Episode 58: The Trojan Borg
Saturday, October 8, 2025:
The plane arrives in the morning, and the Team scatters to various banks to open numbered accounts to hide their ill-gotten gains. Damien is especially busy moving the Team’s operating accounts around. Most realize that Jack isn’t really dead and DMS is probably using ‘harsh’ interrogation techniques to learn all they can about his operations. Any information they can’t use they might sell to Infocomp to make back some of their investment in the recent Jacksville operation.
A few of the Team get together and talk about the current mission. Some feel that we have been given too much information on the “why” of the situation. It is almost like it might be a trap, and we are being fed ‘the story’ that someone wants the interrogators to hear. The suggestion is made that maybe we should just keep the money, call EBM Europe and inform them of the plot (for a hefty reward) and have done with it. This, of course, means that Steve Lomax will need a bullet to the brain followed by a skydiving ‘lesson’ on the return trip since he and our contact Bruce are “friends”. In the end killing a teammate and betraying our employer are two things most of those who are ‘in’ on the idea do not want to get a reputation for. The Team decides to continue with the job.
The Team uses the rest of the day for sightseeing, relaxing, swimming and such. After a nice dinner, the Team reboards the plane and heads back to the United States. The plan is debated (endlessly) on the trip home. The crew asks if they are needed after this. They will like to get out of the country, and get somewhere safer. They are told, yes, and it is arranged with Damien to make a false manifest that will indicate that we all landed with them so our ‘identities’ will be officially be out of the country when the hit goes down. An island in the Caribbean, where Damien can hack their immigration computer is selected. During the flight, Caitlin gives 5000 eb apiece to the pilot and co-pilot as a tip for their services.
Sunday, October 9, 2025:
The first stop back in the United States is Atlanta. There the Team picks up the silencers that they ordered. (They are custom made and hand delivered by a person from Opium’s factory.) Steve and Xui go out and buy some good clothes, and Caitlin buys herself some ‘cowgirl’ boots with sheaths for knives built into them. They then go to that same small airport in Raleigh and Caitlin again takes some of her equipment and drives away to her hidden storage. She comes back within the hour with a bag of new gear (explosives, grenades etc.). They then fly to the small airport outside of Balsam. There they pick up the RV and release the crew. They take the RV back to the warehouse.
Once there, the Team goes over the plan again. They have new information on the hotel staff, and a new part. The female executive is a lesbian and often hires prostitutes, when on the road. Caitlin asks what a lesbian is, and Kim explains that it is “girl on girl”.
Caitlin replies, “Doing what?”
Kim says she will explain later. The EBM executive is very discreet and usually seeks out her companionship through third parties. There is also an older executive that likes to frequent high-class clubs and pick up local women. Kim starts to profile his likes and dislikes.
The hotel alarms are hardwired through the basement, so it is decided that Caitlin will break in early in the morning of the 12th, and run a bypass and install a device that Thor will make to keep the “all is well” signal going to EBM emergency response team, who is only 2 minutes away. Someone will also disconnect the fire siren on the sixth floor just before we go in. Two small charges will also be set on the hotel elevator machinery to disable them in case the netrunners can’t control them.
After the meeting people work on disguises. Damien uses the first set of badge kits to provide the Team with visible IDs to move around the EBM section of the city. Tomorrow some of the group will steal a panel truck from the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/Raleigh megaplex and bring it to the area. The others will watch for the arrival of the targets at the hotel. The group then ‘cleans’ the warehouse and scatters to various hotels for the night.
Monday, October 10, 2025:
Check in time is 11 am at the hotel. It is decided to cover the hotel between 10am and 2pm. Steve Lomax has the first shift. He dresses in one his new suits with his signature mirrorshades and goes into the bar. He gets himself a drink, and tries to chat up the bartender, who isn’t particularly interested in conversation. Soon a group of well-dressed solos arrive. They go up to the front desk and have the manager and hotel security summoned. This group speaks French among themselves. Steve recognizes the group’s leader. He is Sir Leonard Wells, the heir to the Duke of Wells, and a twenty-year veteran of the French Foreign Legion. Sir Leonard is the third son, and therefore not expected to inherit the family title. The untimely deaths of his two older brothers have made him the current heir apparent. After all, the MLA period has been rough on the English nobility. Sir Leonard is one of the top Euro-solos and a VERY dangerous man. His advance team begins using laser rangefinders and starts checking all the fire angles in the lobby. One of their team starts putting up small mini-cameras in the lobby also. The advance team also brings in a cyber-hound, which is quickly brought out of Steve’s sight. Steve stays for as long as he thinks will not arouse suspicion and then leaves before Kim arrives. He goes out to the corporate common shopping concourse, and then returns to the EBM section. Steve wanders around a bit and looks in on our old safe house.
Kim arrives at the hotel about 11 am, which leaves a small gap in the coverage. Kim also goes to the bar to have a drink. She chats up the now very attentive bartender. This gives her a good cover, and she continues to watch the new security preparations. During her watch the six targets show up with their personal assistants, and one of the targets comes with his children.
At about noon, Caitlin comes into the lobby dressed in her business suit, and is made up to look a little older than she is. Caitlin waits patiently at the front desk. Kim then says good-bye to the bartender and leaves. Caitlin takes casual note of the lobby preparations, while waiting. When the front desk person finally gets to her, she says that her parents are coming to visit her and she is looking for a hotel for them to stay at. The two go over all the amenities that the hotel has to offer. This allows her to remain in the lobby for a while. She then asks if she can look at the pool and health center, which is fine. She inspects those areas, while carrying around her new stack of brochures and catches a glimpse of the new security preparations in those areas. Later she goes into the bar ‘look closely’ at these brochures and have a drink (a Shirley Temple) and some lunch.
At 1 pm Damien arrives and Caitlin leaves after thanking the front desk person, and saying she will be back in touch after she checks out a few other hotels. Damien scans the new remotes and their locations with his hidden arm deck. He notes that the Euro security assigned to watch out for the six board members is treating the local EBM hotel security with great arrogance. They are overlaying the hotel’s security with their own, which boarders on outright insult. Damien leaves at about two, and the four on surveillance compare notes. Kim finally gets to explain the details of “girl on girl” to Caitlin, who appears shocked. Her response is, “That’s disgusting!”
Damien has researched the clothing styles of Balsam, and discovers that “glow in the dark” clothing is all the rage. He provides both Kim and Caitlin with a fashionable outfit. That evening Kim goes out and searches the types of clubs that her target (the Old Pervert, as he has been codenamed) likes to frequent. She finds him and spends the evening discreetly studying his habits. The Old Pervert seems to fancy young girls in schoolgirl outfits. Caitlin asks Damien if he wants to go out dancing with her, and he, of course, says yes. Those two have a fun (but chaste) evening together.
Frank, Leroy, Cliff and Alex take the train to the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/Raleigh megaplex. There they steal a panel truck that will suit the needs of the Team as a delivery vehicle. Alex also brings a vacuum-seal machine (with several rolls of heavy plastic) to encase the weapons and ammunition in since the Team has discovered that a chemical sniffer is usually employed to check arriving shipments at the hotel. Alex also brings a supply of nano-cleaners, a couple of box cutters, and a few bags of saline solution. Finally they purchase some wood with which to make the box, and the proper stencils and bar-coding equipment to mark it with. They then return to the Balsam area and get a couple of rooms at a “no tell” motel. In the evening, Alex mixes the nano-cleaners with the saline solution and seals the mixture in plastic vacuum-sealed bags. They will serve as emergency ‘cleaners’ if we are in a hurry. (Good idea!!!)
Tuesday, October 11, 2025:
In Balsam, Damien and Kyle (who will make his part of the NET run from Night City) coordinate their plan of attack on the hotel’s NET. Caitlin walks around the EBM area getting to know the ins and outs, and taking note of any hiding places and drop points she could use. In the warehouse section, she sees some of the Euro EBM security along with some local officers looking through one of the warehouses near our old safe house. She calls Damien and has him download an invoice for some equipment that will be stored in the warehouse next to the old safe house. With this on her E-book she wanders by the security team as if she is looking for something. Her dress and demeanor doesn’t arouse suspicion. When she walks near the EBM team, she overhears them talking.
“It is probably nothing but we need to check out all of these warehouses. That report is out of the ordinary.”
Caitlin goes to her ‘warehouse’, does not find her item on her ‘inventory’ and goes back to her ‘office’ to research it further.
Kim prepares to make her run at the Old Pervert tonight. By sleeping in the day, Kim will be fresh all night. She gets herself her schoolgirl outfit, and her blonde wig (her research indicates he likes blondes). She sees him go into an exclusive club, so she gets into the line there to get in. It doesn’t look good, as there are a number of other ‘play beings’ in line waiting. In a little while a well-dressed woman comes out of the club and looks at the girls waiting to get in. She walks up to Kim and asked if she is a ‘professional’. Now Kim hasn’t yet gotten a valid prostitutes license so she says no, she just is her for fun. Kim’s subtext is excellent and understood. The woman says she represents an older man, who has certain ‘tastes and expectations’, and will be very generous to those who cater to them. Kim replies to the effect that she likes “generous” men, and wishes to please them. Kim is taken out of the line and brought inside the club. Her research has paid off.
Inside, Kim is brought to a private glass booth, which opens. There is the Old Pervert, who looks her over, smiled and asks her in to join him and four other ‘school girls’. She works her ‘magic’ on him and is one of two invited back to his hotel room. The “fun” goes on to about 3 am, when all fell asleep. All but Kim, who remains awake, while feigning to be asleep. The Team now has an assassin right in the same bed with one of their targets.
The other group (Alex, Steve, Cliff & Leroy) get up and are faced with the problem of making the truck pass for an EBM vehicle. Alex knows of a hidden ‘smuggler’s haven’ about eight miles from Balsam. His years as an independent trucker in this area have given him extensive knowledge of the area above ground. They keep the rooms at the hotel for a few more days, but they all drive up the hidden retreat. The locals are somewhat hostile, but Alex’s past and credentials as a known independent trucker serve them well. They pay their fee and have a place to work on the truck to put on the ‘EBM corporate sticker’. The also use the procured lumber and build the shipping crate. When they are finished, all preparations are complete. The mission is a go.
Wednesday, October 12, 2025:
In the wee hours of the morning (or the very late at night) Caitlin approaches the outside door that leads to the hotel basement, where the security hardline is. Damien follows her in the NET, and opens the doors for her as she goes. He loops the security cameras as she goes and gets her into the basement. It is pitch dark. Her thermographic vision in her smartgoggles pick up a figure lying on the floor. She approaches and realizes it is the cyber hound that the Euro security people brought. She has luckily made her intrusion during its sleep cycle. Caitlin goes to the location where the hardline leaves the building and picks the lock on the box. She installs the bypass and powers device that Thor (Opium) have made. At that point she notices some new wiring that is not on the diagrams she has studied. It seems that the Euro security team have installed their own hardline. She uses her (chipped) electronics skill (and some Luck) to wire her bypass to both lines. She then sets the explosives to destroy the bypass on a timer (for fifteen minutes after the mission should be complete) and rigs the box to set it off if it is opened before that. The young girl then sneaks out of the basement without waking the dog with Damien again looping cameras and opening the doors for her. Caitlin goes to her pick up point, and Damien erases all evidence of his NET intrusion.
The Team enters the EBM sector in the city, and picks up Caitlin who changes into her urban cammo BDUs (& helmet with spytech body stocking underneath). At 6am the truck arrives at the side of the hotel (where the exterior freight elevator is located). No one is there to meet them. Grave walks into the lobby and up to a nervous front desk person. He presents his invoice for the new ‘equipment’ delivery for the sixth (machinery) floor. The girl tells him they don’t accept deliveries before eight, and Grave points out the ‘special instructions’ on the order. She checks and low and behold it is in their computer. Then one of the Euro security officers come up and asks to see it. The invoice also passes his inspection, but he tells Grave that he must wait until their “Bomb sniffing” security cyber dog checked the crate out. After a brief delay, the night maintenance person, the cyber dog, and two Euro EBM security officers appear. One of the security officers complains that the dog is glitching because it is giving its “bomb” detection bark in the basement and it has been locked and under surveillance all night. One of the Euro security takes the dog to be looked at and the other runs the hand chemical scanner over the extremely large crate. The vacuum-seal packages that the weapons and explosives are in hold up and it is passed through. The maintenance guy asks the two borgs if they will help him upstairs with it since it is too large for him to move by himself. Of course Thor and Grave agree. The exterior freight elevator is unlocked and slowly brings everyone to the sixth floor.
Inside Grave kills the maintenance man as Thor kills the Euro security officer. The strike teams exit the box. Caitlin uses her laser range finder to locate the floor positions to set up the breeching charges that will drop the two sweeper teams into fifth floor bathrooms. She then sets det cord, while Xiu and Alex set up the tripods to pull the pieces of the ceiling holes up and out so they didn’t crash to the bathroom floor below and alert the people in the rooms. The borg strike team will jump off as the det cord charges cut through the ceiling. The main fire siren starts to wail. No one has silenced it as per the plan. Caitlin fires her silenced 14mm Big Government and it doesn’t make it to full volume, but the damage has been done. Unfortunately, the alarm on the fifth floor has already been raised, when the dead security officer doesn’t responded to a question.
Kim is waiting for the strike pretending to be asleep in her target’s bed, when the attack commences. She is about to kill him when his personal security man rushes in, pistol drawn to get his charge to safety. Kim and the other prostitute start to scream, and the guard ignores them as he hustles the target to safety. Kim with her Jeet Kun Do 8 has her chance. The guard is in point blank range with his back turned, and doesn’t view her as a threat. She chokes and doesn’t strike. The target leaves the room. Kim then comes to life and kills the other hooker. She then wraps a sheet around her and starts to pursue the two fleeing EBM men. Unfortunately she doesn’t know that to exit one of the suites into the hall at this point you have to announce that you are doing so over their communication channel. Kim enters the hall and is hit by three rounds from the assault-armored security’s Fabrica Arms M-2012 (using the French 7.5mm short round – 6d6-1). Kim is shot dead.
Just as the Team One (Thor and Graves) are about to enter the stairway down to the next floor, Damian comes on the air and says that EBM has looped their own cameras and to look out. Sure enough two men in assault armor wait on the other side of the door. The security’s assault rifles wash off the borgs’ armor, and both of the EBM men go down to the Team’s 14.5mm assault rifles. The guards do manage to get out one sentence before they die.
“Oh, my God, borgs!”
The guards on the next level fall back into the security room. Thor and Grave come to that security door. The two put twenty rounds into it, and crash through. The room is empty. The next door, into the lobby area of the fifth floor, is smaller. Thor tries to break it down, and does succeed in doing so but he is face to face with another assault armored security man. Grave fires through the wall into the next room. Thor puts his man down, but Grave sees the elevator door close. He fires another ten rounds into that door. (This turned out to be Kim’s former target and bodyguard. The guard takes the rounds and dies, but the executive is unharmed.) Two more assault armored guards charge Thor, one low, and one high. At the lobby desk two more are setting up with an assault rifle and a machinegun (7.62mm). The two borgs’ assault rifles take down the people at the lobby desk. Then the two borgs go into hand-to-hand with the other two. Out comes Thor’s custom power hammers. The fight is short but brutal.
The two then go to the elevator and force it open. The elevator is almost at the bottom floor. Thor and Grave grab the cables and stop the descent. They start to pull the elevator back up the shaft.
(GM Note: It is at this point that the much-abused regular hotel security, who have been watching the fight through the security cameras, decide that moving to engage the two cyborgs is a bad idea.)
When the elevator reaches the fourth floor it locks and can no longer be pulled up. Grave jumps down and comes through the hatch. It is empty. He checks the fourth floor corridor and there is a man in his pajamas running for his life. Grave chunks him with his 14.5mm assault rifle. He goes down to examine the body, and since there has been no headshot, he can identify the corpse as one of the targets. Grave then climbs up the shaft and rejoins Thor. The two move into the main hallway of the sixth floor.
