Episode One – Welcome to Union City
Monday, May 1, 2028
Lars MacGregor and his wife, Trini (they met and married during the New York City Campaign – 2026) leave the island of Grenada, where they have been living for almost a year and a half, and return to the New York City area to run the strip club, the Post Orifice, in Union City, NJ. The club gets its name from the fact it is an old U.S. Post Office. They take a plane before the sun rises to Atlanta. Lars and Trini meet Vera Zelinke in Atlanta during the morning at the Atlanta Mag Lev station and board that train to New York City. During the ride north, the three discuss the rather harsh gun laws and armor regulations of Union City. All of them had already shipped most of their illegal gear through the Consortium’s smuggling network.
The Consortium is a secret alliance of (7) high level power brokers and movers (both PCs and NPCs), who, among other things, run a vast worldwide smuggling network. This network deals in very high end items usually. The members of this group cooperate and coordinate their activities in the various members’ ‘spheres of influence’. They are unknown to the public, and only a rumor to most national or corporate intelligence agencies.
The three arrive in the afternoon at the MagLev Station in the Bronx where an armored limo is waiting for them with the real estate agent, Frank Grimes, who takes them to the Post Orifice. This club is actually an old United States Post office that has been abandoned, hence the name, which is a play on words. As they are driving west down 46th Street in Union City by the Grove Church Cemetery, and the limo passes a group of seven young men dressed in black with styled skull make up on the faces and clothes. The youths shout at the car and eventually throw some rocks. The three get nervous for a few seconds, but unknown to them (they do not look), the limo fires tear gas at the attackers. This gang is the Dead Boyz.
The car arrives at the Post Oriface at about 4pm. Kicker (the manager, an average 30 something black man with an afro), Wally (the head light and sound tech, a tall 30ish Aussie with a cyberarm) and Curry (the head bouncer, a well-dressed Thai male with two cyberlegs) come out of the club as the Team gets out of the limo. Vera exits last and puts her hand out for someone to help her. No gentleman here as all ignore her gesture. The three come up to the vehicle and Kicker introduces himself as the manager or rather ‘former’ manager of the club. This last bit is phrased as a question. Lars assures him (and the others) that no one is being fired, and everyone’s jobs are safe. A now smiling Kicker then introduces the other employees. Another young man with two bags comes across the street towards the group and Curry intercepts him. Vera recognizes him. This is Mario Schamal (a player character from the previous Super Solo 2 Campaign), and he has arrives over an hour early. Mario is introduced as an electronic security hire. Kicker does not seem impressed and tells Mario and the other two to get the bags from the limo. Curry and Wally hop to it, but Mario replies (with a bit of a smirk) that he can’t since he has to get his other bag from across the street. He turns around and the bag he left on the sidewalk is gone! Welcome to the combat zone! Mario has now lost all his armor (which was illegal anyway) and extra clothes.
The group enters the club. Trini starts setting up housekeeping in the luxurious one bedroom owner’s apartment. Grimes hands over the last of the paperwork and leaves quickly in the limo. Kicker then gives the Team a quick tour. Before they do they see that Mario has already plugged into his deck and is drooling while playing a video game. Vera just yanks his interface cable out briefly stunning the Netrunner. Lars gets a vibe from Curry that this bouncer likes to hurt people. Inside they meet Cavendish, a tall, lanky Brit, who watches the video feeds when the club is open. Mario spots a collection of video games in that security room and quickly learns that the two, both he and Cavendish, share that similar passion. Vera checks out the dancer’s dressing room. There are plenty of empty dressing tables in the common area there, and two private dressing rooms. Each door has a name on it: Lee on one and Alize on the other. As Kicker is showing rest of them around, Jim Brooks, a tall white man in his twenties and the head bartender, arrives. Kicker tells Lars the staff that will be on duty tonight will be available for a meeting at 6 pm.
Starting at 5 pm the rest of the Team arrived. The first is Cliff, a black Rasta Jamaican solo in his mid-thirties, sporting dreadlocks and the scent of ganja that has soaked into his clothes. (He made his first appearance with our group in Episode 56 of our Fourth Corporate War Campaign). Cliff was hired as the principle solo for the Team.
Next, Tyrone made his appearance. He is a young (16) black man from New York City. His skills are primarily intrusion and personal theft (pick pocket). Many on the Team wondered how he came recommended for the job. Well, he is a friend of Trini, Lars’ wife. He needs to be out of Manhattan and have some employment.
Akemi a beautiful female Japanese/Hispanic solo/dancer enters next. Her English is not very good, but her other “assets” make up for this deficiency.
Thomas, a covert op, enters next. He is using a ‘zip’ cover name of Max. Lars does not know this fact, but the people who put together this team do. Thomas is one of the Butchers of Malagay (from when we played Chrome Berets). The now Max was first introduced in Episode 63 of our Fourth Corporate War Campaign. He and Cliff did not meet in the war.
The last of the Team arrives at about 5:45 pm. Many on the Team looked twice as a two cyberarmed solo walked through the door. It looked like Vesparo a world famous solo that had been killed in the Malagay Insurrection a number of years ago. This is actually a founding member of the Vesparo Poser Gang named Marshal Mathers. However, his true name remains unknown to the Team and he answers to the name Vesapro, of course. The poser does have a Rep for participating in the ‘regime change’ in Grenada about 5 years ago, but still he is a poser ganger.
At 6pm there is a staff meeting; Kicker introduces the rest of staff for tonight that has by now all arrived.
– Waitress #1 – Bonnie-Sue, white female, short blond hair and blue eyes, 5’5″ and skinny, ATT 7 and 23 years old. Dresses like the other waitresses (short black skirt, tight black blouse, and high heels). She has a thick Texas accent and chews a lot of gum.
– Waitress #2 – Maria, Porto Rican female, dark hair that’s been bobbed and brown eyes, 5’3″ and average build, very pretty. ATT 8, 22 years old.
– Stripper #4 – Kat black female, light brown skin, bald but wears wigs. She has Ice blue artificial eyes that change colors while she dances and is 6′ tall with a very athletic build. ATT 9, 22 years old.
– Stripper #6 – Alize white female (French), medium-length black hair, and startling light blue eyes (cyberoptics); 5’8″, with a nice figure and long legs. ATT 10, 19 years old. She is one of the dancers that have her own private dressing room.
– Stripper #7 – Rose white female, medium length blood-red hair, bright green eyes, 5′ tall and petite. 20 years old, ATT 9.
Lars notices that a number of people that come to the club head over to a table in the corner and speak briefly to a young man sitting there before leaving. The Scot asks Kicker what is going on there. The manager explains that the man at the table is Benny. He is a member of the drug crew that services the Cemetery District. The crew is run by Carmine ‘Cuddles’ Ippolito, the nephew of Councilman Anthony Ippolito. Cuddles chief enforcer is Victor Gigantino, grandnephew of Carlo Gigantino, the Consigliere of the Lacono Crime Family. It would be a good idea not to interfere in their business. Lars agrees.
The only trouble tonight is two patrons get in tussle and one with a cyberarm breaks the leg of the other patron. This ‘troublemaker’ has a friend with him but they do not challenge the bouncers. They leave peacefully. Vera works on the leg of the wounded patron and manages to salvage it with some bone glue. Also, Vera does not dance tonight and instead acts as ‘den mother’ to the dancers. Akemi gets her first shift on the stage and does a horrendous job (a botch). This does make the other girls feel less threatened. Perhaps she is just suffering from stage fright. Rose is very sympathetic and it becomes clear that she is a lesbian. When Akemi mentions that she has not yet got a place to live, Rose offers to let her crash at her place. Well, they end up in bed together and agree to share the apartment.
Most of the Team has no place to live. They find a ‘safe’ hotel in the Central Precinct. Vera and Vesposer share a room (separate beds) for the night. Cliff and Tyrone do the same. Mario rents a room for the week. Max sleeps on the cot in the security break room at the club, while Lars and Trini settle into the owner’s apartment.
Tuesday, May 2, 2028
The day is quiet in the Cemetery District. Vesposer and Tyrone go out to get their ‘uniforms’ for work. The young man’s is easy and they procure it quickly. On the way to get the poser a suit, Tyrone picks the solo’s pocket and gets his wallet. This is mostly because he is interested in his real name, which he learns (Marshal Mathers). Vesposer buys a beautiful armored white suit with black gloves and a fedora. Of course he can’t find his wallet to pay for it. Tyrone ‘helpfully’ points out where he dropped it on the floor. The two go back to the hotel where Vesposer rests and Tyrone heads to a gym across the street and works out a bit.
