Episode 4 – A Ghost from the Past
Tom Banes’ long lost ½ brother Ari comes to town looking for his family. The Team begins to worry about Suki’s apparent drug addiction, but doesn’t confront her about it. Now that the Team is beginning to accumulate money, many go out and get some new gear and cyberware. Jack Reynolds helps them acquire the tools they need to continue their work on the block. This leads to a shoot-out with some (Raffin Shiv) bikers that bring up some moral questioning amongst the Team. Repairs on the properties they have cleared continue in good order. The Team learns that they have definitely pissed someone off.
Most of the world has gone to shit. It hasn’t died in a nuclear conflagration although a few bombs did go off in the Middle East. Global warming has finally melted most of the ice caps and many of the major coastal cities of the world have had to build dikes or move inland. The Wasting Plague has devastated the world population. A cure was finally produced, but billions died before it could be implemented. Western Europe has risen from the ashes and is once again the shining beacon of civilization, but it is drunk with its own power. Instead of helping raise the rest of the world out of darkness, it has used its power to maintain its hold over the economy of the world. China and Japan have recovered to a great degree and stand opposed to any European hegemony. The United States has not fared well. Their constant warfare of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century strained their economy to the breaking point. When international financiers discovered that United States was manipulating international currencies to prop up their bloated debt ridden economy, the world responded with a global embargo which collapsed the American economy. This occurred just as the Wasting Plague hit and led to almost complete societal disintegration. The government was powerless to stop it, so the United States military stepped in. It took almost a decade, but the country was put back together, more or less. The country is still fractured, but slowly recovering, although there are wide areas of lawless land from “sea to polluted sea”.
On the central coast of California (now divided into two states) a new corporate city founded by billionaire, Richard Night arose. Named Night City it was supposed to be a symbol of a resurgent America. In a sense it is. A glittering wealthy corporate center surrounded by neighborhoods of urban poor with not even the bare necessities. There are semi-wealth corporate suburbs with varying levels of walls and armed security.
In the heart of the South Night City combat zone is a small island of relative calm around the 88th Street NCART station. There a group of young people have decided to band together to seize their piece of what’s left of the American Dream. Live or die, they will now live on the Edge!
Ari Barnes: A 35 year old South Am War Special Forces veteran, who was captured near the end of that second conflict, but not released for years. He was railroaded on a charge of desertion to cover the failures of his incompetent but politically well-connected immediate superior officer on his return. Ari is eventually cleared (mostly) of the charges and is released from Leavenworth with a less than honorable discharge. That discharge is still under review at the behest of several retired military officers who Ari served with. He is the ½ brother of Tom Banes.
Harlon Nayl: A 19 year old solo who received some training as a sniper by his ex-Army father, who joined the NCPD in 2053 and was assigned to the 88th Street police precinct. The old man has risen in the ranks to lieutenant in charge of the third watch. Harlon’s relationship with his father is strained, but the two do love each other.
Jake Kitagawa: A 17 year old “Hafu” (half Japanese, half Anglo) solo whose face was disfigured by a knife as punishment by the Yakuza for his dead father’s mistakes. Jake has returned to the old neighborhood and had been doing a poor business as a bodyguard and muscle before hooking up with this Team.
Mitzi Blaize: A 17 year old “prowler” who has grown up mostly in this 88th Street neighborhood. Her father, a member of an “End of the World” cult murdered his entire family and then killed himself. He failed in one respect; Mitzi didn’t die. She recovered and her record of academic achievement caught the notice of Father Joe at St. Mary’s High School. She was sent there, but she has devoted her clever mind and dexterous skills to more larcenous exploits. She generally hunts the center city area for marks with her prodigious pickpocketing skills.
Richard “Red” Reddington: This 19 year old was born and bred in the 88th Street neighborhood. As an only child of a single mother who was not in the best of health quickly gravitated to the streets and mastered the art of the hustle. He learned his trade dealing with a number of goods, but settled on guns as he made a couple of key contacts that propelled him forward in this business. His mother passed away last year, but at least she got to see her son graduate from Saint Mary’s High School.
Suki Barnes: An 18 year old NET Runner and former corp kid from Pacifica after a few mysterious deaths Arasaka tossed the mother and daughter out of corporate housing and the two settled in the 88th Street neighborhood. Her mother entered a downward spiral into alcohol and drugs, finally dying of an overdose. In her senior year at St. Mary’s High School disaster struck after Suki claimed two boys at the school assaulted her, so she stabbed them both. She was expelled and now makes a living dancing at the Temptation Social Club, the local strip joint, and selling streams of data that she finds on the NET.
Tom Banes: He is a 19 year old military veteran who was forced out of the service by a corrupt state administration. The man was born in North Oak and moved to the 88th Street neighborhood when he was eleven. He met most of the Team when they all attended St. Mary’s High School together.
Vitale “Vito” Agosti: A 19 year old Medtech who was trained by his late father, a doctor for the Baronti Family, the local Mafia branch. Vito is a high functioning autistic with Asperger’s Syndrome and soaked up this training like a sponge. The young man has earned his certificate as a physician’s assistant and works at the local clinic/hospital. Vito and his mother live with Vito’s older sister, who is the hostess at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant next door. Both locations are owned by the Baronti Crime Family. The mob takes care of its own.