Team Two (a sweeper team) consists of Alex Wojak, Steve Lomax and Cliff. Steve enters the living room from the bathroom and sees that a bodyguard has just shoved someone into a bedroom. He shoots the guard dead, and moves to that door. Just then another bodyguard enters the room and Alex gives him a three round burst from his Ronin, but it doesn’t drop him. Cliff goes to work on the executive’s personal assistant with his wolvers. Steve breaks down that bedroom door. The executive pleads for his life, but to no avail. Steve shoots him dead. Meanwhile Alex finishes off the other bodyguard and Cliff cleans his wolvers. As Steve reenters the room, the executive’s three young children come into the room crying. Alex and Cliff take notice but ignore them. After all Thor has made it clear that the children with the party are not targets. Steve gives the kids a look and paints the walls in the children’s blood with his Big Governments. Alex is aghast. The three prepare to move on the hall. By this time Team Three has informed the group that the hall is being held against them. Alex fires a flare round from his sawed off shotgun down the hall at the two assault armored guards. Then Steve rushes by and charges. He takes a few hits but his Blackjack is able to absorb a good bit of them damage. Cliff follows him out. Steve fires at the EBM man on the left and wounds him. The next round’ initiative is won by Alex, who empties the rest of his Ronin’s clip into the man on the left, and drops him. He then pulls his head back into the room and shouts, “reloading”.
Steve doesn’t fire on the last security man standing in corridor, who puts a few more rounds into him. He and Cliff run into the next suite, and leave the corridor unsecured. When asked why he (Steve) has left the last man in the corridor by Alex, Steve replies, “You have the long gun.”
In that next suite, there is no one in the room. Steve attempts to break down the door, but it is being held against him. He tells Cliff to use his wolvers on the door to keep their attention while he goes around to the balcony and tries to take them from the rear. It is a good plan except that Alex can’t stick his head out now without taking the chance of it getting blown off, so he goes and breaks a mirror to be able to see around the corner of the door. What he sees finally is the last security man entering the room that his two teammates have entered. Alex shouts out a warning to Cliff. What he hears next is Cliff being shot in the back by the guard’s assault rifle. After a brief firefight, the guard is dead and Cliff is in serious condition. For Steve, the going is a bit easier. He gets around to the window on the balcony and sees two men holding the door closed behind some furniture. One is obviously a security man and the other is in silk pajamas. Steve shoots both dead with headshots. Unfortunately, it is now impossible to identify the man in the silk pajamas, who it is hoped is the executive target. Steve then finds repelling gear on the balcony and the rope reaches the ground. This kill could not be confirmed.
Team Three (a sweeper team) consists of Caitlin and Xiu. Caitlin comes out of the bathroom and sees a bodyguard rushing a man into the master bedroom. She immediately shoots the bodyguard dead. The body falls and the executive can now be seen. She puts two in the target’s head. Xiu shoots down the man’s executive assistant and another bodyguard stumbling out of his bedroom. The two go to the door and Caitlin prepares to put her mini-cam on a snake around the doorframe. When Xiu opens the door four rifle rounds hit the frame. Caitlin sees two assault armored guards at the end of the hall and alerts the other teams. The two then sprint for the balcony outside the master bedroom in that suite and hop to the next suite. They enter an empty bedroom and at the door, Caitlin tosses a flash bang grenade into the living room. The two then rush the room. Caitlin sees her target being rushed back into the master bedroom by this security guard. This time she can see her target and puts her first two rounds into his head. She puts the next two rounds into the bodyguard’s head. Xiu fires on the second (blind) bodyguard and kills him. She then finishes off the executive’s assistant. They repeat their strategy on the next room, but with the exception of the assistant, who Xiu quickly disposes of, there is no target. Caitlin opens the bedroom door and puts her camera snake around the corner. Near the window two men have turned over some furniture and are waiting with pistols drawn. Caitlin signals Xiu to go around to the balcony and then the young girl pulls out a fragmentation grenade. A good delayed toss has the grenade explode before it reaches the floor. There is a pause but no fire from Xiu, who finally comes on the comm. She is chuckling and tells Caitlin she has to come to the balcony and see this. Caitlin comes outside and Xiu moves a potted plant. There is a sheet tied to the rail. They look over a see their target looking up, wrapped like a cocoon in a sheet. The two laugh, and Xiu then shoots him dead. They cross the hall and enter the last suite (where Kim has been, and whose corpse lay outside of) and find it empty.
Steve points out the climbing gear and someone remembers that one of the executives is a rock climbing buff. The dead (headless) man in the pajamas is the right height and hair color as much as we could tell from his headless corpse. Two hits from 14mm DP rounds don’t leave much. Since it is obvious by now that the alarm has gone off just before the Team struck they have to go immediately. The word is given to fall back to the elevator. Caitlin says there is no time and the elevator is too slow. There is only one option. The teenager holsters her weapons, climbs over the balcony, hangs on to rail for a second, and says, “Let’s go!”
She then jumps from the fifth floor. The Team is stunned. They are even more surprised when she lands like a cat with no apparent damage, and she starts looking for the last target.
Up on the balcony Grave shouts, “That’s your plan! That will kill some of us! This is the stupidest plan I’ve ever heard of!”
(Note: At this point the GM started to laugh, and asked the group, what did they expect? They have been following an (apparently) fifteen-year-old kid’s plans for months now!)
No one decides to brave the jump. They all rush to the outside freight elevator, and pick up Kim’s body on the way. She is not “Dead 10” yet and it will not be good for her to fall into the authority’s hands. The elevator is VERY slow so Thor cuts the hydraulic line, and the elevator comes down quickly. No one is hurt except for Kim’s body, which is now almost beyond reviving. As they drive away, Leroy comes on the radio and says to get to the parking lot in the shopping area fast! EBM has shut off access to the highway, and our only hope of escape is though the pedestrian tunnel to the large corporate shopping area that EBM can’t shut down.
In the van most of the Team change into civilian dress and bag their raid gear. All except Thor and Grave, of course, who are a little hard to hide. The portcullis leading to the shopping area is down. There are two heavily armed guards holding back the crowd, and a third guard in the security booth, where the control for the gate is. The Team takes our positions in the crowd, and then Leroy uses a satchel charge to blow the gatehouse. There are numerous civilian casualties as the cavern amplifies the pressure wave of the explosion. The two remaining guards’ attention is on Thor and Grave, who are now on a full charge towards them. Leroy opens the portcullis, and the crowd (along with us) pour through. The two guards do their best impression of a couple of speed bumps as Grave and Thor roll right over them. Kim’s body has to be left in the van. Fortunately, Alex cuts open a couple of his nanite cleaning packs and that washes the floor of the van.
The NET portion of the strike has been brutal. The fire alarm’s aborted triggering has alerted the NET response team. Damien and Kyle easily dispose of the on duty personnel, but the hotel NET gets extremely crowded very quickly as EBM runners log on from all over the zone. The two are unable to control the elevators, and the charges on the machinery hadn’t been set because the Team believed (rightly) that Thor’s killing of their man has alerted the Euro security. Still, Damien and Kyle are able to keep the EBM netrunners busy enough so they could not interfere with the operation.
With Steve’s help, the Team is able to make it to the fourth level. On the way, Thor is able to remove his exterior combat equipment, and Grave is able to put his Gemini head on (gotta love that biopod and a quick change mount!). As a Sampson (Thor) and an Alpha (Grave) they fit right in. These two cyborg models are the most common among the ten thousand plus FBCs in Balsam.
The Team spreads out among the many fleabag hotels on the fourth level and Steve provides a location for a debriefing meeting tonight. The only news from the EBM sector that day is that there has been an ‘Incident’. About 6 pm the news is released. Most, if not all, of the EBM board of directors had been in the United States on this day in cities around the country to give depositions in various lawsuits. EBM offices in this country along with a large number of American stockholders had brought suits in various courts, charging the EBM board with deliberately marginalizing their US operations and hurting the American stockholders interests. The American offices of the company are claiming that management is not living up to their contractual obligations to their employees here. A series of well-coordinated strikes occur today, and have killed all but a handful of the EBM board of directors. EBM America then announces that since the main office will not respond to their lawsuits, they are breaking away from the company and taking the American branch independent. It is clear this will most likely mean another corporate war.
At the debriefing, Bruce is called, and he is pleased with the outcome. He doesn’t have anything for us right now, so we should kick back and take it easy. He is confident he will have something for us soon. Alex reports Steve’s execution of the children, but no one seems too upset about it. Most turned to Thor for his (her) reaction, but while he (she) isn’t pleased there is no trouble. Alex also makes his displeasure known about being left alone to face down the assault-armored bodyguard by Steve and Cliff. Steve merely responds that getting his target was a higher priority. Alex points out that Cliff is lucky to be alive, because he should have been dead or critically wounded by that guard, who ambushed them from behind due to their negligence. Caitlin pipes up that their whole team (Team Two) also had some ‘goal deficiencies’. They only succeeded in killing one of their three targets. Team One (the borgs) had to pick up the slack on one of them. Caitlin proudly points out that she and Xiu got all three of their targets ahead of or on schedule and still had time to sweep the last suite, which they couldn’t seem to get to. While her words are extremely condescending, the tone of her voice is not, but it does brim with pride over Xui and her accomplishments. The meeting breaks up and they all go their own way. All get rooms at a hotel on the fourth level, which is the somewhere between a moderate and combat zone area. It has been another successful mission (for now).
Episode 59: “Grogg!”
Thursday, October 13, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“The Third Orbital War. The NeoSoviet Rocket Korps ship, Komsomolsk, open fires on a number of non-Soviet satellites in close orbit over Asia. Within seconds, the U.S.S. Agamemnon follows suit, vaporizing 15 non-U.S. satellites over the Earth’s western hemisphere. The ESA begins scrambling Deltas from the Crystal Palace, focusing their efforts on destroying non-aligned work shacks and other suspicious orbital hardware.
The USAF and the NSRK scramble their Deltas in reaction (just to be on the safe side, you understand). All three of the powers attempt to avoid coming too close to each other’s possessions, but accidents do occur… two USAF Deltas are destroyed when IFF codes are confused. Likewise, an American killsat vaporizes four Deltas (three ESA and one Soviet) before it can be shut down. This leads to all three powers ordering a general shutdown of all unmanned orbital assets, to prevent more accidents.
It doesn’t prevent an unidentified killsat from damaging the Agamemnon with an Alpha Strike. It is suspected a planet bound corporation, not an orbital power, controlled the killsat. This starts a literal feeding frenzy of destruction start blasting everything in orbit owned by anyone who hasn’t bribed one of the triad into providing IFF codes that mark items as non-targets. When the carnage is over, LEO is cleared of practically every piece of non-communications or pure science hardware. Lloyd’s of London suspends billions in orbital insurance, citing an “act of war” clause.”
Alex and Frank go back to the surface hotel in Canton, North Carolina, where the Team has stashed some gear, in particular the shrink-wrap machine and plastic to shield the explosive chemicals from sensors for the last mission. They clean the hotel room. Caitlin does some city research in the morning. They make an appointment with a realtor for the next morning, and give that office the details on what they are looking for: a three-bedroom apartment over a shop with lots of workshop space in the back. She then goes furniture shopping for the basic things they will need and makes arrangements for phone and power. She learns that the Realtor’s Association is very powerful down here. A lot of businesses operate like medieval guilds. Also, the fourth level is more like an urban combat zone, and not at all like the brochures makes it out to be. The police presence is extremely minimal, and except for a disturbance that might threaten the structural integrity of the level, they pretty much don’t get involved in the goings on here. Most of the Team just kick back and watch the vid, which is filled with the news of the Third Orbital War. The three three-bedroom suites the Team rented gives them most of the floor at the Shaft, a seedy hotel near the main level transfer shaft to the third level.
Friday, October 14, 2025:
Caitlin and Damien go with the realtor in the morning and find the kind of shop they are looking for. The plan is to open a “Fix It” shop. This will give them a working cover for their time in Balsam. They will get a landline phone and be open ‘by appointment only’. Maybe if they get bored the might actually open for real occasionally. By afternoon the paperwork is finished, power is up, and a phone landline is working. There is NO cell service above the third level. The phones are controlled by the City of Balsam above the third level. Radio is a major form of communication on the fourth level. Thor is brought in the back door of the new shop while the other two try to make sure this isn’t observed. This allows Opium the time to get out of the ‘Thor’ suit. The rest of the day is spent getting the shop in order, and allows all three to work on a ‘Semi-permanent’ disguise. Opium becomes Liz Hayes, and will be introduced to the group as a friend of Caitlin and Damien’s, who will run the shop while those two are gone. Damien uses skin lightener to take on the pale appearance of the denizens of this level. Caitlin becomes a blonde and calls herself, Katey Smith. While the rest of the Team doesn’t know about Thor/Opium, the other two inform their party as to the look and nature of their new ‘secret identities’. Due to way in which Steve gave the last mission report to Bruce, they all decide to contact Bruce and have all mission information passed to Thor, Caitlin, or Damien and not through Steve. Bruce asks if any of us have heard of the Blood Bowl (yes, a Warhammer homage). The Team’s answer is no, and he invites the group to see the local team, the Balsam Orks, play the visiting New York Night Elves tomorrow at 4pm. We are sent tickets for the whole group, who are informed, and the location on where to meet. Since this is a highly illegal blood sport the directions are a little hazy, but we are assured that we will find it.
Steve, Alex and Frank walk around to get to know the level. They walk into one bar, and a neighborhood gang is there. The gang pays them no mind for the most part except for one young wanna-be who starts to pick a fight. The rest of the gang watches with interest. The young man takes a particular dislike to Steve. Alex tries to diffuse the situation with an offer of a drink, but is rebuffed. Steve and the young punk finally come to blows. The punk’s fury is easily handled by Steve, who, on his second punch, succeeds in a martial arts knock out strike. The punk hits the floor, and the gang roars with laughter. Alex’s offers of drinks to the gang and assuages any bad feelings. The situation becomes more relaxed, and the three have started to ‘fit in’ to this neighborhood.
Grave, Cliff and Xui go out and find the local “borg bar”. It is kind of a strange place, but does serve liquor in various forms to those borgs that still maintain a taste for that sort of thing. They seem to create a minor stir by their presence. Finally a ‘female’ alpha named Andromeda comes over to talk to them. It seems they don’t like ‘fleshies’ in here. Cliff especially is being viewed with some distain. Even Xui with her two cyberlegs and one cyberarm is not “Metal enough” for the patrons here. Grave is quite welcome however, even if he is sitting with the ‘meat bags’. Their new friend expresses relief that Rodney isn’t here to see the ‘meat trash’ despoiling his favorite hangout. It is quickly apparent that Rodney is one of the leaders among the Full Conversion crowd in the city and takes violent exception to ‘others’ coming in here. Andromeda gives Grave ‘her number’ and asks if he has a braindance jack in a rather seductive manner. When he says no, she smiles and suggests he get one and then give her call. (Kinda Creepy) The three get the idea and leave the place before Rodney arrives. There is plenty of time to make dangerous enemies later.
Saturday, October 15, 2025:
The Team eventually gets moving and heads to the area where the Blood Bowl will be held at a little after 3:30 pm. True, there is no trouble following the crowd as they gather in a non-descript area. The ‘stadium’ is near the wall and may also head onto the dangerous fifth level of the city. The Team finds their seats. Bruce is there and greets everyone. A couple of the Team gets programs and rules to try to make sense of the game. The evening looks brighter when the Team finds out that this a major gambling sport. The odds makers put the hometown Balsam Orks a 2-point favorite. Grave puts 5000 eb on the Orks to win. Cliff and Steve also put 1000 eb each on the Orks to win. Steve also bets 1000 eb that the Orks will also make the spread. Liz (Opium) bets 5000 eb on the New York Night Elves to win, and Caitlin also puts 1000 eb on the Night Elves to win.
