Episode 51: San Diego
Monday, September 12, 2025:
The morning begins with a short Team meeting to read the briefing on the new mission. The task is a data ‘retrieval’ from a company called Samsonite Metals. This company is involved in research involving new alloys and their application in undersea situations. They occupy the entire eighth floor of a twelve story building in the San Diego corporate zone. The Team has to penetrate their security and get the netrunner, Damien, into the room that holds their secure servers. Damien will search the files for information on one or more of their projects. He is provided with key words and approximate file sizes to look for. These files are to be copied and the originals erased if possible. We are to then proceed to the harbor and board a research vessel, the Isaac Asimov, which is an old converted navy frigate. There we will receive information on our next mission. As usual the Team is paid cash in advance for the mission (15,000 eb apiece) with a promise of a 5,000 eb bonus if the job is done in a week.
Damien and Edward go to work researching more information on the company and the building. Edward spends an hour and a half on a Data Term to do his. Damien plugs into his Cyberdeck. Peter sets up his scholar learning system and works on getting his Japanese 2. Thor retires to his room with Fenris. Caitlin asks Bill to procure a set of weaponsmith tools (to do the work of weapon customization except for anything that requires a metal lathe which is hard to transport), and a folding stock kit for the A-80 assault rifle she pulled from the group ‘armory’. She calls Jack and asks him to get another pair of 14mm Big Governments along with the parts to compensate them. That will take a while. Izaac asks her how she carries her sniper rifle concealed. She replies that she has made a bag/shroud out of an IR cloak for her Barrett M-90 ET, and offers to make one for him, if he gets her the cloak. Izaac goes out and buys a cloak for her to work on. Caitlin again goes out and finds two storage rooms to stash her illegal weaponry and some of her ‘questionable’ gear.
Hisoka, Izaac, Frank, Airy, Azoth and Thor spend the afternoon resting, but not before many of them realize that they have been going flat out with missions for six weeks. The pace is not slowing down either. Perhaps burnout is starting to set in? Peter continues his Japanese language work. Edward goes out and bought a cheap suit and briefcase. Then he, along with Damien, work on coming up with a briefing for the dinnertime Team meeting. Yoruichi and Caitlin go out to window shop, and have lunch. A happy and excited Caitlin pours out all the dirty details of her night of animalistic sex with Felix (the cat). It is quickly apparent that this is only her second experience, and her first, which she doesn’t elaborate on, was not a good one.
Around 5:30, the Team meets again to review the information and new research that Edward and Damien have done. Samsonite Metals is a privately held company so there are no public corporate reports or shareholder information to be had. The Breeman Office Company owns the building, and is a national real estate corporation that owns a good number of office buildings around the country. They have just terminated their contract with Arasaka (and paid off the full amount owed on their contract) in fear of a Militech strike. They have hired a new security company, but the name of the new company has not been released. The building boasts of its own backup power system and has a complete trauma center on site with 24-hour coverage by a trauma surgeon. The building seems to specialize in research. The public information on the occupancy of the floors is as follows:
First Floor: Reception and a Café.
Second & Third Floors: Multi-use conference rooms and offices that, are available for daily and weekly use.
Fourth Floor: Research with half the square footage still available.
Fifth Floor: Same as fourth floor.
Sixth Floor: Same use, but only a quarter of the square footage is available.
Seventh Floor: Fully occupied.
Eighth Floor: Samsonite Metals (the entire floor)
Ninth thru Twelfth Floors: Fully occupied.
The Breeman Company literature also boasts that they will customize the security for new tenants. The information is thin and the security looks grim. They decide that a lot more information is needed. They should also inquire about the firefighting and suppression system. Also, Bill and Damien are put to work coming up with a shell company that could inquire about renting space in the building. A number of ideas on how to attain more information are discussed, but nothing else is decided. There will be a brief meeting tomorrow morning.
That night almost everyone decides to stay in. Peter goes down to the San Diego Chinatown to look for a Shaolin Temple, take in the sights, and have dinner. Caitlin does some research on the area of the Samsonite Metals building where their executives and researchers might have lunch and hang out after work. There are a large number of eateries and bar/clubs in the area, but a few stood out as good bets. The first is the Yamato Steak House. It is a Japanese restaurant where high-level corporates dine off naked young ladies who serve as ‘tables’. The second is the Ancient Greek, a superb Mediterranean style restaurant that requires reservations. It is very popular with the corporate crowd. The third is a club called the Blue Light. This is a gay strip club known for its hot, beefy guys who perform there. The last is an Irish bar, named Cooley’s. This is popular with the younger executives and researchers in the area. It also has a reputation of being a ‘rough’ place. Well, as rough as the corporate zone gets anyway. Yoruichi and Izaac decide to go out on the town. Yoruichi asks Caitlin to go with, but Caitlin wants to finish her research.
Well, Izaac has been drinking (again) before they go out. There is a knock on his door, and when he opens it a young woman, who he has never seen, is standing there. She introduces herself as Yoruichi’s sister, and says that her sister couldn’t make it, so she came instead. This young woman’s voice is similar, and the height is the same, but her body shape and features are different. Izaac turns down the offer, and the young woman says she will talk to her sister and be right back. About a minute later there is another knock and Yoruichi is standing there in the same expensive outfit as the previous girl. The two then leave for an evening on the town.
(Note: For those who haven’t figured it out Yoruichi is a Gemini cyborg with not only the standard disguise feature, but with a similar implant to affect her breasts and color change skin. A few on the Team have figured this out, and Yoruichi likes to use these features not only on mission, but to have ‘fun’ with the Team.)
Well, the two head to the corporate zone and end up at Cooley’s Bar of all places. Izaac continues his drinking and Yoruichi attracts a host of young men trying to pick her up. Izaac, however, is looking for a different kind of fun. He is looking for a fight, and his low empathy and the alcohol makes him not care too much about the health of his victims. As another in the parade of hopeful young corporates makes his way towards Yoruichi he stops him and sucker punches him (using his level nine Jeet Kun Do) with all his (12) strength. The young man’s left leg shatters, and down he goes. Well, two of the screaming man’s friends take exception to this and come after Izaac. Izaac swings at the first, and scores a head hit for 24 points of damage. The young man’s head explodes. The other immediately retreats. Yoruichi takes a picture of the fist exploding the head and sends Caitlin a copy with a text message to the effect of, “This isn’t my fault”.
The place gets quiet. The bouncers come forward. Yoruichi tries to stop one (by putting up her arm) and telling him that they are just going to leave. The bouncer replies that she is free to leave but her “friend” has committed murder and the police are on their way. Izaac prepares to deal with the approaching bouncers, but hears the sound of a pump shotgun’s slide chambering a round. A voice shouts, “Stop, right there!”
Yoruichi heads for the door along with some of the other customers. Izaac contemplates rushing the shotgun, but he starts to charge the other approaching bouncers. The shotgun roars, but between his armor and BTM only one point of impact damage gets thru. Izaac dodges the bouncers in front of him and joins the now panicking crowd rushing for the door. The shotgun-wielding bouncer holds his fire as the range between the two has now increased to the point where his shot might injure the other patrons. Izaac makes it to the street and uses his Hide/Evade skill to blend into the crowd. He leaves the area in a random direction.
Meanwhile, Yoruichi uses her disguise feature to change her appearance and makes her way back to the Team’s motel, while making sure she is not leaving a trail the police can follow back there. Since Caitlin hasn’t answered her text, she goes to Edward’s room and tells him what happened. The two go to Thor’s room, but there is no answer. They then knock on Caitlin’s door, who answers after she takes off her Glo-Go rig she is using to do her research. They gather what Team members that can be roused. They look at the cell phone picture Yoruichi took, and start to check the police scanners and news.
Izaac uses the crowds to cover his get away, but finds himself in another part of town. This neighborhood seems less illuminated, and he tries to find his way back towards the motel. The GM tells him that he doesn’t know the town, was drunk when he left, took a cab (hint, hint), drank more at the bar, and has run off in a random direction. Izaac is allowed a streetwise roll, but apparently the player felt that skill was unnecessary at character creation. That along with a COOL of 6 gave him a total of 9 so he is totally lost. He continues down the street. As he passes an alley the sound of a pipe beating on something metal comes from the alley. He continues and as he passes each alley, the sounds of more pipes beating on metal starts. The GM pauses for his response, which is to continue in the same direction. Well, the pounding sounds spring up all around him, and he continues blithely down the street. The GM again asks if he is continuing in that direction, and he says he is. Finally, Izaac hears a sound behind him, and sees in the dimly lit street behind him about a dozen young men coming up behind him. Izaac keeps walking. Then ahead at the end of the block another dozen men came around the corner towards him. The GM points out that these (now) two dozen young men have a certain ‘uniformity’ of dress, and the group in front of him is getting very close.
GM Note: We have a cardinal rule in our group that, if you are not there, you may not give another player ANY advice on what to do in an encounter, but finally Izaac’s player could not help but notice the ‘looks’ on all of the other player’s faces.)
Izaac asks if he is near another alley, and the GM says yes he is at the mouth of one right now. When he asks what he can see, he is told it is too dark to see. Izaac activates his low light vision and down the alley are two more similarly attired young men. One of them starts to beat a pipe against the side of large trash container. Izaac finally starts to appreciate the danger of his situation and heads down the alley towards the two. He puts on his brass knuckles. (Izaac had not brought his pistol since they were going to go to a “nice” place.) Behind him the two-dozen gangers come roaring down the alley. He dodges the two in front of him and tries to run. A twelve-foot chain link fence with a razor wire roll on top of that looms up ahead of Izaac in the alley. Many of the gang are falling behind, but a few are actually gaining. Izaac jumps up on the fence to climb over. The swifter gangers are on him. He dodges a couple of grapple attempts but there are too many. He tries to pull himself away. The mob has him. They pry his fingers off the fence. Izaac is pulled down, grappled by a number of the bigger gangers. The pipes and improvised weapons start pummeling him. Izaac is allowed one last strength feat attempt to break loose, but he fails. At this point the battle becomes cinematic.
[GM Note: Cue Sergeant Elias’ theme from Platoon as he flees staggering with the VC chasing him while his platoon flies away). The camera pulls back as Izaac disappears under the blows of the mob of gangers who hold him down and deliver a lesson to an interloper, who has violated their territory.]
We have a rule derived from our ‘Angry Villager Rule’ from our time doing fantasy games. You know, those pesky villagers with their torches and pitchforks. We call it in Cyberpunk, the Mob Rule. You might be Mr. Bad Ass, but when a Mob drags you down and has you in their clutches, your toast!
The GM is a little merciful here, and rules that during the ‘beat down’ Izaac’s Trauma Team card is snapped by one of the blows. Trauma Team arrives to scatter the gang, but not after those hoods strip him of most of his clothes, his brass knuckles (which they use on him), all his cash (30, 785 eb), a 10,000 eb WORM card, all his identification (he is a Canadian citizen), insurance card, phone, and his pride. The medics stabilize him at 32 points of damage (a critical success is needed and attained). Izaac is unrecognizable, and the only way they know his identity is because his Trauma Team card. Fortunately, Trauma Team also has a record of his insurance so he is covered. They rush him to the hospital, but the doctors can’t get his body to begin healing. Izaac starts to degrade.
News of the murder at Cooley’s hits the vid screens. People have taken cell phone pictures of Izaac killing the man, but he had disguised himself before going out so the pictures are not going to be much help in identifying him. The party hopes that in the confusion his glass have been lost so no fingerprints can be lifted. Pictures of Yoruichi are also shown. Unfortunately, she had changed her features back to her own to convince Izaac to go with her, and had not altered them again. The Team doesn’t realize the seriousness of that fact yet as they are too concerned about where Izaac is and what has happened to him. Later that night the Team picks up the report of Izaac’s mugging. Damien puts together a quick ID for Hisoka identifying him as Izaac’s brother. The ID will probably pass a visual inspection, but not if anyone actually runs it. Hisoka goes to the hospital and is allowed to see his brother. Izaac is in a coma and totally unrecognizable. Only the fact that Izaac is heavily cybered has saved his life. The doctor tells Hisoka that Izaac isn’t expected to make it unless they use a special and expensive course of treatment that isn’t covered by his insurance. (Speedheals) The cost is 1700 eb per treatment and he will need probably anywhere from four to eight. The hospital will need cash or cred chip payment in advance. Hisoka pays out 1700 eb in cash for the first and promises to come by later on the next morning with more money. Hisoka then returns to the motel to tell the others. Azoth ponies up 2000 eb, Edward puts in 1700 eb and Caitlin pays out 1400 eb to help cover the first four treatments.
