help Dexter pay for his schooling this semester. His ‘friends’ treated him like a person, and are there to help. Also, Quazz looks different. His clothes change from day to day. He is learning.
Quazz tells Rose that the computer in the van is large enough to house him and his memory. They will have to dump some of the new computer’s memory for him to fit, but Quazz assures them that it will be fine. He will, however, be down to one transfer program (this allows Quazz to move from computer to computer). The three students will be happy to write him another one (or two). They also suggest that (after the transfer) they remove the computer that houses him now and get it to safety. The three have brought the code that will allow a new computer to run the building’s defenses in Quazz’s absence. Of course, this all depends on whether Rose will allow Quazz to download himself into the computer in the van. The van has a hardwired connection to the building so the Netwatch weasels, which are watching cannot interfere (or even know it is happening for that matter). Rose agrees and Quazz downloads himself into the van and joined the “Team”!
As a GM sometimes (well, most of time) the players can surprise you. Dr. Freeman approaches the three students with a proposition. Now, the Doctor has had a long stated character goal of making advances in cybernetic and neurological technologies. His Medtech has a specialization in neurology. Also, the Doctor has very high cybernetics (Cyber Tech), I think around level 7. The Doctor is a former college professor (one of the three geeks had heard of him). His proposal is this: He has some experimental projects he wants to work on. He has the money, the space to conduct these experiments, and the connections to get the materials he needs. What he lacks is access to high tech laboratories like what Night City University has for certain experiments. Would they like to help him get access to those labs in exchange for cash, teaching and partial credit for his work? The three huddle together for a minute and reply, “Sure.”
At the beginning of the campaign, Dr. Freeman’s player had outlined his plans for this character’s research. I basically said, “OK”, but you would have to accomplish a list of goals (money, location, reputation, corporate connections, and access to high tech facilities. I thought that would be the end of it. Well, the Doctor reminded me that he had now accomplished all of these prerequisites. Well, this should be interesting down the road in our overall campaign.
Thursday, August 4, 2025:
Good-byes were said as the van headed out of Night City to meet up with the rest of the new LRT-7 at a bivouac south east of Sacramento. The group arrived there safely that afternoon.
Friday, August 5, 2025:
That afternoon Colonel Pershing’s newly formed LRT- 7 (Long range Reconnaissance Team Seven) is ordered to proceed tomorrow morning to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the road just north of Yosemite National Park. They are to get on Route 395 south and head to Rovana, CA. From there follow the main canyon along Pine Creek Road to the end into the Sierra Nevada and set up a communications intercept station on Broken Finger Peak (elevation 13,068 feet) (37N x 119W), which is just east of Mount Morgan. You are to wait there for further instructions.
(GM’s Note: Don’t bother to look for rules on Quazz, because he is an anomaly. He is kind of like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit (1 & 2). He is unique. Cleo hired the smartest netrunner she knew and got four Night City University grad students to also help program Quazz (the other student is a PC, who is on hiatus playing with us, but follows the campaign and has his netrunner attending Night City University in his downtime). Since he wasn’t here, I didn’t want to run his character as an NPC. Quazz is not an AI, but an intelligent program (+). Cleo wrote the basic programming. She has Programming 6, which is just enough to get in real trouble. Cleo infused Quazz with a desire to help the party, which comes from her guilt about leaving them in a lurch. The grad students all tried to outdo themselves with their parts of the program. The Euro netrunner provided the main expertise. This combination produced an unrepeatable fluke, which is Quazz. When he was introduced at the beginning of the Hot War adventures, no one really paid him any though except Screech. I have therefore modeled a great deal of the little AI’s personality, likes and dislikes on that character. Quazz still retains his desire to help the Killer Bees. Quazz has an INT of 5 and an Interface of 5. He has achieved a sort of sentience, but is still somewhat naïve and child-like. His original purpose was to provide a little comic relief, but now has taken on a life of his own.)
Episode 41: Off to War
Saturday, August 6, 2025:
The Killer Bees head out this morning to set up a communications intercept station on Broken Finger Peak (elevation 13,068 feet) (37N x 119W). All goes well until they are crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains later in the morning. In the tiny town of Strawberry, California they are stopped by a local police roadblock (three cops and two ‘volunteers’ with three families having a picnic while watching the road block from about 100 meters away). The local police lieutenant walks up and knocks on the tank. It seems there is a ‘road use’ surcharge for large vehicles that might tear up the road (tracked vehicles). The charge is 5000eb for the tank, and 3000eb for the Marder. There is no charge for the covert operations van and the Kumo. (This is, of course, a blatantly illegal shakedown.) Bea delays the officer until Rose can come up with an effective strategy. She doesn’t want to just gun the cops down. Some want to drive right through, figuring no one will stop them. In the end Rose is ‘allowed’ to talk the police down to 4000 eb total. This comes out of her 10,000 eb cash operations fund. Arasaka won’t be amused by this expense but if they are successful in their missions the Killer Bees will be forgiven.
At about 2pm the column is heading down Route 395 just south of Convict Creek where the hills rise up on the group’s right, the Team encounters a Militech patrol consisting of an A-20 Panzer and a GMI HovTransport (with a LATGM crewed weapon and an eight man mechanized infantry squad. The range is 800 meters. The battle is joined. The panzer increases speed and moves to the open ground to its right, while the HoverTransport slows and drops out of sight behind a hill (to discharge its infantry).
The covert operations van and the two Kumos pull to the right to get off the road in a low spot by a dry canal. The Marder turns 40 degrees left and proceeds to meet the anticipated flanking maneuver of the HMI HoverTransport. Bea engages the panzer with her 120 mm gun. Her first shot cripples the 20 mm cannon. The second shot caused a crew hit and the pilot is stunned. The gunner gets control of the craft but the third penetrator hit causes the engine to catch fire and explode. Bea then pulls the Merkava back out of sight behind a small hill and starts to lay down mortar fire (using an aerial remote as a spotter) on the hidden Militech troops. The Militech transport came out from behind the hill at 135 mph trying to make a getaway. A 20 mm cannon burst and a LATGM from the Marder destroys the transport. When the Marder comes around the hill, a Militech LATGM hits it, and destroys a smoke launcher. Return fire from the Marder destroys the LATGM Hot Shot. Rose orders the Eclipses to disembark and charge the infantry. Sarge, who is in command of that section under Rose’s overall authority, refuses the order. None of the borgs or ACPA troopers would risk a charge. Sarge is actually a retired US Army general, who obviously has no respect for the young and (in his mind) inexperienced Rose. Instead, the two Eclipses disembark the Marder and start to stealth towards the Militech troops. Bea then takes her tank and moves it out from behind the hill in a position to defend their soft vehicles from any Militech attempt to get at them. The enemy drives off the Killer Bees’ aerial remote and made a getaway under the cover of smoke. After about 45 minutes to an hour the column formed up and headed south. Just a bit down the road the reformed Militech troops fired an RPG-B at the covert operations van. The weapons system is not deployed so they take a serious hit. All the long-range communication gear (and satellite uplink) is destroyed. The group chooses (wisely) not to pursue the foot bound Militech troops.