The group finds the game difficult to follow, as it seems to be an excuse for as much bloodletting and mayhem as possible. At one point, Grogg, the Balsam captain, rips the head of the New York Night Elves captain runs down the field and plants the head on the spike in the end zone. The crowd goes wild. It ends with a Balsam victory and the winners collect their money. Across the street from the stadium there is a bar called the Sportsman. A lot of the game crowd goes there after the game. Graves, Cliff and Xui head there after the game. A band is playing and Cliff has fun in the mosh pit. Suddenly Grogg appears to delight of the crowd. He roars, “Who wants some!”
A fan shouts back, “I do!”
Grogg charges him, puts his shoulder down, and slams him into the wall. Someone remarks, “There is always some idiot that says yes.”
The dead fan is quietly removed. The three party hard with the fans as a couple more of the Balsam Team show up. All the Teams seem to be themed on some video game (yes, you can guess which one). All the players are biosculpted to look like the race their team represents. It is the latest underground blood sport phenomena.
Frank, Alex and Steve go to the bar they were at last night, but there is no trouble. Liz (Opium), Caitlin, and Damien go out to a dance club and dance the night away. Caitlin again starts excusing herself to go to the ladies room and comes back totally blasted. (She loves her catnip!) Her high only lasts 15 or 20 minutes and then she hits the dance floor with anyone who asks. As she is wearing her Royo body Free mask and is dressed to the nines, she has no shortage of dance partners. She remains totally imperious to anyone trying to hit on her though.
Sunday, October 16, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“EU nations declare that any further hostilities of any sort within their boundaries will be an excuse for nationalizing all Militech and Arasaka holdings within those boundaries.”
Bruce calls in the morning and has a job offer for us. He apologizes and says he is working on something that is worthy of our ‘talent’, but we might find this a “Fun” little job to tide us over. It seems the Balsam Orks star player, Grogg, has in his contract the right to go out from 7pm to 12 midnight Monday through Friday and ‘have fun’. His team’s management is looking for a group to ‘escort’ him for this week on his nightly outings and is willing to pay 10,000 eb a night to keep him safe. It seems Grogg thinks he is living in a video game. He sees the entire world in this light. We are assured that his handler will make sure that Grogg views us his ‘guild mates’ and will not attack us, but he might attack others. As long as Grogg remains relatively undamaged, this is OK. After all this is the combat zone. We are to pick him up at the Sportsman, the club across from the local stadium we saw him at last night. Grogg will want to go out from there, but will return by twelve midnight to be picked up by his ‘handler’. The rest of the Team is informed and we all agree to do it, after all, how bad could it be?
Caitlin (as Katey) walks around the level using her research as a guide to avoid the really dangerous places. She finds the only large police presence on the level. It is around an enormous pillar that rises to the roof near the center part of the cavern. Along the perimeter wire around this pillar is a sign saying, “Principle Support Pillar”. Well, we are all glad this heavily protected.
Alex, Frank, Steve and Xui also make rounds of the level and take note of gang signs, and the layout of the level. It becomes apparent to them that NO national gangs exist here. They are all-local and control small neighborhood areas. The closer you are to the transfer shaft, the safer you are. The areas along the wall are the most dangerous. There is also a fifth level, but even the people here consider it to be too dangerous. Steve, with his local contacts, hears that there is also a sixth level, but that is just a rumor. That group finds some of the entrances to that level, but they decide not to enter there yet.
Monday, October 17, 2025:
In the morning a package arrives for Caitlin containing the black cyberware that Opium has ordered for her. Arrangements have been through Bruce for a ripper doc to install it. It is a pair of wet wired and EMP shielded Alterable Prints. The operation goes off without a hitch and Damien uses one of the IDs that Jack Smith had provided for the Team to establish an alternate ID for Caitlin. This will, of course, be Kathryn “Katey” Smith. This is the identity that Caitlin is now using. When Damien finishes, “Katey” will probably pass an identity check.
Alex does his own research and finds a realtor to help get the rest of the Team new housing. The expenses of the suite are starting to take its toll. He tells them, he is looking for something with three three-bedroom apartments over a commercial/store space (Which happened to be in the same neighborhood that the “Fix-IT Shop” is in).
The Team arrives at the Sportsman about 6:45 pm, and Grogg arrives with his handler promptly at 7 pm. Grogg enters and shouts, “Who wants some!”
An (obvious) fan shouts, “Me!”
Grogg charges the fan and lays his shoulder into him. The fan expires messily to the roar of the crowd. The handler introduces Grogg to the Team. Grogg’s attitude suddenly changes and he keeps referring to the group as his “guild mates”. The Team finds out later that the handler uses ‘code words’ to introduce us that activate Grogg’s subliminal programming. He now views us as ‘friends’ or more importantly ‘non-targets’.
Grogg lays out the plan of the tonight’s “Raid”. He uses his claw to draw a map into the bar and identifies places as where the “encounters” will take place. The group quickly realizes looking at the map that he is totally insane, or in this case, in another world. Thor, Grave, Cliff and Steve keep close to Grogg, and the insane Blood Bowler refers to them as the ‘tanks’. Alex, Damien, Xui, Caitlin and Leroy will hang back, and he refers to them as “the finger wigglers”. He calls himself as the “DPS”. Thus begins a trail of destruction though the fourth level bars and clubs. The plan is pretty much the same for every place. Alex, Damien and Leroy remain out front. Grogg with his “tanks” will charge the place and slaughter everyone inside. Caitlin and Xui are out back to make sure no one escaped. Afterwards, Grogg collects the ‘drops’ (loose cash and else anything he fancies), and the Team moves on. About 11:30 pm, Grogg suddenly stops and says, “Time to return to the guild hall!” He then proceeds back to the Sportsman. At midnight his handler shows up, and tells him it is time to go. Grogg says yes, and off they go. Many on the Team are aghast! How are we going to keep him happy for four more days! Doctor Leroy is advised to prepare a lot of sedatives to use on Grogg, very strong ones at that!
Tuesday, October 18, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“A raid on a Militech showroom in Milan sparks mass nationalization, as per the declaration. Militech and Arasaka protest that neither of them had anything to do with it, and that the raid is a set up to legitimize the nationalization drive.”
Steve walks around the neighborhood where the Team is planning to set up shop and finds a gang that could be a problem. He notes their headquarters for a possible ‘encounter’ for Grogg’s game tonight. Later in the morning Steve comes by the Fix-It Shop to have the ballistics altered on his two Big Governments that he used for the EBM job. It is a good opportunity for Opium to continue Caitlin’s instruction in weaponsmithing. Opium also order climbers for the “Thor” suit to give her an AP attack with her physical strikes. Damien finishes Caitlin’s new “Katey” ID.
Alex meets the realtor and they go look at a building. It is in the neighborhood of the Fix-It Shop, but is also a gang hangout. The agent held up her wallet that has a sigil on it and the angry gangers back right down. It seems that NO ONE messes with the Realtor’s Association. The building is perfect, and the agent offers to have it ‘cleaned’ if Alex wants to rent it. Back at her office, Alex rents the building for the rest of the Team.
That night at 7 pm, Grogg shows up at the Sportsman, and the Team has two special GM encounters for him that night. Yes, of course they are the two gangs infesting the neighborhood that we are interested in. Grogg, Thor and Grave make short work of the gangs, and Xui and Caitlin take care of any that try to flee out the back. It dawns on the group that they have a One Man …err…..Ork urban renewal project here. Grogg is a hero to the people of Balsam so, for the most part, his rampages have a lot of public approval. Well, at least for the fourth level he does. The ‘Swells’ from the lower levels seem to try to ignore the goings on up here. At 11:30 pm Grogg wants to return to the Guild Hall (the Sportsman), and we deliver him back to his grateful handler.
Wednesday, October 19, 2025:
What a surprise! The Team’s new building is now vacant! Of course it will need a little cleaning up. All that blood you know. Furniture is bought and delivered and power is turned on. The Team lets go one of the two three-bedroom suites at the Shaft, but keeps the other for a week longer. It is a nice asset to keep, and gives ‘Katey’, Damien and Thor a local address. Cliff, Xui, Dr. Leroy, Alex, Steve and Frank now have a place of their own.
Babysitting an apparently cyberpsycho blood sport star is turning out to be rough work. By now, most of the Team is feeling a little used. Steve does some serious research on the location of the gangs (and their “club houses”) on the fourth level. He locates five targets for tonight. Many in the party are trying to justify the carnage as a form of ‘community service’ by ridding the neighborhoods of a bad element. In this case the cure may be worse than the disease.
Some, however, are just having a wonderful time! Grave goes out and buys a ‘nomad’ mace for the job, just to get in the “spirit” of the hunt. Steve calls up his weapons contact and orders the gaudiest, sparkling, (pseudo) bejeweled axe that he can get. This will be the final reward for Grogg, when he finished his “quest” on Friday. Steve is thinking ahead!
The first ‘club house’ is more of the same. Katey (Caitlin) and Xui cover the back of the building, and Grogg with Thor and Grave crash through the front door with the others holding the perimeter. He first gang goes down in a sea of blood and screams. The next clubhouse is empty. The evening quickly progresses, as each new clubhouse is also empty. Word travels fast. Tonight there are no street gangs on level four of the City of Balsam. Normally, that would be a good thing. However, Grogg now feels it’s time to fight the level’s chief “mini-boss”, followed by the level “Boss” himself. Through his insane tirade we figure out that the mini-boss’s layer is the Borg Club, and the ‘mini-boss’ is none other than Rodney, the Sampson. Oh, and the level ‘Boss’ is the man in charge of the defense force defending the Primary Support pillar.
Can you spell suicide? I knew you could.
Grogg charges towards the Borg Bar, but Thor and Grave tackle him. Dr. Leroy drugs him and we take Grogg back to Sportsman to turn him back (unconscious) over to his handler. We tell him what Grogg planned to do and he is happy we drugged him. OMG! Three more days of this?
Thursday, October 20, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“Japanese authorities announce that they are nationalizing Arasaka assets in Japan and the Far East. They apologize that they can claim no authority over Arasaka assets in other countries, and insist that they are trying to work out a deal with Arasaka management to stop the war.”
The Team works on setting up in their new place for most of the day. Steve calls his police contact, and he wants to meet. He and his contact meet. After the standard pleasantries, the cop changes the direction of the conversation.
“I’ve been hearing about what your group has been doing up on the fourth level.”
Steve, of course, says he isn’t sure what he means. The officer just chuckles and slides a folded piece of paper to Steve. He looks at it and asks his friend what it is.
“It’s an address on the fourth level. We can’t do anything about it, but….”
The cop then just gets up and leaves.
Steve brings the Team the address. It is an apartment house near one of the walls in a very bad part of town. As a group of fine upstanding citizens, the Team decides that helping the police with their little problem can only help us with the authorities. The group has our Special GM Event tonight for Grogg and a new Mini-Boss!
The Team picks up Grogg at 7 pm that evening. As everyone leaves Grogg asks, “What happened last night?”
There is an awkward silence, then Thor responds, “Oh, we wiped at the end.”
This seems to satisfy Grogg so we walk all around the fourth level and finally arrive at the apartment house. It is built into the wall of the cavern so there is no back to cover. Xui and ‘Katey’ each pick a side to watch. Grogg charges the door and bounces right off. Grave decides to go first, and Grogg agrees. After all, Grave is the “tank”. He batters the door down and a M60D machinegun on a mount (with motion sensor) opens fire on him. Grave quickly silences the weapon and they break into a huge first floor room filled with people working. Grave is about to open fire, when he realizes that this is a crystal meth lab. This type of location and large muzzle flashes to not do well together. Outcome the melee weapons and Cliff pops his wolvers. The battle is bloody, but one sided. The cookers and their assistants have no chance, and the couple of guards are completely outclassed. No one comes out the front or sides of the building that we can see. The strike team marches through the building and up the floors. The second floor is more one-sided slaughter as the body count rises.
One the third and final floor, there is an ambush. Four men with M-40 Pulse rifles fire supported by eight men with Ronin assault rifles. Grogg takes a pulse rifle hit to the head and goes down. Cliff takes a little damage, but the three make short work of the ambushers. They check Grogg, and he is still alive, but his chipware socket and neural processor may be damaged. They decide to keep him unconscious as they can’t identify what possibly damaged chips he might have in his locked socket. A search of the floor finds an office with a safe. The safe is (pounded) open and it contains 10,000 eb in cash and a set of coded ledgers. Those items along with the Pulse Rifles are packed up. Cliff also packs the largest bag he could find with all the crystal meth he can carry. Most of Team has remained outside and is unaware of what the others have found for a while. In particular the fact that they left eight assault rifles and an M60D machine gun there isn’t made known to the others. What the Team did take is told to all. No one except Cliff seems interested in the crystal meth.
Well, we carry an unconscious Grogg back to the Sportsman. When his handler arrives we mention the possibly damaged chipware socket, and say that is why we are keeping him unconscious. The handler is grateful for that information, and says that keeping him under is a good idea for now. Another day, another 10,000 eb (with a tidy bonus from the drug dealers).
Friday, October 21, 2025:
Finally, the last day of this contract! After making copies of the coded ledgers found at the drug house, Steve goes to see his police contact, who is very pleased. Steve gives him the ledgers, and we score more points with the local authorities. Steve is also helping himself by becoming someone who can deliver to his cop friend. We have a list of possible targets for tonight but we are sure that the word is out and pickings will be slim. Doctor Leroy brings lots of drugs just in case.
We get to the Sportsman to pick up Grogg. He arrives on time with his handler, and off we go. Except for the occasional fool, there are no gang members about. Grogg doesn’t seem particularly upset by this and there is no talk of going after the level ‘Mini-boss and Boss’. We keep him moving for hours, and when it’s time to go back to the Sportsman, he is ready. When we get there, we have our small ceremony to celebrate his successful completion of his special ‘GM’s Quest’, and Steve presents him with his gaudy bejeweled led axe that Steve had procured. All go well until Grogg’s handler shows up.
The handler thanked us and informed the Team that our agent (Bruce) has our fee along with a bonus. He turns to Grogg, tells him it is time to leave, and Grogg says, “No.”
The handler seems stunned at first, and repeats the command. By now the Team has figured out that Grogg is conditioned to follow certain commands, but those commands no longer seem to be working. Grogg again refuses, and then grabs his handler and tears his head off….literally! The Blood Bowl Star puts the head on the bar and continues to drink to the delight of the crowd.
The Team continues to hang with Grogg wondering what to do. A couple of hours later another suit appears and again gives Grogg the command to go with him. Grogg merely adds another head to his collection on the bar. We all had heard of corporate headhunters, but this…… Caitlin calls Bruce to tells him what is going on, but Bruce just says, “Hey, you job is done, this really isn’t your problem.”
Caitlin asks for a bunch of tickets to tomorrow’s big home game against the San Francisco Supermen, and Bruce says he will get them for us. The group goes home and leaves Grogg to celebrate.
Saturday, October 22, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“U.S. federal government reactivates Gen. Lundee’s reserve status, making him subordinate to the Federal government. He orders all Militech forces to cease offensive operations, and comply with all local governments in assisting the peace.”
The morning is pretty much a day of rest for the Team. The Team’s 50,000 eb fee for watching Grogg arrives with a ten thousand euro bonus. Adding to that the 10,000 eb from the drug lab they divide 70,000 eb for the week’s work. Not too shabby!
The week of ‘Watching Grogg’ has worn everyone out, but all are ready to see today’s Blood Bowl game. It is going to be the Balsam Orks vs. the San Francisco Supermen. The Fix-It three go as Katey, Thor and Damien. When they get there they find that the odds have changed from yesterday which have favored the Orks by two. Now it is San Diego by two. Due to the events of the previous night the Team’s betting is split between the home Balsam team and the San Diego. Steve and Xiu bet 5000 eb on San Diego. Thor bet 2500 eb for Balsam to beat the spread and 2500 eb for Balsam to win. Katey (Caitlin) bet 5000 eb on Balsam to win.