Tuesday, September 13, 2025:
About 2 am Hisoka’s phone rings. The voice on the other end says that they ‘found’ this phone when ‘a guy’ fell off a roof. It has a lot of interesting phone numbers in it including this one, and would Hisoka like to buy it back for 2000 eb? Hisoka says he will ask his friend and get back to him later. The voice says that he needs to get rid of it, and he bets that the police might be interested in it, and so he will sell it to them. A quick negotiation is made, while Damien chases down the location of the call. The drop off point for the money (and the location of the call) is a coffin hotel in the combat zone. Hisoka tries to rally the party to go down and wipe out the gang, but no one is particularly interested in that. Most reply they have a mission to do, and if any more get seriously hurt, we will be unable to do it. The decision is made to just ransom the phone. Even that is fraught with danger. What is to stop the gang from taking the money, and robbing the messenger? Caitlin knocks again on Thor’s door and keeps it up. Finally, Fenris answers the door, and asks what she wants? Well, Fenris, the robot hound, has never talked before so Caitlin is a little surprised. She doesn’t want to talk in the hall, and Fenris won’t let her in, so they go back to her room where the Team has gathered. Fenris’ paw opens up to a prehensile hand as he locks the door, and goes to talk to the group. The Team is a little stunned, but explains the situation. Fenris says he will wake up Thor. Ten minutes later Thor comes in the room and off the two go to get the phone. Many of the Team go back to sleep. Yoruichi asks Caitlin if she could spend the night in her room. Caitlin says yes, and the two learn they have something else in common. They both sleep with toy stuffed animals.
The cab drops them off five blocks from the place (he will go no further), and they walk to an obviously abandoned coffin hotel. At least a score of gangers wait outside, but quiet right down when they see Thor with his two hammers. Inside, an ambush awaits but is not sprung due to Thor’s presence. This is NOT a booster gang, and they realize they are no match for a combat borg. Hisoka, however, is itching for revenge and asks Thor to wait outside. Still no one attacks. Then he goes to the coffin he is instructed to and opens it. The ganger inside says he has no idea what phone Hisoka is talking about. Hisoka calls Izaac’s phone, and the ganger’s pocket begins to ring.
“Oh, you mean this phone.”
Hisoka demands all the stolen money be returned, and the ganger replies it have all been divided up ‘for the good of the community’. Hisoka kills him and took the phone. Still, the other gangers inside (mindful of the borg outside) do nothing. Hisoka then starts killing everyone in sight. The gang flees leaving three more dead. Thor lets them leave and makes it clear to Hisoka, if wants to continue his rampage he is on his own. The two return to the motel. Edward and Azoth agree to go to the Breeman office building ‘after lunch’ and check it out. Everyone then gets a little sleep.
At 8 am Hisoka delivers the money for the rest of the first course of (speedheal) treatments to the hospital. Just before 10 am Azoth answers his door, where a smiling Caitlin asks if he can continue her lessons in Structural Architecture. He agrees and the two get to work. About noon, Edward comes by to get Azoth, but he says he is busy giving Caitlin her lesson. He will be free at 1pm, after lunch, just like he promised. Edward, who is impatient to get going, replies that their reconnaissance is more important than the lesson. Caitlin vehemently disagrees. Azoth tells Edward he will see him at 1 pm when he is done here. An upset Edward leaves as Caitlin smirks and blows him a raspberry. Edward calls at 12:30 pm to see if Azoth is done. No, he will be done at 1 pm.
Edward decides to check out the building himself, but finds that the building security desk is the first thing inside the door. Even the café is off limits to those without clearance to enter. Edward notices that he is being observed watching the building so he goes into the security desk, and inquires about a daily/weekly office rental. He plays the part of the nervous fixer in his ‘cheap’ suit trying to put together his startup company. He claims his principle is late, but will be there soon. Edward is told that he needs to fill out an application. They ask for his fax number. He replies if he had an office, he would have a fax number and since he is trying to rent an office that might be difficult. Edward then asks if there is a place she could recommend grabbing a quick lunch and coffee. (This also serves to find out where building employees go.) Armed with this knowledge he goes to the local Dunking Donuts and sure enough, there are people wearing badges from the target office building. Edward and Azoth get together. They return to the Breeman office building. Edward just tells Azoth to look a little impatient and annoyed as he smoozes the desk person. They get the application, Azoth gets to look at the lobby, and they leave.
Peter decides to it is time to get a phone so he goes and got one. Everyone else is staying in and keeping a low profile while monitoring the news and police reports of last night’s murder at Cooley’s. All bags remain packed in case the Team needs to leave quickly.
That night Yoruichi (looking completely different) and Caitlin (in a simple disguise to look older) get all dressed up and go to Cooley’s Bar. An Irish Band is playing there, and any mourning for last night’s murder victim is not in evidence. The two dance and listen. They are looking for Samsonite employees or anyone who works in that building. They finally meet a group of young researchers who work on the fifth floor and start to get to know them. Caitlin succeeds in getting a phone number of one of them. They return to the motel that evening.
At the hospital, Izaac condition is degraded, and he is again operated on (new rolls). They finally managed to jump start his healing processes, but he is still in a coma and in intensive care. Even with all his cyber he will be a week or more to get on his feet.
Episode 52: …And Sometimes the Bear Eats You!
Wednesday, September 14, 2025:
At about 7 am, Caitlin gets up and turns on the TV. Again there is a report about the murder of the young researcher at Cooley’s Bar. They show Izaac’s disguised face and Yoruichi’s normal look. This time there is an announcement of a 5000 eb reward for the capture of either person. Caitlin looks at the TV and at the sleeping Yoruichi. She realizes that for 5000 eb the person at the front desk will probably sell out his/her own mother. She wakes everyone up and calls an emergency meeting in her room. It is agreed that the team must move immediately. Damien finds four other marginal motels and the Team decides to divide up between them. Thor and Fenris will go to one. Damien and Bill will take Izaac’s things to the second. Frank chooses the third. Hisoka, Azoth and Edward will go to the fourth. Peter says he knows a hotel in Chinatown he can stay at. Caitlin says she will bounce around a couple of coffin hotels and eventually find a place. Yoruichi asks to join her and Edward says that Yoruichi should have no trouble hiding, as she is a borg with a disguise feature.
This catches Caitlin by surprise, and she asks Yoruichi if she is a borg. Yoruichi denies it, and Caitlin looks closely now and realizes she is. Yoruichi almost bursts into tears with her denial, and it becomes clear that Yoruichi has “issues” with the fact she is a borg. Caitlin lets the subject drop as Yoruichi is her friend. This is the last straw for Airy and she tells the group she quits. The temperamental artist packs her things and leaves. Edward sets up some cameras outside to watch this motel and Damien hooks them into the NET so he can monitor them to see if the police comes. They decide to meet again around 4:30 pm at the Easy Rest Hotel where Edward, Hisoka and Azoth are staying. Damien whips up some more false IDs for the Team to use as the group tries again to alter their appearance enough to throw off the imagined pursuit. All hope no one actually runs these identifications, as they are as flimsy as a Republican’s promise to help the poor. The Team then grabs their already packed bags and leaves.
Most are smart and walk some distance before getting the first of a number of cabs and/or buses. Unfortunately some are not. Caitlin and Yoruichi walk and find a coffin hotel to stay at for the night. Caitlin finds a small workshop (just an empty room with a work table, light and power), and sets up with her newly acquired Weaponsmith tools and Micro Waldo Bracer (and other tools). She erases the serial number of the stolen Janos Corporation A-80 assault rifle she has. Peter goes to Chinatown and checks into a hotel. He also finds a storage place to put his gear safely, and buys some new clothes. Then he goes to the local dojo and continues to get acquainted with the masters there. The word is getting out in Chinatown that a high level white Shaolin monk is in town. The locals’ suspicion is slowly changing from caution to respect. Peter also buys some expensive new clothes and gets a storage room to hide most of his gear in. Edward walks, takes buses, then a cab to the train station, and another cab to the new hotel. Hisoka makes a similar, but not so complex attempt to obscure his trail. Unfortunately, Azoth, just calls a cab and goes directly to the new hotel, and makes useless all the other two’s attempts at covering their tracks. Thor (with Fenris) attempts to cover their trail, but his unique custom Sampson exterior makes that difficult. Frank easily covers his trail, and steals a car for a joy ride. Damien and Bill (with Izaac’s things) get to their hotel safely and continue their investigation of the target and the current ‘police’ problem.
About 4 pm, people are heading to the Easy Rest Hotel. Edward picks up a cab at a location that will have that cab drive by the old “No Tell” motel. Outside are a couple of police cruisers and a MaxTac team. The police are climbing up a pole outside where one of the Team’s cameras have been set. Edward calls Damien, who says he knows and has just cut the connection to the surveillance set up. It seems a cruiser has gone there, and the staff have told the police that the girl they are looking for (Yoruichi) has checked in with a large group that contained a borg. That is why MaxTac is there.
New information is available and it is not good. A British security company, Edgestoppers, have moved to the west coast, and San Diego is their regional headquarters. Their new marketing slogan is “Why be the victim of corporate warfare? Get Edgestoppers!” They have been successful at enticing a good number of smaller clients away from both Arasaka and Militech. Many of their members are former SAS and members of the old MLA, who found life in “Restoration” Great Britain not to their liking. They are in charge of security for Samsonite Metals and the Breeman office building that it is in. The researcher that Izaac killed (and his friends) worked for Rubic Rubber. This company is among other things working on a project with Samsonite Metals. To make matters worse, Rubic Rubber also uses Edgestoppers as their security firm. The murder of the researcher is being treated as a corporate hit! This will pretty much guarantee that the police and Edgestoppers will be working together on this.
The Team finally gets a map on the Breeman office-building exterior. The south face has the entrance. The west of the building is secure employee parking. The east of the building is a driveway leading to the north side (back) where a loading dock is located in the northwest corner of the building. The dock is only capable of receiving a large box truck and not any type of tandem trailer rig. The sides of the building are smooth with reflective glass (bulletproof). The top of the building have an elevator house that accommodates two elevators in the northwest corner. All the vents for the building are on the top. So far, the Team has not gained any information on the security up there.
Bill tells everyone that the “new” company he is setting up will be ‘on the books’ in two days. It will be a structural engineering company, which Azoth has the knowledge to run. People will play the following ‘roles’ in this company under assumed names. Azoth will be President and CEO. Caitlin will be his girlfriend. Edward will be his personal assistant. Yoruichi will be his secretary. Damien will be chief tech. Bill will be his Public Relations chief. Frank will be his driver. Thor, Hisoka, and Peter will serve as bodyguards and security. It is decided that we need more information on the comings and goings at the Breeman office building. Edward and Frank take charge of setting up surveillance. All decide to meet back here tomorrow in the late afternoon. Caitlin asks Azoth for another lesson in structural engineering, but Azoth says he is hungry. She says she is too and it is no time like the present to start working on their cover. She knows a nice restaurant he could take her to. It is a nice restaurant and expensive too! After dinner he continues her lessons, and the two part after.
Hisoka is still burning with desire for revenge against the gang that robbed and beat Izaac. He gets in his stealth gear, and goes back to that combat zone neighborhood. The evening is spent sliding thru the shadows killing gangers who have a slim to none chance to even detect him coming. Twenty lost their lives that night.
Thor has a knock on his door later. It is two policemen (with MaxTac right around the corner out of sight). They have pictures and are looking for Yoruichi and (a disguised) Izaac. Thor identified Yoruichi as a member of their group, who is starting a structural engineering firm. He told them he didn’t recognize the man (Izaac). The police are a little taken aback by the borg’s reasonable replies and willingness to cooperate. They ask for Azoth’s phone number, but Thor tells him it is private and he might lose his job if he does. Instead, he offers to contact Azoth and have him call them. After checking with their superiors the police agree and give Azoth 24 hours to contact them. Thor does call Azoth and then Bill and Damien. Bill arranges for a high priced lawyer to take Yoruichi into the police station the next day, where the lawyer will give a prepared statement. Things are starting to slowly unravel.
Thursday, September 15, 2025:
Early in the morning, Caitlin go over to Bill and Damien’s hotel to meet Frank and Edward. She works on a new disguise for Frank so he can rent a SUV for the surveillance of the Breeman office building. Caitlin then returns to her workshop and installs a folding (collapsible) stock on her A-80 assault rifle. Frank rents an SUV with tinted side and back windows, and takes it to a parking lot with a view of the Breeman office building. After speeding thru the structure and burning a few ‘donuts’ he parks it at the overlook spot. Edward brings a camera with recording device and puts it in the front seat. They leave it there. Edward goes out and rents an efficiency apartment short term. Frank rents a Hummer with full insurance. He takes the vehicle out and plays ‘bumper cars’ with it against various telephone poles and other objects. He returns the damaged vehicle with Thor, so the person at the desk gives him no grief about the damage. After all, he has full insurance. Frank is put on ‘no rent’ list of that company. Peter goes down to the dojo again, and works out. He continues to befriend the instructors there, who politely inquire whether he intends to open a dojo there. They become friendlier when Peter informs them no, he is just visiting.
Meanwhile, Yoruichi meets her new lawyer and the two go down to the police station for her statement. The prepared statement matches exactly the story the police have of the situation. Her statement declares that she met the ‘killer’ on the street and he invited her into Cooley’s for a drink. The fact that the two hardly interacted in Cooley’s gives credence to this, but the police quickly realize she is a cyborg. They get her actual name, serial number, and Japanese passport. Yoruichi has no recorded psychological profile so the police ‘insist’ she take a psychological exam to see if she is cyberpsycho.