The Killer Bees reaches Rovena, Norcal. It is a small town with a general store/gas station. They stop in for gas, and are met with suspicion. The production of many crisp ebs opens the gas pumps and the group’s vehicles fill up. Sarge befriends the owner’s young 9 year old daughter, and Bea flirts with young station attendant. Sarge buys out all the ding-dongs and they are distributed to the town’s kids.
The Team reaches the base camp just after nightfall, and camps. The communications team goes up and sets up in the night as the ACPA suit accompanies them.
Sunday, August 7, 2025:
The team camouflages their two camps well. The communications station does well in intercepting Militech communications. Rose offers to help and rolls well; she improves their results and finds the locations of the first line of Militech defenses in the Tehachapi Pass to the south. This information will reduce the Colonel’s casualties in the Battle for Las Vegas. An AH-99 Militech Gunship is seen patrolling the Sierra Nevada Mountains near the camp. It is one of the rarer models that had been retrofitted with a powerful CHOO engine(s). When the group realizes it will pass within 600 meters of their camp they decide to try and shoot it down. Sarge fires a ‘spytech’ missile from the Marder drops it out of the sky, with a catastrophic crew hit. They put out the fire and hunker down for the night.
Monday, August 8, 2025:
At about 9:20 am, Bea is on lookout and thinks she hears the faint sound of gunfire off to the east a few miles away. She reports this to Rose who launches the now repaired aerial remote, which heads east. The remote gets to Rovena, Norcal, five miles away, where the party refueled. At the gas station a Militech patrol in four Hummers has shot one of the employees who they can’t recognize. They watch as the enemy troops shoot the owner in front of his little daughter. The Militech Recon Squad then continues coming down the road toward the Team’s position. It consists of two hummers (.50 cal and 40mm Auto GL) with 12 men.
The two borgs take one of the Kumo’s and head down to the valley floor to set up an ambush down by where the road becomes a section of switchbacks to climb into the mountains. The remote is tracking the progress of the Militech troops. The ambush is ready but the Militech troops turn right before the switchbacks and go up the wash on the other side of the ridge east of intercept station. The Killer Bees’ borgs break cover and head for their transport. Since they feel (correctly) that they could not get back in time to defend the camp, they decide to come up behind the Militech patrol and cut them off. Meanwhile, Rose, Christie, and Louie get into Arasaka Assault Armor (Bea moves up with them but does not have assault armor so she wears her armored BDUs), and move over the ridge to the site where they feel the enemy vehicles will have to stop. A good roll confirms this, and while they wait Bea measures the range (in the fire control computer simulation) to cover the area with 60 mm mortar fire from the Merkava tank on the other side of the ridge. The Killer Bees open their ambush with Louie firing the LATGM on the rear Hummer, which blows its front axle off, and traps the lead Hummer in the wash. Christie, Bea and Rose concentrate fire on the operator of the .50 caliber MG and critically wounding him (and knocking him out). Louie cleared away from the LATGM launcher, which was a wise choice because after a first wide burst, the 40mm Auto GL destroyed the launcher and everything around it. Christie and Rose engage in one more round of fire against the Militech troops as the enemy bails out of their vehicles. Bea lays down a barrage of fire from her new Hurricane machine gun on the troops exiting the rear vehicle. Rose calls for the mortar and the first round is right on. She then called for a 10 second, six round barrage, while the three change firing positions. Rose, Christie, and Bea and Louie then pop up and exchange another two rounds of fire, which wounds and knocks out the 40mm Auto GL gunner. They drop out of sight to move, and Rose again calls for a ten second, six round barrage, which Bea and her crew provide. Secondary explosions follow the second fire mission as on one the Hummers explode from a direct hit to the fuel. The Militech patrol then pops smoke and withdraws. Since the Eclipses had decided to ride up the wash in the Kumo, they are seen by the Militech troops and avoided. The NPC operating the remote could not find the retreating Militech survivors. An exhaustive search (in the wrong direction) found nothing.
The remainder of the day is quiet. Rose gets her lesson from one of the communication specialists and receives the skill, Expert: Complex Computer Languages 1. This will allow her (with a properly programmed computer) to enter the NET, and do just about anything a Netrunner can do (similar to Streetwise vs. Streetdeal). More importantly this allows Rose to use Quazz’s combat command functions more effectively.
Rose receives a private communication from Colonel Pershing at about 7:15pm. She is left alone in the communications tent as the screen comes alive with Colonel Pershing’s visage. He speaks.
“A group of Aldecaldo nomads is negotiating to sell three tanker trucks of AV gas (60,000 gallons) to Militech. This will make our drive on Las Vegas a very difficult matter. Militech’s main airbase in the region is outside Las Vegas, but is almost out of AV gas for their aircraft. Our own air base outside Reno is not in any better shape. Possession of that AV gas could well turn the tide in the battle. We understand that the deal is taking place in the next couple of days in western central Nevada. Kagekaze seems to feel that this might be a job for you. Your mission is to secure that AV gas, deliver it to the Arasaka airbase outside Reno, or at least deny the fuel asset to Militech using any means necessary.”
Rose remembers that this is probably the fuel from the Elko, Nevada mission. She decides to send Rissa Aldecado (Raggedy Anne) a message using the communications station. The message is clear that Rose would like to purchase the fuel.
Tuesday, August 9, 2025:
Early in the morning (3 am) a reply appears in the box. Rose is told to stipulate exactly what she wants, and how much authority she has to negotiate. Rose is instructed to deliver the message personally to the box in the NET. One person can be with her. Rose has to 7 am to deliver her response. Anne will answer between two and five hours after the message is delivered.
When Rose delivers message, Anne (and friends) are there. She informs them that Militech is being difficult in the negotiations. That Mega Corp has one hour to complete the agreement or Anne will consider their offer expired. If that happens, the nomads have decided to sell the fuel themselves at the going per gallon price (225eb a gallon). If they want, they can buy the whole shipment at that price (13.5 million eb). They get three trailers for that. For an additional 300,000 eb she will throw in three tractor trucks will full tanks of CHOO, but they have to supply the drivers. In one hour and fifteen minutes she will consider their response. Anne has others who want the fuel, but she feels, after the Elko County Incident, they deserve first crack at it.
Rose contacts the Colonel, and he calls Arasaka, who will only authorize 12 million eb (which they transfer immediately to the Colonel). If they want the fuel they can buy 52,000 of the gallons (and get the trucks) or get 54,222 gallons and have no trucks to move them. The Colonel ponies up the rest of the 1.8 million eb and gets it all.
The message from Anne is a go. They have the funds ready. Rose is told that she should go to the Hunt Club (on the NET) and, this time, come alone. Anne is not there but her representative is. When the transfer is complete, they are instructed to go to the Food and Gas on the corner of Main and Oddie Street in Tonopah, Nevada. They are to go into the store call this number (555-7448), let it ring three times, hang up and go lean on the ice machine outside and wait for at least a half an hour.