The game starts and Balsam is down a player. Grogg is not in the starting lineup. During the first period San Diego go up 1-0. Towards the middle of the second period San Diego stretched their lead to 2-0. About that time a roar is heard throughout the playing area. In comes Grogg, flying down one of the cables near the roof. Behind him is trailing some broken IVs and some bloody hospital jonnies. His appearance stuns the opposing team. Grogg rips off the head of the opposing team captain, and runs with it down the field. It is now 1-2 but the Balsam Orks are rallying. Grogg personally kills 2 more San Francisco players. One of which he strangles with the IV lines trailing from his body. Just before the end of regulation play, the last San Diego player falls, and the day belongs to the Orks. The fans go wild. Grogg seizes an announcer’s microphone, and tells the crowd that the Balsam management has tried to enslave him and make him their pawn. His confused tirade stuns the excited crowd and makes the management shrink behind their security. In the moment of silence that follows Grogg’s tirade, Katey (Caitlin) jumps up and shouts, “Kill them all!” (the management). The place explodes into a small riot.
The Team ends up over at the bar across from the stadium. Grogg and his team are celebrating and come over to thank the group for everything and helping him get free. He wants to party! (but is broke). Katey and Thor each put up 5000 eb each and the Smash starts to flow. What to do now?
(Note: The GM announced that Grogg is now a PC. This is the new character of Kim’s old player, who had a family commitment this weekend and could not attend the session. The Volt rifle blast and damaged the behavior chip(s) and neural processor in such a way that the chip(s) and behavioral conditioning Grogg had undergone no longer works. It is clear that Grogg doesn’t have much of an Empathy stat, but as to whether he is completely cyberpsycho will be up to the player.)
Episode 60: Exit Grogg
Sunday, October 23, 2025:
Grogg, his teammates and the Team parity into Sunday morning. Katey (Caitlin) suddenly turns to Thor and said, “We have to help Grogg!” She explains that Grogg’s killing rampages are probably a result of his team’s management and their mind control of their star player. Now that he is out from under the corporation’s evil ‘spell’ it is up to them to help Grogg find his true calling. The biogen gets unusually passionate about this. She and Thor walk up to Grogg and ask him what he wants to do now that he is free.
Grogg replies, “Kill, kill, kill!!!”
Disappointment crosses Katey’s eyes, and she says good-bye to Grogg. She and Thor go home. The rest of the Team continue to party into the wee hours of the morning with the Balsam Orks.
Sunday morning, Katey takes off her disguise to become Caitlin again. Opium steps out of her Thor suit. The two decide to go down and check out the lower levels of the city. It is time to do the ‘tourist thing’. The two girls get dressed up and go towards the shaft down to the lower levels. On their way they notice a group of people eyeing the old gang clubhouse that now serves as the home for the rest of the Team.
On the third level Opium and Caitlin walk around and window-shopped a bit before going to the corporate second level. There they take in the sights, and have lunch at an expensive restaurant. The two get the tourist brochures and start to see the official sights. There is a museum that tells the history of Balsam. The staff is made up completely of Full Conversion Borgs. Their tour guide is none other than Andromeda, the borg that Grave, Xui and Cliff met a few days before. His most stunning sight is a large park with an underground river flowing through it. Instead of trees, the park has a collection of glowing crystals that dot the landscape. The sight is breathtaking. The two spent hours soaking up the beautiful but alien landscape. It is 6 pm before they make it home.
Steve also walks around, but keeps to the fourth level. He goes by and checks out the apartment building that held the drug lab. He finally notices that he is being tailed. He successfully shakes his tail and then starts to follow his former shadow. That person goes into a gang house that they have previously identified.
Frank and Alex decide to go in on a long haul truck together. They finally decided on a Mac-Deux “Monster” and ordered a lot of extras. Since they are paying cash, it will be ready tomorrow. They have the dealer care of all the registration and licensing so they will be ready to roll the next afternoon.
Grogg and his team get together and start to cruise the fourth level looking for ‘trouble. They find none. Unbeknownst to them, their team’s management has declared Grogg off limits to any attempt to kill him. The powers at be in the city have made it clear to all the gangs that anyone who hurts Grogg before the big game on Saturday will suffer the wrath of the city fathers.
Grave and Xui head down to the neighborhood bar about noon, but find out it doesn’t open until 2 pm. They notice there are two people following them. Grave goes home, but Xui confronts the two ‘tails’. The two exchange words with Xui who finally just kills them both. She speaks to Grave on the commo, but uses the channel that Grogg also has. Soon, Grogg and his teammates come running up, but the battle is over. It wasn’t even much of a battle. Grave, Cliff and Leroy also arrive too late. Suddenly, Grogg decides he wants a fishing pole. Since there is no sporting goods store on this level the, by now, large group goes down to the third level. All go except for Xui who returns to the Team’s apartment. As the group enters the level, six Max-Tac officers start to follow them. Grogg wants to attack, but Grave explains he can’t fight them because they are ‘city guards’ and this is a ‘city’. This all makes sense in Grogg’s mind (fortunately for everyone concerned). Grogg gets his pole and decides to go down to the corporate second level. At the transfer shaft, they are met by two cops in assault armor (they still have Max-Tac following them too). One of the assault armored police steps forward and reads from his E-book to Grogg.
“I am sorry, but the next level is off line. It is closed for a maintenance patch.”
Grogg nods his head and asks, “How long will it (the level) be down?”
The officer looks quickly at his e-book and hesitates nervously as he seems to be waiting for something. Finally he says, “We do not have a restoration time yet. The company is sorry, and any lost playtime will…..be refunded to your account?” The officer sounds a little confused.
Grogg is very disappointed.
The officer looks down at the e-book screen and adds, “Oh, there is a GM event at the sportsman at 6 pm tonight to make up for this inconvenience.”
Grogg roars his approval and the group returns to the fourth level to get ready for the ‘GM Event’.
Up on the fourth level Steve goes to the neighborhood bar just after its 2 pm opening. He chats up the bartender and finds out that a gang that calls themselves the Nighthawks have now laid claim to this neighborhood. This bartender is very afraid of them so he is disinclined to provide much more information. An hour or so later four young men walk into the bar and threaten the barkeep. It is obvious that these are some of the Nighthawks or maybe another local gang trying to lay claim to this neighborhood.
The four come over and surround Steve, who notices that two more of this group come in and place themselves at the front door. As he watches them it is clear that one of the two at the door is the leader although one of the four around him is doing the talking. Steve tries the ‘way of peace’ first and offers to buy them all a drink. He calls the bartender over, but that man, seeing that death is coming, runs out the back. The ganger doing all the talking is rude and spoiling for a fight. Steve tries to bring the leader at the door into the conversation, but it doesn’t work. As Steve talks he checks them over with his thermo. There are some cybereyes and mostly light stuff. One of this group does have two cyberarms. This group is trying to provoke a fight. The ganger with the ‘mouth’, who is sitting across from him, finally says to Steve, “You are either really stupid or a real bad ass.”
Steve again tries to diffuse the situation, but to no avail.
The mouthy punk finally tells Steve, “You have two choices: beaten to a pulp or cut up for parts!”
Steve choses a third option, and punches one of the gangers to his side. Although the damage isn’t that much, it does allow Steve to escape encirclement. Steve then grapples the first one who comes at him and throws this thug into a second ganger. The one with the cyberarms breaks apart a chair to arm himself with two make shift clubs. The last one of the four charges, but Steve grapples him also and throws that punk to the ground. Unfortunately, the kid lands on his head and breaks his neck. This ups the ante, and the gangers start to go for weapons under their coats.
Well, Steve hauls out his two 14mm Big Governments. Instead of shooting the three close to him, he shoots and kills the two at the door so they can’t duck out and get away. No guns come out on the other side as they are just armed with mono knives and make shift clubs. Well, Steve Lomax has Gun Fu 8, so the battle is brief. This group may be a terror against unarmed civilians, but against a world class Edgerunner they are hardly a speed bump. The entire fight from first punch to final body dropping lasts 5 rounds (16.7 seconds).
(GM Note: As the GM explained later one of the cybereyes had a broadcasting camera, and the gang leadership was watching the fight. They have stalked Steve because they believed him to be the weak link on the team. After witnessing this, they declared our neighborhood “off limits”, and give up any attempt to wrestle control of it from our Team.)
With the fight done, Steve calls on the radio, but only Xui is on. She hurries over (she is only a block away). Outside she sees three more gang members hanging out. They see her and run. She pops out her skates, and runs one down. Xui then drags the ganger into the bar for ‘a little talk’. She beats a message for the Nighthawks into the young man (putting him in critical in the process), which is, “We need to talk.”
The punk is punted towards the door, and allowed to leave. The Nighthawks don’t want to talk, of course. They just want to keep as far as possible from the Team and their neighborhood.
Liz (Opium) and Caitlin get home about 6 pm and there is a message on their phone to call Bruce, our fixer/agent. He has a job for us so a meeting is set for 9 pm. Also about 6 pm Grogg and the Orks arrive at the Sportsman for the ‘GM Event’. Some of the corporates are there. The ‘event’ is non-lethal tests of skill. All of the Orks join in along with Grave, who is taken aside and ‘advised’ to let Grogg win. It is apparent that ‘the fix is in’ to let Grogg win, which he might have done anyway. Thor calls the whole Team together to go to the meeting with Bruce. All go to meet Bruce on the third level except for Caitlin, who goes to work updating some of her NET programs.
The job is this: On Wednesday, November 2nd, the Balsam Orks are invited to the Volunteer Academy in Tennessee to play the Militech Blood Bowl Team in a non-lethal exhibition match. This is part of the league’s effort to get their sport legalized. The Team will arrive on Monday, October 31st, and practice there until the game. As Grogg’s recognized bodyguards and friends we can get in with the Team. There is a secret factory there working on experimental weaponry (among other things). We are to blow it up. The pay for the job is 5,000,000 eb. The Team asks a lot of questions, and says they will get back to Bruce on it. We have till 5 pm this coming Tuesday to make up our mind. As the Team leaves, Cliff stays behind to talk to Bruce. It seems Cliff has a large quantity of crystal meth to sell. Bruce agrees to buy it for 100,000 eb, but it will take him a few days to round up that much cash. The deal is sealed, and Cliff rejoins the group before they reach the fourth level.
That night Cliff and Xui decide to check out the Nighthawks HQ. It is a large apartment building. Outside is one guard at the main door. After checking it out from the shadows, Xui shoots the guard dead. All the lights go out in the building, but there is no other reaction. After a while both Xui and Cliff switch to thermographic sight and watch the windows. Occasionally a heat signature will pass by a window shade, but not long enough for a shot. Finally one shadow does stop long enough. Cliff puts a 14.5 mm round into the shadow’s head. With this the two go home. The Nighthawks retrieve the body of their comrade from the bathroom. He has been killed while taking a dump. The gang digs the bullet out of the wall, and sees its caliber. Most have never seen a bullet that large. That confirms to them that they have picked a fight with the wrong group!
Monday, October 24, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“Senator Robert Gonzalez, age 86, the senior state senator from Night City in Norcal died of an apparent stroke at his home in Sacramento late last night. He was been hospitalized two weeks ago with chest pains but was released after five days observation. Recent concerns about the aged senator’s health have centered on his new cloned heart, but the doctors gave him a clean bill of health. Mayor Gavin Haakensen has called an emergency meeting of the Night City Council to discuss the appointment of an acting senator to replace the late Senator Gonzalez, whose term runs until 2027.”
In the morning our Team continued its ‘spirited’ discussion of whether to accept the Volunteer Academy job. Neither side can get a majority vote so finally they decide to send Steve, who is against, and Alex, who is for to go talk to Bruce for more details. After the Team’s initial morning meeting, Damien and Caitlin go down to the lower corporate levels to do some shopping. Steve also goes down to make a purchase, but first he goes to the city authorities and updates his city weapons permit, which has expired. He then buys himself a pair of 10 mm smartlinked Colt Alpha-Omega Competition Pistols.
Alex and Steve meet with Bruce around noon, and make a few discoveries. Bruce knows where the ‘secret’ factory is. He has also been holding on to this Arasaka contract for a while. It seems that this factory has been the source of his illegal weapons trade. However, since Militech is now nationalized, his supply has dried up. It is no longer in his best interests to sit on the job. Towards the end of the meeting Alex starts to demand from Steve whether he is now ‘convinced’ to take the job. Steve is non-committal, but Alex keeps insisting on an answer now in front of Bruce. Finally Bruce, who is getting very uncomfortable about the escalating tone of the conversation, excuses himself as he feels that the matters they are discussing are of an internal group nature and he really doesn’t want to listen to.
Grogg and his team are wandering about when he decides to check the Team’s channel one, which he has access to. Doctor Leroy answers him and gives him the location of the Team’s apartment house. Grogg shows up with the entire Blood Bowl team. Most of the group living there are NOT happy with Leroy’s decision to reveal the location of their living space to someone they deem an unhinged killer. Well, Grogg has a ‘medical’ problem. It seems he is having trouble wielding two weapons like he is used to. Leroy and Grave check him out and examine Grogg’s neural processor. It seems there is some kind of ‘short’ in it. They surmise (correctly) that this is stopping his ambidexterity chip from working. Grave makes the repair. Well, that brings the chipware socket back on line. Grogg thanks them and leaves with his teammates. Unfortunately ALL of his chips are now working, including the behavior and control chip that the Balsam Ork’s management had installed, which sends a signal to the management that their control is now reestablished. Grogg now returns to the Sportsman.
A little while later channel one comes alive with Grogg’s teammates. It seems they realize that Grogg is back under management control, and the management is trying to bring him back in. The other Orks are holed up with Grogg in the Sportsman trying to repel repeated attempt to remove Grogg back to the Team’s (management’s) quarters. Grave, Dr. Leroy, Cliff, Xui and Thor go down to the Sportsman and find it surrounded by security people working for the Balsam Orks management and a couple of company officials. They recognize one of the officials, who speaks to the Grave. The management wants Grogg back, and are willing to pay 100,000 eb to the group to deliver him to them. The company is using non-lethal means to accomplish this, as they do NOT want their team harmed with the Championship game coming this Saturday. Grave says they will go in and talk to the Orks.
Inside, the Balsam Orks are adamant about not letting management continue to mind control their friend. They let the Doctor and Grave examine the chipware socket. Through a series of trial and error experiments consisting of pulling out the chips one by one they discover the behavior chip. Unfortunately, Grogg has had the chip in him so long that he is hopelessly addicted to it. Removing it turns him into a sick, whimpering pile of protoplasm due to his immediately falling into ‘withdrawal’. Somehow the pulse rifle shot of a few days ago had damaged the neural processor in such a way that it had ‘cancelled’ the programming’s effect of Grogg, but have still provided him the ‘fix’ that the chip gave him. Dr. Leroy and Grave successfully undo their ‘repair’ of the morning and Grogg comes out of it. Now if he or any of the Orks want to go back to the company housing, they can. They are quite willing to play, but on their terms. Grave goes back outside to talk to the corporate. Basically, Grave tells the suit that they aren’t going to hand Grogg over as agreed. Instead our Team will take care of the Balsam Orks and make sure they make the two upcoming games.
The stunned corporate asks, “Are you sure you want to go down this road?”
Grave says yes, and makes it clear that his security forces will have to go through them to get to the (his) team. The suit knows his security forces on site are no match for Grave and the rest, so he backs down and leaves. Our Team, the Balsam Orks and Grogg return to rented apartment. Some of the group is not happy that Grave has made this important ‘executive’ decision without consulting the group, but the die is now cast, so to speak. They have just declared war on one of the most popular corporations in the city.