Max also goes into town to buy a suit. He gets a nice unarmored one. He explains to Lars that he has a SIN, but he does not want his real name out there in case something goes wrong. They work out a way to pay for the suit that makes Max look as penny-less as he claims.
Lars goes to the local precinct (Bergen) to get armor and weapons permit for the club. He is told those are handled downtown at Police Headquarters. At the headquarters, he is kept waiting for hours. The officer in charge laughs at his initial request. Eventually, after paying some hefty ‘processing fees’ (in cash with NO receipts), he is granted two light armor licenses for his club, and a Class E weapons permit for himself.
As the staff comes in Kicker brings them in to meet Lars.
– Bouncer #2 – Gable, white male, baldhead and blue eyes, 6’3″ and muscular. ATT 4, 27 years old. He dresses in a blue suit, an aqua-colored bow tie, and black gloves. He is carrying a 11mm Budget Arms in a shoulder holster.
– Stripper #3 – Carla, – Cuban female, long black hair highlighted with blue accents, green eyes, 5’4″ tall and thin. ATT 8, aged 18. She wears a lot of make-up.
– Stripper #5 – Tina, Chinese female, with short black hair, brown eyes, 5’6″ with a perfect figure and huge oversized breasts. ATT 9, 25 years old.
In the dressing room Vera notices that Carla is wearing a lot of make up because she is covering a bruise on her face. The den mother informs Lars who makes a mental note.
Around nine o’clock five well-dressed men show up. Two are obvious bodyguards, and one wears a police captain’s uniform. Lars recognizes them from his briefing: Captain Roberto Carbone is the man who runs all the Vice rackets in the precinct, Salvatore Marcello is the Mob lieutenant, who runs the Cemetery District and Frankie “Fingers” deSalvo is the chief enforcer here. They take the ‘Champaign Room’ over the stage as the two bodyguards sit on the door. They tell Kicker to send up Tina when she finishes on the stage, and tell Lars they want to speak to him. Two young men in the club leave as soon as the five clear the doorway.
Lars sends Vera up with Tina with instructions to ‘entertain’ them in whatever manner they wish. Lars goes and gets two bottles of his finest champagne as a ‘complimentary gift’. The mobsters are impressed by Lars and his ‘proper’ attitude. It is explained that he WILL buy a pizza on the first of every month. That “pizza” costs 5,000eb. If that is too much at one time, he may buy a ‘weekly pizza’ for 1500 eb. Lars chooses the monthly pizza. He is told May’s pizza will arrive tomorrow between 2pm and 6pm, which will be the standard delivery time. Salvatore Marcello and Frankie “Fingers” de Salvo along with one bodyguard leave soon after, but Captain Roberto Carbone stays for a few more hours and monopolizes Tina and Vera, who find out that the captain has learned quite a lot in his years as head of both the police’s vice squad and head of the vice rackets. He pays nothing to the club, but tips the strippers well.
At the end of the evening most of the Team comes to Lars and tells him they need to get housing. Kicker is there and tells them he will make a few calls on their behalf.
Wednesday, May 3, 2028
In the morning, the Team comes to the neighborhood to find places to live. Kicker has a few people for them to check out that he has heard have apartments for rent. They can use him as a reference. Cliff and Vera take the second floor apartment in the building next to the club on Tonnelle Avenue. Vesposer and Mario get a second floor apartment across from Frank’s Pizzeria down the block. Tyrone finds an SRO nearby, which is more in his price range.
Everyone installs Level four key locks on their apartments and Mario even installs one on his bedroom door.
Just before noon, the pizza ‘deliveryman’ arrives and brings the most expensive large plain cheese pizza Lars has ever paid for.
Later in the afternoon, the local ‘Welcome Wagon’ of Mafia wives and girlfriends arrive to meet Trini. They bring food and a few gifts. She realizes they are checking her out, and she appears to make a few friends. A few of the women say they will come back tomorrow and show her around the neighborhood.
At 6pm the staff that hasn’t met Lars is gathered together by Kicker for a group introduction since there are quite a few.
– Bartender #2 – Carlos “Carl” Vasquez, Hispanic male, medium-length black hair in a ponytail & brown eyes, 6′ tall and a little bit husky around the waist, ATT 6, 27 years old. He dresses in a bartender’s uniform.
– Light & Sound Tech #2 – Nina, Cuban female, black hair kept in a bun, brown eyes, 5’2″ and chubby, ATT 6 and 30 years old. She dresses in brown overalls that make her butt look bigger than it actually is.
– Waitress #3 – Pauline, white female, long curly auburn hair and hazel eyes, 5’11” and average build with a big chest, ATT 8 and 25 years old.
– Waitress #4 – Claire, black female, long black hair and brown eyes, 5’6″ with big hips, ATT 7 and 26 years old.
– Stripper #1 – Lee, white female, long blond hair and artificial blue eyes, 6’1″ tall and buxom with really nice legs, ATT 10, 24 years old. She’s one of the higher-priced dancers on the payroll.
– Stripper #2 – Donna, white female with short red hair, which glows in the dark, green eyes, 5’8” tall with an average, build. ATT 9, 19 years old. She has a pair of interface plugs on the back of her neck that she keeps capped.
It is a moderately slow evening at the club. Akemi wows the crowd as she makes up for Monday night’s misstep. About nine o’clock there is gunfire outside. Two shotgun blasts come from across the street and three young punks coming into the club are hit. They exchange pistol fire with two more people from the shadows for two more rounds, and then the attackers run away. The wounded stumble into the club and again Vera uses her skills to patch them up. The three wounded young men are grateful, but make it clear that they probably won’t be back.
Thursday, May 4, 2028
Cliff goes out and buys a TV. He also gets cable service. Trini is given a tour of the neighborhood by the ‘wives’ and it is clear that they are sending a message to all the young punks that live here. Trini is now under the Mob’s protection. She is not to be bothered. Pretty much everyone stops in at Frank’s Pizzeria for a slice. The food is first class! They all now become aware that there is a youth gang that hangs out diagonally across the street from the club in an old parking lot that now serves as a ‘park’ for the people. This gang is checking them out, but they do not appear threatening.
(They are the Tonnelle Avenue Irregulars and realize that the Team is not to be trifled with.)
The rest of the day is pretty quiet as is the beginning of the night at the club. About ten o’clock, a person at one table (with two friends) whispers something to a girl sitting with a guy at the next table. The girl slaps the man and he smashes her face into the table. Her ‘date’ leaps up and is punched in the head (fractured skull) by the second man. Curry arrives quickly, confronts the three, and all stop fighting. No one challenges the bouncer. The three are thrown out. Vera checks the girl, who is all right except for a broken nose. The guy has a fractured skull, but refuses to be sent to the hospital. They won’t take him anyways since he is poor. Lars and Max begin to think that maybe these couple fights aren’t just a coincidence.
Friday, May 5, 2028
It is the 5th of May and the whole neighborhood is festive. There is a street fair, and everyone in the neighborhood is out socializing. One would never guess that this neighborhood and city is deeply divided along ethnic lines. Today all the problems are forgotten and everyone is celebrating. There is a subdued police presence and almost no trouble.
Just before the club opens Cavendish calls Lars in to the security room. He has been cleaning up the images from the ambush outside the Post Orifice on Wednesday night. The gunmen across the street are sporting black clothes with stylized painted skulls on their faces and bones on their clothes. It definitely looks like the Dead Boyz.
The club is crowded tonight, and the liquor is flowing. There is not a harsh word anywhere. That is until Akemi and Rose are up on stage doing a homoerotic dance together. At that point a man stands up and yells something unintelligible. Eleven others stand up and start beating down the rest of the customers. A riot breaks out. The bouncers move in, but these boosters seem intent on hurting as many people as possible. Cliff pops out his wolves and closes on one of the troublemakers who turns and sees him. That booster shouts, “All right!” and pops out a pair of wolvers of his own. The two start tearing down. Lars pulls out his guns and moves to the fray. At that point five more boosters stand up and four of them pull out an assault rifle (folded stock) and some heavy submachine guns. The man with the Czar AK-47 cuts loose with a burst into the ceiling. Many, including Lars, hit the floor and the fight comes to an abrupt stop. Of those five that just stood up, the one without a long gun shouts, “Enough! Everyone out.” They and his gang leave the club.
As the leader gets to the door he turns to Lars, who is still on the floor, points at the Scotsman and tells him, “Leave town, now!”