About dawn, an Arasaka gyro lands near their camp with 6 drivers (2 per truck, some requested supplies, and the 10 man LRT 15 to guard the intercept station. The trip to Tonopah is uneventful. They see a motorcycle gang sitting on a rise just after the Nevada border but they don’t bother the group. In fact, the Killer Bees’ armored column has attracted a number of other civilian vehicles, which follow at a respectful distance, but are close enough to keep the bike gang from swooping down on them. They stop a couple of miles outside of town and pull off the road. Rose has the trailer unhitched and hooked up to the tank. The Merkava and the Marder wait outside of town as the covert operations van goes into town. In Tonopah they do as instructed and after twenty minutes an 11-year-old girl comes up and asks if they just called that number. She says the local Tonopah police just picked up her Daddy on a corporate warrant and are holding him down at the local Police Station.
Rose goes to the police station to try to get their contact freed. The police refuse to release him or let the party talk to him. Rose calls Bea and Sarge who bring the vehicles about 2300 meters from the police station and has the tank level its main gun at the police headquarters. She asks the lieutenant she was speaking with to come outside. She hands him a set of binoculars and points out the tank. She doesn’t mention the Marder, but the police officer can see it, the ACPA suit, and the two borgs. While dancing on the edge of several felonies, Rose makes it clear what will happen if her contact is not released. The lieutenant calls for the sheriff himself, who comes out to negotiate. The sheriff, who doesn’t want to get in a firefight with troops of a Mega Corp, agrees to surrender his prisoner, if Arasaka presents him with an official written request. (Would the party like to borrow a pen and paper?) Rose puts her request (demand) in writing and the sheriff turns over the prisoner. As Rose leaves, the sheriff adds that Militech has probably already been notified of what has transpired here.
The contact insists on going back into town to pick up his daughter. The Team agrees and they scoop her up. They are directed to a small abandoned industrial park northwest of Tonopah, where they find the three tanker trucks waiting, fueled and warmed up. The contacts immediately leave. The drivers hop into the rigs and the column gets underway for Reno. The chase is on!
Episode 42: The Battle of West Gate Pass
Tuesday, August 9, 2025:
The Killer Bees head off with their three tankers of AV gas heading for the Arasaka Airbase near Reno, NV. From the old industrial park northwest of Tonopah they head west on back roads to pick up Route 6 west of Millers, NV. They skirt Coaldale and take Route 95 north that splits from Route 6 in that town. The team heads up 95 allowing themselves to be seen (while hopefully appearing to try to NOT be seen) until they reach the town of Lunning. The convoy turns off 95 after Lunning and jumps on a back road to double back and catch Route 361 North. They skirt the town of Gabbs, NV and continue north. It is hoped that taking this route will send Militech to concentrate their search on Route 95, which is the quickest and most direct route to the airbase outside Reno. Their subterfuge works and Militech does concentrate most of their resources in that direction. However the Militech commanders are not fools and they send a fast, light armored force (two Militech Destructor Tanks, four Hummers (1 w/50 cal, 1 w/40mm Auto GL, 2 unarmed, 1 LATGM crew, 1 82 mm mortar crew and 14 infantry) to cover the roads to the east just in case the Killer Bees do exactly what they are doing.
The Team has learned a few lessons from the past couple of days and has their aerial remote up and sweeping the road ahead. At West Gate Pass just west of the junction of Route 361 and 50 in Middlegate. The remote, which is flying over that hamlet, sees a (the Militech) column exiting the pass, but can’t tell any more than it is a column of about 5 to 10 vehicles. Bea, in the lead vehicle, sees a Hummer followed by one of the (Destructor) tanks exit the pass at just under 2500 meters. As they do not have a positive ID yet, she fires her smoke launchers to cover her advance. The Militech column sees this. The lead Hummer (with the .50) increases speed and roars towards Middlegate to beat the Killer Bees there. The lead tank pulls slightly to the left and heads into the wash just north of the bridge on Route 50. The rest of the column screeches to a halt out of sight of the advancing Arasaka column. The remote is sent speeding to check out the column and quickly identifies it and its numbers. Rose immediately starts jamming any attempted Militech transmissions, and although she is not aware at the time, she is successful. No word of the fight leaks to Militech Command. Rose orders the tanker trucks to slow and the Marder turns 30 degrees to the left and heads cross-country to the wash that leads to the Pass.
The Militech forces deploy. One of the unarmed Hummers drops off the LATGM and crew. The second Destructor stops then pulls to the right and hugs the Pass wall. The Hummer with the 40 mm Auto GL does the same and its infantry piles out and escorts the LATGM crew up the hill. They deploy one spotter low on the ridge to call indirect fire from the 40mm AutoGL. Another spotter is sent to the top of that hill and the crewed weapon (with two infantry to guard it) moves part way up behind the hillcrest to set up a defilade position to hit anything coming through the pass. The two unarmed Hummers then reverse course and head back west down the Pass.
With the enemy identified, Bea fires her Merkava’s main gun at the speeding Hummer, but the shot misses. She then draws a bead on the advancing vehicle, takes careful aim (a couple of rounds), and then fires a high explosive shell. The shot hits the weapon mount on top of the vehicle. The explosion destroys the weapon and ignites the ammo. The combined blast turns the Hummer into a 100 mph fireball.
Rose notices a low point in the terrain off to the left of the road and orders the trucks to take cover in there. She sets up the trucks in a line behind her to try to use her vehicles anti-missile system to defend them. Bea continues down Route 361 to occupy Middlegate and be able to cover Route 50 and shoot down the Pass. Militech notices this and moves their second Destructor Tank half way down the pass and out of sight behind a ridge along the south wall of the pass.
Now the Team’s remote had lost the two retreating Hummers. They had turned south up a small pass that leads to the highest point on the hills, but not before dropping off its infantry section (3 men), who set up an ambush point watching both the mouth of that small pass and the center of West Gate Pass. The second Destructor pulls up here and this group could also guard the vehicle against any infantry assault. The remainder of the troops on the two Hummers went as far as they could before deploying to set up an 82 mm mortar position with a spotter on the high point next to that small valley. This would take time.
During this time the Hummer with the 40mm AutoGL started firing indirect shots at the hidden tanker trucks. The pintle mount is not really meant for this type of fire so, while a shot or two was close, the fire was ineffective.
Sarge and his Marder stops in the wash at a low point about 650 meters SSW of Middlegate and gets out to survey the situation. They reboard the vehicle and continue down the wash until they reach where the dirt road crosses that wash. At that point he fires a smoke screen from his remaining smoke launcher and the three Eclipses rush forward 100 meters then go to ground until the smoke clears. The Marder then turns around and is ordered to return back down the wash to the main column hidden in the low point off the highway. Sarge orders the ACPA suited trooper to charge the hilltop as they lie in wait to return fire on anything that would shoot at the him. The remote had moved around so much that they could no longer find the crewed weapon or the troops that had disembarked to form the first line of defense of the Pass.