About the same time Damien and Caitlin return from the lower levels and begin to notice a change in the neighborhood. People are now out and about. Children are starting to play in the street and the gang signs are being washed off the buildings. The two realize that their battles with the level’s gangs are having an effect. The people in the neighborhood are starting not to be afraid.
When everyone gets back to our Team’s HQ, it is decided to send Damien, who has since returned with Caitlin, to get enough equipment to try to alter the programming on the behavior chip to ‘free’ Grogg. While they wait for Damien to return (again), it is clear that a rift is developing amongst the party. Grave and a few want to form their own gang and start to extort the neighborhood, while Alex and Steve wish to let the neighborhood continue to flourish without any interference from us. No decision is reached on which road we will take when Damien returns with the equipment to examine Grogg’s behavior chip. By now the entire group (except for Caitlin, who remained at the Fix-It Shop to continue working on her programming) assembles upstairs at the group’s apartment house. The rest of the Balsam Orks waits in the offices downstairs and out on the stoop, while our group works on Grogg.
Grogg consents to be put under by the Doctor. As Damien works, the group discusses ways of dealing with the management of the Balsam Orks, who are not going to take our usurpation of their team without any response. It is put forth that we should go to LawDiv and turn the management in for using an illegal behavior chip. That line of action led to the realization that the magnitude of this crime will lead the Federal authorities to use priority one and two interrogation methods to extract the evidence from Grogg’s head to get the management. Now, Grogg’s mass murder rampages (a priority one crime) will not be held against him because of the behavior chip, but we will not be so lucky. We are paid accomplices, who were willingly working with the Balsam Orks management. It is clear to a few that our execution warrants will be in the same stack as the team management’s. Damien realizes that the brain he is working on contains the information that could lead to his death. As the others talk, he pulls out his silenced (relatively) 14mm Big Government and puts one shot though the chipware socket and another through Grogg’s brainpan. The conversation ends abruptly.
Grave blurts out, “Hey, I thought we are going to vote on this?”
To which Damien replies, “I just did (vote).”
The humor is not particularly appreciated, but Damien’s decision does have a certain finality about it. Well, “in for a penny, in for pound” as the saying goes. They call the rest of the Balsam Orks downstairs one by one for a ‘meeting’. The Orks respond to the call from their ‘friends’ without any hesitation. They are slaughtered to the man, or rather Ork.
It seems as if the favored Balsam Orks are NOT going to win the championship game. Hey, opportunity calling! Thor calls Caitlin on the radio and has her call Kyle in Night City. Kyle (in Opium’s name) places a 1,500,000 eb bet (the money ponied up by several members of our group) in Las Vegas against the Balsam Orks! (Wow that is COLD!). Thor also tells Caitlin what has just happened, and to pack up because they are leaving. The teenager cheerfully packs her bags but not before putting 200,000 eb of her own money in on the Bet.
While some of our Team police up the mess (and prepare the bodies for burning), Frank and Alex go down to pick up their new truck. They purchase a large RV trailer and get the registration and licensing taken care of. Xui buys herself a Diahatsu Family Cruiser, and Steve gets himself a Max Interceptor. The Team packs up and leaves the city but not before burning the bodies of the dead Balsam Orks. They all head to Raleigh where contact NET boxes are arranged and a few phone numbers are exchanged. This is the end of that Team.
A Mini-Epilogue for “Jack’s Pack“
Well, the big game comes and Grogg and the Balsam Orks take the field. It seems the management did have a Plan B. They have been working on Grogg 2.0, and the others look so much like the originals no one notices the difference. This assured that our Team will not be charged with their murder. The problem is, they are not quite as good as the originals and the heavily favored Balsam Orks lose! Of course, The group all make a bundle betting on the game. Sometimes the Bad Guys win, I guess.
Opium had rented an apartment in Raleigh as a fall back place, so she, Caitlin and Damien go there before heading back to the Opium’s mansion and factory on the outskirts of Night City. Opium is going home. Caitlin is happy to be going with her. Damien joins them. As the only characters to survive the whole campaign, they have formed a deep bond. Damien feels a strong loyalty as the other two risked their lives to make sure he didn’t spend the rest of his life in a Chinese prison. Opium owns Caitlin’s ‘lifetime contract’, but they have now become fast friends. Opium has also succeeded in testing the “Thor” ACPA of Colonel Pershing’s design, and now it is time to tinker with it.
Frank Martin and Alex “Whit” Wojak have their tractor-trailer truck and take to the road as independent truckers. Both feel the gypsy lifestyle that this affords them is a good insurance against anyone but the most well connected from trying to hunt them down.
Grave, Xui, Cliff and Dr. Leroy head to New York City and lose themselves there. Both Grave and Xui also plan to get some therapy to improve their ‘toaster-like’ personalities. (The players also know that the next adventure that they wish to run with these characters in will be in New York City, so a little pre-positioning is in order.)
Steve Lomax get a place in Raleigh. Steve is a local boy, and wants to remain in the area. It will be politic, however, to stay out of Balsam for a while to let things cool down. Only four of the twelve original characters (2 PCs and 2 NPCs) that started lasted through the entire campaign. Two, Tex and Airy Massoon, left on their own accord. Ten characters have died during the three months. Well, in the beginning, Jack Smith did tell the group, “I promise I will make you rich, I can’t promise you will live long enough to spend it.” He is as good as his word!
(GM Note: We will now return to the original Team that started this Fourth Corporate War Chronicle. We last left “The Killer Bees” (LRT-7) in Texas with Colonel Pershing’s mercenary unit. Next episode with that group, loyalties will be tested and tough choices must be made.)
Episode 61 – The Beginning of the End
GM Note: Well, we are down to the final stretch of our Fourth Corporate War Campaign, and back with Colonel “Blackjack” Pershing’s mercenary unit in Texas. The have been confined to Pershing’s 2000+ acre ranch/base in west Texas since October 5th (see Episode 59). As GM, I intend to use these last three episodes to give some characters who are ready to “retire” from active play to one last hurrah (hopefully not a fatal one), and tie up some loose plot threads left over from the years (and years and years…) we have played CP 2020. After I am done, Ted will be running a one episode epilogue before we forge ahead with our (none V3) alternate timeline. The first campaign of which will be New York 2026. Well, away we go!
The First Three Weeks of October, 2025
Colonel Pershing’s forces had been standing down as ordered. The Militech troops in the area have been disarmed, but their formations maintained. Since his troops are technically a mercenary unit chartered out of Texas, the Attorney General of Texas has voided their contract with Arasaka. The unit also had a number of other investor (owners), who are, for the most part, rich Texans, who had been friends of the Pershing Family for years. In the immediate area is a mechanized battalion of Texas National Guard troops who are on ‘maneuver’ with a battalion of Petrochem troops. Major General Charles Linden, commander of the Fort Hood COG and an old friend of Pershing’s, has invited the Colonel to dinner. There the general makes himself quite clear that his orders are to support the Guard and Petrochem troops against any hostile action. He also shows off his 40 new and shiny MBT-11 main battle tanks (with full support) that he intends to use if the need arises. Petrochem and the State of Texas have pledged all the fuel reserves that General Linden needs to make his promise stick. The tone of the dinner and visit is friendly, but the message is clear and received.
Saturday, October 22, 2025:
Colonel Pershing knows something is up when he receives a message from his command center that a United States Army transport helicopter is requesting to land. A Major Gordon Thomas, one of his former aides (and Rose’s father), is aboard and wants to meet with him. A large group of United States Military officers accompanies Major Thomas as he enters the command bunker with a briefcase-sized communications console and a Government Issue garment bag. They retire to the Colonel’s office, but not before the Major asks if Rose is available. His business with her is personal. In the Colonel’s office, a communications link is set up, and on the screen appears President Elizabeth Kress. Her demeanor is grim (she has just finished with General Lundee). Major Thomas hands Colonel Pershing his reactivation orders. The President is brief and to the point. Where are Colonel Pershing’s loyalties?
The growing number of officers in the command bunker wonders that too. The answer comes when Pershing exits his office wearing the uniform of a United States Marine Corps Brigadier General. There is a reactivation order for every former United States military member in the unit. General Pershing is now in command of the First (provisional) West Texas Mechanized Brigade. It will be comprised of his mercenary unit (now under contract to the United States Government), the Texas National Guard Mechanized Battalion, the Petrochem battalion, the now rearming Militech Troops, and an Armored Battalion from the Fort Hood COG. Other support units are being sent by Texas and the Federal Government to round out the formation. The Arasaka liaisons are detained, and then released back to his old comrade, Colonel Komatsu, the Arasaka commander in the central western United States. General Pershing is to be ready to move no later than November 1st in case the remaining Arasaka forces in the United States fail to stand down.
Lt. Colonel (formally Major) Gordon Thomas meets with his daughter, Rose. There are questions about her loyalty (of course) as she is a Japanese national. Her father explains that, if she wants it, he has arranged for her to receive the United States citizenship that she is entitled to, and a field commission as a 1st Lt. in the United States Marines. She accepts.
Bea’s father is also there with something for his daughter. He has two sets of orders concerning Bea. One is her reactivation orders and a commission in the United States Army, or she can have her arrest warrant for terrorism served to her. Yes, Uncle Sam has not forgotten her orbital strike on Night City. There has been too much publicity to just sweep it under the rug. Bea swallows her pride and accepts her ‘butter bar’.
Friday, October 28, 2025:
The First West Texas Brigade is ready to jump off and sweep recalcitrant Arasaka forces from the southwestern United States on the following day. A basket arrives from Colonel Komatsu for General Pershing. In it is the head of General Pershing’s liaison group to Komatsu with a note that says basically, “Death to Traitors”. Intelligence reports that Colonel Komatsu is gathering his forces northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico between Redondo Peak and Mount Taylor. General Pershing moves against him.
Wednesday, November 2, 2025:
Fourth Corporate War News Flash
“Mayor Gavin Haakensen of Night City announced today that the City Council has chosen Mr. David Whindam, the (now) former Executive Vice President in charge of the Night City Biotechnica office, to serve out the late Senator Gonzales’ term. The selection comes as quite a surprise as Mr. Whindam has never previously expressed any desire for public office. Insiders feel that the (now) senior Senator Thomas “Roy” deChartier must have lobbied hard to have his friend and political ally get the job. Senator deChartier’s office denies any involvement in the process, although the Senator states he is personally pleased with the choice and feels that Senator Whindam will be a great asset to Night City and the whole Free State.”
On the eve of the battle outside Albuquerque, General Pershing learns the location of Colonel Komatsu’s Headquarters. It is located in an old mine south of Redondo Peak in a box canyon. He has one ground unit that has successfully skirted the enemy lines, and that is, of course, LRT-7 (“The Killer Bees”). He quickly forms a plan to decapitate the Arasaka command structure just as the main battle commences. Supported by a couple of orbital strikes, ten fighter bomber sorties, and some AV gunships, LRT-7 will attack the HQ and the General himself will lead his command group (ACPAs) on an aerial assault to kill Komatsu personally. The attack will take place the following day.
Thursday, November 3, 2025:
The plan is simple (and the group didn’t endlessly over plan this time). An armored column consisting of Bea and her Merkava Mark IV tank and the Marder (with ten infantry) waits just off County Road 45 out of sight of the bunkers and under IR camouflage. A Stealth Team consisting of group of two Eclipses and a custom Lone Star stealth ACPA (Roca, Sarge and Daniel) move up close to the most SW of the known bunkers and waited. Bea gets her chance to play with the big guns again, and is tapped to call in the ortillery strike. Some people get all the fun! Meanwhile, Rose will keep the unit’s covert operations APC (van) at a safe distance and run their aerial remote to watch the enemy.
The Thor javelins come out of the sky and Bunkers number two and four are carved out of the mountain. Roca, Sarge and Daniel storm Bunker number one, which fall without much resistance. A wave of A-01 Blitzes come out of the south and pulverizes the hastily dug entrenchments at the valley mouth. Bunker busters destroy Bunker number three. Arasaka responds with a barrage of Stinger missiles from around the valley. One Blitz is hit and limps away. The two-vehicle column slams right through the trench line and into the valley. General Pershing’s ACPAs are to land right in the middle of the minefield. The general did anticipate this (I guess they know my tricks by now), so he orders the area to be blanketed with a strike of cluster and other munitions to clear any possible minefields. This is done and the ACPA carrier comes in escorted by two AV-8 gunships. Again, a barrage of stingers greets the incoming choppers. One of the AV-8’s anti-missile systems gets its antagonist, but the other takes a direct fuel hit and explodes killing all aboard. The ACPAs are dropped and leap up on the vehicles as they continue towards the inner canyon. Meanwhile the Stealth Team moves north along the ridge towards the HQ entrance (and Hidden Bunker number 5). More stingers fire on the fleeing ACPA transport. It takes two hits, but keeps on flying (barely).
The Stealth Team finds Bunker number 5 and neutralizes it before it can open fire on the advancing tank and Marder. That team notices a hidden trench line in front of the armored door of the Arasaka command post in the mine, and notifies the advancing armor and ACPAs. About 120 meters from that trench position the tank and Merkava and the Marder swing around to face the HQ entrance and begin bombardment. That is when Arasaka springs its trap. Bunkers six and seven commence firing with two HATGMs each. The two from Bunker seven hit the rear of the Marder. Both penetrate. The first hits the waiting infantry, and the second cooks off the fuel supply. The Marder and all its troops died a fiery death. The Merkava is also hit twice. The first is some minor surface damage (IR driving lights), but the second hits the ammunition bay. Luck is with Bea as the ammunition doesn’t explode, but nine rounds of ammunition are lost. She spins her tank around and takes Bunker number six under fire. There is only one air strike armed with bunker busters remaining and that is called down on Bunker number seven. The wait for the air strike seems to take forever (only 20 seconds, but it is the longest twenty seconds ever). General Pershing, who is riding in his customized Daioni, starts to charge Bunker number seven. Well, Saburo Arasaka has put up a 2 million euro reward for his death, so the next barrage of HATGMs from Bunker seven come right at him. The anti-missile system on his Daioni fails to get a lock and both missiles hit. One limb is crippled and the torso is cored. As far as the crews are concerned General Pershing is dead! Not really, of course, but he just lies there in his destroyed suit as he doesn’t want them to think differently. The crews in Bunker Number Seven don’t get to enjoy their victory long as an A-01 Blitz plasters their position and destroys it.
Bea is also having a tough time. A barrage of rockets from Bunker Number Six smashes her tank’s treads reducing the Merkava to a giant pillbox. The front composite armor did well against the HATGMs but slowly the hits start to take their toll. One of the machine guns on the turret is carried away, and their radio is destroyed. To make matters worse, as soon as General Pershing went down, four Arasaka “C” ACPAs pop up from the trenches. Two move forward and two fire their ACPA bazookas at the Team’s remaining power armor suits. The Stealth Group is now crossing the gap between the two ridges about 600 meters WNW of the HQ entrance. They are immediately recalled to support the main attack. The fight is brief but furious. Three of the Arasaka suits are destroyed, and the fourth drops into cover with a crippled leg. Two of the Team’s suits go down. One with a head shot, and another just crippled. Bea gets some support from the remaining AV-8 as it joins in to reduce the remaining Arasaka bunker.
The Stealth Team finally puts down the jack in box Arasaka “C” and calls in the last of their airpower. The trenches in front of the mine entrance are pounded by the remaining A-01 Blitzes. The last Arasaka bunker is reduced. An angry Bea swings her turret around and 120m shells start to bombard the armored door, which finally yields. Bea pours three to four HE shells through the open door and the AV-8 swings around and pours fire in as the Stealth Team and the remaining ACPA troopers assault the interior. The hastily armed staff personnel are no match for the attackers and they quickly surrender.