The gang leader leaves. The last two boosters at the door toss grenades into the club as the exit the door. Lars fires two rounds from his pistol at one of the two’s head. One round misses, and the second hits, but not much damage goes through the man’s heavily armored cranium. The grenades go off, but they are flash-bangs. An enraged Cliff charges out after them, but is cut down as he exits by assault rifle and submachine gun fire. He is not killed, but still drops and plays dead. The gang is running up the street to the north as the sound of approaching police sirens comes from the east. A very short time later a brief firefight is heard from the north.
The police arrive in record time (for this neighborhood). Frankie is there quickly with some of the “boys”. It seems the police were pulled off by a feint attack to the east by members of an “unknown” booster gang. The boys in blue are not happy. They actually help the wounded and gather information. This kind of attack makes them look bad and they don’t like looking bad. It also seems the retreating boosters got into a short firefight with the Port Authority Police at the station to the north. The police there just saw heavily armed men coming in their (general) direction and opened up on them. The boosters returned fire to cover their retreat .
The police take a report and talk to Frankie. Lars also talks to the enforcer and tells him about the cleaned up images that Cavendish got of Wednesday night’s ambush outside the club. Frankie expresses surprise stating that doesn’t seem like something the Dead Boyz would do. Cliff breaks his Trauma Team card as Vera stabilizes him. Trauma Team transports him to the local hospital where he is promptly arrested for illegal possession of black cyberware (wolvers). He is treated and transferred to the prison ward. They have to wait until he has recovered before they can remove them or officially arraign him.
That night at the club the Team and the staff lick their wounds and talk. None of the dancers, waitresses, tech people or bartenders were targeted. In fact there was little damage done to the club itself. The rage of the boosters seemed directed at the customers. The short attack was made to injure as many as possible. Lars brings up the possibility that the Dead Boyz might be responsible and that they definitely were responsible for Wednesday’s ambush. Carla quickly throws in that the Dead Boyz couldn’t have perpetrated the ambush. When asked why, she says that they were all at a party that night. After a little more discussion someone asks, “How could she know that?”
Carla stumbles a bit and says she had heard about it, and then quickly joins the staff, who are leaving bit by bit during these discussions. Lars makes a note to inquire further about this tomorrow when she comes back in to work. Everyone goes home soon after.
Episode Two – Who Are Those Guys?
Saturday, May 6, 2028
After last night’s attack most everyone stays close to home. Lars and Trini go out for breakfast. Vesposer goes to the local cleaner and gets his suit dry-cleaned. Vera walks around the (safe?) parts of the neighborhood in the morning then goes home. Mario finishes his media research and gets a list of all the media outlets in the area. Of particular interest is the fact the Union City has one independent television station, three licensed radio stations (religious, Pop and Spanish language) and a few of pirate radio stations (two of them political).
That night the club is almost empty. There are maybe 10 customers total for the entire night, and many of them are just there to buy drugs from Benny, who is usually covers Monday and Tuesday nights. It seems that ‘Cuddles’ also feels that being at the club might be dangerous for one’s health. However, Victor, the drug crew’s chief enforcer is still there to watch over Benny. Business is so bad that Lars waives the stage fee for the girls.
Sunday, May 7, 2028
By now the Team has realized that Sunday here in the Cemetery District belongs to Father Lopez and the church, which is located two doors north of them. Tyrone and Vesposer go to the 10 am English language Mass. Max attends to the 12 noon Mass and then walks around the Thrift/Farmer’s Market on the grounds of the church, which is held in the afternoon after the Masses. Mario completely checks out the club’s security system. Lars also tells Mario to price out a lighting system that will illuminate the car dealership across the street, especially the small alley where the customers were ambushed from last week.
Monday, May 8, 2028
Lars talks with Trini and Max about serving food at the club. There is plenty of excess room by the loading docks, which served this building when it was a Post Office. They discuss whether to ask Sal, the local Mob boss, or just apologize if he objects afterward. They finally decide to speak to Frankie Fingers, Sal’s chief enforcer, just to be on the safe side. Good thing to because Frankie feels that might cut into his business. The two negotiate and it is agreed that Lars can open a light food operation at the club. He will be given one month without any increase in his monthly ‘pizza delivery’. After that the cost goes up. When business is completed, Frankie inquires about Cliff’s arrest for possession of illegal cyberware. Lars tells him what happened. The pizza man then sounds like he is changing the subject, but not really. He tells Lars he is running a ‘special’ this week. For 2000 eb he can send over a ‘Justice Pizza’. Lars takes the hint and orders one (for Cliff). Frankie even throws in two free toppings. The pizza will be delivered tomorrow.
Lars then goes down to the police station to try to get some better weapons permits. This time he finds the officer in charge more willing to be helpful. Lars is granted two Class D permits (small heavy and automatic weapons) for his club, and four permits to be assigned to his employees to use them. He also receives two heavy armor permits. The cash ‘processing fees’ are very light this time.
On return to the club Kicker gives him an envelope that had been delivered by Federal Express. It was from a law firm in the Pyramid offering to buy his club for 20,000 eb more than he paid for it on behalf of an anonymous buyer. After some brief consideration, he turns the offer down.
Max spends the morning checking out the main square of the neighborhood, which is really a triangle formed by the intersection of Tonnelle Avenue and the Bergen Turnpike. Besides the local youth gang, who apparently has been warned not to bother the Team, he notices a couple of hookers quietly plying their trade and a drug dealer at work. More importantly he spies snipers in the upper windows of Sal’s Deli and Frank’s Pizzeria. The gunmen are not always visible, but it is clear to Max that the square is well covered.
Mario reports to Lars that he has three electrical contractors (from a list thoughtfully provided by the local Mob) coming in to install the new outside security lighting. They will be over on the coming Thursday and following Monday and Tuesday. Lars tells Mario to select a contractor (again from the approved list) to get an estimate on the kitchen. A representative of that contractor comes right over and talks briefly with Lars. He will send an engineer over this coming Friday to check out the space and prepare an estimate for the job.
That night the club has a total of five customers. Lars again suspends the stage fee for the girls. The booster attack is having its effect.
Tuesday, May 9, 2028
It is a quiet day in the neighborhood, and people stay close to home. That evening Carla does not show up for work and sends a message that she has ‘family issues’ and won’t be in tonight. Lars is suspicious since this is the girl that expressed her opinion that the Dead Boyz could not be responsible for the attack on Saturday night and the other incidents of harassment of the previous week. When pressed on how she knew this she got nervous and left quickly. Lars had wanted to speak to her.
About 9:30 pm an explosion occurred across the street in the alley between two buildings of the car dealership. This was where the ambush outside the club had occurred the previous week. No one immediately goes outside, but Vesposer climbs out on to the roof of the club to take a look as the others watch the security monitors. The police arrive quickly along with some of the local goodfellas. Vesposer finds himself illuminated by a searchlight from a police AV. He hears the loudspeaker blare, “Don’t move maggot, you’re under arrest!”
The cyborgs of C-SWAT leap on to the roof and take him into custody. They find he is carrying two unregistered 14mm handguns. The poser is taken to jail. Lars finally goes outside when he sees a smugly happy Frankie Fingers and a few of his men watching as two shredded boosters wearing the colors of the Dead Boyz are taken out of the alley. The chief enforcer comments that he didn’t think the Dead Boyz were that into cyberware. The rest of the evening is quiet and the club only has a total of seven customers. Again Lars waives the stage fee for the dancers.
Wednesday, May 10, 2028
Vesposer is quickly brought up before the judge in the morning and pleads guilty to the weapons charge. The poser is fined a token 100-eb fine and released. His matched pair of custom 14mm pistols are forfeited to C-SWAT. Also, in the morning Lars tells Mario to do as much research as possible on the law firm that tended the offer to buy his club. Around lunchtime Lars and a couple of his crew go to lunch at Frank’s Pizzeria. He has a chat with Frank and as he exits the back room he hears two loud gunshots coming from the direction of the store a block away. He remembers that Trini had just gone to the store to get some groceries. He and the others race to the store, and there is Trini on the floor with her back to a row of shelves. She is alive, but covered in blood. He rushes to her and breaks his Trauma Team card. As the Team looks around, there is the wife of the proprietor, Mrs. Viera, holding a double barrel shotgun. Behind the row of shelves Trini is leaning against is a headless booster. All the blood is his. Trini is unharmed, at least physically. The booster confronted her in the store, popped his wolvers out threateningly, and told her to tell her husband to sell the club. Old Mrs. Viera then blew his head clean off. Well, maybe not so cleanly as the blood sprayed all over Lars’ young wife. The police come and take a report.