(GM Note: In our game we interpret the cyborg registration laws like this: Cyborgs and heavily modified humans (the amount of modification varies state to state) must take a psychological exam to measure their Empathy. Empathy of 4 or higher means you are not cyberpsycho and do not have to choose if you want a police locator chip installed in you. An Empathy of 1 to 3 means you are cyberpsycho, but in control (and responsible) for your actions. If you refuse a police locator chip, the police may use unannounced lethal force if you are found to be involved in any action the police deem illegal or even questionable. Most police departments do not use this as an excuse to kill you out of hand, but certain departments and individual officers have been known to use this as an excuse to solve a ‘problem’ before it becomes one. If you have the chip, then you have the rights afforded anyone else. If you have an Empathy of 0 or less, the police have the right to detain you, and ‘cure’ you of your cyberpsychosis. The authorities can insist on a retest every 30 days at the police’s expense.)
Yoruichi is not cyberpsycho per se, just in heavy denial. Her Empathy is 4 so she is allowed to leave without a chip, but this takes almost all day. Azoth goes out for meals, and Bill and Damien continues their research.
Caitlin arrives in the neighborhood of the Easy Rest Hotel early for the meeting and watches from a block away. She notices a car with two people in it watching the hotel and taking note of the Team as they enter. She moves to a position where it is difficult for them to see her and the hotel at the same time. The two men on stake out haven’t noticed her. She calls and informs the Team just before the meeting starts that they are being watched. The Team checks the back of the hotel and a van is there, which stays parked way too long to be a coincidence. A man ‘reading’ a newspaper is spotted covering the last entrance. A police car comes up to the car parked outside the hotel. Caitlin overhears a good part of the conversation with her enhanced hearing. The men in the car identify themselves to the police as employees of Edgestoppers and are doing surveillance on a team of Edgerunners, who might pose a threat to one of their clients. The police seem to be aware of this investigation, and leave them alone. Edward goes down to the local store to see if they will follow him, but they don’t. He comes back with some snacks. Meanwhile, Azoth sets off all the bug detectors, when he enters the meeting room. His clothes are bugged. A check of his room finds that all his clothes and much of his equipment is bugged with listening devices and trackers. An examination of these devices found that they are state of the art equipment used by the British military (SAS). They destroy the bugs. Azoth will now be ‘fire walled’ from the operation, and the Team discusses how to use this turn of events to their advantage. Edward leaves again for the store, but this time he is followed. It becomes apparent that this ‘tail’ is a pro. If he hadn’t been made already, he would have been difficult to pick up. He waits outside the store for Edward, who bribes the clerk to turn off the alarm on the rear door to the store so he can give the man the slip.
The Team meeting breaks up and Edgestoppers doesn’t have enough people to follow everyone, so most get away. Azoth goes to dinner and he is followed. His shadow becomes aware that he is made, and comes up to the table and asks if they can have a chat. Azoth invites him to sit down for dinner. The young engineer then becomes the victim of an experienced interrogator/interviewer, who is able to glean some valuable intelligence from the young man (idiot). Azoth goes back to his room.
Hisoka sneaks away and goes to a movie. Thor returns to his room, and checks his place for bugs. With Fenris there Edgestoppers have not tried to bug his place. Caitlin hooks up with Yoruichi, and checks her for tracking devices. They move to a new coffin place. Frank gets away and returns to his hotel. Edward goes to his new efficiency apartment. Bill and Damien slide out and get safely to their hotel. Peter returns to his hotel in Chinatown and notices an attractive young Chinese woman who tries to catch his eye. No, he isn’t biting, and guesses that this is an employee of Edgestoppers. The day has not gone well.
Friday, September 16, 2025:
In the morning, Caitlin calls Jack and tells him she believes the mission is totally blown. Jack is not happy. The money that they have been paid for this job will be deducted from the next mission. He tells her to get the Team aboard the Isaac Asimov, and solve the Izaac ‘problem’ one way or the other. She calls Edward, who has come to the same conclusion, and it is apparent that they are under high tech surveillance. Caitlin makes the decision to save Izaac. She arranges thru Jack to talk to the doctor on the ship and goes down there. The doctor tells her what he will need (his chart), and that everyone who comes aboard will have to stay on board once there. The crew is ‘unfriendly’ and she is informed that death awaits anyone who contravenes the ship’s rules. Yoruichi is becoming a ‘basket case’ since her run in with the police, so Caitlin makes sure she is clean of bugs and gets her to the ship first. Caitlin then calls Bill and Damien, and hatches a plan. Damien will arrange for a transfer of Izaac to another hospital, or at least the one he is at will think so. Bill will act as the attending physician for the transfer, Edward will be the orderly, and Frank will be the driver. Damien will monitor that operation. Caitlin will arrange for the others, who have all been located by Edgestoppers, to be divested of their tails and their equipment and gear checked for bugs and tracers. Now all they have to do is steal an ambulance!
First, they will need another getaway car, so the three go to where they have the SUV with the camera on surveillance of the Breeman office building. They search the car carefully and find a number of bugs and trackers on it. They have left the car too long unattended and the car park people have checked it out. They saw the camera, and where it is pointing. They then notified the security company for that building, which is, of course, Edgestoppers. If the mission against Samsonite Metals wasn’t blown before, it is now. Rubik has no offices in that building, but is working with Samsonite on a project. They stash a car to transfer to after they got Izaac.
The three then find an ambulance company. A chain link fence surrounds the yard where the ambulances are parked and an office is inside the yard. Frank picks the lock unobserved then makes his way to one of the vehicles. A person comes out of the office and asks him what he is doing. Frank answers that the temp agency has sent him. Lucky for him they are using temp drivers at the time. He is told to come into the office and sign it out. Of course, Frank has no paperwork, so he calls his ‘agency’ (i.e. Damien). Frank “sings and dances” while Damien faxes over the paperwork. A good persuasion fast/talk roll gets Frank out of the yard with the ambulance before the clerk checks his ‘license’ with the state. Within fifteen minutes the company will know they have been had. Frank stops, finds the low jack on their purloined vehicle and throws it away. The Team figured they have maybe forty-five minutes top before the police will be looking for them.
Bill has the uniforms and they make it to the hospital in time to pick up Izaac. They load him in and drive him to the rental car they have stashed. A quick transfer of the patient, (and taking of some valuable equipment) and they go to the ship. The doctor is waiting there. Izaac is in Mortal 1 during the move. He suffers another two points worth of damage, which puts him into Mortal Two. Izaac makes his death save. The doctor stabilizes him and starts him on the road to recovery again. Meanwhile, the others return the rental car and make their way back to the ship.
Meanwhile, Caitlin calls Thor, who has told the group he is also a good technician, and asks him to run the ‘cleaning’ station she is setting up to process the rest of the Team through at her workshop. Thor and Fenris make sure they are not being followed use their ECM built into the Samson to mask any transmissions. Caitlin sets herself up hidden on a roof nearby with her Arasaka WSSA to see if any of the Team is being followed. She calls Azoth,
who is having lunch and being followed. He wants to know where he is supposed to go, but she just tells him to lose his tail and then call her. He says no and hangs up. Azoth continues to hang up on her until Jack calls and tells him to listen to her. Caitlin calls Hisoka and asks him to make sure Azoth gets safely away from the Edgestopper tails.
Back in Chinatown, Peter notices something odd about the cuffs of one of his pair of pants. It contains a high tech tracking device. He then checks and every pair he owns has one except for the pair he wore yesterday. After disposing of them, he walks around the neighborhood, and realizes he is also being followed tag team style. When he gets Caitlin’s call, he is in a tough situation. Peter’s solution is to go ask the instructors at the dojo for help. They and others confront Peter’s shadows in the community. This allows Peter to gather up his things from his storage and make his way to the ‘cleaning room’. As Peter’s taxi comes down the street towards the workshop, Caitlin just barely notices a stealth drone flying above and behind the cab tracking it. She calls Peter and tells him to drive by. She draws a bead on the remote and shoots it down. Peter then is checked, and finds that one button on every shirt he has (except for the one he wore yesterday) is a bug/tracker. They are disposed of, and Peter is sent to a dock near the Isaac Asimov. He walks the last part to the ship. Caitlin and Thor immediately abandon the workshop and fall back to one of Caitlin’s nearby storage rooms.
By now Hisoka and Azoth have joined up. There is an Edgestoppers’ van outside of their hotel. Azoth makes a one-kilo shaped C-6 charge and Hisoka sets it on the rear tire. The explosion wrecks the van and puts the men in the hospital, but doesn’t kill them. The two make their escape in the confusion. They call Caitlin, who directs them to the new ‘cleaning station’. After a check, they and Thor make their way to the ship. Caitlin tells them to inform the captain to be ready to leave as soon as she arrives. The message is not necessary as the ship is prepped for immediate departure. Caitlin makes sure that the previous three are not being followed and then makes her own way to the ship. The Isaac Asimov departs immediately on her arrival.
There is still a problem. Peter sets off the radiation alarms when he goes near the engine rooms. In seems one of the rings on his duffel bag has been replaced with a radioactive one, so his movements can be tracked. A check of the others find that the camera, gear from the SUV, and those who were in it are also covered with a radioactive dust for tracking. Unknown to the group, the radiation tags were how the stealth drones were following their targets. Caitlin noticed the one following Peter, but Frank, Bill and Edward were unaware of the one that tagged the SUV, which they used to get Izaac out of the hospital. They were followed all the way to the ship. The three never looked up. The information off the recorder is downloaded and the gear disposed of. All the Team who are found to be contaminated are sent to decontamination in the ship to be ‘scrubbed’. The Team has suffered their first real reversal. After the scrub down, the captain informs the Team that there will be a briefing in one hour. Until then, they are to remain confined to their quarters.
So what has all this to do with the Fourth Corporate War? It goes to show that it’s not all Militech and Arasaka dueling face to face, but all the corporate and political (are they really the same?) maneuverings of other corporations and governments provide employment for those such as those characters whose story is related here.
The catch phrase for Episode 53 is “And Things Just Keep Getting Worse.” A valuable NPC dies. The police are involved and a PC is ends up in high security custody of the NCPD. More importantly another PC also goes down for the dirt nap in a large firefight. There are many wounded and the Team is scattered! The following is from our Fourth Corporate War Timeline (derived from the Sourcebooks and our Campaign Canon). It encompasses the next ten days in September 2025 (the dates are from year 2022).
Saturday/17th: Two Militech sponsored nomad troupes seize Arasaka’s Colorado training base. Heavy casualties.
Sunday/18th: Six Militech research scientists are slain during a computer test. Arasaka black ice projects are suspected. Rumors abound regarding the legendary “Soulkiller” program.
Monday/19th: At a Presidential Press conference, President Elizabeth Kress announced the beginning of a joint governmental and private business venture to build a new kind of vehicle for the congested urban environment. These vehicles are called Spinners. (This brings some of the tech of Cyber Generation into our world here.)
Tuesday/20th: A SovOil tanker, laden with AV/jet fuel, is sunk off the coast of Japan. Arasaka blames Militech; most suspect that this might have been the work of Petrochem using the war as a cover.
Thursday/22nd: The Spinner Project Factories will be built in Chicago for the Avante Sport Spinner, Detroit for the Crystar Falcon Spincoupe, and Night City for the Infiniti Spinnerbike.
Friday/23rd: The rest of the Rustbelt Cities cry foul in reaction to Night City being picked as a Spinner Factory Site grows. Night City is a controversial choice as it is in a Free State. Two of the men who served on the President’s Select Committee on Industrial Revitalization, State Senator Thomas deChartier and Mr. David Windham, chief executive at Biotechnica Night City Office are able to bring both Storm Technologies and the nomad leaders of Chicago, and the various powers at be in Detroit into agreement on their terms.
Sunday/26th: A Petrochem deep SPAR off shore oil rig is crippled and adrift in the Pacific Ocean after a large seismic event is recorded in the area.
Monday/26th: Rumors continue heard in Washington that President Elizabeth Kress will ask the Senate to amend the Constitution to allow her to run for and serve a third term in her own name.
Tuesday/27th: A killsat firing at an ortillery sat boasts kinetic penetrators into the Crystal Palace’s trajectory. Three Highriders die intercepting the projectiles before they can hit the Palace. Nobody knows why the killsat missed so catastrophically.
As you should be able to tell, we are seeing where this can go after the Fourth Corporate War. President Elizabeth Kress is launching a trial balloon in her continued quest for power. Good old David Windham is right from the basic book. ISA or not this NPC is also starting to make his moves.
Episode 53: And Things Just Keep Getting Worse
Friday, September 16, 2025:
The Team is brought to large room on the Isaac Asimov for their briefing. The ship and crew are obviously Russian. A number of pictures of the Soviet era navy adorn the walls, but nothing since the fall of the Communist state. The captain, who speaks perfect English comes in and begins the briefing. The job offer is straightforward. There are ten Petrochem offshore drilling rigs. These are in deep water, and are SPAR style rigs. They are spread out up the west coast of the United States about 150 to 200 miles apart. We have to destroy at least 3 of them, and the payment is 500,000 eb apiece for the group. The catch is at least 3 have to be destroyed or there will be NO payout. The ship we are on will provide support and equipment for the operation. When the Team asks what kind of support they can expect, they are told that they have to accept the job first before any of the equipment that we will receive and support capabilities of the ship will be revealed to them. A splendid buffet feast is provided and the Team is left to discuss its answer.