As the Merkava approaches the intersection of Route 361 and Route 50, the Hummer with 40mm AutoGL pulls back down the Pass towards Militech’s second line of defense 600 meters to the west. Meanwhile, Bea reaches Middlegate and stops. There she starts dropping mortar rounds where she thinks the first Militech Destructor Tank stopped in the wash off Route 50. Now, there was not much of a chance to hit the enemy tank except without a long period of ranging fire, but the enemy didn’t know that (or could they afford to risk it). The Militech tank immediately lays down a smoke screen and heads back down West Gate Pass to take up a hidden position on the north side of that Pass opposite the other Destructor tank.
The ACPA trooper makes his charge, but due to some confusion in understanding the orders the trooper charged the hill to the SW rather than the correct one to the NW. It took a while for this to be noticed. The trooper then changes directions, but since he had attracted no fire the three borgs also join the charge. The ACPA trooper heads for the hilltop, and the borgs (Sarge, Cletus and Longbow) headed for their best guess where the LATGM would be. Bea waits for the infantry to clear the anti-tank weapon from her line of advance.
Finally, the Militech crew had its 82mm mortar in position and starts to drop shells near where the trucks were hidden. Rose orders the vehicles to pull out and head back down the main road south. Militech responds with a smoke screen in the pass, and the Destructor tank with the two unarmed Hummers and the Hummer with the 40mm AutoGL head west down Route 50. The smoke screen also provides Bea with an opportunity. She proceeds down Route 50, and stops 100 meters east of the highway bridge. Militech has had plenty of time to wire the bridge. While this is true, the enemy did not have any combat engineers with them. Bea was still correct not to take the chance.
Rose sends the remote after the fleeing tank and three Hummers, and found that they had turned south out of the west end of the pass and where heading south around the mountains in pursuit of the tanker trucks. There was another pass five miles to the south, which was impassable to the tanker trucks, but easily traversable by the tank and the Hummers. Rose immediately turned the column around and headed back north.
The ACPA trooper reached the top of the hill and looked around in time to see the spotter firing a light LAW at him. The hit caused a little damage, but the trooper’s 12.7 MG chunked the spotter. As the borgs crested the hill, the LATGM crew, who had been alerted to the charge, fired. Sarge had his leg blown right off. Cletus made a poor decision to use a VERY heavy pistol to dispatch the enemy gunner, because he survived the attack, and another missile was loaded. The second missile damaged the advancing ACPA trooper. Confused return fire, and a (too) quickly expanding smoke screen ended with the LATGM crew dead, but the two supporting infantry escaping. The ACPA trooper and Cletus (an eclipse) continued to sweep the south side of the West Gate Pass, while Longbow (another eclipse) carried Sarge down to the Marder which had returned to pick them up. Bea with the Merkava advanced into the pass (avoiding the bridge), and closed to engage the waiting Destructor Tank.
The fuel column reentered the range of the Militech mortar, which commenced firing again. Here was the only mistake that Rose made as she did not order the column to vary its speed. The crew was able to calculate easily a firing solution. Among the many shots the Militech crew scored three hits. The first hit knocked out the covert van’s anti-missile system. A second hit destroyed the trailer they were towing. (The trailer had made any effective dodging maneuvers out of the question) This results in the loss of most all the borg and ACPA spare parts along with a lot of their privately owned equipment. The third hit strikes a tanker, which explodes.
Bea faces down the Destructor. Despite three ‘Empty Space’ results she manages to stop the enemy light tank as it tries to flee by immobilizing it and killing its crew. The remote, which has now returned from following the enemy-flanking maneuver, spots the Militech mortar. Bea is able to drop her first mortar shell from the Merkava very close. This and the report of the eclipse borgs now sweeping through the hills is enough to break the troops and they flee. Meanwhile the Team’s borgs discover the last Militech ambush point in the Pass. The ACPA trooper and Cletus wiped out that section with their own ambush.
The Killer Bees’ fuel trucks scream thru the Pass, and the column reforms. This time the Merkava is in the rear and the Marder leads. The wide-open terrain on the other side of West Gate Pass makes any attack by the pursuing Destructor Tank impossible as the Merkava’s main gun outranges the Militech weapon by a thousand meters. The Militech flanking action has brought them out from under Rose’s jamming, and Militech command is notified. Arasaka picks up this transmission, and although they cannot understand the code completely, they guess what it is. In ten minutes after clearing the Pass, a pair of Arasaka jet fighters are there flying CAP over the column. In another ten minutes, two heavily armed AVs take up close support also. Twenty miles outside Fallon, NV, a large fast moving Arasaka column meets them and takes over the convoy. The Killer Bees fall out of line and are ordered to an Arasaka base camp south of Reno.
The Team arrives there in the evening. The good news is that they find themselves with top priority on repairs and refueling. The bad news is that they are to head out before sunrise the next morning on another mission. The Killer Bees have brought two of the three fuel trucks through, which is exactly what the Colonel needs to launch his planned assault on the Militech facilities outside Las Vegas. In Night City, Kei Arasaka reads the report. No emotion crosses his face, but a deep satisfaction fills his soul. He makes a note to authorize a bonus for Mark Kitagawa, the Killer Bees’ corporate handler. At Militech headquarters a nervous aide places the ever-growing file on the Killer Bees in front of General Lundee. As he read it, he realized that something must be done about this group of troublesome Edgerunners.
Episode 43: The Battle of Springdale
Wednesday, August 10, 2025:
The Arasaka repair shops go right to work on the Killer Bees vehicles. The Covert Operations Van has its armor and structure patch repaired, but they have no anti-missile system to install on it. A request is sent for a replacement. The Marder has its missing smoke launcher replaced, and all vehicles have their armor repaired. Ammunition is reloaded, but Arasaka doesn’t have any 120mm tank ammunition. Cletus (whose player had a family “command attendance” function) returned to HQ to make some critical repairs in anticipation of Colonel Pershing’s coming offensive, but not before he grafted the leg from his Eclipse on the Sarge’s. Repairs were made on Leon Glojevich’s Arasaka Standard-C. Now, we play it is almost impossible to properly patch the composite armor that these suits use, so it takes a roll of +30 on an Armorsmith roll (with all the right tools) to do it completely. (A roll of 20 gets 5% of that section repaired with a 21 doing 10%. After that it is an addition 10% per point of success until a complete repair is do at a skill roll of 30. Fractions are rounded up.) Anything left is NOT repairable, and the carapace itself must be replaced. Everyone caught a little sleep before they had to jump off.
The Killer Bees were ordered south to Beatty, Nevada on Route 95 to set up an observation post in the hills south of that town. They were to engage all targets of opportunity. Just before they were about to leave, their supplies they ordered after the last mission arrived. A long range radio, a laser directional antenna, a microwave directional antenna, a satellite uplink, a router for the communications gear with software to operate it, and three 120mm penetrator rounds. Unfortunately the communications gear was still in the shipping containers, so it would have to wait to be installed. The Team had the expertise to make the installation, but not while bouncing around in a moving vehicle. It would have to wait until they reached their objective that evening.