That afternoon Lars, Max and Vesposer go to a gun store in the Pyramid. Lars buys two Fabrica de Armes assault rifles chambered for 7.62 NATO. As they are a special order, it will take two weeks for them to arrive. Vesposer buys himself two Federated Arms X-9 pistols and some AP ammunition.
When they get back to the club, Mario has some information. He has the names of the three partners of the firm along with their five associates. They all live in heavy security areas in the upper levels of the Pyramid. While they can get pictures of the lawyers, there are none of the lawyer’s families and precious other information about those families. The firm does, however, have a reputation for working for high-level Mob members.
It is another slow night for the club. A total of ten people show up. Most people just come to buy drugs from Cuddles. The mobster himself finally yells at a couple of his clients and tells them to buy a drink, watch the girls (and pay them) before they come for their fix. About 9:30 pm Mario notices on one of the security cameras that a man is cutting through the fence on the north side of the building and he has a large box with him. Max heads out the back to get at him, but there are too many fences and buildings to get by. Lars heads out the front and goes to the side, where he sees a shadowy figure pushing the box up to the building. Lars fires two rounds at the figure. The box explodes knocking the club owner over, but not injuring him beyond a point of stun. The back wall of the club is damaged, but holds up. The ‘bomber’ is vaporized. Lars is astounded that the man blew himself up that way. (Actually, someone else watching detonated it.) For the third night in a row, Lars waives the stage fee.
Thursday, May 11, 2028
The first lighting contractor comes by and talks to Lars. When he is told that the system will light up the used car dealership across the street, the contractor asks if Lars has talked to the owner of the dealership, which is no. Lars is told that he needs to get permission from the owner. So Lars goes over to talk. Well, it comes out that the owner is Sal Marcello’s brother in law and no, he doesn’t want his place lit up like that at night. He intimates that occasionally they need their ‘privacy’ over here at night for ‘business’ reasons. Lars does find out that Tuesday night’s explosion was set by the Mob to kill anyone trying to set up another ambush outside the Post Orifice. Your ‘pizza’ money at work!
Mario spends his day preparing cameras and night vision lens on his bumblebee drones. They want to be able to see any attack coming. With the remotes up, it will be less likely that any boosters will be able to get too close to the club without being noticed.
That night Lars tries to enlist help or information from Cuddles, but gets no joy on that attempt. Mario sees some thermo signatures appearing and disappearing in one of the graveyards. He assumes (correctly) that these are the Dead Boyz. The netrunner also notices that they are very lightly cybered unlike the people who are attacking them. Carla is back at work. Lars asks Vera to try to gain the girl’s confidence, but the young Cuban dancer is a tough nut to crack. Tonight has only a dozen customers so the stage fee is waived again.
Friday, May 12, 2028
In the morning, an engineer from the construction company comes by to talk to Lars about installing a kitchen to serve food. The man goes through the place and says he will have an estimate for him in a week to ten days. He is watched the whole time, as the Team is getting (justifiably) paranoid. After he leaves, Mario goes to a computer store and buys the latest model of the Microtech ILK-4 with cybernetic link. He will be installing a facial recognition program he has and attach it to the club’s security cameras. The pictures of all troublemakers that the club has banned will be installed on it.
Lars decides to walk north and see where it is that the truly horrific parts of the combat zone start. Vesposer and Max go with him. They bring pistols and armored clothing only. About three or four blocks north of the light rail station the neighborhood is definitely turning for the worse. Here Lars’ knows he should probably head back, but his ‘danger junkie’ side keeps him heading north. About a block later they see three boosters sitting outside a dilapidated building. At this point these ‘tourists’ decide maybe they better go back, as the three metal men stand up. They get a couple steps down the road as a three round burst from an AK-47 roars and a round hits Max in the back. He stumbles forward, but his armor dissipates most of the damage. The three cut to an alley to escape the gunfire, but Lars is hit before they clear the corner of the building. Again most of the damage is absorbed by his armor, but he is still lightly wounded. They easily escape the pursuing boosters.
Unfortunately, the trio walks by the light rail station and on to the property (and authority) of the Port Authority Police. The guards, who were alerted to the trouble by the sounds of automatic weapons fire, stop the three. One of the police uses his thermo graphic vision and notices the concealed weapons. They are asked for identification and gun permits. Vesposer produces the two (valid) pieces of identification. Lars is carrying a 14mm pistol, which is too large for his permit, but he just opens his coat to give them a glance, while producing a permit for up to a 12mm pistol. They don’t notice the infraction, but the police don’t really care about Union City regulations. They enforce the Port Authority’s standards, which permit possessionof a 14mm. Max is trying to pretend that he is a zip, and has no ID or Federal Weapons permit. He does produce his carry permit for automatic weapons, but that is limited to the club’s property only. The officer points out that this permit is not valid for street carry, but before he can finish his statement, Max asks if he can just pay them the fine in cash right now. Actually the officer was going to give him a pass on this because of the booster attack, but this offer sounds very much like an offer of a bribe. Well, the Union City Police may be corrupt, but these officers are not, and fiercely proud of the fact. Max is arrested for carrying a weapon without a valid permit. Lars tries to intervene, by telling them that they had just been in Europe, and it is customary there to pay the fines on the spot, and no bribe was meant by the offer. The officer in charge just looks at him and asks how could a zip get an entry visa to get into Europe? Opps! Lars is also detained, while they check his visa and immigration status. Vesposer is sent on his way. The club owner is held a few hours, but everything is in order and he is released. Max is sent to jail on Riker’s Island for the weekend to await arraignment on Monday.
Meanwhile, at the hospital in Union City Cliff is well enough to be arraigned on his possession of illegal cyberware charges. About ten minutes before this happens an orderly comes into the room and switches Cliff’s hospital identification bracelet. Finally Judge Lorenzo Barone and his court staff enter. As the proceedings get underway, a man who identifies himself as Cliff’s attorney asks for a copy of the x-ray showing the cyberware and the patient’s records. Cliff is asked if this man is his attorney. Well the Jamaican has never seen this man in his life, but says yes anyway. The lawyer points out that the patient number on the x-ray doesn’t match the number on the records. The district attorney checks the wrist bracelet and low and behold it doesn’t match the x-ray either. Judge Barone calls for a fluoroscope (or the 2028 equivalent). When the instrument is turned on, poof, there is no wolvers to be seen! Before the district attorney can speak, Cliff’s defense attorney says there must have been a mix up with the x-rays and moves that all charges be dismissed. The Judge Barone, who likes ‘pizza’, agrees and dismisses the charges. The ADA, who also must have had a slice of pizza, does not object. Cliff is transferred out of the prison ward and is discharged in a couple of hours from the hospital.
That evening as the club is getting ready to open, Carla comes to see Lars. She tells him if he wants to talk to the Dead Boyz, he should go to the Grove Church Cemetery tomorrow alone at noon, and not fly any remotes to cover him. She gives him specific instructions on where to go in the cemetery.
The club has only sixteen customers that night. Vera takes a turn on the stage and divides the money between the other dancers. By now the Czech porn star has won the support of the dancers here and is becoming trusted by them. Akemi and Rose’s relationship has deepened giving Akemi a wide acceptance in the community. Rose is well liked in the neighborhood. While the customer base is recovering from the scare of last week’s booster attack, attendance is still way down. Lars again waives the stage fee.
Saturday, May 13, 2028
Early in the morning, Lars tells Mario to get as much information as he can glean from the NET about booster gangs north of Union City. The netrunner gets right on it. Most people stay close to home that day, but Lars does go to his meeting, alone. When he reaches the meeting point, a Dead Boy with full-face paint steps out from behind a gravestone. Lars notices two others nearby in hiding. After a brief introduction the two he saw reveal themselves along with two others he didn’t notice. The ex-British Army soldier tells the group that he had seen three of them in hiding. A voice right behind him tells him that he didn’t notice him. Lars turns around and sees that this Dead Boy was close enough to have slit his throat with the mono-edged blade the ganger is holding. This guy is VERY good.
The gang is arrogant and slightly hostile. They know about his problem with the boosters and confirm the club owner’s suspicion that someone else is behind it. The Dead Boyz know this because they were offered the job of diving him out of the neighborhood first. The gang will not reveal the name of the person behind the plot. They explain that it is a professional courtesy. The identities of their clients are confidential. Anyone who tries to contract their services has to be confident that the gang will not sell them out if they cannot come to an agreement. The gang leader does point out that they also know the identity of the booster gang that did take the job, and that information could be for sale since the two gangs have no confidentiality issues. Lars asks for a price, and is told that money will not suffice in this case. They want a future VERY big favor from Lars. The Scotsman agrees and he gets the name of the gang: the Lords of Metal. When pressed for more information, the gang leader smiles with all the charm of a great white shark. He tells Lars that their deal is for the name only, and it is time for him to leave. Also, Lars is warned that he and his crew are not to enter any of the graveyards in this area without a specific invitation, or unless they are attending a legitimate funeral. If he wants to contact them again, he should leave word with Carla. Lars has learned though his Mob connections that this dancer dates one of the Dead Boyz.