There is much discussion. In the end the group turns down the job. We have just failed our last mission in San Diego. The Team feels that the intelligence we received for the San Diego job was too thin. Jack has always been good with support, but not so helpful with information. Now, from the Team’s point of view, we will be dependent of this ship and crew for support, and they are an unknown. In fact, their hostility so far (with the exception of the buffet which some suggested might be a ‘last meal’) has not inspired confidence. Even when the captain comes back to say, if any of the gear is not to our liking we will put into port to acquire it, doesn’t convince anyone. During that conversation, Peter mentions Jack’s name to the horror of most of the Team. It seems the Captain is unaware of who hired him, but now he has a name. Jack is not the forgiving type. A few of the Team that know Jack feel that we might not ‘survive’ two failures in a row. The vote is 3 for, 6 against and 2 abstentions (one being the still unconscious Izaac). The Team confined to their cabins and told we will be dropped off tomorrow evening in Night City.
(The GM expressed surprise that the Team turned down the job. He had thought Jack had earned the group’s trust by then, but in fact it is, for the most part, it is quite the opposite. If he had just told the Team right up front what kind of support they would have or not given us the choice to turn it down, the group would have done the job without a seconds hesitation.)
Saturday, September 17, 2025:
The day passes slowly and the Team remains in their cabins except when brought under armed escort to the galley for meals. By late afternoon or early evening the ship docks at an older ship terminal on San Morro Bay down near San Morro itself. The ship’s lines are subtly different, and the ship is now named the SS George Washington. The crew is dressed differently to. A private ambulance is waiting for Izaac, now ‘Mr. Smith’, and he is taken to Night City Medical Center. Our gear is waiting on the dock. Thor says he lives in Night City and is going home. He will provide a safe place for everyone to meet tomorrow at 1 pm. Until then they decide that everyone will get separate accommodations for the night. Damien is happy to get off the ship and suggests they all go to the Afterlife for a few drinks, but everyone is too tired and just wants to chill. Thor quietly asks Caitlin and Damien to come at 10:30 am as he has something he wants to talk to them about. Caitlin walks away down the dock and quietly calls herself a combat cab with a large capacity to carry her gear. After it arrives, everyone does the same thing at the same time. So much for remaining low key; they call eight large capacity combat cabs to the pier. Caitlin has researched some hotels in the East City section of Night City and finds two a couple of blocks from each other. She has the cab take her to one, then walks (or trundles with her gear) to the other. Most of the others ask their drivers for a moderate type hotel and the location of similar storage units. Only Edward makes any attempt to cover his tracks. They are brought to various places. Hisoka and Yoruichi insist on expensive hotels. The High Court Plaza is closed and under repair due to extensive structural damage from demolitions used in a recent extraction (see Episode 48). Yoruichi checks into the Kuroshita Hotel, and Hisoka goes to the Ashcroft. Here they actually check your IDs, so they have to check in under their own names. Everyone settles in to get some rest.
Sunday, September 18, 2025:
Damien and Caitlin arrive at 10:30 am. A young man, who introduces himself as Kyle, lets them in and brings the two upstairs where Thor stands waiting. Kyle tells them that they know him as Fenris. He is a biopod style cyborg, and this is his Gemini body. That is not the important news though. He wanted us to meet the real Thor, who is actually his girlfriend! A young, attractive girl stepped out from behind the Sampson. Damien recognizes her instantly, but Caitlin remains clueless. She is Opium, the bassist for the world famous band, Cheap Sex. She is also a world renowned Weaponsmith, and owner of her own factory.
(GM Note: The band Cheap Sex is from a rocker campaign we did many years ago. The group started off as teenage zips pulling petty thefts until they realized most have some musical skills. They began playing dive clubs in the combat zone and later became enormously rich and successful. That also made them boring to play. There comes a point when characters have surmounted all the challenges you though at them (or they die before that, of course, the group goes through a number of keyboard players), and it’s time to retire them as active PCs. The player wanted to bring this character back. Opium is always a danger junkie and the group’s techie. The band’s last flirtation had been with power armor. The Sampson that is Thor is actually a custom made suit of ACPA armor made to look like a borg. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a lot of cool toys!)
It is getting difficult to keep pulling this deception off as Opium is going crazy in the suit. Kyle’s Fenris body is a custom Wiseman, which explains the NET presence that Damien has detected earlier, but Thor had told him to ignore. (Kyle is a netrunner for those readers, who might be a little slow.) They are bringing Damien in the secret because he has not mentioned the NET presence and if he has to report it to Jack, at least it wouldn’t appear as if they are acting against their employer. They chose to tell Caitlin because of her insistence on rescuing Izaac from the hospital in San Diego, and her efforts to make sure no one was following when they tried to lose Edgestopper’s surveillance of the Team. This convinces Thor/Opium that Damien and Caitlin are team players, who can be trusted.
(GM Note: Although it wasn’t mentioned in game, Thor/Opium had intended to tell Peter this also, but his name-dropping of Jack on the Isaac Asimov ended that thought. Personally, as a player, this was a shock, but when it was explained how it is done, I must admit this was an awesome piece of role-playing!)
Caitlin pretends she has heard of Opium (so she won’t look like an idiot), and is fascinated by the whole thing. Both Damien and Caitlin say they will help the two keep their secret. Opium asks them if they want to go out and party that night. The answer is yes, of course. Caitlin tells all of them that today is her birthday (and it actually is). It is decided that Opium and Kyle will take Damien and Caitlin out for a party she will never forget. That turns out to be true, but not in the way they expect!
The rest of the Team show up at 1 pm and a meeting is held. Jack is contacted, and he is not happy about the group’s refusal of the mission. Still, the group has given him time to send another team, so he will still get the job done. He has nothing for the group to do, so they are told to hang out and take a little down time in Night City. After the phone conversation, it is decided to get a group safe house. Thor said he can take care of that, and everyone kicks back for the afternoon.
Peter gets on the NET and out of curiosity looks up Edgerunner Now. A new issue has come out yesterday. The lead story is again dedicated to the Team. The news is not good. Although it doesn’t mention the hits in North Dakota, it traces the Team’s current path from that state right though to San Diego. They know Tex has left, and wonders about the group’s involvement in the Felicity extraction, and certain ‘recent events’ in Las Vegas. More importantly it contains pictures and details of the group regarding our past, and who some of us really are. Pretty much everyone is shocked.
This is the summery of the Edgerunner Now descriptions of the Team:
Azoth is an MIT whiz kid who graduated at 14 and had his first doctorate at 17. He is the adopted son of Jack Smith (our boss), a wealth collector and philanthropist, who some have accused of being a ‘go between”’ for Edgerunner groups involved in ‘criminal’ activity. Is Jack the person behind our group’s ‘alleged’ illegal activities?
Yoruichi Kuukaku is actually Yoshi Nakamura, the young 14-year-old daughter of the founder and CEO of the major Pac Rim (Asian) Agri-corp, Nakamura Inc. She is thought to have died in an assassination attempt last year. Her father is richer than Buddha. It is reported that she has stolen one of her family’s ancestral swords. She is now a registered cyborg in San Diego. There is a reward for her return.
Peter is a disgraced and fallen Shaolin monk turned terrorist. He is wanted on an international terrorism warrant issued by the People’s Republic of China because of his work for Tibetan independence. A reward is being offered for information leading to his capture.
Thor is a new up and coming cyborg working out of Night City. There is speculation on his actual identity and several names mentioned (none of them true).
Frank Martin is a former military test pilot that is grounded for continued insubordination and then fired from that position. He was transferred to the tank corps where he set the land speed record of the Abrams Tank. His pursuit of that record earned him three destroyed (souped up) engines in three months, and eventually his dishonorable discharge.
Izzac is ex-mercenary (err civilian contractor) and a veteran of the Second South Am War. He has a reputation as a tough, and ruthless operative. Although a Canadian citizen he has survived over a decade as a ‘street samurai’ in various cities in the United States.
Bill is a former member of Law Div, who was caught in a corruption scandal. An investigation led to his dismissal and loss of all pension rights. He is forever branded a crooked cop.
Airy Massoon, who has left the group in San Diego, is reported to be an artist of some note from San Francisco. The article wonders why someone like her would be involved with a group like this. They also point out that a recent rash of art thefts have ended when Airy left that city and joined the team.
Edward, Hisoka & Caitlin are complete unknowns to the magazine, but each is painted as a dangerous criminal, who have assumed new identities to avoid arrest and jail. A 5000eb reward each is offered for information on who they really are.
Damien, yes, Damien isn’t even his real name. His name is really Wilbur, a former juvenile delinquent NET criminal that has done time, and now grown up a bit. There are several geeky and unflattering pictures of him before his face change. Both the People’s Republic of China and Canada want him. China is willing to extradite, and is offering a 50,000 eb reward for his capture!
The party is dumfounded to say the least. A quick check of the local news finds out the rewards and Team pictures (and especially Damien/Wilbur’s picture) are plastered all over the place. Oh, and to make the situation even worse, China announces the reward on Damien/Wilbur is now 250,000 eb. Also, there is a 50,000 eb reward for Peter too! As the Team discusses what to do, Caitlin calls Jack and tells him to check out Edgerunner Now. He is less than happy. She then quietly asks Frank if they could go out together and steal a small truck to move her stuff. They both work on a new disguise and left. Edward catches them as they are leaving, and asks to go to. The three quickly pick up their stuff. Opium/Thor make sure the new safe house is ready, and arrange secure transportation for the rest of the Team there. Frank, Edward and Caitlin meet the Team at the new safe house. Damien/Wilbur is in a total panic and keeps walking back and forth saying he has to get out of here. His intention is to leave the group, but the Team rallies to him. They will all stick together, and solve this problem as a team. Damien is taken aback by this gesture and calms down a little bit. Yoruichi/Yoshi, Hisoka, Bill, Peter go back out with Frank to get their things out of storage. Damien always travels light and has all his gear with him.
Yoruichi/Yoshi’s, Hisoka’s and Bill’s pick up go smoothly, or so they think. Along the way they pick up a (shot) tracer bug from the Unlucky 8 (now 7), the team that the group had bearded during the Felicity extraction during Episodes 47 & 48. Three hundred thousand euro in rewards and the chance for a little payback is on their minds. They are stuck in Night City and the black mark against them for the Felicity extraction makes it almost impossible for them to get a job (other than suicide missions) even in the current Fourth Corporate War environment. They also pick up tails from a NCPD police detective, and a member of the Chinese Consulate’s ‘security staff’. Peter retrieves his gear from storage, and gets it into the van. At his hotel room there is a knock on the door. Peter answers it and a NCPD police detective ask for Peter. Now I have no idea why he said he is Peter because he had just disguised himself with a roll of 25, and is completely safe from being noticed. The officer does his best not to act surprised because he has seen a picture of what Peter really looks like. This change could be explained by the reward on his head. The detective asks him if he knows where Wilber a.k.a. Damien is. Peter botches his persuasion/fast talk roll when he lies (finally) to the officer. The detective thanks him and gives him his card. This earns Peter a police tail from here on out. While the monk is on his way back from his hotel room with his clothes, Hisoka notices the Chinese security agent following the monk. He informs Peter, who walks by the van and tries to ditch the agent, but to no effect. Peter then gets a cab, but so did his tail. Frank rams the tailing cab, and knocks it on to the sidewalk. Peter’s cab speeds away, but an unmarked police car hits its siren to get through traffic, shuts it off, and takes up the tail. Frank gets away with the stolen van and heads back to the new safe house.
Peter is informed of his new tail and goes to the New Harbor Mallplex to lose it. He can’t seem to shake the police tail, and tells the Team as much. Caitlin asks him over the commo if he has swept himself for bugs. Peter replies that he doesn’t have a bug detector.
After a brief silence, Caitlin tells him since he is at the mall, GO BUY ONE!
Shop Mart has a display of them. When Peter approaches it, they all go off. After a quick purchase he finds a tracer bug in his duffel bag. He examines it and notices it is of Chinese manufacture. Peter then walks up to his tail and hands the device to him with a mildly smart aleck remark. The detective has no idea where the bug came from. It isn’t the police’s. However, he can also tell it is a high tech Chinese tracking bug, and it has no serial number. The officer’s curious expression breaks into a smile as he tells Peter, “You’re under arrest for possession of an illegal surveillance device.”
It is a bullshit charge, but something that they could at least hold him on. The police are not totally sure what is going on with the Edgerunner Now articles and the Chinese Consulate’s heated demands on the NorCal government, but they are going to find out. Peter allows himself to be cuffed and disarmed, which is a good move since the detective has a partner. Peter doesn’t, however, activate his commo to give the Team a heads up that the police are about to take it and have the ability to tap into their communications. Fortunately, after Peter’s group left, Caitlin had established a backup channel for the remaining team in case of just such an eventuality. She is not fooled by the police’s attempt to make the transmission sound muffled. As the two officers are heading back to the station they hear an announcement that the Chinese have just upped their reward for Peter to 250,000 eb. They have already notified HQ of his capture, but they drop a dime on the Chinese consulate also.