When the Stealth Team reaches Colonel Kumatsu’s office they find him dressed in a ceremonial kimono sprawled on a mat, headless and disemboweled. The colonel’s aide is standing over him with a bloody katana. The aide salutes and tells the Team that he has a message for General Pershing that has to be delivered in person. General Pershing has popped out of his Daioni by this time. Yes, it is customized so his specially designed Gemini (no armor) can operate it. It is, or rather was, the only one of its kind in the world. He proceeds to Colonel Kumatsu’s office. By now the aide has cleaned the sword, put it in its sheath and placed it reverently on its stand. As General Pershing enters and the Arasaka officer bows low. He hands the General a folded piece of paper and steps back. General Pershing reads the note, and it simply says:
Fall wind changes
Comrades fight and die
(My) lord is served
The General looks up to the aide, who pulls a pistol out from under his uniform jacket, and then shoots himself in the head. There is a long moment of silence. General Pershing orders that the Colonel Kumatsu and his aide’s bodies be removed with full military honors. The battle is over. General Pershing has won, but Colonel Kumatsu has not failed.
The actual battle against Colonel Kumatsu’s main Arasaka forces wasn’t much of a contest. With complete air superiority the United States forces annihilate the last organized Arasaka armored formation in the southwest. The remaining Arasaka air assets (11 aircraft) fly out of the old Nellis air base outside Las Vegas, but are turned back before they can even reach the battle. Only two of the Arasaka aircraft return. No Arasaka armored units survive and most of the rest are either killed or captured with very little government losses. A small number (103) of the Arasaka troops engaged there will eventually reach the fall back point in Night City.
Within a day, the vanguard elements of the First West Texas Brigade are again moving forward quickly to its next objective: Las Vegas!
Episode 62 – The Liberation of Shining Springs
November 4th thru 16th, 2005:
The next twelve days see the First West Texas Brigade (provisional) and the rest of the military forces of the United States roll over all Arasaka opposition. Kei Arasaka orders the remainder of his forces to fall back towards Night City with only token resistance. He hopes to make stands at Reno and Las Vegas. Governor Denise De La Vega commits the Norcal National Guard, and Reno becomes untenable. The Arasaka forces around Reno fall back into Norcal, and General Eddington presses the Governor to use her forces to cut them off. For her own reasons, she doesn’t, and the Arasaka troops from northern Nevada make it back to Night City.
In the south, General Pershing learns that the Arasaka air assets at the Nellis air base outside Las Vegas have also been withdrawn to Night City. Arasaka forces are making preparations to cripple the facilities there to slow the Federal advance. Pershing needs an air base. To the northwest of Las Vegas is the town of Shining Springs (see Atlas Games adventure book, All Fall Down, by Andrew Borelli for more information on that town). The corporation that General Pershing had worked for when he first retired from the Marines was called Security Solutions. One of their operations took them there. They had made friends with the Neo-Wasters. Dole is a nomad from a transportation family working with Security Solutions, and through his good offices a working relationship with the town was formed. The corporate lawyers straightened out Shining Springs’ legal standing, and the town got an official government. Now as mayor Raze strikes quite a figure with his large purple mohawk. A friend of General Pershing, and former director of covert operations, Mallory Knox, used her and her group’s ample funds to convert one of the unused roads into a landing strip, and founded Shining Springs Aero, a feeder line that flew people from San Morro in Night City to Shining Springs where a bus would pick up the tourists and take them to hotels in Las Vegas controlled by the Cacciolo Crime Family that (formally) ruled the Vegas underworld. Security Solutions maintained a small (rented) facility there. When Security Solutions was sold to Lazarus Inc., there was a Leopard Mark II tank undergoing repairs there. The tank should have gone to Lazarus, but then corporate vice president (now Senator) Thomas (Roy) deChartier had it written off as a total loss and gave the “wreck” to the Shining Springs Police Department. A good number of the troops from Security Solutions’ military branch retired to Shining Springs. All in all, General Pershing is well liked for this and other actions he had undertaken in the past for the town.
Since taking over the airstrip, Arasaka has cleared the ruined hangers at the end of the runway (they were destroyed by Militech earlier in the war), and built others to the side. The runway has been lengthened to accommodate emergency landings by Arasaka jet fighters. If General Pershing can seize this facility then he will have his air base from which to continue his advance with no delays. To get through the desert and avoid Arasaka patrols the general will need a Team that knows the area. He is in luck His LRT-7 (The Killer Bees) had operated in this area on the drive east to Texas. Once again he calls on them to secure this vital airfield. To command this operation he puts (formally retired) Admiral Jane Smith in charge and sends them around Las Vegas to the north to meet a representative from Shining Springs, who can lead them in.
Thursday, November 17, 2025:
After traveling for half the night and into the morning the Killer Bees arrive at the small gulch where their GPS says they are to meet their contact. As they look around a figure rises out of the sand almost next to them. A hard, but feminine voice calls out the correct countersign. She is Beth, one of the Neo Wasters. When she is sure that the Killer Bees are the people she is supposed to meet, Beth calls in a large vehicle that takes to the head of the column. This vehicle sprays a considerable volume of water out in front of and behind it as it moves. It keeps down on a lot of the dust the column would normally kick up. They stop every once and a while in some small hidden valley or gulch to avoid an Arasaka patrol or refill the water tank. It is clear that the Neo Wasters have this whole area ‘wired’. By nightfall they have arrived at a hidden encampment about three miles north of Shining Springs. There the Killer Bees meet Mayor Raze and a deputation from the town.
Arasaka has seized the town’s Leopard Mark II. They brought in a corporate crew, but they kept the tech that serviced the tank, since Arasaka has no one qualified to keep that model in operation in the area. The town is insistent that their tank not be destroyed in the assault. Beth explains that her lover is the tech and that the Leopard has been wired with a short-range radio kill switch. Also, a separate signal will detonate a set of smoke bombs inside the tank. The original crew of the Leopard is available, if they could stop it. Admiral Jane Smith interviews them, and it is apparent that the crew is well-trained, seasoned veterans. The problem is, you have to be VERY close to use it. The Leopard is now kept in the security bunker at the airport. Besides the tank, Arasaka has about a light company of troops there consisting of 2 to 3 platoons of infantry, and four ACPAs. Not all the troops are always there though. The Neo Wasters also have 300 armed men and women. About one third of them are equipped with assault rifles and some light support weapons. These are also the best-trained forces the town has to offer. The remaining people are equipped with an assortment of hunting rifles and such. Most are descent shots, but can’t be counted on to maneuver or follow any complicated orders.
The Killer Bees come up with a simple plan. Raze and the Neo Wasters will line up on the western edge of the town. They will open fire when the attack commences and draw attention to them. Rose, Holden “Big” Johnson, the crew of the Leopard Mark 2, and Beth will sneak up to the wire on the north side. LRT-7 members will cross the wire and get close to the main garage door where the Leopard will come out. They will try to use the kill switch. Beth insists on joining that group, and she seems to have the skills to pull it off. An armored column consisting of the Merkava followed by the Marder will come down the main road. And head for the security bunker and tower. Admiral Jane Smith will establish a sniper’s nest north of the tower and execute an over watch with her Barrett M-90 ET. At an ‘opportune’ moment the top 100 of the Neo Waster forces will advance and blow the wire surrounding the base. Then the militia will move up and engage. Once the airport is secure they will call in the General’s air landing battalion to hold the position.
(GM Note: To the Team’s credit they did not agonize endlessly over the plan, and just set in motion.)
The Stealth team successful moves into position, Bea jumps off in the Merkava. As soon as it is apparent that the Arasaka troops detect the armored vehicles coming, the Neo Wasters open up with a storm of fire. The tank bay opens and the Leopard comes out to play. They push the button on the kill switch and nothing happens! A second push and still nothing. The third one is the charm, and the Leopard stops. A few seconds later smoke is pouring out of it vents. Rose, Holden, and Beth cover the advancing Neo Waster crew, and their presence discourages fire from the one person hiding in the tower. The Arasaka crew is quickly disposed of and the town’s crew takes over. Rose sneaks up to the door of the garage and looks in. She can see that there is also a large garage like door opposite the one facing them. An Arasaka soldier enters the garage from a small side door leading to the tower area, and goes to a large industrial storage cabinet. Rose watches as the man pulled out a 20mm auto cannon, and starts to return from where he came. Rose opens up with her silenced Arasaka Miniami-10. The soldier stumbles, but makes it to the door, and out of sight. Rose reports this development to the Team.
Bea and her tank come screaming down the road. She blows up the security hut in the northeast corner of the perimeter. She also drops smoke from the on board 60mm mortar and covers the advance. Both the Merkava and the Marder fire at targets of opportunity as they advance. As they approach the airport’s tower the Merkava turns off the road and across the well-marked minefield that didn’t appear in the intelligence briefing. Nothing explodes. In fact, the ‘minefield’ consists of a little wire and some signs saying “Danger Minefield”. The Marder commander doesn’t know this so he sticks to the road. Suddenly an ACPA bazooka flashes out from the building and blows the treads right off the Marder. Sarge returns fire from the crippled IFV. They don’t know it at the time, but the return fire has destroyed the bazooka launcher. The Leopard Mark II comes to life and proceeds to move to support the assault on the barracks and headquarters area. Bea swings her tank around the west side of building. The troops in the Marder pour out to take on the security bunker and tower. Sarge advances with his minigun at ready into the garage with an ACPA trooper in front of him, using them like some kind of ablative armor. Sarge never listens though, and ignores Rose’s information about the 20mm auto cannon. It is just inside the small door that the tech used to escape. The trooper in front of him gives him no protection as the cannon roars and blows his left leg clean off. The trooper returns fire and knocks out the gun. The two retreat back the way they came.
As the Leopard pasts the east end of the airport main building an Arasaka “C” runs out and jumps on the tank and starts trying to open the hatch. Too bad the Team’s borgs and ACPAs haven’t moved to support the tanks! Admiral Smith opens fire on the enemy Standard “C”, who finally succeeds in tearing open the Leopard’s hatch. A headshot on the Arasaka ACPA shuts down suit and it falls off the careening tank. Meanwhile, Bea makes it around the building and fires a HE round into the garage. All she manages to do is destroy some of the repair tools for the Leopard. The two tanks take up bombardment positions on the barracks and headquarters area. The Marder’s soft infantry move into the rest of the airport building and resistance collapses quickly. The base capitulates. A few of the Neo Wasters take this opportunity to shoot a few of the Arasaka troops, who have abused some of the town residents, but Admiral Smith, Rose, Bea, and Raze are able to restore order quickly.
The call goes out to General Pershing, and infantry is flown in to hold their newly acquired prize. Arasaka does manage to put the Nellis air base out of action, but the strip at Shining Springs will do for the Federal advances needs. The First West Texas Brigade rolls right through (around actually) Las Vegas, and heads across Death Valley and right through the Tehachapi Pass. On his arrival outside Night City Pershing is brevetted to Major General (the same rank as the Norcal commander). By now Norcal troops have ringed Night City, and refuse to let any Federal troops on the front lines. Kei Arasaka and Governor Denise De La Vega have commenced negotiations to avoid a battle in the city. General Eddington has other ideas.
Episode 63: Assault on Arasaka Tower
Monday, November 21, 2025:
LRT-7 is one of General Pershing’s first units to reach Night City. They are stationed on a promontory over Playland-by-the Sea behind the Norcal National Guard. Rose stares across San Morro Bay at Night City now wrapped in a Pacific storm. Behind her a small military helicopter fights the winds and lands nearby. Brave of them to be out in this weather. Rose is filled with unease when she sees her father’s graven face step out, and approach. The old man voice is filled with pain.
“Have you heard?”
“I’m so sorry, Rose, there is no easy way to say this. The USS deWert was sunk yesterday as an Arasaka submarine convoy tried to run the blockade. The storm came up and rescue operations had to be suspended. Your husband, Archie, is not among the survivors.”
Rose stares blankly at her father for a moment then her father’s big burly arms engulf her. Her long pent up emotions flood out with a sob as her tears fall and mix with the rain.
Tuesday, November 22, 2025:
General Pershing feels quite comfortable with his second star. Perhaps it will even be made permanent. This will be his first face-to-face meeting with Eddington since his reactivation. True they had known each for years, but are not exactly friends; soldierly comrades maybe, but not really friends. On his arrival he is led right into his commander’s office. Eddington gets right to the point.
“Negotiations are dragging on between De La Vega and Kei Arasaka. I understand that the Governor is seriously considering giving Arasaka some kind of extraterritorial status in Night City. I don’t know what the cow (De La Vega) is thinking, but she has no authority to do that. Norcal maybe a Free State, but it still part of the United States of America. Foreign policy is the Federal government’s purview not hers. Sending Senator deChartier to Europe for trade talks is bad enough, but this will eventually lead to a constitutional crisis that we must avoid.”
“I completely agree, General.” Pershing replies.
“De La Vega has her troops positioned between ours and Arasaka’s. We can’t drive through them. That will be worse than letting the governor give the candy store away to Kei Arasaka. So we are going over them. I need your air assault trained troops. The weather system that has brought this storm over Night City will break tomorrow some time. Thanksgiving is the following day, and many of the State Guard will be celebrating with the turkey dinners being brought in to them by the Governor. That damned bitch De La Vega never stops campaigning. God, I hate politicians! Well, I intend to strike while they and the traitors who are serving Arasaka stuff their faces with turkey. Are you with me?
“Absolutely.” Pershing says.
“Good! This will be surgical strike led by a mix of commandos and specially trained “civilian contractors”. I will need a few volunteers to fill out one of the Strike Teams. You need to pick good people. Also, have your chief staff officers here in an hour and we will work out the details. I want Arasaka wiped off the skyline of Night City.”
Later on that day General Eddington met with the Fireman. Jason Westmoreland (who assassinated Night City Councilman Saul Morris in Episode 34 and Tank, an Arasaka operative, in Episode 35), Spider, Chaos, and Dr. Mariska Benes (who the Killer Bees met under her Nomad name of Rissa Aldecaldo in Episodes 36, 37 and 41) sat at the table and listened. They are to lead a strike group down into the deepest subbasement of Arasaka Tower and steal their Data Core, which reportedly contains all the secrets Arasaka has gleaned from all its years of operation. Rache Bartmoss’ virus has been corrupting computers all over the world, but this data store had been taken off line to avoid contamination. The General has an additional mission for them. He is quite serious about wiping Arasaka off the skyline of Night City. He gives them a small (?) nuclear demolition charge, which will vaporize the foundations of the tower, which is sunk into the bedrock. The tower is going down. Eddington shows them his Presidential authorization (a forgery, but a good one). The General knows this group’s hatred of Kei will override any qualms about nuking the tower. Saburo and especially Kei Arasaka hate the Firemen, and the feeling is mutual. Money can’t tempt this group, but revenge can plus a blanket immunity for any crimes that they have committed in the past that has not already come to light (a long and extensive list).
The Firemen meet alone later. They did not like the idea of bringing others on the mission, especially people they don’t know, but the job needs more bodies than they have, especially with Tex in Nashville negotiating the movie deal. Mariska hands out Czech language chips to the rest of the team. (She was born in the Czech Republic and speaks it fluently.) If they have to talk amongst themselves, at least they can do it with some measure of privacy.
That night in LRT-7’s encampment, Rose rests in her tent. She suddenly realizes she is not alone. The moment she had been dreading has come. She turns as Kagekaze ‘de-cloaks’ in the corner. She prepares for her death.
“I have instructions for you from the clan,” her grandfather begins. “We are not sure which direction the winds are taking, and we must be prepared for all eventualities. Continue on the path you have chosen. We will contact you, when you are needed.”
Rose nods, and Kagekaze starts to leave. He stops at the tent flap, turns and speaks one more time.
“I am very proud of you my granddaughter. I feel my sacrifice was not in vain.” Then he is gone.