Arasaka scouts directed them around the Militech ‘front lines’ and they continued south on Route 95. They wisely avoided any built up areas and successfully got as far south as Springdale. A good Tactics roll by Rose (and previous experience) lead her to put their aerial remote farther out in front of the column. That afternoon they spotted a Militech column moving north on Route 95 coming toward them just south of Springdale. The column had a Hummer (each with a .50 cal.) at the front and rear of the column. The main body consisted of a MT-4 MBT, a Behemoth APC (with 40mm AutoGL), an armored van that matched nothing in their database, and another Behemoth APC (with a 20 mm cannon) They decided to lay an ambush.
The Merkava set up behind a rise in the hills with some light camouflage. The Marder set up about 120 meters behind them in a similar manner. The Covert Ops van set up to the WNW of that position hidden (and off the map) defended by all the soft troops except Louie Lam. Longbow, the eclipse sniper, set up on that same ridge 350 meters from the road. Louie Lam, Leon Glojevich (in his Arasaka Standard-C), and Sarge set up on a small rise just to the east of the ambush point. Louie was manning the recently captured Militech Hot Shot LATGM from a camouflaged position (with IR protection) with Sarge and Leon ducking down just out of sight of the road so they wouldn’t be seen. The plan was that on Bea’s command the Merkava would fire on the MT-4, as Louie with the LATGM and Sarge with his large mini-gun would engage the rear APC. At the same time, Leon would fire his ACPA bazooka at the first APC, and Longbow would kill the gunner on the rear Hummer. They believed that the van in the center was a command and control vehicle and they wanted to capture it. It was a good plan.
As they say however, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. As the enemy convoy entered the ambush area, the Killer Bees communications were scrambled. To the Team’s credit, no one panicked and Bea got her ambush round and fired at the MT-4 and hit with a high penetration result. It knocked the crew out and the tank continued northwest on the highway with some erratic motion (it was autopilot at the time). The next round the rest of the team fired along with the Merkava. Longbow hit the rear MG gunner with a called shot head. Leon’s ACPA bazooka got a fuel hit and the front APC started to burn (the flames would take a few rounds to penetrate the inside). The LATGM and the mini-gun scored penetrating hits that ignited the fuel (with an explosive result) in one case, and an exploding ammunition result in the other. That APC went up in a fireball. (The dice gods had made up for Bea’s three “empty space” catastrophic hits from the week before.) The Militech column came to a halt, except for the lead Hummer who started to accelerate, as its gunner peppered Sarge with his .50 caliber MG.
Rose tried to jam Militech’s transmissions (successfully too). Sarge ducked out of sight to move, along with Leon, who switched weapons. The Merkava lurched forward to the attack as Bea fired a 120mm HE round at the fleeing Hummer and rolled a “1”. A further roll confirmed that it was a botch. (We play that on a 1 you roll another d10, and if you roll under your skill level it is just a 1 and not a botch.) The resulting roll was ‘hit a member of your own party’. Now Sarge and Leon had moved out of sight. The only team member in the firing arc was poor Louie Lam in his assault armor. Louie had skimped on his Luck stat during character creation and only had a three. We use the rule on page 8 of Maximum Metal to handle personnel hits, by these huge weapons. Even spending all his Luck, he needed a nine to generate a glancing blow, but he rolled a three. Louie was instantly turned to red mist! This was unfortunate, but I think a valuable lesson was learned by most of our newer players on the importance of Luck. If Louie had given himself an average number (6), he would have survived most likely. For Rose, this was the second member of her family to die at the hands of Militech in this war. The Marder broke cover and headed for gap in the ridge they were on to get behind the enemy column. Longbow missed the gunner on the lead Hummer.
It is about to get worse for the Team, as AA threat troops in Militech EMA-1 armor pour out of the burning APC. The MT-4’s crew wakes up and that vehicle spins around and starts to take the Merkava under fire. Fortunately for the Killer Bees, the Marder is now out of sight or it would have been the target. Bea starts dueling with the Militech tank. To make matters worse, the unknown van is NOT a command and control vehicle (although it did have ECM, ECCM, and an Electronic Warfare Suit). It is an ACPA carrier. The doors open and four Militech Commandos jump out (2 to a side), and lay down a barrage of LATGMs into the Standard-C, Sarge’s borg, and Bea’s tank. The Merkava shakes off the hits, but Leon and Sarge take some heavy damage. Bea swings her main gun and fires at the closest Commando, while she lays a smoke (scatter) screen between her and the MT-4. She damages the suit and knocks it back. The two Commandos on the right side charge the hill where the Leon and Sarge are down (hiding) out of sight. Unknown to Bea, two of the enemy tank crewmen have again knocked out, and another is killed. The remaining crewman drops a smoke screen of his own, turns around under its cover and flees north.
The remaining Commando on the left tries to get out of sight, but Bea fires and hits the arm. That shot penetrates to the pilot, and destroys his (meat arm). He fails his death save. The last Commando on the left runs around the smoke of the burning vehicles to get out of the Merkava’s arc of fire. The ACPA carrier starts laying smoke (scatter) and turns to retreat south down the road, along with the last Hummer.
Sarge had moved and snuck up to watch the enemy ACPA advance up the hill. He intended to strike from behind with his mono-sword after they passed by. Leon moves up the hill with his 12.7 MG and eats another LATGM, which destroys his weapon and blows him back out of sight. Leon then pulls out ACPA bazooka and waits. Rose finally breaks through Militech’s jamming and re-establishes communications between the Killer Bees. Down on the road, the burning APC finally gives up the ghost and explodes. Meanwhile, Longbow has been picking off the AA threat troops, while taking light damage himself. With the Marder moving into cut off position, the remaining Militech ACPA trooper on the road jumps on the outside of the retreating carrier (on orders), and rides to safety. The carrier keeps up its smoke screen until it outranges the Marder’s weapons.
Bea fires on the advancing ACPA trooper’s threatening the Team’s position to the east, and damages one of the Commandos. The other Commando laid down a smoke screen (scatter) from his variety pack to block Bea’s line of sight, and the enemy ACPAs continue their advance. As the Militech PA troopers crested the hill, Leon and his ACPA bazooka hits one. The shot blew that trooper’s head right off. The dead trooper’s partner fires his BCL-20 and tears up Leon’s Standard-C some more. Sarge charges with his mono-sword and the two go into hand-to-hand combat. Sarge is doing well, when Leon (the player probably not really understanding the enormous power of his weapon), fires the ACPA bazooka at the Commando. Well he hits the Commando and obliterates it, but that weapon has a blast radius of 4 meters. As I was using maps, the two were standing side by side (I made a point of mentioning this before the shot). The damage rolled is 154 points! (That is a 20d10 weapon.) Now, the HEAT effect only applies to the target that is hit, so this damage is ‘standard’, but still enough to probably vaporize the heavily damaged Eclipse body.