Peter is taken and booked. Then a member of the Chinese consulate comes to talk to him. The man places warrant for his arrest and a signed order of extradition in front of Peter. He promises the monk, that conviction is certain and a slow and painful death will follow a long an “unpleasant” incarceration. The deal is simple. Give up the location of Wilbur or help them catch him, and all this will disappear. The diplomat puts a signed and notarized pardon for all his past crimes committed in China down in front of him. The choice is Peter’s. The suit is politely told where he can put his pardon. Arrangements are made for his immediate departure for China. Peter holds out as long as he can, and just before the Chinese take custody of him, he demands a lawyer to fight the extradition order. Well, the NCPD (in our game world) is fairly honest so they say sure, and the inevitable extradition is delayed (for at least a month or two).
Frank and the others go to the new safe house and unload the gear. Then they take the van and dump it. Opium/Thor learns that MaxTac has just raided the first place they met today. It is only a matter of time before the find this safe house. The Team is in Night City (Edgerunners Central) with two foreign countries after them and prices on their heads. It is time to leave. Damien is a basket case, so Caitlin finds a truck rental place. Everyone works on new disguises and Thor/Opium help the Team rent the extended cab large truck. The group hits the road for Stateline. Thor/Opium and Kyle/Fenris remain in Night City and will join them later.
The Team arrives in Stateline that evening and Caitlin insists that they park in a little used rest stop on the NorCal side. The group hunkers down for the night, but Caitlin decides to check out the town’s Strip. Her real reason is to call Jack and update him on the situation. She walks into the SoCal section of the Strip talking to an angry Jack as if she is talking happily to a boyfriend. When done with the conversation, she continues to check out the area around the Strip and action going down there. While passing a restaurant, she looks in the plate glass window, and spies some “old friends”. It is the seven survivors of the Unlucky 8. Curiosity gets the best of her. She feels confident in her disguise, and she has extremely exceptional hearing. Caitlin walks in “talking” on her phone (to partially black her face), and sits close enough for her to hear, but further than anyone could normally hear. She leaves her back to them. What she hears go something like this:
“Wow, she has a lot of nerve just coming in here like that.”
“Can she hear us?”
“No, even with enhancements, no one can hear at this distance.”
“OK, I have the drone flying up there watching their truck. I’ll have to send the other up soon because the first is almost out of fuel.”
“We can strike once they settle down for the evening.”
“Just a minute, I’ll be right back. I have to take care of something.”
The one member of the Unlucky (now) 7 that Caitlin can’t recognize gets up and walks out the front door. Well, the only one whose face she doesn’t know is the “Ghost”, their sniper. Caitlin looks for the ladies room and notices it is near the kitchen and out of sight of the other team’s table. She then inquires to a waitress where the ladies room is, quietly gets up and goes towards the bathroom. Actually she goes right by the door, and into the kitchen acting like she belongs in there and out the back door. In the alley, she breaks into a run and heads towards the SoCal commercial truck stop a couple blocks south. There is no doubt in her mind that the “something” the Ghost is going to “take care of” is her. Caitlin calls the Team immediately and tells them the Unlucky 7 are planning an attack. Also, they have a flying drone over the truck watching them. She tells them to leave her and head to Los Angeles immediately. They will meet up tomorrow. She will find her own ride. After arriving at the truck stop, Caitlin walks by a group of tandem trailer trucks getting ready to leave, looking for one with SoCal plates that might be going to Los Angeles. She asks the first likely candidate, and yes, he is going to LA, but it is against company policy to pick up hitchhikers. She gives him a winning smile, tells him she really needs to get there, and assures him that they can “work something out”. Within a minute of reaching the truck stop she is riding in a truck cab getting on the highway to LA!
The Team gets ready to move. Edward steps out of the truck and looks for the drone. He sees it, informs the group it is on a wide circling pattern around their vehicle, but curiously no one does anything about it. At least Edward gets into his armored cammos and has his Ronin Assault rifle ready. As the group gets underway, they talk about which roads to take. The choices are either the highway or use the back roads where they will be more difficult to track. The initial decision is to go the back roads so they head south through town. Unfortunately, no one really knows the layout of Stateline well.
The Team’s truck is moving nicely thru traffic into the SoCal part of Stateline when they realize that they are heading down the Strip where the (now) Unlucky 7 are. They see the sign for the highway and Frank tries to take a right. Well, that pesky drone is still following them. Zachary Thompson, the opposition’s netrunner tips off the Ghost, who has set up to kill Caitlin, but realizes he has a shot at the truck. He fires at the left front wheel and his fifty caliber ET round destroys the metallic wheel itself. The truck is stranded in the intersection. Frank tries to get it to the cover of a side street, but it won’t move. Everyone in the front extended cab bails out. Hisoka, Frank, Azoth, Yoshi and Bill run west down the side street. Edward, who is the only one to have the foresight to unpack his assault rifle out of the back, goes to open the back door of the truck to get Damien out. Although Caitlin is at the far end of her commo range, she hears the chatter, and the fact that the truck is done. She realizes that it contains enough evidence to get Priority One convictions on all of them, so she tells the Team that they have to blow up the truck! Azoth turns around and heads back to the vehicle to take care of that. Hisoka, Frank and Bill continue down the side street going west, but turn south on the next block to get around at the sniper. Yoshi follows them, but turns away from the combat. The drone just follows the three heading south and the Unlucky 7 prepare an ambush for them.
Edward comes around the back of the truck, opens the rolling door and dives inside before the Ghost can get a bead on him. Azoth, who is behind Edward, is not so lucky. The ET sniper rifle barks again, and Azoth’s leg goes flying off. The young man passes out from the wound, but hangs on to life. Inside Damien has put on one of the suits of assault armor. This is not in preparation for combat, but because it is stifling hot back there, and the suit has a cooling unit. Damien is still rattled from the article in Edgerunner Now and the reward on his head. Edward hands him his Ronin assault rifle, and begins to unpack the explosives to destroy the stranded truck. As he works to assemble a demolition charge, the Ghost fires again, and hits Edward. The sniper has switched to thermographic sight and sees Edward through the thin wall of the truck. Edward drops as if he were out cold. He actually has only eight points of damage to his arm. Fortunately, he had also put on his armored BDUs, when Caitlin warned the Team of the impending attack. The thermographic sight can NOT see Damien, so Carl comes around the back of the truck not expecting a man in assault armor with a Ronin at ready. The wanted netrunner fires thirty rounds wildly at Carl. It only takes the one head hit to put the solo down. The Ghost can still not see Damien, but now he can perceive the hot weapon, which he fires at and destroys.
On the other block Hisoka pulls away with his much-enhanced MA from Frank and Bill. The drone sees this and he becomes the priority target. Hisoka runs to the end of the block and gets on the roof on the southwest corner of the intersection. He looks for the Ghost, but the Ghost has moved and is out of sight. As Frank and Bill approach that corner, Texx stepped out of the alley, levels his shotgun at Bill and hits him with three thermite rounds. One of them is a headshot. Bill is killed instantly. Frank spins around and fires at Texx wounding him slightly. Hisoka leaps from his building perch to close the range on Texx. Now Hisoka is out in the open. Leon steps out of an alley across the street and let 25 rounds fly out of his Kalashnikov A-80. Over twenty go slamming into the lightly armored Hisoka, who finishes closing on Texx and cuts him down. Frank fires and hits Leon, but does only a little damage. Hisoka turns to face his new opponent. Unfortunately, his is too wounded to win the initiative. Leon puts the last ten rounds from his assault rifle into Hisoka and kills him. Frank looks at the heavily armed and armored solo and then at his small pistol. The driver backs around the corner out of sight. Leon changes clips and moves in to kill his last remaining opponent. The four 14mm pistol shots ring out. Yoshi has worked her way around the combat unseen by the drone, which has followed the other three. She heard the ambush and came. One of her rounds hits Leon in the head and the leader of the Unlucky 7 goes down with a bullet in the brain. Yoshi teams up with Frank. She moves through the alleys back towards the truck, and Frank moves back up the street. The drone can follow only one.
Back at the truck, Edward lays there but slowly starts to put together a demo charge. The going is very slow, as he can’t risk any sudden movement that might tip off the Ghost with his thermographic sight that he is still conscious. By now, Misty has worked her way to the truck, and throws in a flash bang. Damien is unaffected, but Edward is blinded. His nano-audio upgrade saves him from bang, but his unshielded eyes are blinded. This is followed by four quick pistol shots. She shoots Damien in the head four times, but his armor saves him from death. Damien, however, does go unconscious. Misty then uses her martial arts to knock out the still blind Edward. She takes off Damien’s helmet and is relieved that the ‘target’ is still alive. The Chinese government will not pay a penny for him if he is dead.
Outside on the street, Yoshi finds the Ghost the hard way. He is now firing from an abandoned mini-van in the street. His round hits Yoshi in the arm, which he is confident will put down anyone as lightly armored, as she appears to be. He realizes his mistake. He is not facing a young teenage girl as much as he is facing a cyborg. The Ghost doesn’t have Leon’s luck with initiative. Yoshi fires first and hits him four times. The shot to the brainpan is fatal. The Ghost is dead. Yoshi then moves to get a bead on the open truck door. Roger Dempsey, the Unlucky 7’s medic, has retrieved Leon’s assault rifle, which Leon had reloaded before he died, and fires down the street at Yoshi. Yoshi returns fire and drops the now wounded Roger. This gives Misty her chance and she fires four 14mm rounds into Yoshi’s head. Enough hit their mark to immobilize the cyborg. Misty throws Damien over her shoulder and makes off with her payday.
The sirens are getting louder and more numerous. The police have tried to cordon off the area and are waiting for Max-Tac. Frank comes up, and finishes the demo charge. Edward wakes up and staggers out of the truck. Frank puts Azoth in a car as if he was a passenger that has been caught in the crossfire, and takes his ID and burns it. Frank then tosses Yoshi in a trunk of a random car and he and Edward leave the scene as the truck explodes. With all the other demolitions and ammunition in the truck, it is completely destroyed. In the confusion of the police sweep of the area, Frank and Edward are able to get away with the stolen car containing Yoshi and head back to Night City. Azoth is brought to the hospitals and listed as a John Doe who was caught in the crossfire. Zachary, the Unlucky 7’s netrunner had crashed all the security cameras on the street so there is no record of the fight for the police to find. The people on the Strip have fled quickly, when the fifty caliber ET sniper rifle started firing. It will take the authorities time before they could piece together the facts.
Meanwhile Caitlin rides on to L.A. with her truck driver. They stop only once for her to ‘pay’ for her ride with a quick hummer. She briefly considers just killing him, but that will draw attention. This has been her worst birthday ever.
Episode 54: Train to Zone!
Monday, September 19, 2025:
Edward and Frank (with the shutdown Yoshi in the trunk) head back to Night City. They contact Thor and are told to come to a certain address, which happens to be Opium’s arms factory in a corporate zone on the outskirts of Night City. Caitlin calls Jack from LA and he seems to be aware of the shootout in Stateline. His orders are very specific. Under NO circumstances are Damien and Peter to go back to China. Rescue them, if possible, but if not, well, you get the picture. The fee will be 20,000 eb for all Team members who participate and a forgiveness of the 15,000 eb that all the members of the team owe Jack for the uncompleted San Diego job. She calls Thor/Opium who says she will send a car to pick her up when she gets to back to town. Caitlin spends the wee hours of the morning buying some new clothes, a professional disguise kit, a few pieces of common gear, and a suitcase before catching the Trans Cascadian MagLev to Night City.
Thor/Opium’s factory also has a private palatial residence on the ground. The remaining free members of the Team meet there and everyone is brought up to speed on the previous night’s Stateline disaster. Edward gets medical attention, and he will be out of action for a day. The group intends to make some quick repairs on Yoshi and bring her back on line, but Caitlin suggests that her friend’s constant denial that she is a borg might be part of a deeper psychological problem. Kyle puts together a small VR simulation of a hospital room, and brings Yoshi back to consciousness inside it. It becomes quickly apparent to both Opium and Thor that Yoshi truly believes she is still human. They decide to completely repair her, including her special skin covering before bringing her back to the real world. When Caitlin hears that everything in the truck has been destroyed, she gets pale and unsteady on her feet. She excuses herself for a bit and walks away in an apparent daze to the bedroom she has been provided with.
(GM Note: In Caitlin’s backpack was her beloved large stuffed mouse (Mousie), the only thing she had left from her childhood. She realizes that her own orders ‘killed’ Mousie and the only precious connection to her past is now gone. She cries for hours.)
Opium knows why China wants Damien so badly. He has stolen a prototype modem and the only copy of its specifications from a Chinese research lab. It is the modem that the Chinese want back. Opium makes contact with the Chinese government through the lawyer provided by Jack, and offers to swap the modem for Damien and Peter. The Chinese are agreeable to that. Peter is released as a sign of good faith and housed at the Red Door Inn in Chinatown under the watchful eye of two free-lance Night City police officers (see Interface Magazine for details on Night City free-lance police officers). The exchange is made that afternoon. The Chinese drop all charges against both, and fund a major publicity push to announce that the rewards for the two are now withdrawn. Both Damien and Peter are brought to Opium’s place, while the heat is cooled off by the Chinese publicity campaign.
Tuesday, September 20, 2025:
The morning news from Stateline is not good. Our Team, which has now been dubbed “Tex’s Tag Alongs” and The Unlucky 8, err 7, now 3 are wanted as ‘persons of interest’ in the Stateline Shootout. The afternoon news isn’t much better as Hisoka’s body was stolen from the Stateline morgue last night. The police release security camera footage of the break in that shows Caitlin, Izaac, and Edward committing the “crime”. Edward and Caitlin are surprised as they never left Night City, and Izaac is in the hospital. Jack asks if the group is responsible for the break in at Stateline. They deny any involvement. Jack says he has a job for the Team and he is sending a new member with the briefing and the payment. The new team member will arrive on this coming Saturday.