Actually the club has a decent night attendance wise. It is not packed, but there is a respectable crowd. While Mario is watching his remote that is patrolling to the north, he sees a group of six heavily cyber people coming down John F. Kennedy Boulevard. The group cuts across the edge of the Flower Hill Cemetery. Suddenly one goes down, then another. The remaining four try to flee, but the all drop quickly. A few heat signatures appear among the gravestones and the bodies are pulled out of sight. The thermo signatures then all fade away. When informed of this, Lars just hopes that they were some of the Lords of Metal. (They were.) Lars also considers charging the stage fee for tonight, but Vera talks him into suspending it again, since none of the girls had a good week.
Sunday, May 14, 2028
It is a very slow day. Those that went to church last week do again, or rather all those are not in jail. In the evening Mario has completed his research and has the names and general location of every booster gang between here and Fort Lee. The Lords of Metal are believed to number about two to three dozen, and are led by a couple of highly trained (and cyberpsycho) ex-military guys. They control the town of Edgewater a little over five kilometers northeast of the Cemetery District on the Hudson River.
Monday, May 15, 2028
It is another slow day. Lars cancels the remaining lighting contractors since he can’t get permission to illuminate the car dealership. He and his Team go over the information that Mario has acquired on the Lords of Metal and ponder their response. Cliff goes down to the police station with Lars to get his weapons permits. They unknowingly walk through a cyberware detector, but the police, who now know Lars don’t arrest Cliff, at least this time.
Max gets his day in court later in the afternoon. He pleads guilty, is fined 100-eb and released. When he returns to the club, he finds his compatriots less than sympathetic. Lars seems to feel no responsibility for the incident. Max feels that the expedition to the north last Friday was ill advised and foolish. There are a lot of ‘soap’ jokes, and it gets pretty rough. Well, Max is more upset about doing a weekend in the slammer and Vesposer really lays into him. Max snaps. He unleashes a tirade on the poser. He tells everyone he knew the real “Vesparo”, he is actually one of the Butchers of Malagay, and tells the true story of the poser’s idol’s death. That ‘famous’ solo threw a scatter grenade that he knew would blind everyone but him in hopes that he could escape being killed by a robotic weapon (.50 caliber machine gun) that had deployed and was about to spray the group. Well, the targeting system of the weapon could see through that smoke, and its operator saw that only Vesparo was unaffected so it unloaded on him. One of the ten rounds blew his head right off. Max finishes by shouting something like, “He (Vesparo) was just a punk, and died like a pig!”
There was a moment of silence and finally Vesposer asked (with almost a tone of admiration), “So you actually knew the real Vesparo?”
Yes, Vesposer knows the true story of his hero’s death. It is imprinted right on his Poser Chip, and nothing anyone can say will make him think differently. Max just had a tough weekend at Riker’s Island and is upset. Max then realizes he is just shoveling sand against the tide with this argument.
Mario however made a mental note to research the incident. The names of all the infamous “Butchers of Malagy” are public record. He wants to find out who this “Max” really is.
Business is again slow at the club, but up a bit from last Monday. Again the stage fee is waived. Lars realizes that if he can’t get more people into the club, he might start losing the staff. They all have to eat too.
Episode Three – Scouting Out the Lords of Metal
Tuesday, May 16, 2028
Lars decides to send his ‘prowler’, Tyrone, the sixteen-year-old black kid from New York City on his first recon mission to check out the Town of Edgewater where the Lords of Metal are supposedly located. The young man tells him he doesn’t have a sneak suit to which Lars replies, “Well, you better go buy one”.
Mario finds a store in Newark that sells that kind of gear and Vesposer takes Tyrone there on his Bermuda trike. Tyrone ends up spending almost all his money getting barely enough equipment to do the job.
Meanwhile Fed-Ex delivers a package addressed to Lars at the club. Kicker looks a little nervous and leaves the room quickly so Lars runs his chemical sniffer over it looking for explosives. It registers some odd readings, but none of which are dangerous. Inside the package is a dead rabbit, which has been shaved, tortured and had its throat cut. A card is hung on its neck with the name Trini, Lars’ wife, written on it. The club owner is outraged. He tells those who know of this incident that his wife is not to find out about this.
Just before nightfall, Vesposer takes Tyrone up to the Ridgefield exit on the New Jersey Thruway and drops the prowler off to make the almost two mile trip to Edgewater. The young man slips through the Combat Zone, but is seen by two men in long trench coats. He recognizes them as members of the Lords of Metal and moves away. The two do not pursue. These two are far from the group’s supposed area so they start to worry that their Intel may be faulty. (Actually, Tyrone massively botched his awareness roll and misidentified them.) Finally, he reaches the Palisades overlooking Edgewater.
As the young prowler is moving into position, Mario takes one of his Bumblebee Remotes with a visual sensor package and scouts Edgewater for the boosters. It doesn’t take long for him to find them in a large warehouse down at the river’s edge. It is a 200-meter long by about 40 meter wide warehouse on an inlet with a dock to the north. The west half of the building is two stories and looks solidly build. The east half is a steel building and is one story. The remote closes in to about 200 meters to get a good look and take some pictures. After about five minutes of this close observation a couple of more people come on the roof and a flash is seen coming from them. Max thinks he sees a condensation trail just before the remote ceases to transmit and is lost. Later, on further study of the pictures taken of the roof, they identify a radar unit. The older Bumblebee Remotes are NOT radar resistant. The Team decides to switch to the Bell Mini-bee for surveillance, which is. They also notice two cameras at every corner of the building, one over the main door and one on the side of what will turn out to be a covered external stairwell.
Tyrone heads north along the Palisades and finds a road down. He notices a sentry point manned by boosters, but can’t tell if they are Lords of Metal or not. He heads to the water and then goes south towards where he hopes to find the booster’s lair. While moving along the shore the prowler sees a couple of people in an otherwise abandoned building. He can’t quite make them out so he goes around and avoids them. Finally he reaches the inlet north of the warehouse and hunkers down for the night to watch. The prowler notices two more cameras on the radar mast and spies some remote detectors high up on the wall of the buildings. From here he cannot tell their function. The others run a couple of flights with the Bell Mini-bee to gather more Intel. As the night continues Tyrone gets thirsty and realizes that he did not bring any water for his multi-day mission here. He is getting mighty thirsty. He takes a sniff of the waters of the Hudson River to see if it is drinkable and almost gags. As dawn approaches, Tyrone heads back away from the gang building, and seeks a place to hunker down for the day near the base of the Palisades. He finds three abandoned houses in poor repair. One of them has a corpse stinking up the place. He chooses that one in hopes that the stench will keep the curious away.
At the club that night there are about a dozen customers, but they are nervous. Vera notices this, but no one inquires why to any of the patrons. If they did they would have learned that word on the street is that anyone who comes here will be targeted.
Wednesday, May 17, 2028
In the day, Tyrone remains hunkered down in the ruined house. He plans to wait till night to continue his surveillance. By now he is totally parched.
The police come to the club. They are looking for Antonia Benardo, the 15-year-old granddaughter of Mr. And Mrs. Viera, the owners of the local market. She didn’t come home last night. She had a fight with her grandparents, whom she lives with. She had said in the past she wanted to get a job as an exotic dancer. Lars talks with them, but hasn’t seen her. He offers them a drink, but the police turn it down. The tell him to keep his eye open for her, which he gladly does.
As the sun goes down, Tyrone moves out and begins his full surveillance of the booster’s HQ. The Bell Mini-bee flies cover for him, and the gang does not notice either of them. By dawn the young man is in bad shape and gets back to his ruined house. As an asset he is now mostly useless due to his thirst. The standing water in the area is putrid and he doesn’t have the skill or equipment to purify it. It also seems he lacks the courage to venture out to find some. Not surprising, he is only sixteen years old after all.
At the Post Orifice business is better, but still in the average range night at the club for customers. Unknown to the Team, Cuddles has used his influence to bring customers in.