Myself and the two GMs present discussed how this damage should be applied (the details are really unimportant, but I will be starting a thread on it soon). Almost every option ended with Sarge’s death. I offered the player, who appeared to be resigned to his fate, the option having his suit vaporized, his biopod damaged, but still operational. He took that option. I normally let the dice fall where they may, but that would have been the second PC death caused by another PC (unintentionally). Sarge had played his role very well this day, and fought with bravery and cunning that we normally didn’t see from him. As GM I believe that sort of play should be encouraged. Since it was the last shot of the battle, I ruled that luck was on his side, and his biopod survived. His extremely expensive borg body (along with Cletus’ custom leg) was another story. That was gone.
On the rest of the field, two of Militech’s AA threat troops escaped under a smoke screen, and one was captured. From him they pieced together that this force was on its way to attack the intercept station that the Killer Bees had set up a couple of days ago. Yes, having that Militech recon team escape in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (see Episode 41) did bring a reprisal, and this was it. Rose assesses the damage to LRT-7. Her top combat borg has been reduced to a damaged biopod; Leon’s ACPA suit is operational but badly battered with his heavy MG gone and only one round left for the bazooka. One third of her soft troops are dead. Rose feels that the unit is in no condition to continue, as they hadn’t even reached the first objective. LRT-7 retreats back to Arasaka controlled territory to refit.
(GM Notes: Well, that decision, which I won’t debate, took the Killer Bees out of the coming Battle of Las Vegas. While command was disappointed, the Team’s victories had secured Arasaka total air superiority for the coming battle, and had protected the important intercept station, which was vital for that battle.
The next day on Thursday, August 11, 2025, Colonel Pershing’s offensive against Militech’s Tehachapi Line began. On Friday, August 12, 2025, the news came that the Colonel’s troops broken through the Tehachapi Line. The next day, the Colonel drove across Death Valley, sweeping Militech forces before him. The Nevada National Guard refused entry to all hostile forces to Las Vegas proper. On Sunday, Militech was forced to fight on the open ground north west of that city, where they were handed their worse defeat of the war. Las Vegas and the Militech airfields fell on Monday, August 15.
Just as a side note, the fight at Springdale was just a warm up for the ‘real’ mission of the evening. The Killer Bees were taking an old PC built airfield in Shining Springs, NV, just NW of Las Vegas, that was now a Militech emergency landing strip. The town is part of the All Fall Down Adventure by Atlas Games (I believe). There was a host of returning NPCs to be dealt with and old plotlines to finish. I photo shopped four maps and wrote up a two page (single space) briefing for it. This was in addition to the time I spent researching the old campaign material and other information on the area. The retreat made it all for naught. LOL! As all you experienced GMs know, you can never really know what your players are going to do. Oh, well, I can change the names to protect the guilty (me in this case for being lazy and using an old adventure), and slip that into another campaign in the future! As GM, I had another LRT in the area do this job.
The next episode (#44) will be the last that I will be running for my part of this story arc in our Fourth Corporate War Campaign. Mike deFevers will take over the reins as GM for a number of episodes covering the months of September & part of October 2025. Ted Salonich will be running a short adventure following that, which will be covering issues across the sea in the Pac Rim. Then I will return as GM for the final episodes. Stay tuned!
Episode 44: A Warrant Service
The Last Two Weeks of August, 2025:
On Tuesday, August 16, the day after Las Vegas fell to Arasaka, LRT-7 (the Killer Bees) was back on the road to scout out Colonel Pershing’s drive across Arizona and New Mexico to Texas and his unit’s home base. A second Arasaka force (recently mauled by Militech at the Heywood Testing Range) headed northeast to the Great Plains and the Militech forces there. Militech had secretly come to an agreement with Petrochem to supply its fuel needs (for an outrageous price), so it was less concerned with Pershing’s advance, and concentrated their remaining forces against the Great Plains push. Arasaka had also made a similar deal with Petrochem, but was not as trusting as Militech (and had forces available). The Colonel would be guarding Arasaka’s ‘vital interests’ in Texas. A wise move since Arasaka then suffered no deliver shortfalls in fuel that seemed to plague Militech’s supply after that.
As always, getting there would be half the fun. The Killer Bees swung out ahead of the advance and was positioned at many vital cross roads. The 120mm gun on ‘Rosy’, the Merkava tank, blasted a number of Militech convoys trying to escape the Team’s borg’s and ACPA suit. After 12 days of this duty, a ‘special’ mission came the Killer Bees’ way.
Monday, August 29, 2025:
The Killer Bees watch the right wing of Colonel Pershing’s advance across Arizona and New Mexico. They are posted eventually in the hills north of San Antonio, NM (just south of Socorro) to watch the intersection of Interstate 25 (also US 85) and Route 380. Their orders are to look for any Militech activity in the area, and to report any movements that they can’t destroy. Early in the morning they receive orders to proceed to Alamogordo, NM to arrest a Walter Nagumo, his wife (Jillian) and their three children (Joan, Mark and Jonathan). They are also to take any papers or electronic storage devices they have and NOT look at them. He is a high priority target, and these orders come directly from Yoru Tomobiki, Arasaka Executive Vice President in charge of United States operations based in Night City. It is key that they are taken alive. If that is not possible then their corpses are to be returned. Under NO circumstances are they to be interrogated. Walter and Jillian should not be allowed to talk to anyone including any member of your team. When you have them in custody you are given a special communications channel to report. Further instructions will be provided then.
Alamogordo is about 130 to 140 miles by road from their position or 80 to 90 miles overland. The Killer Bees decide to move overland by the most direct route available. The maps that Arasaka have provided are old and based on civilian sources. LRT-7 drives right across the northern end of the newly reopened White Sands Missile Test Range. Fortunately, there are no tests scheduled, and security is not especially tight when there are no tests upcoming. They did locate a field of destroyed armored vehicles, which gave them a start until close inspection by their aerial remote showed them to be very old. They also find a ruined town but soon realize that it is a ‘target town’ for ordinance. They give it a wide berth in case of radiation. The group now realizes they were in a ‘test area’ but it is too late to turn back.
The Killer Bees join up with Highway 70 just south of Tularosa, NM, and proceed south. Their choice of route helped them dodge a ‘big bullet’. If they had taken the road to Camzoza, NM (the most direct road route), there was a hidden Militech security post watching that intersection and its area. The Team’s position, speed and direction would have been sent to Militech headquarters. Since a military victory against Colonel Pershing is not possible by the Militech forces in the area, all of Militech’s assets in this area would have been sent to annihilate the Killer Bees to obtain at least a psychological victory by destroying Arasaka’s new ‘poster children’.
As the Killer Bees approach Alamogordo, their remote noticed a United States Military checkpoint at the city limits. A M-11 MBT supported the checkpoint. These are obviously Federal Troops. The Team pulled off the road and found place to hide their camp in the foothills of the mountains between La Luz and Alamogordo south of Route 82. They set up their satellite uplink and do little NET research on the town. They discover that a great many military families live here from Holloman Air Force Base and the White Sands Test Range. The town has a Military Police detachment (in addition to local police) with a direct line to fighter aircraft and armored support.