(Note: Hisoka was a genetically engineered ‘Super Solo’ or Nietzschean. We ran a campaign years ago dealing with this group. The survivors of that campaign fled the corporations who created them (Arasaka & Biotechnica), and have quietly been breeding more of their kind. Hisoka was the first of the new generation. This group NEVER leaves a corpse behind. The GM thought it will be amusing (and it is) to frame our current characters with some of our older characters for this actually rather minor offence.)
That evening Izaac is released from the hospital. He brought up to speed on the current situation, and given the choice to stay with the group or go his own way. Without hesitation he decides to stay.
Wednesday, September 21, 2025:
The Team starts assembling lists of the equipment they have to replace. Damien gets a new deck and downloads a spare copy of his old programs (the ones that are not copy protected). He starts to update those that need it. Caitlin uses the weapons factory’s equipment and starts to customize a Barrett M-90. Opium helps her with the electro- thermal enhancement and recoil compensation.
On the news the Nakamura Corporation sends a forensics team to investigate the shooting in Stateline. ‘The Dragon’, a world-class euro solo and suspected member of the Angels from the Crystal Palace, leads the team. Yoshi’s father releases a statement declaring his belief that the people his daughter are with (us) have brainwashed her. He will stop at nothing to get her back.
Thursday, September 22, 2025:
First equipment orders go out. The Team maintains a VERY low profile and remains in Opium’s mansion on the grounds of her factory complex. No one is allowed out without checking with Opium, Kyle or Caitlin.
Friday, September 23, 2025:
Equipment starts to arrive and people work on their kits. Damien helps Caitlin reprogram her computer modems to surf the NET using a go-glo rig and Expert: Complex Computer Languages.
Saturday, September 24, 2025:
Our new team member arrives in an extended cab pickup truck with a cap on the back. The man’s handle is Grave. He appears to be a Gemini cyborg with all the charm and looks that his name implies. He is actually a combat alpha with a Gemini head, but that remains unknown to the group for now. On his back he carries about a three and a half foot vampire-like coffin that defies thermo. He is here to replace Hisoka (and is the new character of Hisoka’s player). Grave also carries the next mission briefing and a locked suitcase for Caitlin. The young girl has the combination, and opens it. It contains 20,000 for the people who was involved in the rescue of Damien and Peter (Caitlin reported that everyone who is free and in Night City participated), and 50,000 eb for each member of the Team for this new job. The cash is distributed.
The new job is very straightforward. There is a six-block area in the Combat Zone of Night City that a corporation has bought with the intent of rehabilitating it. The problem is that there are people living there and booster gang holding it. The gang is called “La Banda Dei Dieci”. The mission is to destroy the gang and anyone who might oppose the corporation in their plans for the neighborhood. (We get to play “Johnny Rehab” from Robocop III but without the uniforms or any legal fig leaf.) We have ten days to eliminate the gang and any other neighborhood residents that might interfere with the crews coming in to do the rehabilitation.
We get to work studying the maps provided. Damien starts researching the gang and the corporation that hired us. Grave and Opium are both from Night City (Opium grew up very close to here) so they start to work their contacts for information.
Sunday, September 25, 2025:
The research of Damien, Grave and Opium bear fruit. Genesis is a Polish Corporation that specializes in rehabilitating dilapidated neighborhoods across the world. This is their first Night City project. They are known for their total ruthlessness (quite a bit more brutal than most corps) in their operations. La Banda Dei Dieci means “The Band of Ten”. This is the code name for a group of United States Special Forces mountain troops that served in Italy during the Second World War. The people who live in this neighborhood are their descendants. This is not a booster gang, but a well-trained and heavily armed guardian gang that maintains this area. The people here are extremely xenophobic, and distrust all strangers. The local booster gangs have long learned to avoid this area. The watchfulness and vigilance of this group has led to the deaths of any other gangs that tried to raid this neighborhood. Most of the information of this area is from the personal contacts of Opium and Grave. Damien finds that most information on the NET about this area has been deleted. He deduces that this “gang” is very NET savvy. The job is (of course) a bit more than advertised, but then again, what job isn’t?
Monday, September 26, 2025:
By today most of the newly ordered gear has arrived. Also, our 18 stashed Kalashnikov A-80s reach us from Las Vegas. A number of the Team immediately get to work removing the serial numbers so they don’t lead back to the Janos Corporation and implicate us in the recent massacre of the Mob leaders outside of that city.
Azoth, who is sporting a new cyberleg to replace the one he lost at Stateline is released from the hospital. Caitlin picks him up and they have a little talk. She berates him for not using his electronics warfare suite against the flying drone in Stateline. She also shows him the progress of the Edgerunner Now articles tracking their movements from North Dakota to San Diego, and connecting them to Jack Smith, his adopted father. The young whiz kid is also reminded that he used the same batch of explosives on the attack in North Dakota that killed the AFL-CIO regional VP, the bombing of the Edgestoppers surveillance van in San Diego, and the destruction of the Team’s truck in Stateline. Although states no longer share criminal databases too often, SoCal will put together the two bombings quickly. She asks Azoth how soon it will be before the AFL-CIO will have that data and compare it to the bombs used in North Dakota. It is all going to point to Jack. More importantly, as Jack’s son and an explosives expert, who is the union going to strike at to get to Jack? At this point she reveals to Azoth that she is not really a freelance Edgerunner, but works directly for his father as his “eyes in the Team”. She answers directly to Jack. The rest of the Team is not to know her true purpose. Azoth is to stop disregarding her “suggestions” and not hang up on her, when she is trying to help him. Azoth gets the point, or so he says. When they get back to Opium’s mansion, she gives Azoth all the components to rebuild his electronic warfare suite with ECM and ECCM components, and a set of tools. It needs to be put together. Azoth starts to assemble his new toy.
Tuesday, September 27, 2025:
Azoth purchases a new set of drones, and starts to work on putting the expanded electronics warfare suite together. There is more bad news on the video. Old man Nakamura has raised the reward for his daughter’s safe return to 100,000 eb. There are some jokes about turning her in, and having her run away again so we can all (Yoshi included) split the reward. That idea is eventually dismissed as too dangerous.
That night the Team decides to send Damien with some support to sneak around the perimeter of the neighborhood’s defenses and scan for remotes. Frank drives the new truck out to close to the area with Thor, Grave, Edward, Peter and Damien. Thor and Grave stay with Frank at the truck. Edward and Peter escort Damien as he makes his scan. They remain undetected. After the scan is complete Peter makes a solo approach to the perimeter, but does not attempt to cross it. Back at Opium/Thor’s place the Team constructs a three dimensional map of the locations of all the detectable remotes.
Wednesday, September 28, 2025:
By morning Azoth has his two bumblebee remotes ready. They are equipped for video surveillance with a 50x lens, and thermo capability. We can now maintain a 24-hour watch of our target zone for a least a few days. We use the new Team vehicle to launch and retrieve them so as not to be flying them around the corporate area where we are staying. The remotes will get no closer than 1000 meters from any point in the target area. What we will sacrifice in detail in our observations will be made up by the lessened chance of the remote getting seen. This gave us an idea of a typical day in our target area.
6 AM: A lot of people come out of the NE block to the park. It is a beautiful day.
7 AM: The children remain in the park with some of the adults, and it becomes apparent that there is some kind of school activities going on. The business blocks in the SE corner have a lot of commercial activity. There is a large industrial building in the SW corner that maintains a constant cool thermo temperature throughout the day. There is another heavy industrial building in the NW corner that gets very hot during the day. There are also two armed patrols in the neighborhood. They are dressed in armored clothes with some long guns. The patrols numbered seven and eight individuals.
3 PM: “School” in the park ended, and the children divided into age groups and go into different old parking structures in the west side of the target zone.
6 PM: The children emerged from the parking structures and scattered around the neighborhood.
7 PM: An ultra-light aircraft launched from the top of an old twelve story hotel next to the NW corner of the target area and started a patrol. We pulled our remotes back to maintain the 1000-meter minimum distance we have established.
Evening: A third patrol joined the other two to increase security. By now we realized that each patrol varied in number between 5 and 10. Two of the patrols are fairly regular in their sweeps, but maintained enough variation not to be exactly predicable. The third night patrol is completely random.
The video news brings us nothing good. Old man Nakamura is still keen on getting Yoshi back, and his team led by the Dragon is still snooping around the west coast. In the afternoon, Edward comes up with an idea. He asks Yoshi what will happen if daddy finds out where she is. The reply is that he will more than likely send an elite extraction team in to ‘rescue’ her. Edward just smiles. What will happen if he thinks ‘La Banda Dei Dieci’ is holding her? The group perks right up.
A quick study is made of the cell coverage in the area is made. A location of the edge of the target area is chosen that will read as if the transmission is from the six-block area itself. The rest of the day is spent in rehearsal for the night’s activities. That evening Caitlin and Yoshi move up to the selected area, and Yoshi puts in the battery on her phone and calls daddy. She makes a long enough call to be traced and begs him to come help her from these nasty people (La Banda Dei Dieci, but she deliberately mangles the pronunciation) who are trying to catch her. The phone call is cut off abruptly and the battery removed. The two sneak out of the area and return home.
About a half hour later, a black surveillance AV makes a few passes over the target zone and leaves. About 11:30 pm the Team’s aerial remote goes wildly out of control. Azoth gets control back, and pulls away a bit. At first he thinks it was a jamming attempt, but it turns out to be a man doing a HALO drop on the area, which came very close to the remote. As the Team watches they see a total of about 20 chutes open briefly and deposit a special ops team into the neighborhood. Their targets are the 12-story hotel, the ‘hot’ building, and a few we had not identified. Within 15 minutes all three patrols are silently killed and the power goes out.
Thursday, September 29, 2025:
The Team is quite impressed by the silent assault. By 2 am, this special operations team has rounded up everyone in the neighborhood and placed the people in the park under guard. They stack the bodies of the dead defenders (about 50), and it is apparent that people are being taken for interrogation. Most are returned to the make shift holding area in the park, but some are taken and put with the ever increasing stack of corpses. The Team does not suffer from an overabundance of Empathy so they watch the proceedings sipping on champagne (except for Caitlin, of course, who drinks her traditional warm milk). Finally, Caitlin poses the question, “What will the media do if they know about this?”
Damien and Caitlin go into the NET and grabbed phone lines near the target area. They called a few news organizations and tip them off. About 4 am a Net 54 news chopper appears over the park with its light and cameras shinning on the scene below. We can now see who is doing the operation. It is Arasaka. The news transmission is quickly jammed and one of Big Black’s combat AVs come up to the news chopper and paints its pilot canopy with a laser designator. The message is received and the news people pull back. However, once the news crew clears the immediate area, but before they are out of the jamming zone, the Arasaka combat AV shoots them down. We have it all on video. We quickly decide not to use this information, as that will tip our hand that we have the area under surveillance. Also, retribution from Arasaka is another complication we don’t want to bring on ourselves. About 6 am, Arasaka pulls out. Just about the same time another Net 54 news helicopter arrives with two combat AVs for support. By now the show is over.
This action doesn’t get as much press as the Team expects. Night City has long been known as ‘Arasakaville’, and NET 54 has no proof. More important news fills the airwaves. A Highrider Revolt breaks out today. The Highriders at O’Neill Two declare their independence. The ESA launches their two remaining active Delta squadrons (the others are still down well at Nairobi), supported by four shuttles loaded with space troops in ACPA’s, against the rebelling O’Neill. The Highriders fight back using weapons, ACPA’s, and Deltas gained from unknown sources (and at least partially scratch built). While severely under equipped, Highrider forces far outnumbered the ESA/OA forces and the initial attack is repulsed. The government of L-5 recognizes the new leaders at O’Neill Two after the initial attack. Today the trouble of a bunch of nobodies in the combat zone isn’t very newsworthy.
The Team continues their long distance surveillance for the rest of the day. The people hold a service in the park, and burn their fallen comrades’ bodies. We count seventy-five men, women, and children dead. It is estimated there is about 350 residents left. Out of these maybe 200 are capable of bearing arms, and probably only 50 or so that are any real threat. Plans are underway for our next strike. Someone suggests that contact be initiated with some of the local booster gangs that have been roughly handled by the La Banda Dei Dieci and made aware of that group’s current weakness. Perhaps even pay them to strike the neighborhood. Things are going to get very ugly.
Episode 55: Very Bad Things
Thursday, September 29, 2025:
Late that afternoon, Jack sends another operative to replace Hisoka as the stealth specialist. Her name is Xui. The woman appears to be in her early forties and what is still human comes from Japan. She is almost more metal that meat with two cyber legs and a cyber-arm. Her bluish thermo signature leaves little room for the human. It is decided to run a reconnaissance into the neighborhood that night before our general assault planned for tomorrow. Caitlin and Xui will check the principle buildings on the west side of the target zone. This actually covers most of the possible industrial targets. The east side is one third park and one-third apartment residences. The warm building in the northwest is the first target. The two get about one third of the first floor mapped by looking through the windows. They also discover a booby trap on the freight door in the back of that building. There is a large group of fuel barrels on the inside of the door of the freight door. The four parking structures are indeed hydroponic urban farms. The cool building in the south has no windows except in the back, where a small lobby can be seen. The southernmost building has been heavily reinforced post construction. We practice using the drones to track the area’s defenders. There is a firefight going on to the west about three blocks away. We keep an eye on it but it is another conflict.