Thursday, May 18, 2028
Lars spends most of the day going over the Intel they have collected with Max and Cliff. The three study the tactical situation and prepare their next moves. By nightfall Tyrone is getting delusional and he makes his way back to the extraction point. He succeeds in finding it where Vesposer is waiting with water and a ride back to the club.
After dark Mario sends a Bell Mini-bee to Edgewater carrying a Grid Bug. The remote lands and drops off the tinier remote. The Bug crawls up the building and uses its induction leg to tap into one of the cameras. They discover that each camera is on a dedicated hard line that runs straight to a monitor and there is apparently no computer control. The other remotes Tyrone had noticed turn out to be motion sensors. They too are on dedicated hard lines. Mario attempts to slip the Grid Bug on to the roof to enter the building down one of the machinery vents on the roof, but it is spotted as it tries to come over the lip of the low wall that runs around the roof. Mario has the Bug dart back and hide. The boosters aren’t sure what they saw. Still, Lars has Mario bring the Grid Bug back. They will try again tomorrow.
That night a city car parks out in front of the club, and a man with two cyberlegs (w/speeding bullet) comes in for a bit. When he leaves, he does not go to his car, but heads north. Max, who is watching a security camera, notices this. Lars suspects this might be trouble or a bomb, or both. He calls the police. When the next large crowd comes by, it explodes. It had a sonar trigger.
The police arrive to pick up the pieces and the club empties out for the rest of the evening. Lars continues his policy of not charging the girls the standard stage fee due to the loss of customers.
Friday, May 19, 2028
The Team stays close to home today as they are expecting continued harassment from the Lords of Metal. After dark, Lars has Mario send the Bell Mini-bee back to Edgewater with a Grid Bug and attempt another penetration. This time they are successful. The remote gets access to most of the building. The two-story sections was office and conference rooms, but are now used as crash
spaces for the gang. The second floor is pretty much the same except there are three rooms in the center of the building that even the Grid Bug cannot enter. All those doors are sealed against intrusion. They feel that it is mostly against any sort of gas or chemical attack, but it also serves to keep out the Bug. There is a large storage area on that covers both floors also near the center of the building that contain many unopened shipping crates. The power on the Grid Bug is getting low so they pull it out and send in their second one for the other section of the building.
The one story section on the eastern end of the structure is a warehouse with three major areas. Going from west to east, the first also contains stacked crates that appear smaller than the ones in the two-story building’s storage area. The next warehouse room is the gang’s ‘party room’. There are a few smaller rooms off that. These are bathrooms, utility closets, and a holding area where a few young women were chained to the wall while awaiting their ‘turn’ in the party room. There is a security waiting area with a half a dozen gangers at ready, and one room that is sealed and not accessible. The last and easternmost room has been converted to a garage. Inside are a deuce and a half truck, a Ford Mazda Luxus 14, Daihatsu Family Cruiser, Harley Davidson Thundergod, Harley Davidson Blue Knight (with the words: Fort Lee Police, on its fuel tank), and a Long Rider (generic) motorcycle. There are two smaller rooms off this large one. The large storeroom contains lots of loose automotive parts. In the smaller storeroom is a Master Mechanic Tool Set. The Grid Bug successfully gets out unnoticed. Mario now has enough raw data to come up with a fairly accurate layout of the facility. It will take a couple of days to put it together, but this is an intelligence bonanza.
After last night’s bombing business is really down again. Lars continues his policy of not charging the dancers a stage fee. While this is having a serious effect on his bottom line, it is engendering a strong feeling of loyalty among his employees. When Rose and Akemi go home after work and are almost at their door they hear whimpering in an alley. It is Antonia Bernardo. She is naked and it is obvious she has been repeatedly raped and tortured. There are bite marks all over her body. They immediately call the police. The sirens attract the attention of Lars and Max, who go out to check along with Cliff. The three are almost expecting to see Rose and Akemi’s corpses, but instead see the young victim being loaded into an ambulance, while the police question the two dancers. Antonia Bernardo and her grandparents are very well liked in this community, and Rose and Akemi actions improve their standing also. It doesn’t hurt Lars’ reputation and acceptance either.
Saturday, May 20, 2028
There is a heavy police presence in the neighborhood today. Mario works on processing all the data from the Grid Bug intrusion to come up with an accurate layout of the Lords of Metal warehouse. Lars, Trini and Max take the subway into Manhattan to visit Harry, the leader of the Brass Monkeys.
In the New York City Campaign, Harry ran a gun shop in the Manhattan Combat Zone just north of 14th Street (still does). His employees form a ‘gang’ of sorts who work at and protect the store. This group is known as the Brass Monkeys. Trini was one of these ‘employees’, and a particular favorite of Harry, who treated her like a daughter. Lars won her heart in that campaign along with the friendship of Harry and the Brass Monkeys.
Trini’s homecoming is joyous as Harry and the gang welcomes all three. Lars eventually asks for a private chat with Harry. He explains their troubles in Union City and says he needs some assault rifles and maybe some heavy weapons. Harry responds that he makes most of the guns he sells and it is hard to get them out of the zone. Lars tells him about the threats against Trini and the old man gets mad. He can help. But it would probably be faster if he bought from a fixer in New Jersey, and he just happens to know one that might be able to help. Lars also remarks he could use some muscle to deal with the Lords of Metal. Harry is loath to offer his Brass Monkeys as they are good in a fight, but not so much against an organized booster gang. He promises to make some inquiries though. Finally, Lars feels that Trini must be protected and would he tell her to stay here with him and the Brass Monkeys till he can deal with the Lords of Metal? Harry laughs and says, “Do you think she would listen to me? You know how headstrong she is. She will ‘stand by her man’.
Finally the two come up with a plan. Harry comes up to Trini and asks if she can stay here for a while and help him produce an order of weapons as he is a little shorthanded? Lars encourages her to help out her old mentor, and she accepts. Harry will keep her busy and protected for the next week.
Lars and Max then head to Brighton Beach. The Brit has a contact there he wants to talk to. Anton runs a small electronics shop, but is really a fixer, who specializes in rare chips and programs. The two enter his store and catch up a little before getting down to business. Lars is looking to hire some muscle, but Anton does not do that kind of work. Lars almost has Anton ready to point him to someone in the neighborhood who does when the shop door opens and about four large men with tattoos peeking out from under their sleeves enter the store. Anton immediately breaks into a sweat. The leader of the group tells Lars in a thick Russian accent that he and his friend will come with them….now! Lars gets indignant, but Max tells him that they probably better. Anton’s expression is one of “Oh, my god, I’m going to die!”
The two agree to go with the group, and as they exit the store, two more men fall into line and another two go in to have a ‘chat’ with Anton. Lars and Max are led to the local bathhouse, where they are kept waiting for a short time. Then Max is told to have a seat at a table, where he is brought a cup of coffee and told to stay put. Lars is brought to a changing room and ‘prepared’ for his bath. He is finally brought into the baths where he sits down for a soak with an older Russian man covered with tattoos. He knows enough to realize this is the boss. The conversation is courteous but blunt. No one from Union City, New Jersey does ‘business’ in Brighton Beach, and certainly does not hire anyone from here to engage in any questionable activity. Lars may come here for a meal, or to buy a chip or two, but that is it. This is his one and only warning (albeit an attempt at a friendly one). Lars is given a rub down (rather than ‘rubbed out’) and told to leave Brighton Beach. He and Max do so immediately. As they are leaving it dawns on them that normally they just would have been killed. It seems that Lars has engendered some respect locally here. He handled the Russian Pashtan well and although he did not get what he was looking for, he learned that at least he was rising from pawn to player. As they were getting back to Union City, Lars got a call from Harry to meet a man named ‘Karl’ at a coffee shop in Newark tomorrow at 2 pm. This man might be able to help with his problems.
Saturday night at the club was slow due to Thursday night’s bombing. Lars hears about Antonia’s abduction, rape and torture. He believes it is the work of the Lords of Metal is response to Mrs. Viera killing the booster who threatened Trini a few days ago. Tyrone is inserted back into Edgewater again by Vesposer. This time the prowler brought plenty of water. Mario ran his remotes to help Tyrone get in position, but spent most of his time monitoring the water traffic on the Hudson River to check the feasibility of a waterborne insertion for their coming assault on the warehouse headquarters of the Lord of Metal.