The Team uses a remote to watch the checkpoint. The checkpoint doesn’t stop most vehicles, and there is a road that runs around the town (a bypass) that most trucks and large vehicles use. They sent the remote into Alamogordo to get more information, but about 50 to 100 meters beyond the checkpoint the remote ceases to function (it is shot down). The Eclipse borgs then move up with cameras on a surveillance mission. They discover that most trucks are routed around the city, but civilian vehicles drive right by without being challenged. The Bees (correctly) assume that their tank and IFV (with Arasaka markings) will be stopped and denied access to the town. They consider presenting their (questionable) corporate arrest warrant to the local authorities and pick Nagumo and his family up that way. Someone points out that one (or more) of them might be a military dependent, which would end the mission right there.
The group decides to have Rose and her soft troops get in civilian clothes and try to ‘run’ the checkpoint in the Covert Operations Van. They drive right through unchallenged. The team tries to go to the address they have on Walter Nagumo, but they did not want to drive down his (dead end) street, so they got just a general view of that neighborhood, which was a cluster of homes surrounded by scrub fields. They stop for a late lunch (early dinner) at a local restaurant in the ‘downtown’. No one pays them any mind, so they finish their meal and head back to their campsite.
Sarge and Cletus (in their Eclipses) join Rose and the soft troops for a ‘stealth’ extraction to occur that night. The Team goes overland on foot to the backside of the town. There is an electronic frontier but it is not meant to stop a team like this so they penetrate it with ease. The address is 2142 Hickory Drive. The Killer Bees make a quiet and professional entry, but no one is there. Walter and his family have fled. It was apparent that their departure had been quick and probably recent. They contemplated breaking into one (or both) of the two neighbor’s houses that had lights on, but decide against it. They would use the ‘friendly’ approach with them the next day. The Team returns to camp that night and got a few hours sleep.
Tuesday, August 30, 2025:
Rose, Bea and the soft troops (dressed in civvies) entered the city again in the Covert Operations Van with the early morning traffic. They noticed that an M1A5 Abrams had replaced the M-11 MBT. Bea goes up to the ‘target’s’ house and knocks. After a stellar performance of ‘waiting patiently’ she goes across the street to talk to the elderly neighbors. It takes some good role-playing to get by the initial suspicion, but the couple finally tells them that they did see a large van with the logo of the Montoya Brothers there last Sunday helping the Nagumo’s move. They also learn that that family had just gotten to town and kept to themselves. They thank the old couple and return to the camp to do a little Library Search. There are no businesses named the ‘Montoya Brothers’ in Alamogordo. There are four in the whole state: 1) Montoya Brothers Restaurant Supply in Albuquerque; 2) Montoya Brothers Moving Company in Las Cruces; 3) Montoya Brothers Trucking in Cloudcroft and 4) Montoya Brothers Funeral Home in Santa Fe. The Bees quickly eliminated numbers 1 and 4. They decided to check out the one in Cloudcroft first since it was the closest.
The decision is made to just take the Covert Operations Van with most of the soft troops and the two Eclipses. The van is kept in covert mode. That turns out to be an unfortunate choice as the hills are home to a group of bandits that waylay vehicles on Route 82 to Cloudcroft. This is a low-tech group with one LATGM, some assorted rifles and Molotov cocktails.
(GM Note: I had thought they would probably be making this trip at night with the whole column. The bandits’ night vision (being almost non-existent) would lead to them attacking the Killer Bees, which would knock the van off the road, (temporarily) immobilize the Marder, but just annoy the Merkava. The resulting firefight would give the players a chance to “get on their gun” and allow some relief from their previous frustrations. The “bandits” would run from the encounter after some (if not heavy) loses. This would, if the authorities in Cloudcroft were notified about the encounter by the Killer Bees, put them in good stead with the locals from that town. If the column went by day, the bandits would NOT attack so large a force.)
Well, they go by day with one ‘civilian’ van. The bandits spring their trap, which is a very large collection of logs rolling down the hill to knock the vehicle off the road and trap it. The logs did their job and the covert van is knocked off the north edge of the road. About a dozen and a half men with rifles and Molotov cocktails attack. The Van deploys its weapons, but the mini-guns can’t be brought to bear on the advancing troops. The LATGM crew sees the weapons pods and fires. The anti-missile system engages and destroys the incoming missile. What followed should have been a slaughter of the attackers. That is NOT what happened.
Rose orders the borg’s to get out and engage the advancing infantry, while she uses a side gunpoint for her assault rifle and starts firing on the advancing infantry. Bea, who was with them, tries to get her Typhoon MG to fire out of another port but it is too big, so she goes for another assault rifle. The borgs refuse to exit the main door on the right side of the van in fear of being shot by the advancing ‘Jethros’ and their squirrel guns. Good God, what if their SP 40 armor is punctured! Oh, wait, even with almost maximum damage with a 7.62 AP round is just a couple of points into the (heavily reinforced structure) of their suits.
The borgs go to the driver’s door to get out but it’s a van door with the driver buckled into the seat. They decide to talk over that problem. Meanwhile, the bandits are beginning to realize they have bit off more than they could chew. The Molotov cocktails start to rain down on the vehicle. A bandit finally gets a round in the vehicle and wounds the driver. The Team carefully takes him out of his seat (and the Molotov cocktails continued to rain down on the van and under the van). Rose can no longer use the gun port since the entire side of the van is becoming fully engulfed. Sarge finally opens the right side main door, but all he can see is a sheet of flame. Well, he stands there for a round, which allows the fire to enter. Sarge then jumps out with his man portable mini-gun and starts to mow down the attackers. It is too bad he didn’t close the door or ask someone to do it. In defense of the others, Rose and Bea are trying to save the driver’s life (yes, an NPC, but also a comrade in arms). Cletus finally exits the now clear driver’s side door. It is too bad he just didn’t follow Sarge out, but the left side was not under fire by the ‘squirrel’ guns. Needless to say, the bandits break and run as Sarge does his very best Terminator impression. Sarge stays near the now burning vehicle and remains under the protection of the vehicle’s anti-missile system. When Cletus looks around the side of the van he sees (besides the fire) the bandits in full retreat. Cletus then finds his ‘bravery button’ and charges after the fleeing raiders (out of the umbrella of the anti-missile system). The LATGM fires and blows his leg clean off. Sarge fires at the LATGM and suppresses any more shots from it. Unfortunately, by this point the van is fully engulfed.
(GM Note: I allowed an awareness/notice roll to realize that an explosion was imminent.)
The Killer Bees are able to exit the doomed van with their wounded and one piece of loose gear each. Most take their kit. Then the Covert Operations Van (along with their ‘AI’ Quazz) go up in a fireball. Some wish to pursue the fleeing bandits, but they are overruled. They pick up their remaining gear, say a few words over the now deceased driver, pick up the crippled borg, and started trudging back to camp. Sarge mutters under his breath, “My God, we’ve been Ewok’ed”
They only had to walk a mile or so before they got into range of their short-range radios and the remains of the column came to pick them up. The Killer Bees proceed to Cloudcroft and drive their Merkava tank and Marder IFV into the parking lot of the company they want to investigate. At Montoya Brothers Trucking the secretary says she knows nothing about any move from Alamogordo, and it couldn’t be them since they are closed on the Sunday the move supposedly occurred. Rose makes a good human perception, and she is convinced (correctly) that the secretary is being honest. The secretary goes through all the computer records and even consults the hard copies and files. Rose looks on and there is no record of any move. The trucks outside are an exact match from the description that the old couple in Alamogordo gave. The secretary says Carlos Montoya, one of the managing brothers, might know something, but he is out to lunch and is not expected back for a while. She claims she doesn’t know where he lives. Rose goes back outside to discuss her findings with the rest of the Team.