Wednesday, November 23, 2025:
The Firemen enter the conference room to meet the rest of their Strike Team. Thomas, a covert operative, has worked freelance, but is tapped by Senator Thomas “Roy” deChartier of Night City. Thomas also had another secret assignment from “Roy“. If he sees Kei Arasaka, he is to “put two in his brain bucket”. If Thomas survives this action, he can pretty much write his own check. Jose Thomas, a solo and Gemini cyborg, is a member of the Killer Bees (the primary Edgerunner team from our Fourth Corporate War Campaign). Jose left the team when they were ‘drafted’ into General Pershing’s mercenary unit. Jose received a generous “settlement” from Arasaka when he and Bea participated in dropping a Thor ortillery strike into the combat zone in Night City on a Militech allied gang, which precipitated the final battle that drove Militech out of Night City during the war. Jose voluntarily gave an interview to NET 54 and took credit for the strike (Episode 38). Jose wanted to “borg out”, but turned down Arasaka’s offer of “free” surgery to be put in his Gemini, which was probably a good choice. Sarge, a combat cyborg, and Colonel Maxwell Steele, commander of General Pershing’s mercenary unit’s third battalion is there. Shamus, a netrunner, is formally a member of Security Solutions and later chief of staff to Mallory Knox during the Malagay Campaign can’t be bought (he is rich). He has no questionable association with Arasaka (or Militech even). Having spent the past couple of years getting his B.S. in Computer Science at Night City University, he is hungry for some excitement.
The NET 54 World Newscast is on and Tex, of the infamous Edgerunner team, the Firemen, is on live from Nashville, Tennessee. He is announcing a press conference that will be held tomorrow with his entire group here in Music City. The news is shut off. That will be a neat trick as the rest of the Firemen are sitting around the conference table here.
Jason Westmoreland invites them to sit down. He laid out the mission briefly. Their team (Strike Team Delta) will move into the city this evening, and hide in the East Marina District. Arasaka has taken over the Stallion Sough Shipyard and is using it as a submarine pen for some of their smaller submersibles. The number of guards is small and the workers on duty had been bribed. An elite team is coming in from Japan for a special mission. The craft bringing them isn’t going to make it courtesy of the United States Navy, but Arasaka isn’t going to find out. General Pershing has arranged for the Arasaka troops there to be neutralized and Strike Team Delta will be picked up by the Big Black van coming to get the Team. This van has priority clearance to enter Arasaka Tower. Once there, the Team is find the hidden Command and Control Center deep in one of the subbasements. Nearby is the Arasaka Database Core. They are to get Dr. Mariska Benes (also known as Raggedy Anne, her NET handle), the Firemen’s netrunner in there to download the core into a portable storage unit. Jason will then plant an “EMP” device in there and they will leave. Any questions?
Thursday, November 24, 2025:
About 2 am Delta Team is brought to a small submarine pen in North Oak. A small Orca class submersible is waiting for them. Its hull has an odd gray texture, and no markings. The trip across Del Coronado Bay is slow as the Orca hugs the seafloor and moves on a complex course to keep away from the still functioning Arasaka sonar buoys. Soon they reach their goal: the hidden underwater dock at Weird Stuff in the East Marina District. The pirates that used it are no friends of the government, but they dislike Arasaka even more. War makes strange bedfellows. Their contacts there move them to the ILLW Hiring Hall. There they wait.
At 7 am, they are led into Stallion Sough Shipyard offices. The few Arasaka guards there are dead and the bodies (and mess) are being cleaned up. A couple of people are struggling to get into corporate uniforms that don’t fit quite right. A young man is working with a disguise kit at a desk. Across from him is a dead Arasaka officer, and slowly the young man is becoming his twin. The Arasaka convoy arrives right on time. The Team gives their countersign and hands the convoy commander their orders and off they go to Arasaka Tower.
In the basement of Arasaka Tower, the parking structure is alive as most of it is set up as a make shift hospital. The vehicle drops them off near the elevators where a waiting executive smiles as they get out. The executive bows low, and says, “I have orders to take you directly to Kei Arasaka, if you will come with me please.”
As they approach the elevator, the executive stops, listens to his commo and says, “It seems you will be seeing action sooner than later, we are to go to sub basement level 10. Enemies are moving on the command center. You are to join the defenders there.”
As the Team rides down to sub level ten, a few of them notice as Mariska surreptitiously slips a Grid Bug into the elevator phone compartment.
The elevator door opens and the executive introduces them to the leader of the Arasaka squad forming there, and leaves. The officer directs Delta Team to the benches and boxes of unpacked equipment stacked in the entry of the room, where four assault armored Arasaka troops wait at rest.
“We are waiting for our Team Leader, who has the access codes for the Command Center Level, she will be here shortly, please have your people wait with my men over there.”
Across the large room, the four Arasaka troopers in assault armor lounge around six heavy metal benches at ease with their helmets off. By the elevators is an armored security booth that contains a soft security trooper watching some monitors and an Alpha class cyborg with a gun port in front of him. Jason asks that the Team’s solos get in their armor, if there is going to be a fight. The Arasaka officer says that will be a good idea.
Delta Team moves to the benches, and gears up. Mariska and Spider sit on the bench farthest from the elevators with Chaos and Jason stand on either side of that bench. Shamus sits on the bench next to them with one of the Arasaka troopers. Thomas takes a seat on a bench closest (but still across the room) from the security booth. Colonel Maxwell Steele stands behind and to the side of him. Sarge walks to the back of the room and leans against the wall near the Firemen. Two of the troopers occupy a pair of benches opposite Thomas, while the last is by the bench between the Firemen and Thomas.
The wait seems interminable. One of the assault-armored troopers gets up and goes down a corridor off the back of the large room. The other three put their helmets on, as Delta Team gets ready. Mariska drops in and out of checking on the Grid Bug. She suddenly snaps out of her ‘trance’, gets up and stretches. The netrunner starts to walk around the back of the bench, singing a song in Czech, “We’re in trouble again…” and then drops behind the bench as the elevator door opens and an Arasaka “C” walks out with his 12.7mm machinegun blazing away.
Chaos reacts quickly and darts down the hallway that the Arasaka trooper had gone down, which is out of sight of the armored security booth and elevators. Shamus dives across the floor behind the bench that most of the team is standing around and gives the ACPA another target for his auto fire. He is hit in the leg, and arm (which is incapacitated). Spider takes one hit and is lightly damaged (12 pts. on 6d10 before armor and BTM!). Jason takes some light damage as the heavy round just nicks him. One of the Arasaka troopers catches Colonel Steele and Thomas and puts 5 rounds in each from his 14.5mm assault rifle. Steele is only wearing his SP 14 combat gear (without inserts). He is shot dead. Thomas has the bench between him and his assailant. He is wearing assault armor too. Thomas is put into Mortal and falls over doing his very best ‘feign death’. The trooper that had left the room comes back in, fires on Sarge, who is also moving to the cover of that hall, and does some armor damage. Jason returns fire as he runs for the corridor where Sarge’s assailant is. Chaos returns fire on Sarge’s assailant. That Arasaka trooper is cut down, as are two more of his comrades. Sarge scores a lucky hit, and cores the head of the Arasaka “C”. The shot hit the structure.
Spider stabilizes Shamus, and Mariska seizes control of the auto gun in the room courtesy of her Grid Bug that has nested in the local hardwiring. Unfortunately the Team shoots and disables the weapon because they don’t know she is in control. On the positive side they kill the officer and drop the last Arasaka assault trooper. A great shot cripples the gun that the Alpha sticks out of the armored booth.
The Team switches to echolocation and throws scatter grenades. Under cover they move up the left wall led by Sarge. Suddenly, their sight is jammed as the men in the booth turn on their jammers to scramble all frequencies. Well, all but the ones that Arasaka’s echolocation is using. Sarge is railed by a 12.7 machine gun. His armor is holding, but not for much longer. He feels his way down the wall, and receives no fire. The reason is that his tormentor (Haruko Kanawa) placed a shaped demolition charge just around the corner. The charge blows Sarge across the room. It also breaks up the scatter smoke. Unknown to the Team, Haruko falls back, hides on the other side of the level and calls for reinforcements. As the attack on the tower is now in full swing, it will be a few minutes before any help will be arriving. The Team has enough people by the gun port of the Security booth, so they set a demolition charge of their own, and blow the door. The Alpha is destroyed with only minor damage but Sarge’s armor is getting a little thin, and his structure is now heavily damaged. A quick search finds the elevator that goes down to the command center, and the two netrunners are able to access the hardwired controls. Mariska puts another Grid Bug in the circuitry, and orders the first to ‘monkey wrench’ any elevator trying to reach sub level 10.
Delta Team did a good job on making themselves appear to be the incoming Arasaka Team, but when they went through the scanners in the garage level leading to the elevators, there was enough of a difference to have the higher ups alerted. The Firemen’s disguise rolls were good, but Haruko Kanawa’s awareness and her knowledge of their cyberscans gave them away. The Firemen had humiliated her before (in Land of the Free), so revenge is at hand. Two elevators should have opened, but the Mariska was able to have her Grid Bug send the other up at the last moment.
By this time communications inside Arasaka Tower are under attack from netrunners sent in by General Eddington. The Team’s explosives have wrecked the security booth where the main communications trunk for that level is located. Haruko Kanawa is unable to warn the command center that Delta Team is incoming. The Arasaka guards in the command center are cut down before they can react as the reinforcements they were expecting turn out to be the enemy. The center is quickly secured and the Data Core located.
As the Firemen explore the area around the Core, Mariska discovers Yorinobu Arasaka’s soul killer prison, and Spider finds his (and Alt’s) DNA and tissue samples.
(GM Note: The Firemen had done the adventure in the Arasaka Corp Book many (real) years ago, and all of them considered Yorinobu their friend and comrade.)
They speak quickly in Czech and decide to hell with the Data Core, they are going to save their friend. In the Land of the Free Adventure, they had also acquired all the research data on cloning. Over the years Spider, the team doctor, had studied it and become an expert in the field. Well, at least enough of one to make a clone. They have never actually used the technology before as that is a genie they don’t want to let out of the bottle, but for Yorinobu, they will risk it. Mariska is acquainted with Alt and knows Johnny Silverhand (who is in the process of dying upstairs). They will clone her too and try to find her mind in the NET. Shamus, the other netrunner, is told to search the Arasaka Data Core for the override passwords for the Tower and the plans for the lower levels. He jacks in to the Core and that keeps him busy, while Mariska downloads Yorinobu into the Data Storage device.
The rest of the group makes a quick sweep of the level, but don’t enter any of the small offices, where many staffers are cowering. They discover a Sea Viper submersible, but since no one has the skills to pilot it they keep out of the dock area (and the auto guns that defend it). Mariska keeps her Grid Bugs gumming up the elevators, which are the only way down to the command center. A strike team led by Haruko has to move slowly through the emergency access ways and fight their own defenses. This gives Delta Team the precious minutes they need. Shamus finds the codes and the plans for the level that show the emergency exits out. Shamus goes back into the Core to look for files on him, General Pershing, and Senator Thomas “Roy” deChartier. These are located deeper in the datafortress of the Core. What he finds is a whole lot of horrors that Rache Bartmoss has inflicted on the NET. He jacks out quickly.
Delta Team is ready to leave. Jason tells everyone they will have to run as they have 15 minutes to clear the area. He then explains the nature of the “EMP device”. (The look on some of the players’ faces is priceless.) They come out close to West Hill. They head towards Night City University in their Arasaka uniforms like they are doing right what they are supposed to be doing. A patrol starts to approach as the ground shakes. Both towers sway like a pair of drunken boxers. One falls then the other comes crashing down. Everyone stands for a minute just gapping at the scene. The patrol forgets all about challenging them.
Shamus tells Mariska that the Core is corrupted, and she should be careful about going in to look. She then goes in with goggles and gloves, and ‘confirms’ that the Core is useless. She smiles and says that at least she will get a nice large data storage device out of this. Mariska leads them to a friend of hers apartment just outside of Night City University, and they hid there till the shooting is over.
Friday, November 25, 2025:
In the morning Mariska is gone (with the Data device and the tissue samples). Spider tends to the wounds of the Team. They just lay low.
In the camp where LRT-7 is stationed a helicopter comes in for a landing. An officer comes forward and asks for Rose. He has orders to take her with him. Nervously she gets on the craft and is flown to the navy base hospital at North Oak. The nurse at the desk doesn’t know why Rose had been summoned here, but she is directed to the fifth floor. As she exits the elevator, she sees a couple of sailors standing in the corridor dressed in hospital gowns. They turn to her and all smile. It is Bill, Dan, and George from the USS deWert. It crosses her mind as she moves to them quickly that Dan was one of the sailors that had been reported lost.
Dan speaks, “He saved us all, Rose, but he never stopped thinking of you.”
Rose doesn’t know what to say, but then Dan looks into the room they are standing next to. There in one of the beds Archie turns his head and smiled. He holds up his hand weakly to wave, and their wedding ring sparkles in the light. Rose rushes to her husband. He is critically injured by will survive.
Saturday, November 26, 2025:
By now Kei Arasaka’s death is all over the news. Spider Murphy, Rogue and Shaitan have succeeded in their last mission. At noon, the remainder of the Arasaka forces surrenders the city to the Norcal National Guard. Delta Team is now able to contact General Eddington with the all the ECM now shut down. The General has them rushed to his headquarters. He is disappointed the Core was corrupted, and asks to see the Storage device. He is furious when told Mariska has run off with it. The General puts out orders for her immediate arrest for stealing the device. Shamus isn’t initially able to completely convince him that the Data Core is really corrupted.
Thus ends the major fighting of the Fourth Corporate War. All that is left is clean up in many places around the world. In some situations it will be brief, but in others the fighting will go on for years. The next (and last) episode represents one of these ‘sanitizing’ operations.
Episode 64 – Hull Island
Monday, November 28, 2025:
One by one the people are shown into the briefing room at the North Oak Navy Base. The liaison and briefing officer, Charlie is ready with his power point presentation. Around the table are recently retired (again) Admiral Jane Smith, former SEAL commander; Lars MacGregor, ex British military; Dr. Gordon Freeman, from the Edgerunner team, the Killer Bees; Sayaka Tashiro (“Pinky” for short), a tech from Texas; Eli Rubinstein, an Israeli national; Paul Richard, a jungle warfare expert formally with the French Foreign Legion; and Philip Jackson, an intrusion expert (prowler) from the Orbitals. The mission is simple. The Team is to go to a (former) top secret Arasaka facility, kill one of the researchers, and destroy all his work. The Team is given a picture of the target, but no name. There is to be no conversation anyway. The target is located on Orona Atoll.
Orona atoll, also known as Hull Island, is one of the Phoenix Islands in the Republic of Kiribati. It measures approximately 8.8 km (5.5 miles) by 4 km (2.5 miles). The Island is located 400.7 km (249 nautical miles) south of the equator, 96.6 km (60 miles) west of Sydney Island, 233.3 km (145 miles) eastward of Gardner Island and 917.3 km (570 miles) to the north of Apia, Samoa.
The Island is an atoll, consisting of a narrow rim of land, averaging 482 meters (0.3 mile) wide, and enclosing a large and relatively clear lagoon. The lagoon is a shoal (sandbar) at both ends and contains numerous coral heads, only a few of which come close to the surface. The rim on the north and south sides is cut by narrow, shallow lagoon entrances, which vary in number and position as storms break through and shift the sand upon the coral rim.
On the south east side of the atoll there are some passes from the lagoon to the outer reef which are fairly deep at high water, but there is no communicating channel through the reef. The entire atoll is surrounded by a fringing reef, 75-140m wide, which generally dries at low water. Blasting has been used to create a navigable channel through the outer reef on the north east side of the atoll. This channel is only accessible by small watercraft.
Close into shore, the current sets west along the atoll with an average velocity of 1 knot. Offshore, the set is west about 0.5 knots, varying with the surface currents set up by the wind. The tidal current in the channel, blasted through the reef, is very strong, ranging up to 5 knots. The channel carries about 1.6m (5.25 feet) of water at the spring tides.