Sunday, May 21, 2028
Lars, Max and Cliff take a cab to the Newark coffee shop to meet Karl, a fixer specializing in illegal weaponry that Harry had put them in contact with. They found Karl quite willing to deal. It was soon apparent that he has a sweet spot for Trini and is also angry that the boosters had threatened her. Lars buys 3x A-80 assault rifles, an M-60 machine gun, a 12.7mm Borg Assault rifle, 8x kilos of C-6, ordered 2x 14mm Big Governments (for Vesposer) and an RPG-A all with three rockets and plenty of ammunition. Max picks up an Ameritech Magnum pistol, and Cliff buys some more ammunition for his 14mm borg assault rifle. Both Max and Cliff pony up some of the down payment. The order will be delivered Tuesday to the club. Lars inquires if he also deals with mercenary hires. Karl says no, but he knows someone who does. He will give that person Lars’ number.
Everyone else spends his or her usual Sunday, going to church or just hanging out. The Cemetery District experiences another quiet day. Later in the afternoon Lars gets a call from Rachel, a friend of Karl’s, she says they might have some business to discuss. She tells him to meet her at the Panama Bar and Grill, which is a notorious bar in Newark where many solos hang out between jobs. The three are led into a back room where a beautiful bio-sculpted red head and her bodyguards are waiting. Lars makes it clear he is willing to pay for well-equipped, competent people. They settle on 5 mercs (3 troopers, one heavy weapons and one sniper) for 12 hours for an assault mission. The price is 60,000 eb (Lars pays the ammo tab as an extra) all up front. Well, Lars doesn’t have that kind of money, but Cliff offers to put up the cash. Rachel is not happy that the money is not available now, since the preliminary plan is for an attack this coming Wednesday night. She agrees to make the hires immediately, but stresses that she must have the cash by 5 pm tomorrow, or she will find another assault for her people to do. The meaning is clear. Lars realizes she could be a very valuable asset in the future.
Monday, May 22, 2028
The construction contractor comes and delivers his estimate for installing a kitchen. The cost for a full kitchen is 25,000-eb, but it will serve the small clientele that Lars expects. The price for a light kitchen, that could never accommodate a dinner or full food service, is only 15,000-eb. Lars thanks him and says he will consider it. Right now the Brit’s operating budget is getting very low.
Cliff goes to the bank and gets the cash for Rachel and delivers it before noon. This makes up for the funds not being immediately available and goes far in improving the fixer’s mood. Meanwhile, Lars goes across the street and talks to Sal’s brother in law, who owns the used car dealership, about getting a large panel van to carry the Team. Well, he doesn’t have it, but he has a cousin that does. The car dealer will also take care of the registration if Lars wants him to. Lars says no, he doesn’t need it registered yet. The brother in law gets the point and says he will make sure the vehicle can’t be ‘legally’ traced back to Lars. It will be delivered tomorrow.
That night the man with the cyberlegs from last Thursday’s bombing comes up to the front door of the club. He is disguised, but Mario’s facial recognition program catches the booster. Cavendish shouts out a warning over the com link as the booster shoots, Curry, the head bouncer, who is working the main door in the head twice, and then runs. Cliff charges out the door after him and is hit by an ET Barrett-Arasaka 20 mm at 700 meters (6d10) from across the railroad tracks. Lars stops at the door and takes cover. Cliff’s heavy armor saves his life, but he is seriously wounded. Still, the Jamaican turns and reaches cover before the follow up shot hits him. The man with the cyberlegs is shot down a half a block away by a Mob sniper, who catches sight of the attack. The police come and take a report. Vera patches up Cliff. Unfortunately, Curry is dead. The staff is saddened and enraged. This coming Wednesday, the Lords of Metal will reap the whirlwind!
Episode Four – Battling the Boosters
Tuesday, May 23, 2028
First thing in the morning, Vesposer and Max go to Newark and find that grenades are not sold legally there. They come home on the Bermuda. Lars goes to Harry’s Ammo Emporium and Gun Range in the Manhattan Combat Zone to visit. When alone he asks Harry if he has truck he can use to move the anticipated loot out of the (hopefully) soon to be liberated Lords of Metal HQ. Harry responds that he usually rents a vehicle himself.
About 11 am a truck arrives. The driver asks Tyrone where to unload a delivery and to sign for it. Tyrone asks what the containers have in them and the driver responds that he doesn’t know. Tyrone doesn’t want to take responsibility and declines. The driver leaves a card and drives off with the weapons shipment that Lars was expecting. Needless to say Lars is furious, but he did not leave any instructions. Also, Tyrone did not pass the driver along to Kicker or anyone else to deal with. Lars calls the trucking company and it will take 1000 eb to get delivery today or else he will have to wait till Thursday. He pays. At 2 pm the new panel truck arrives.
About 4 pm Lars calls for a briefing with the team as they go over the plan of attack. The merc sniper and the merc heavy weapons specialist will insert about 10 pm on Wednesday night from the Ridgefield exit area, and will be in position about 2 am on Thursday morning. The rest of the team will leave Union City after the club closes in the new panel van. They will drive up to Fort Lee and get out as close as they can without entering Edgewater. They will go to a point a little over 100 meters south of the warehouse/clubhouse. By this point Mario will have flown two Grid Bugs to the location and he and Cavendish will have positioned them to neutralize (loop) the two southern exterior cameras. Then Tyrone will sneak up and fog both sonar detectors to cover the stealth approach of the rest of the team. Tyrone points out that the steel building will be hard, if not impossible to climb silently AND stealthily. He suggests just fogging one sensor. The Team could then just approach the fogged sensor, which should be out of range of the second active one. They could then just stay close to the building and move along it to the door and avoid the second sensor altogether. Once they reach the back emergency door they will cover the lock areas (where the inside bar is) with IR ponchos to mask the two small thermite charges that will cut the inside holding bar with precision. The Team will stealth in and take out the party room and the ready room in the one story warehouse first. Then they will take the garage and sweep and clear the rest of the building.
The mercs arrive for their briefing. And give Gable the code word to identify themselves. Well, no one had told the bouncer so he just let them in the club. At six o’clock, the Team realizes that they are probably here, but there is no way to identify them. The mercs are trying to act like customers so there is little way of telling who they are. The Team looks over the crowd and brings it down to eight people they do not recognize. Lars goes to each of these eight and asks if they are ready for their private ‘champagne room’ that they had ordered. Six say yes and are sent up to the meeting. Well, there is supposed to be only five. The sixth turns out to be just a guy trying to get a cheap thrill. Luke, the mercenary leader, asks Lars if the interloper is someone important to which the answer is no. Luke then shoots the stranger dead. They go over the plan with the mercs, who like it. The sniper and the heavy weapons specialist ask for a layout or close up pictures of the building they are to shoot from, which Lars doesn’t have. Lars promises to send Tyrone there tonight to get the information. The meeting ends and the mercs leave singly or in pairs to get ready. Tyrone doesn’t go and get the information on the building and Lars is too busy to supervise this personally. Lars stays up all night and through most of the next day to make 8x 1-kilo ‘door buster’ charges with C-6 that arrived with the weapons shipment that had been turned around.
Wednesday, May 24, 2028
In the morning Vesposer drives Max to the Free City of Newark to purchase four IR cloaks and some spray to fog the sonar/motion detectors. They easily pick up the goods.
Another deliveryman arrives and again it is Tyrone who meets the deliveryman. The young prowler hasn’t heard of any deliveries for today, but he is nervous about sending another one away. Lars is busy and Max is in Newark, so he signs for it and has the two crates put in the back. The crates contain the two Fabrica de Armes assault rifles (chambered for 7.62) and altered for full automatic fire that Lars ordered two weeks ago.
Everything goes well at the club that night. Lars finishes making eight one-kilo door buster charges with the C-6, but fails the roll so the charges will not work. He then uses the sleep inducer to get the rest he needs to be sharp for tonight’s operation.
One of the quirks in Lars’ backstory is that he served in the British SAS, or rather that is what he tells everyone. Actually, he could never pass any technical test, so this is not true. He only served in the British Army. His reputation is that he is ex-SAS, but those who have the clearance to get access to his records know this is not true. This man has a Demolition skill of 6, but only a TECH attribute of 2. Lars knows how, he just can’t seem to get it right!
The merc sniper and heavy weapons specialist are driven out to the Ridgefield exit and dropped off before midnight. The rest of the Team will head out after the club closes.
Thursday, May 25, 2028
The bulk of the Team heads out and picks up the remaining three mercs. Vera is driving and Akemi will be her backup. They drive to Fort Lee and come at Edgewater from the north. As they are entering Edgewater they get a transmission from the sniper and the heavy weapons specialist. The building that was selected for their firing position is gutted. It has NO floors. They cannot use it. The sniper says he and his associate will move up to the top of the Palisades and fire down from the west, but it will delay the attack by a little over an hour. There is not much more that can be done about it so they delay the attack to let them get in position. The two Grid Bugs are released and both Mario and Cavendish control one each and move them into position on the two cameras that cover the approaches the Team will use. When the sniper and the heavy weapons man are in position, Mario loops the feed on the cameras.