Grave and Opium work their contacts and get meetings with three of the area’s booster gangs for tomorrow.
Friday, September 30, 2025:
In the morning, our drones pick up more people arriving in the neighborhood. Many of these people have that “active duty” haircut. Preparations continue throughout the day for tonight’s assault. A number of breeching charges and satchel charges are made along with 8 half-kilo charges of plastique all on both timed and radio detonators. A case of white phosphorus grenades is acquired and divided up.
Grave talks with the boosters. The first gang is the Gravediggers. They can’t help as they are in a fight with a group of Edgerunners right now. The Razorfangs will provide 20 members for 15,000 eb. The Skull Takers are talking down to 35,000 eb for 50 members. The Team decides to tell the Razorfangs that we are trying to raise the money and will have them an answer by Sunday. Graves delivers 17,500 eb (1/2 down) and ten Kalashnikov A-80 assault rifles with two clips each to seal the deal for an attack tomorrow on Saturday evening. This part of the plan is not discussed with Peter too much. The Team feels that they need not burden him with such a messy detail.
The plan for tonight’s attack is simple. Insertion and extraction is to be by large panel truck driven by Frank about seven blocks from NW corner of the neighborhood. Caitlin and Xui will move up to the ‘warm’ building in the NW of the neighborhood. When the guard ambush occurs, they breech the building and destroy the generators. Then they will move across the street to the hydroponic farms and destroy them as they link up with the rest of the team there.
Peter sets up at a distance with his bow and some explosive fragmentation arrows. His job will be to make a lot of noise with those grenade arrows against the main apartment residences of the population. The Team has checked and the walls can easily stand up to a peppering of these arrows. He will lead the reaction force sent against him away.
Yoshi and Izaac set up in an alley on the south edge of the park where a number of small stores with housing above are. They will ambush the first reinforcement team sent to investigate. They will kill this force and then fall back to Thor, Grave and Edward who will be in the ‘cool’ building by then and destroying the food stores. They will all then head across the street to the north and link up with Caitlin and Xui moving south.
Thor, Grave and Edward move up to the partially rubbled apartment block on their approach to the ‘cool’ building. Thor looks around at the rubbled area and notices that it is rigged with a couple of traps that he can see. Actually, it is riddled with mines and explosives. They avoid that trap. Damien and Fenris create a hole in the visual surveillance of the perimeter. These three ambush the first guard team and kill them before they can effectively respond. They immediately break into the “cool” building. They force their way through the security doors on most of the first floor. They find two turbines powering the neighborhood. They shut them down and set charges on them. As they kick down the last door Thor’s HUD lights up with a “2x ACPA powering up nearby”. The leave quickly the way they came.
The alarm is raised, Peter opens fire and Caitlin and Xui breech the ‘warm’ building. This building contains only a quickly killed guard dog. It isn’t the generator building; it is the food and general storage. Charges are set on fuel drums, and white phosphorous grenades rain on the dry stored food before they leave. These two remain out of radio contact as the building is radio shielded.
Yoshi and Izaac wait in the alley and mow the second patrol down. Now the third patrol enters the park and sees the ambush. They are a good 230 meters away with no real shot. The two just retreat down their alley and wait. With a running commentary from Azoth looking through the drone’s eye, the eight (in two teams of 4) surround them. Four of the patrol try fire from the second story of the alley. A grenade from Izaac drives one of the attackers off. The other three light up the Team members. Yoshi takes some serious damage, but Izaac is shot and killed. All thirty rounds from one of the defender’s Ronin slams into Izaac. Yoshi flees out the back of the alley and runs east. A group of defenders come around to the back of the alley and fire on Yoshi again. Yoshi cuts up an alley to the north, but when she exits the alley by the park the patrol on the park opens fire on her along with the sniper in the hotel to the NW. Yoshi retreats south, but is hit again exiting the southern end of the alley. Yoshi then flees screaming to the east, and after a few more hits staggers shot to pieces into the Skull Takers area. Well, they don’t know she is with our team (and might not have cared anyway), so they tear her up and turn her into spare parts. So ends Yoshi Nakamura.
Caitlin and Xui leave the storage building aflame and move between the four hydroponic parking structures to get a shot on the defenders in the park. Caitlin finally gets a bead on the last patrol and drops three of the four. The last dives for cover. By now Thor, Grave and Edward are in full retreat from the powering up ACPAs. Caitlin and Xui join the retreat. Thor drops the last satchel charge in the trapped ruined building. The explosion detonates the rest of the explosives. The four patrol members that had chased Yoshi out of the neighborhood are killed in the blast. All the windows from the businesses facing the park are blown out. Every building next to the trapped ruined building is destroyed except the ‘cool’ building since it has reinforced construction. The multiple detonations from the ‘hot’ storage building levels every building on that block and guts two of the four hydroponic farming structures. We all make our way back to the pickup point except for Izaac and Yoshi. Yoshi is lost and is never heard from her again. Izaac’s body falls into the enemy’s hands and they recognize him.
Saturday, October 1, 2025:
The Team rests and prepares for the strike tonight. There are more funerals in the park today. A few more obvious military types show up to help defend their families. Grave arranges for the Skull Takers to attack the NE corner of the neighborhood where most of the people live. We will breech directly into the room where the ACPA suits are and attack before they power up (hopefully).
The attack goes off flawlessly. We capture two U.S. Army “Grunt” ACPAs. In the rest of the building is the last generator turbine, which the Team destroys. There is also the armory here. We take all the anti-aircraft missiles and launchers, 10 M-60D MGs, 10 Barrett M-90s, 20 kilos of C-6, assorted cases of grenades, 500 meters of “DET” cord, and assorted other equipment. We also steal their forklift to move it all. We then inform the Skull Takers where the arsenal is so they can loot the rest. It is a walk over.
Sunday, October 2, 2025:
The Team watches the news and our drones that day. There are the requisite funerals, then the trucks come and the people start to move. They are beaten and we have won. The neighborhood will be clear on time.
(Epilogue: Actually, the GM told us later “out of game” that this job was a suicide run. Genesis Corporation did NOT own this neighborhood. They are not even the people that paid for the job. Genesis Corporation IS clearing a neighborhood nearby. The booster gang, Gravedigger, is the target. It is the AFL-CIO who had hired us through Jack using a number of blinds. They sent us against a group (La Banda Dei Dieci), who they felt would kill us all. Then Jack would have to refund the money when we “failed”. The AFL-CIO would have their revenge and wouldn’t have to pay for it. This was only their first step in their machinations against Jack.
Episode 56: Shootout in Jacksville
Monday, October 3, 2025:
The Team reports its success back to Jack, and is instructed to come back to Jacksville, ND. Things are getting very hot for the group in Night City. A few of the Team puts some things in storage. Caitlin forges two more heat resistant barrels for her new Arasaka weapons, and continues to learn from Opium. Graves takes care of the rest of the payment to the Skull Takers. A large propeller driven CHOO powered aircraft provided by Jack is ready and at 4 pm the Team is airborne.
At 9 pm the Team is in Jack’s conference room in North Dakota. The Team sees that the guards at the estate are now in heavier armor and all carrying Ronin assault rifles. The place is on high alert. Azoth and Caitlin notice that many of the valuable items that are normally displayed in the house are gone. Jack is ready for trouble. The meeting is brief. Three new team members are introduced. Cliff, a Jamaican “Rasta” man, is a solo about 35 years old, who seems to enjoy playing with his wolvers. Kim Zuikawa is a young Japanese girl, who fancies herself an Edgerunner, but seems more concerned about whether her makeup is just right. The last is Sam. He is some kind of solo who didn’t say much. It seems that things are getting very hot for Jack, and he is going to Europe (to hide out) while “things” cool down. He has contacted a (fixer) friend, Bruce, in Balsam, NC, that needs some top-flight talent for a team and we are being sent there to help him. Our Team is agreeable to that. Jack excuses himself and left the group with a fabulous buffet dinner to consume. Caitlin asks to speak to Jack alone and they go off to talk. Caitlin feels that an attack here is imminent and the mansion needs a more aggressive defense. Jack listens, but tells her that he has something more important to discuss with her. Jack calls Thor/Opium into the room and Opium enters the room as herself. Jack explains to Caitlin that he has just sold Caitlin’s “lifetime contract” to Opium. Caitlin is stunned.
(GM Notes: Now there is more going on here than just this. Opium had become aware of this “contract” during her tutelage of Caitlin in the skill of weaponsmithing. Caitlin told her that she was Jack’s “mole” on the Team. Opium and Kyle had confided in her about their true identities in Episode 53, and assumed that Damien would report this to Jack. They only asked that Damien NOT tell Jack that Kyle was a netrunner. Damien denied being Jack’s man, and Caitlin has remained silent. Over the following days the trust and friendship Opium and Kyle show to Caitlin affects her greatly so she tells them her ‘other’ function, and that she has to report something about them to Jack because she is under a “lifetime contract” to him. With Opium’s and Kyle’s approval, she tells Jack everything but the fact that Kyle is a netrunner.
Opium’s curiosity on how an apparent 15 year old girl could get wrapped up in a “lifetime contract”, when she isn’t of legal age intrigued her particularly since Caitlin was VERY evasive on that subject. It also pissed the Rocker/Tech off a bit since she is starting to like the young sniper. Opium sees a little bit of herself, when she was younger, in Caitlin. Since one of the advantages of being a hugely commercially successful rock star is having tons of money, she approaches Jack on buying out Caitlin’s contract. To her surprise Jack sells her the “contract” for a very large sum of money (13,000 000 euros), and then Opium learns that she has gotten much more than she bargained for.
Caitlin isn’t 15 years old. She is only a little over 2 years old and not even human. The youngster is a biogenetic creation, a human/animal hybrid of the common ‘house cat’, produced by the BioWorks Corporation – see NET Book: Rust Never Sleeps for details. As such she is property of Jack Smith, or rather was. The young cat/girl is a product of a secret experimental program to produce highly trained operatives for corporate use.
The truth hits Opium and now all of Caitlin’s oddities become clear. Her superb skills and abilities never jibed with her almost total ignorance of normal human custom. On mission Caitlin is a cool and skillful operative. In private, she hasn’t a clue.
Jack recites a string of command words and transfers the biogen’s loyalty programming to Opium and then leaves the two alone.)
There are a few awkward moments as Opium and Caitlin discuss their new “relationship”, but in the end both are happy with the arrangement. Opium gives Caitlin two presents. One is a custom-made sniper rifle (an M-90 ‘like’ Militech Special Ops weapon with special ammunition from our Malagay Campaign), and the second is a large stuffed mouse, who looks just like “Mousy”, her now destroyed beloved toy. The new toy can’t replace the old one, but the gesture makes Mousy II precious in his own right. Caitlin tells Opium this has become the happiest day of her life. She then thinks that the last time she said that was her birthday two weeks ago, and it turned into the worst day of her life. She hopes that wouldn’t happen again. Unfortunately, it is about to.
Caitlin convinces most everyone to stay up or at least be ready for trouble. Caitlin and Azoth go up to the open top of the ‘keep’ (tower) of the mansion and he launches his drones, while monitoring the airwaves. He doesn’t have to wait long as three AV-4s come screaming onto the estate’s grounds. Azoth fights off the jamming, as each AV drops ten figures out. The AV’s scream away as the mansion’s defenses open fire. One AV is damaged but manages to limp away. The groups attacking the east and west wings are led by a Grasshopper ACPAs. They have a sniper and spotter, plus seven troops dressed in assault armor with FN-RAL assault rifles and M-60D support. The center group, which is coming at the main door, is the same except it is led by a custom combat borg wearing an 80 SP armored carapace and cyber steroids. It is duel wielding a pair of Hivels. Most of the Team is gathered in the front hall. Edward and Frank go to the garage to support the defenders there. Xui starts to get into her Hooded Viper. Only NPCs defend the other wing. Caitlin readies her new sniper rifle and kills the sniper and his spotter on one side. She then looks around. Up in the sky she spots 5 figures coming in on unpowered kites. They are equipped with British SAS reactive armor and helms. The group is heading for a touchdown on the open tower. The Team is under attack by Edgestoppers’ elite assault units. This will be a fight to the death.
Caitlin shouts to Azoth and the lone sentry that they have incoming. The sentry gets ready to fight, but Azoth remains at his equipment to fight the jamming attempts. Caitlin fires an EMP grenade at the tight descending formation, and then empties her custom 45 round clip from her FN-RAL at the descending troops. The sentry fires his Ronin ineffectually. Caitlin kills two before they touch down. She uses her superior movement, initiative, and Gun Fu to get to point blank range of the trooper with the auto shotgun. The trooper drops the gun, because she is in a position to block his barrel if he fires, so he tries to grapple her instead and missed. The other two troopers level their Enfield LPA1s and fire at the sentry and Azoth. Ten rounds go into the jamming gear and destroy it, and the other ten go into Azoth and kill him instantly. The sentry goes down also. Caitlin wins the next initiative handily. She draws her pistols, kills two of the three remaining opponents, and wounds the last. The remaining commando then fires his Enfield and puts her into Mortal 0. Caitlin drops the last attacker, then gathers up her weapons and goes downstairs to help the others.