There is anchorage for small vessels in east winds only, in a depth of about 18.3m (60 feet), about .16 km (0.1 mile) off the western extremity of the reef. It is recommended that vessels with a draft of more than 6.1m 20 feet) lie off the west end of the atoll.
The island is at one time a copra plantation. Several thousand coconut palms are planted along the western curve of the rim. The coconut palms range from 12 to 18m (40-60 feet) high. Much of the remainder of the atoll is covered with palm trees and brush, 6 to 12m (20-40 feet) high. The forest along the southeast rim is fairly sparse. A replanting effort is currently underway.
At the extreme eastern point the rim is very narrow and bare of trees. There is a roughly rectangular area of cleared land, which contains the ruins of an ancient stone marae (Polynesian shrine) and several small shelters, made of blocks of coral sandstone.
There are no confirmed reports of Arasaka employing cybernetically enhance fauna on the island, but such a possibility should not be ignored. Cats, dogs, pigs, ducks, and chickens were raised domestically when the island was previously inhabited and may still be present. Sea and migratory birds also nest on the atoll. Many are ground nesting, so be careful where you step.
The Arasaka installation represents the only permanent occupation of Orona since the island’s sole settlement, Arariki, is evacuated in 1963. The ruins of this settlement have been cleared and a small above ground installation has been built in its place. The installation is built out of containerized dwellings, with accommodations for 60. This outpost provides topside security for the research facility, which is on the bottom of the lagoon.
The facility is situated in the north west of the lagoon near the outpost. A floating jetty (not pictured above) extends out to the topside receiving station. The base is then accessible by elevator. The right hand circular habitation module (in photo) houses storage facilities, barracks for security personnel and the main operations center for the facility. Power generation, air and waste recycling, water purification and desalination are housed in this habitation ring.
The left hand circular module houses the offices and quarters of the chief researchers. It also contains the dining facilities, infirmary and common areas used by research personnel. The cylindrical modules off of the connecting corridor between the two habitats contain labs, additional office, living and storage space. Arasaka has adapted technology used in the construction of work shacks and space stations for use underwater. Each module can be sealed and detached from the facility operating on an independent air supply and emergency battery, which can be recharged via the solar cells built into top of the module. Assent is achieved by pumping out the ballast tanks of the docking cradle to which the module is attached. The cradles provide a flat base to keep circular modules level. The ballast tanks help alters the buoyancy of the modules, which helps with installation and allows them to be used as emergency life pods. An inflatable skirt can be deployed for added buoyancy and stability.
The Team will be flown to Tafuna International Airport on American Samoa, and then whisked by helicopter to a waiting nuclear submarine, which will take them the rest of the way. The submarine will remain submerged as the Team exits the escape trunk and go ashore by Nuscuba. They will swim to a point on the southern coast of the island where it turns more westerly about three and a half miles from the base. There they will travel overland to the base. Charlie will remain outside and run ELINT operations and wait until the Team gets a radio tap on the base computer so he can run their system. Paul will wait on the surface and cover the base with its 40 to 60 troops. They are informed that there is an escape bell at the main researchers’ habitat. Dr. Freeman will enter the lagoon in his Nuscuba gear with a mini-torpedo launcher and keep watch for an escape that way. There will be at least ten good security personnel in the underwater habitat. They are drawn from a mostly unknown smaller base on the east end of the lagoon. There will also be two full conversion cyborgs. Each has a biopod and two bodies. One has a Sampson, the other an Alpha, and each has an Aquarius. There is also a large civilian hovercraft.
The LACV-30 is an air cushion vehicle craft that travels over water, beaches, soft or firm ground, snow or ice at speeds of up to fifty miles per hour. The craft has an open deck space with a total payload capacity of thirty tons. The LACV-30 is approximately 12 m (40 ft.) wide by 24 m (80 ft.) long, weighs about 29,510 kg (65,000 lbs.) empty, can carry up to 27,240 kg (60,000 lbs.) of cargo, utilizes gas turbines to power its twin propellers, and can cruise at speeds of up to about 97 km/h (60 mph). The LACV-30 has a load supporting cargo deck area of 1,674 square feet [slightly larger than 150 m2]. It can support a fully loaded 20-foot container at specified deck locations. The craft can transport two 20-foot containers. It can transport all classes of supply-palletized, containerized, or vehicular-up to 30 standard tons under ideal operating conditions. Under average operational conditions, use a planning factor of 25 standard tons. The LACV-30 has load spreader pallets for containers and sufficient tie-down points to secure most loads.
The Navy provides weapons, ammunition, explosives and dive gear. The briefing is very detailed, and Charlie admits that they have succeeded in infiltrating the facility with an operative. All requests to talk to the operative are rebuffed as that person is not available.
Tuesday, November 29, 2025:
Just before dawn, the Team lands in American Samoa and is hustled aboard a ‘charter’ boat. Later, that craft sails out of sight of land and meets the submarine. The submarine approaches cautiously and just after midnight with the tide coming in releases the Team.
Wednesday, November 30, 2025:
The Team comes ashore just after 1 am after successfully negotiating the reef and its treacherous currents. They hide their dive gear under an IR cammo net that the Admiral has insisted on bringing and starts moving towards the target west thru the light jungle fringing the island. When they approach the southwestern part of the atoll (marked “Tree Work” on the map), they see a crew using heavy machinery. They are installing palm trees. A Sampson FCB leads the crew. A closer look reveals that they are not real trees, but convincing looking fakes that contain sensors that are hardwired with a cable. The Team slips by the work crew and continues on to just about 200 meters short of the topside base on the western end of the island. The base is a group of thermo-shielded cargo containers placed in a circle with a fortified command center in the center, and surrounded by a palisade of crushed coral and palm logs held together by wire mesh. The only two entrances are gaps in the wall facing east (towards the dock) and southeast (towards a group of small maintenance shacks). There is a two-man watchtower between the sheds and the compound and another about one hundred meters from the north end of the surface complex.
As the Team watches a seaplane drone land, and a tech crew wrestle out a larger drone and launch it. The smaller drone is put into one of the sheds. The approach to the elevator on the end of the jetty that leads to the underwater base is looked at and discussed. At that point Eli mentions that there is a security camera in the elevator. That camera hasn’t been mentioned in the mission briefing. Eli insists that it has, but most of the Team realizes, no, it hadn’t. How did Eli know then? To that inquiry, Eli responds that the Israeli government had insisted that he be given access to the operative that had been on site and done the reconnaissance. That didn’t wash with the Admiral, who as the former commander of the Navy SEALS, and just come off assignment as director of all covert operations for Federal forces in the western United States at the end of the Fourth Corporate War. She has a security clearance that will dwarf a foreign national. Eli finally admits he is the operative that had previously penetrated the Arasaka base here, but was ordered not to reveal that fact to anyone. No one believes the second part of that statement. Charlie, the liaison, confirms that he is the agent, but doesn’t endorse Eli’s reason for not telling us sooner.
This leads to Admiral Smith, Lars and Paul talking on a private channel while the mission continues to decide what to do. Lars wants to kill Eli right away as an Arasaka spy, and then put two in Charlie’s brain when we return to the beach where they have stashed the dive gear just on principal. Paul feels that shooting our liaison might have a VERY negative impact on our ability to get picked up at the end of the mission. As for Eli, he had an opportunity to betray us, when we snuck by the work crew earlier. Also, if he is on loan from the Israeli government, he is probably Mossad, and they take a dim view of shooting one of their agents. The Admiral decides that one, Charlie is probably United States Navy, so he is not to be harmed, and two, Eli will be watched to see how he performs. One mess up and he will be terminated. If not, he will live.
Doctor Freeman moves into the water and hides among some coral heads near the underwater base with his mini-torpedo launcher. Paul moves to a position to see inside the base and also fire on the watchtowers with his silenced FN-RAL. The rest of the Team moves down to the water, and out along the floating jetty. Philip finds the hard lines that lead from the surface base to the underwater base that run under that jetty and installs a radio tap that allows Charlie to get access to the Arasaka security system. The research computer is not on this system. (Hey, that will have been much too easy!) From the jetty, they can see down into the first habitation ring and the security man at the monitors, who is facing the elevator door. Charlie finds footage of some Arasaka security people using the elevator, and plays it over the monitors as Admiral Smith, Eli, and Lars come down to the habitation ring. The surprise is complete as Jane Smith’s thrown knives cut the man at the desk down. As they enter the ring, there are two more men on duty in the room, one of them in Arasaka combat armor. The battle is on.
Charlie secures the pressure doors in the underwater base, and Philip and “Pinky” soon reinforce the first three. Jane leads the group as they sweep the first habitat. Inside three more Arasaka security come up to work on the pressure door, but Lars sets a charge on this side. The charge doesn’t breach the door, but does chase off the security troops. Soon Arasaka figures out their security system is compromised, and begins to manually disconnect the cameras. Doctor Freeman sees an Aquarius borg exit the last underwater habitat carrying what looks like a demolition charge and heads for the clear dome of the first. The Doctor’s first mini-torpedo blows off the borg’s leg and sends it into a spin. The second hits the torso and ends him.
On the surface, Paul drops the two guards in the closest tower. Four troops head out the command center to man the palisade. Paul cuts loose with the remainder of his clip, drops them all, and then moves. He repositions to get the far tower, but those men have ducked out of sight. The troops in the surface facility remain in their barracks (getting geared up) for now.
The Underwater Base
The explosions below loosen the seals holding the modules along the spine of the base and they all come loose and start to float to the surface. The Arasaka security troops fall back to the last habitation ring. Jane Smith enters the spine with a demo charge, and Charlie floods the spine. Her cyberware allows her to breath underwater, and she sets the charge on the door to the last ring. Her skill in demolition allows her to position herself in a spot where the resulting shockwave will not kill or injure her. The blast blows the door in and a flood of water enters the last ring. Admiral Smith’s code name had been “Stingray” in the SEALS. The Admiral lives up to that name, as she rides the wave into the last area held by Arasaka security. She starts killing the stunned security men. Charlie opens the back hatch, and the others rush the last ring.
Outside, Doctor Freeman sees the emergency escape bell detach from the last ring and start to float to the surface. His mini-torpedo cracks it like an egg. Six limp figures are in the wreckage. There are a total of six researchers on the base. Two come to life and swim for the surface. The other four are dead. The Doctor alerts Paul, and the two die to headshots just after they break the surface. Down below the others quickly reinforce the Admiral, but Big Black’s boys have set charges to flood the other ring of the habitat. There the computer core, which is waterproofed, will be safe until help arrived from the surface defenders. The last Arasaka operative sets it off, and now the whole base is flooding as Big Black has sabotaged the interior pressure door. “Pinky“, the tech, jumps the cut wires and gets the door to finally close. The water ends up to everyone’s knees. They check until they found the target’s cabin. It is empty. “Pinky” puts a tap on the researcher’s terminal and Charlie cracks it like an egg. He identifies 3 numbered modules as where his research labs and physical experiments are. Doctor Freeman can make out the numbers from below. He destroys the ones that the Team needs to. Charlie then quickly fries all the information on the computer. A quick search turns up more than enough emergency rebreathers. The Team exits the crippled module and starts moving down the beach of the lagoon underwater.
Finally one of the LACV-30 hovercrafts approaches from the Tree Work area and heads out on to the water where the Doctor is. Paul aims his 40mm under barrel grenade launcher at the area of the engine, fan drive system and fuel in the rear and drops a white phosphorous grenade on target. The pilot and all the passengers in the middle and aft sections are hit. Paul is alerted by a sound to his side and sees the Sampson and two armed security troops in close order approaching his position about 20 meters away. He quietly switches weapons and puts a RPG-B round into the torso of the borg. The shot drops the cyborg and the burst effect kills the two others. Assault rifle fire from hovercraft hit Paul, and wounds him. The former Legionnaire slips out of sight. The fire finally reaches the engine/fuel and the hovercraft explodes and sinks.
Underwater, the Doctor Freeman detects an attack mini-sub coming across the lagoon at long range. He lets loose with another mini-torpedo. Two rounds later, he detects three incoming torpedoes on his position. He targets the center one with another of his mini-torpedoes, and swims deeper in to coral heads. He is able to get far enough away and break surface to avoid any damage from enemy torpedoes as they slam into the coral heads.
On the surface, as Paul is distracted by the Sampson and the hovercraft, forty troops come out of the surface base. Twenty line up along the shore to catch the Team as they came out of the underwater base, but they will be disappointed. The Team is working their way back towards the egress point underwater with the emergency rebreathers they have found. The other twenty spread themselves out in a line two meters apart and begin to sweep for Paul, who falls back. Paul picks his ground and waits until he could see only five through the brush and lets loose another RPG-B round. All five troops go down, and he fell back again. This stops the advance as they call up a creeping mortar barrage to flush him. This gives the Team the time they need to reach the egress point.
The Team rejoins Charlie who has gotten there first. The liaison has inflated a zodiac from his equipment that had come in on the sea sled the Team had brought. As he looks up from another piece of equipment the Team can see real fear in his eyes.
Charlie says, “Forget the dive gear. We have to get out of here right now!”
No one hesitates. The Team rushes the zodiac to the water, and cuts in the motor. A couple of miles out, the sub sits on the surface. The crew hustles the Team below, and sinks the zodiac. The Admiral is the last down the hatch, and sees the sky begin to brighten. A barrage of Thor javelins makes its way through the atmosphere streaking towards Hull Island.
The Hull Island Project
The research being carried out on Hull Island had to do with cloning. Cloning technology has existed in cyberpunk. It is central to the story of the adventure in Land of the Free (in which Arasaka was trying to get a hold of the technology).
They eventually did succeed in acquiring the technology to create a viable clone. The problem of course is that said clone is still mentally a child or blank slate. After the events of the Land of the Free adventure and other setbacks (i.e. the ‘Super Solo’ or Nietzschean project), Arasaka has no intentions of equipping these clones with an artificial intelligence. The lack of control would pose too great a risk. The researchers at Hull Island are investigating an alternative method, that would be closer to braintaping or the moddy personalities from the When Gravity Fails (WGF) sourcebook (plug and play personalities).
They had three active test subjects in the isolation labs that Dr. Freeman destroyed. These were clones of the main researcher, who use to work for Biotechnica. He had been an assistant to a scientist, the players had encountered previously in Las Vegas. His area of research was studying brain engrams for the purposes of mind control and improved behavior chips. This technology is meant to progress the state of the art from the behavior chips used in certain types of exotics or in exile chips, towards the moddies of WGF.
The researchers had succeeded in making the technology work, the problem now was to miniaturize it. At the moment, the technology takes a fairly large computer to house. For those that have seen Terminator: The Sara Connor Chronicles, the clones are plugged into a mini frame, in much the same way as the personality of the character John Henry was house in a main frame, with the terminator body serving as a peripheral.
The clones of the researcher were helping him work on the problem. If the party had not destroyed these clones, it would have been possible for the research to be continued…which is why they needed a team on site to make sure that the doctor and his clones were all destroyed. The reason the decision came down to destroy the research was due in part to the reason Eli left the island to make his report. Another spy, working for the Japanese, had been uncovered at the facility. The Japanese government was aware of the research and the U.S. did not want them to get their hands on it. Arasaka had originally started the project, so that they could eliminate the need for hiring edgerunners (which had become very expensive during the war) and replenish their ranks with troops that could be guaranteed loyal, which would work towards Saburo’s plans for world domination.
The Japanese weren’t the only interested parties. Camps inside the U.S. government wanted to acquire the technology as well. The players were dispatched by those that felt such a genie should not be let out of its bottle. Near immorality for those who could afford it, a caste of cloned workers, the Republic might not survive such a radical change to the social fabric. With no time to study or prepare for the effects such an advancement would have, they chose instead to kill the messenger (the researcher) and his message.
Thus ends our group’s Fourth Corporate War Campaign. It’s been 64 Episodes and nineteen months real time. We have closed out over seventeen years of timelines and character histories with four players still playing from the original group. No time to rest on laurels, we have already begun our New York 2026 Campaign.