Tyrone moves in and spoofs the motion sensing remote. The rest of the Team approaches stealthily and reaches the door. Max and Vesposer position the IR cloaks over the lock areas to hide the flash and light from the thermite. Lars sets to make his precision cut on the door. Well, his skill is great, but as pointed out earlier, his TECH attribute isn’t. He fails to cut it. The IR cloaks cover the light and muffle the sound, but the smell reaches on of the guards on the roof as Lars sets another round of thermite. The sniper tells the Team that one of the roof guards is heading to take a look. They successfully hide, but the IR cloaks being used as a tent to cover the door are visible and the guard asks his buddies to come take a look. Lars gives the word for the strike to commence. The guard’s head explodes and an RPG round blasts the other two on that section of roof. This next thermite charge does the trick and the Team sweeps in to the warehouse and moves towards the ‘playroom’ and security area. Another RPG round hits the low roof this time. This explosion is followed by a series of rapid detonations that shake the building.
The reaction force went to the roof and ate the RPG as they exited the roof house. The first explosion set off the stored Stinger missiles and wiped that team out. The merc sniper finished off the rest
Vesposer, Tyrone and a merc remain in the first warehouse to hold the door against any attack from the rest of that two-story building. The attack sweeps into the ‘playroom’, but there is no one there. The ready room is empty too. Lars and one of the mercs run into the garage as a second merc and Max stop at the next door, which was one of the doors sealed against intrusion. Max sets a demo charge on that door and blows it in. He and the merc look inside and see the flaming debris all over stacked weapons, ammunition and explosives. The merc runs for the outside door. After a brief pause to consider trying to put the numerous fires out, Max also runs. In the garage a couple of vehicles are missing and so far there has been almost no reaction except some minor moves to the roof. Lars is beginning to suspect that the Lords of Metal are not home. Perhaps they are out attacking someplace else? No time to consider that, because the word is given about the flaming arsenal and they join the retreat outside. The four make it safely out as a two hundred foot fireball blows through the warehouse roof and illuminates the Hudson. The three in the other building are blown to the ground but otherwise unharmed. The four outside take a little stun and are knocked off their feet, but are otherwise unharmed due to their heavy armor.
The Team regroups and starts to sweep the remaining part of the building. The first floor is empty. On the second they reach the first sealed room. Lars kicks the door ion and is greeted by a claymore mine. It knocks him back, but otherwise washes off his assault armor. This is the now destroyed security room where the camera and sensor monitors were linked too.
By now an armed Port Authority boat is approaching the dock with heavily armed and armored paramilitary troops aboard. Lars calls for a withdrawal. Vesposer takes a couple of rounds at long range, but his armor holds. The Team meets up with the panel van and returns to the club after dropping off the mercs.
When they arrive back home the police and fire department are there. The house just to north of the club, where Cliff and Vera lives has been destroyed and bodies are being loaded in the ambulances. It seems the Lords of Metal had come to make an attack of their own.
(GM Note: I had made a timeline for the Lords of Metal and what they would do to drive out the Team after we completed Episode Two. It was just blind luck that the Team struck on the same day. The boosters’ plan was to kill Cliff and kidnap Vera. They would then make an example of Vera, if the Team did not leave and sell the club to their mysterious employers. The attack on the house occurred at the same time as the attack on the warehouse. Well, the boosters were radioed about the assault on their HQ as they found their quarry was not at home. They lost it and killed everyone in the place, then burned it to the ground. They would have attacked the club, but the Mob snipers were watching and the rampaging boosters had by now attracted the police.)
The police directing traffic see who is driving the van and wave them into the club’s parking lot. The Team quietly unloads the van unmolested by the authorities. Lars goes out to check out the burned out house, and sees that it is a total loss. The firemen are able to save the church next door, which escapes with only minor smoke damage. Sal and Frankie are out there. They have a talk with Lars. Sal points to the column of smoke rising from Edgewater two miles away and asks if Lars knows anything about that. His words say “no”, but it is clear that the answer is “yes, I did it”. The two mobsters don’t seem that upset. After all, nobody likes the Lords of Metal.
Trini comes back from Manhattan that afternoon. She slaps Lars across the face and shouts, “That’s for treating me like a child.” She then gives him a long sensual kiss and says, “That’s for caring.”
The rest of the day everyone hunkers down for the expected attack by the Lords of Metal. The club has a very small turn out as many also expect an attack that never comes.
Friday, May 26, 2027
Again the Team remains on alert for a counterstrike by the Lords of Metal. Evening comes and the club opens. Attendance is better, but still way below average. About 7 pm Sal comes in with a few of his bodyguards. He tells Lars that the he must come with him. Lars asks if he can bring Max and the answer is yes. They go across the street to the Deli where an armored stretch limo is waiting with two other vehicles. The three get in and a very serious looking man is waiting for them. They head to Palace Hotel in downtown Union City. This is the nicest hotel outside of the pyramid. The ride is very silent and Sal looks worried. They all go to the penthouse where Max is told to sit down. Sal himself is very quiet and deferential to this unknown man. The stranger directs Lars to another room in the suite. Inside a table is set up. A booster wearing the Lords of Metal colors sits uncomfortably at the table with two heavily cybered goons in suits on either side. Lars is directed to the seat across the table from the booster. It is obvious that he is the leader of the Lords. In the other room, the booster leader’s second comes out of the bathroom and spies Max. There is a tense moment. But the booster sits down and the two just stare at each other with great hostility.
The mysterious man introduces himself as a Mr. Reggetti and dismisses the guards. He explains that the current conflict has gotten out of control and must stop. Lars and the booster gang must make peace or all will be wiped out. The only way for either of them to leave this room is to agree to peace or neither will leave alive. The mediator excuses himself to go wash his hands. The two combatants glare at each other across the table. Finally, the booster leader says, “OK, peace. You don’t fuck with us, and we don’t fuck with you.”
Lars agrees. The booster puts his hand in his pocket for a second and then extends his hand to Lars. There is obviously something small in it. Lars has done his research so he feels that this guy is not so stupid as to try to kill him so he shakes his hand. Lars feels a small envelope, so he takes it surreptitiously and pockets it. Mr. Reggetti comes back into the room, and is pleased with the two’s ‘decision’. The two leaders are allowed to leave (one at a time). Lars and Max ride home silently.
Back at the club, Lars looks at the envelope. It contains six small photographs. One of them they recognize as the suit, who they saw leaving the Lords of Metal’s headquarters last week. Lars and Max deduce (correctly) that these might be the people who hired the boosters to drive them out. They set Mario to look up this Mr. Reggetti. It turns out he is the personal lawyer for “Junior” (Mathew Locono Jr.), the heir apparent to the leadership of the Family here in Union City. The slaughter of the residents in Cliff and Vera’s apartment house and the spectacular demolition of the Lords of Metal’s headquarters, which brought the Port Authority police into the conflict was too much. The powers at be decided that it would be peace or death before other legal authorities got involved any further.
Now, why would the Lords of Metal, a booster gang, even listen to this demand. Well, their leader is no fool, and he is feeling pretty hosed at this point. He was hired to drive out a simple club owner by another criminal group that had lost the bid on buying the club. After the demolition of the warehouse and subsequent raid by the Port Authority, he did a little research on this ‘simple club owner’. What he discovered was the characters’ reputations. The owner Lars is former SAS, Cliff is a top flight (Rep 6) veteran of the Fourth Corporate War, and Vera and Mario, while not possessing a high reputation, were just involved in the recent Biogenetic Crisis and part of the Team that was the subject of an international manhunt. Not only that but the two both escaped any retribution for their involvement. The job they had been hired to do was not even close to being as advertised. The last encounter had cost them the lives of 40% of their remaining membership (12 out of 30). This doesn’t even take into account their losses to the Mob’s snipers and bombers, or the Dead Boyz. Moreover, the Fort Lee police motorcycle in their garage was evidence linking them to the murder of the officer who used to drive that bike. He had no idea if the bike had survived the explosion. The Locono Mob’s demand for peace gave him a way out of this war without admitting defeat and losing any more ‘face’ over this incident.
Lars and his Team have survived their first test. They have shown themselves to be resourceful and ruthless. Also, they have made friends in their neighborhood and with the local Mob leaders. In the treacherous world of the Locono Mob’s politics various factions are considering how best to use them, and get away with it.