Meanwhile, the ‘helpful’ secretary calls Carlos to ask him about the truck. Well, Carlos lives across the street at 1200 James Canyon Highway. He looks out the window and sees the tank and IFV with Arasaka markings. It is Carlos that did this move (off the books) and dropped the Nagumo family off at the Buddhist Monastery at the end of Watson Trail in Cloudcroft. While he doesn’t know any details, he does know that the family is on the run from Arasaka.
Carlos tells his secretary to set the alarm, slip out the back door, and run for her life. She flees, and doesn’t go home. Instead she goes to a friend’s house just outside town. Carlos then calls the monastery and tips off the Nagumos. The family flees. As the Killer Bees talk about what to do next, they hear the secretary’s car ‘patch out’. Rose feels that the secretary ‘played her’. This is understandable, but the secretary is an innocent actually. They force the door to get back in, and set off the alarm. They hear the police coming so they drive out of town. The police do see them drive away, but decide that an attempt to try to stop two heavily armored Arasaka vehicles would probably end in their death (and rightly so!).
The Killer Bees make a camp outside of town, and wait until nightfall. They then sent a stealth team into town to break into the Montoya Brothers’ office. They find no useful information on the Nagumos, but do get the addresses of the family that runs this business. The Montoyas own the four houses across the street on James Canyon Highway and Ruby Road. The Team investigates but all of the houses are (now) empty. They whole extended family has fled. At this point the Bees decided to call the mission a bust and in the morning they began to head east out of the hills and towards Texas. By this time Militech had been alerted and had started to close the ring on the Killer Bees. At this point, Militech had blocking forces on two of the three ways out of the area. I gave Rose a map and asked her to show me the Team’s route to Texas. She chose the route that was open.
Wednesday, August 31, 2025:
Now without any of their special communications gear they could not report without the chance of having Militech listening. Good thing since Militech is devoting quite a few resources to find them. They head for the closest Arasaka facility they know of: the Sherman Disposal Center. Fifteen miles from the Sherman Disposal Center they come over a rise and surprise a group of Edgerunners. This ‘force’ consists of a small flatbed truck with a HATGM mounted in a sandbagged position in the back. Also, there are 2 dune buggies, one with a .50 caliber MG and another with a 7.62 MG. There are 6 bikers who are heavily armed, and a Ford-Mazda Luxus 14 with the client and his bodyguard. The Arasaka markings on the lead tank draw their immediate fire, as this new team believes that they are being ambushed.
The HATGM blows off the 7.62 MG mounted on top of the turret. Oh, oh, they damage Bea’s tank! Well, needless to say, this group incurs the wrath of the now frustrated Killer Bees. Although they did try to just immobilize the Luxus (It was a lucky shot, sir!), the car blows up! They annihilate the rest group (OK a biker or two makes it out). As the Killer Bees go through the wreckage, they find dossiers on the Sherman Disposal Center. The Team is horrified by what they see. Conditions at the Center have gotten worse as Arasaka’s resources have been funneled to the war effort.
What they have come across is a (not very professional) group of Edgerunners, who are about to launch an extraction of a prisoner from the Center. They arrive at the Sherman Disposal Center in time to see a ‘hole cleaning’ (see Home of the Brave for details on the Sherman Disposal Center). As a lot of the trained Arasaka security contingent have been transferred to the war effort, their replacements have been drawn from the dregs of local population and ‘veteran’ inmates of this facility. They report their encounter with the ‘extraction team’ that afternoon, and are put up for the night. They use that facility’s communication center to make their report. The Team is ordered to proceed immediately to Colonel Pershing’s base in west Texas. The Bees turn down offers of ‘companionship’ for the night from selected prisoners kept just for such purposes (need I explain further?).
Thursday, September 1, 2025:
The Killer Bees refueled and left early the next morning. The trip to General Pershing’s base is uneventful. There they turned their vehicles in for maintenance and were given barracks space for their unit. This is the end of this story arc in the Fourth Corporate War.
What About Walter Nagumo and His Family?
Walter is a former employee of Arasaka, and has evidence that it was Yoru Tomobiki [with Kei Arasaka’s knowledge] that ordered the detonation of the San Morro NCART station (see Episode 39) and not Militech. He has not turned this information in, since he feels he bears some responsibility for the action, and wants to negotiate to have any criminal charges for his part in the incident dropped. His evidence and testimony could be damning to Arasaka. Had the Killer Bees captured him, they would be ordered to take him and his family to the Sherman Disposal Center.
At the Sherman Disposal Center, an obviously important Arasaka official would have taken charge of Walter Nagumo. His daughter, Joan, would be dragged screaming to the barracks to entertain the troops. His wife and baby, Jonathan would be lowered into one of the holes. The young son, Mark, will scream at the guards while biting and kicking them. The guards would just throw him in (both his legs will be broken). Both Jonathan and Mark would have be killed and eaten by the other inmates. Jillian would survive and swear eternal vengeance against each and every member of the party. The Team would have been housed with the other ‘mercenaries’ for the evening and offered the comfort of some of the prison’s women (or men or boys if they like). If any accept, one will get Joan, who will also survive, and join her mother on her crusade to hunt the Killer Bees down. Jillian comes from a rich family so this was no idle threat.
Now, none of the Killer Bees are aware of any of this. After the session, when the players found out, Rose said that she probably wouldn’t have turned them (at least the children) in. They would have still had the encounter outside of the Sherman Disposal Center, so they would know exactly what would happen to the Nagumos at the Center. But, Walter and his family got away, and none of that will happen. As for Walter and his information, stay tuned and see!
Where We Go From Here
At this point we will be changing gears to deal with other aspects of the Fourth Corporate War. The Killer Bees will be in Texas with Colonel Pershing’s forces that are going to sit near the oil wells to ‘insure’ to Arasaka of the contracted petroleum products from Petrochem. Militech has a small force in the area so the Free State of Texas has posted a mechanized infantry battalion of the State Militia supported by a battalion of crack Petrochem troops, and a US Army Armored Battalion. Massed U.S. and Texas combat aircraft support this force, which is on a ‘training exercise’. Both Colonel Pershing and the local Militech commander will be invited to dinner with the local commander of the training force. The fate of anyone who disrupts the flow of oil will be made clear. (The Oil Must Flow!!!)
The next story arc will deal matters of a different sort in this war. The fighting has opened up opportunities for unscrupulous people to make a lot of money by committing acts that will just be blamed on the current war. Mike deFevers (our third GM and co-founder of this group) will be running this narrative during this time before we switch back to the conclusion of our Fourth Corporate War Campaign.