In the garage, the outside doors explode as the breeching charges made short work of the doors. The Grasshopper enters to a storm of fire. After taking a round or two of fire the rest of that team enters. Edward, Frank and the guards put down the Grasshopper, but have to duck out of sight to reload. This leaves Edward as the only target since he still has lots of ammo left in his M-60. Even with the classic ’67 Camero as partial cover, enough bullets hit Edward to bring him down. Frank and the others do manage to kill the rest of that intruding team, and then the guards head to the front foyer where the sounds of battle still rage. Frank stays behind to watch the garage (and prep the AV-4 in there for a hasty exit).
At the other wing of the house (where they are no PCs), the guards fight a rear guard action falling back to the front foyer. They slow the attack, and sell their lives dearly.
Thor, Grave, Peter, Cliff, Sam, Kim and eight guards wait in the front lobby. The lobby is a two-story affair with lots of pillars and statuary. All but Cliff take positions behind pillars and statues, and use the second floor landing to good effect. Kim finds a place to hide on the landing and decides to take no part in the fight, so never shows herself to danger (or helps anyone else). Cliff goes up to the front blast door and stands by its side to ambush the first ones through. The 5-kilo shaped breeching charge does NOT knock the door down, but does knock a lot of other things in the house off their stands. Cliff retreats upstairs in the foyer to a spot behind a load-bearing pillar. The next charge blows the door right out of the frame. A colossus of a combat cyborg enters firing. The troops following the cyborg don’t even bother to come in. The firestorm that erupts keeps them at bay along with the grenade arrows that Peter starts lobbing into the open doorway. Thor opens up with his 30mm auto cannon, Grave fires with his two borg assault rifles (7d10), Cliff fires his borg assault rifle (7d10), Sam opens fire and eight guards add their Ronins to the barrage. Kim just hides and let the battle flow around her. Edgestoppers throw scatter grenades to blind our team. They just fire at the muzzle flashes with a large minus, but still the rounds hit home. Finally, the remaining Grasshopper of the Edgestoppers join the fray with its assault-armored infantry. A Bomb Wire grenade from Thor stops the infantry, and group fire drops the Grasshopper. Cliff finally puts the last few points into the Assault borg’s torso and shuts him down.
When the smoke clears, Edgestoppers have pulled back. Xui has now arrived in her undamaged Hooded Viper, and Caitlin is down from the keep and has reinforced the last of Jack’s security guards outside his panic room. All that is left of Grave is a disabled torso, and two damaged arms. Thor is up, but has lost a lot of power from some critical hits, and has only a couple of SDP left in a few locations. Peter, the monk, is dead. He had caught a blast from the Hivel, and that ended him. Edward and Sam have fallen. All of the guards from the lobby are also dead. There is no word from Jack. The Team organizes the remaining defenders and secures the house.
At this point Kim comes out from her hidey-hole. Her weapon is unfired and she is undamaged. She is confronted by Thor for her ‘lack of participation’, and asked why she should be included on the Team. Kim explains she is not in any way a combat operative and barely knows which end of the gun to point. She has some medical skills, but her main abilities lay in her ability to get people to talk in, shall we say, ‘intimate situations’. (Vamp 8) Kim gets a pass for her conduct, but is told she will also get a pass on any ‘windfalls’ from this incident.
Caitlin gets patched up by the doctor and then sneaks into town to find any Jacksville police and to get out from under the continued jamming. Jacksville is now occupied by a hundred of more DMS security troops. She returns to the mansion, but on her way back looks for some of the snipers she knew are in the area. She finds two, who don’t see her first because she is coming up from their rear. She kills the sniper and his spotter. Meanwhile, back at the mansion it is clear that Jack have left in a lurch. Damien finds the boss’s personal computer and is checking for anything ‘interesting’. Caitlin appears and asks Damien to check her personnel file in Jack’s database. She has him download it into her Data-Tel treasure watch and then erase the file on Jack’s computer (along with any backups). Damien does the same with his own, but saves everyone else’s on a chip.
Tuesday, October 4, 2025:
After Caitlin returns to the mansion, a ‘suit’ from DMS comes up under a white flag. He reports that they have Jack as a prisoner. (The AFL-CIO is behind this attack and had gotten the full plans to the mansion and the location of the escape tunnel. When Jack bolted, they grabbed him.) All they want is Felicity (remember her?). They say give us the girl and we’ll let you go. (Yeah, right!)
The Team checks the house again and finds a secret room with Felicity and two other young missing ‘teenage starlets’ (these two are from Disney). Well, DMS is also Opium’s band’s label, and one of their top moneymakers. She talks to suit again, who arranges a teleconference call, with upper DMS management. Fortunately, DMS wants Opium’s band, Cheap Sex, to continue recording for them more than they want to kill us. The AFL-CIO has Jack and his son, Azoth, is dead along with most of the group that had killed their executive so they are satisfied. Edgestoppers have suffered enormous casualties, but they have killed the people they held responsible for the Team’s actions in San Diego. The Team returns their dead and wounded to them. As much as they want another run at the mansion, they don’t have the manpower or support for another attack. DMS will also not allow Opium to be endangered. The swap is made.
The Team gathers up their gear and some of the choicest items Edgestoppers have left. A few of Jack’s old security force ask for and get a ride out with their gear. Negotiations are commenced to bring some of them on to the Team. The two young Disney starlets are packed up to be returned to Disney. There is a reward for their return and it will be nice to have one Mega-corp that might think kindly towards us. Damien also informs the Team that he has located about 7,000,000 eb in liquid funds from Jack’s various accounts. They are now moved and available for our use. Not too shabby a severance package, eh?
By 10 am the Team and its hangers on are winging their way back to Night City in the same plane that brought us here. Once airborne, Caitlin asks for some painkillers then turns off her Adrenal/Endorphin Surge chip, and passes out. The AFL-CIO and DMS considers the matter closed with us. Edgestoppers also is no longer hunting us, although there are still some personal bad feelings. Our job offer in Balsam is still good. The Team still has numbers and now has a nice bank account both individually and as a Team. They have come though the fire. The Team has now acquired a tough reputation on the big playing field.
Episode 57: Rising From the Ashes
Tuesday, October 4, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“SoCal government calls in state guard troops to restore order in Los Angeles, and declares all Militech and Arasaka holdings within SoCal nationalized.”
On the flight back to Night City a deal is made with the members of Jack Smith’s former staff that left with us, and the Team gains three new members. Doctor LeRoy Jenkins is brought on as the Team doctor. Alex (Whit) Wojak is a former truck driver turned solo. Steve Lomax is a former Marine Corps supply officer (fixer), who is separated from the Corps for ‘the good of the service’ and turned solo. He also happens to be a ‘friend’ of Bruce, our new contact in Balsam, North Carolina. We learn that the plane we are on is for our use until 11:59 pm, Monday, October 10th. The crew has a fuel card to take us where we want to go.
On arriving in Night City, the new Team members are given the names of a few discreet hotels on the outskirts of town and a contact number to reach the rest of the group. The others return to Opium’s factory and mansion. Orders are immediately made for repair and replacement parts for the “Thor” ACPA, and parts for Grave’s cyborg.
Wednesday, October 5, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“Texas follows SoCal’s lead and seizes all Militech and Arasaka holdings within Texas, enforcing peace with the Texas National Guard and Petrochem troops. Colonel Blackjack Pershing’s mercenary unit is ordered to stand down. The Colonel receives an executive order from the Texas Governor (confirmed by the Texas Attorney General) voiding his contract with Arasaka. Pershing stands down his troops.”
At the Factory, Opium gets Grave up and running and begins repairs the “Thor” suit. Caitlin recovers from her wounds and requests to be left alone. Steve Lomax calls Bruce in Balsam, tells him of the battle in Jacksville, the loss of Jack Smith, and advises him on the delay in arriving. Attempts to sell the new Team members stolen goods (from Jack Smith’s house) end in failure as they know no one in Night City. They turn to Grave, who used to be a ‘fixer’ and still have some local contacts.
That afternoon Grave makes contact with a fence he knows and arranges for LeRoy and Steve to ‘unload’ the items they stole from Jack’s house. The fence takes one look at these items and says he cannot help them. The items are much too upscale for him. He says he will put them in contact with someone who can fence merchandise like this.
The evening news brings an interesting piece. DMS has bought a North Dakota Agro-Corp named JackCorp. Pundits are curious about the acquisition since DMS is a media corporation, and speculation abounds on the media giant’s diversification plans.
Thursday, October 6, 2025:
In the morning, Steve Lomax calls Bruce again in Balsam and tells him that the Team is still deciding if they want to take the job. He says he will try to convince them to come. In the early afternoon, Grave, Steve and LeRoy meet with the new fence. Steve gets 250,000 eb for his share, and LeRoy gets 200,000 eb for his “goods”. LeRoy deposits half of his cash in his bank.
There is a ‘puff’ piece on the DMS news showing Jack Smith, former CEO of JackCorp, boarding a plane after selling his business to DMS to join his family in Europe. The former CEO does not give an interview.
Later, in the afternoon, the Team holds a meeting to discuss the Balsam job offer. Steve calls Bruce to set up a conference call and identifies Caitlin as the Team leader and Thor as second in command. The young biogen/teenager’s eyes light up, and she immediately requests a pillow to sit on so she could appear taller because, “she’s the leader.” She asks a question or two of Bruce, and then hands the phone to Thor, after which Caitlin quietly sings to herself, “I’m the leader, I’m the leader,” over and over (and over) to herself quietly. The fact that she seems to have recovered almost fully from her mortal wound state appears lost to most of the group.
Thor speaks to Bruce for the Team and they agree to come to Balsam. There is a tense moment after the phone call, when Caitlin suddenly lashes out at Steve verbally over the fact he used to work for Jack Smith. As smart mouthed teenager dresses down the thirty something ex-Marine major, a few people put their hands on their weapons, but no violence ensues. The young girl seems to have developed a distain for all the Team members who used to work for Jack Smith.
That evening the Team boards their private plane bound for a small airport in the Winston-Salem/Raleigh megaplex. They plan to arrive early the next morning.
Friday, October 7, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“USAF gunship Agamemnon is placed on alert and starts moving from its lunar orbit to a geostationary position over the American eastern seaboard. At the same time, the nearly complete Russian gunship, Komsomolsk, is launched early and moved to position over the Bering Strait.”
Early in the morning the Team’s plane lands at the small airport in the Winston-Salem/Raleigh megaplex. Caitlin gets out and loads a rental van with some equipment and is gone for an hour while the others wait. She returns and they take off again for a short hop to a private airport near Balsam. There they pick up an RV that has been left for them, and put on the EBM stickers that they find in an envelope inside. There is also a set of EBM identity cards in that package along with instructions and a GPS guide to a place inside Balsam. They follow the GPS to a warehouse in the EBM section of the city. Inside Bruce and a couple of his ‘associates’ are waiting.
The job is a corporate assassination. The EBM office in Balsam plans to break with its parent company and go independent. Six members of the EBM board of directors are coming here on October 10th and are staying at the main hotel in the EBM portion of this underground city. They are all to be killed on October 12th by 5 pm when the local office will announce its break away from its parent corporation. Bruce provides the Team with detailed plans of the hotel, its computer access codes and its security forces. EBM emergency response will be 2 minutes away once the alarms go off. The hotel security has NO cyborgs, but the emergency response team does. The EBM Europe party will occupy the six four bedroom suites on the fifth floor. The sixth floor is the top floor of the structure and contains much of the machinery for the hotel. Bruce also produces a suitcase with 2,000,000 eb cash, which represents the whole fee for the job. Bruce is asked for dossiers on the whole staff of the hotel and says he will come up with them. He leaves the Team to plan.
The preliminary idea is to put an order in the hotel computer to deliver some replacement equipment to the sixth floor (machinery). The two ‘borgs’ will deliver the crates carrying the new machinery (the Team actually) to the top floor. Thor and Grave kills anyone sent with them. The Team gets out goes downstairs and kills everyone. Damien (with Kyle/Fenris’) help keeps the NET and phone lines jammed. The dedicated security hard line is sabotaged the night before.
A few of the new people say they do not have silenced weapons, which are a necessity. Arrangements are made to get them some. The Team also realizes that they are carrying a lot of cash and most have not set up sufficient off shore banking arrangements to deal with it. It is decided to take the plane to the Grand Cayman Islands and do a little banking in the morning. They drive the RV back to the airport and take off for the island. The will land in the morning just before the banks open. A little business needs to be done. Then maybe some beach time, and a good dinner. Later that evening they plan to jump back on the plane and return Balsam by October 9th. This will give them one day before the EBM Team arrives and three days to do the job. Well, that is the plan anyway.
The Team sees a brief news piece reporting the disappearance of a plane carrying Jack Smith, former CEO of JackCorp. The plane went down a few hundred miles west of Ireland in the Atlantic. It is feared there are no survivors.