Cassie Banes: She is the eighteen year old sister to Tom Banes and ½ sister to Ari Banes. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School and knows the entire Team. Now she is the bassist in the popular neighborhood band, Cyber Revolutionaries.
Curry: He is one of the two bouncers at the Temptation Social Club and a Thai male, black hair cut real short & brown eyes, 5’6″ with athletic build. ATT 6, about 28 years old. Dresses in a spotless gray suit, and is a master in the art of kick-boxing. He’s very serious.
Happy Dan: The leader of the Happy Time ‘dorpher gang who are headquartered one block south from the Team in building #168.
Jack Reynolds: The owner/operator of the Need A Place Real Estate agency and a regular at the Temptation Social Club. He has the hots for Suki.
Kaylynn: She is Japanese female stripper from the Temptation Social Club who has long black hair highlighted with blue accents, green eyes, 5’4″ tall and thin; ATT 8 and aged 18. Vito saved her life after she was shot with an arrow by attacking Raffin Shiv.
Kicker: The owner of the Temptation Social Club and a 38 year old black male with a big black afro and brown eyes, 5’9″ and chunky. He is a veteran of America’s old “War on Terror”, who uses the club as a front for his own criminal activities. He is not a very nice man if crossed.
Matt “the Ghoul” Hobson: He is a weekend ambulance driver for the Kip Ave. Community Health Center. He is known (by Vito, at first) as a “cyber vulture”, who will clean up the bodies and split the take with you.
Rose: A 20 year old, white female with medium length blood-red hair, bright green eyes, 5′ tall and petite, who is also a dancer at the Temptation Social Club.
Friday, January 25, 2069:
Matt “the Ghoul” Hobson swings by the house and delivers €475 apiece to the Team from the corpses of the chromers who violently “resisted” being evicted. He asks where Suki is and Harlon tells him she’s at work (dancing at the strip club), and offers to hold the money for her. The Ghoul turns down the offer and says he will deliver it personally. It is clear that his motivation is more carnal than helpful.
Meanwhile Ari Banes has arrived at his step-mother’s apartment (Tom’s mother). Ari has been searching for his family since he was released from Leavenworth following his successful appeal of the false desertion and “cooperating with the enemy” charges. He gets to see his ½ sister Cassie Banes, Tom’s full sister. The step-mother gives him his long lost brother Tom’s phone number. Ari calls his ½ brother Tom from the mother’s apartment. Tom hasn’t heard of his brother’s release and invites him to the house. He heads out the door and quickly reaches the Team’s house. Tom answers the door and there stands his long lost brother. Although only 35 years old, his experiences has turned the former Special Forces officer’s hair completely grey. Still Tom is happy to see him. Ari meets the rest of the group who are about to head out to the Temptation Social Club for their usual Friday night. After some brief introductions Harlon, Red and Mitzi head to the club. Tom and Ari remain at home to catch up and Vito continues to work in his lab in the basement.
When the Team arrives at social club, Kaylynn is behind the armor glass both in the entry way, and immediately asks “Where is Vito? I want to thank him again.”
Kaylynn is informed that he is working at home tonight. The girl seems disappointed. The Team finds a table, sits down and Harlon buys the first round. A few minutes later five guys walk in and head to the runway. The Team immediately recognizes them as members of the Happy Time gang, the dorphers from the next block that got shot to bits by the people who the Team drove out (and killed) from building #166. Red recognizes one of them as Happy Dan, the leader of the gang. Their eyes meet and the five gangers burst into smiles and wave to them. They clearly have positive feelings towards the Team for ridding the neighborhood of the rival drug gang they were formally at war with. The five gangers head to the runway and sit.
Suki comes out for her first dance with her boosted appearance from her Royo Bodyfree Mask and Happy Dan starts throwing a lot of money her way. Naturally she pays him a lot of attention. Towards the end of her dance she sits on the edge of the stage and almost wraps her legs around him. They kiss, which is unusual for her act, and some on the Team notice that a small object passes from his mouth to hers. Red realizes it is a plastic bag with some white powder in it. When the music stops, Suki scarfs up the loose money on the stage and scampers off.
The Team settles down for a second round of drinks when three more people entering the club catch their attention. It is members of the chromer gang they threw out of building #159. In fact one is a person that they shot. The three notice the Team and stop. They talk amongst themselves for a second before turning around and leaving. Kicker, the owner of the club, comes over and sits at the table with the Team. Kicker asks, “What kind of work would you consider doing, or rather, what kind of work would you NOT consider.”
“We are not assassins,” Harlon quickly puts in.
“Fair enough,” Kicker replies.
Harlon goes on to explain that they would be quite willing to do any job that “improves” the neighborhood. They will clean out squatters for the legal owners of properties and if they resist with violence, well too bad.
Red asks, “Why would we do anything for you. What is in it for us?”
Kicker chuckles and says, “Well, money, perhaps.”
“Money is a good thing,” Harlon says.
“We like money,” Red adds.
“As long as we don’t end up in jail,” Mitzi puts in.
Kicker lets out a laugh with, “How could you guys end up in jail, his father (Harlon) is a cop.”
The club owner and the Team work out a few ground rules before an apparently satisfied Kicker gets up and leaves with the words, “I’ll keep you in mind.”
A fight breaks out across the room and Kicker heads that way, but Curry is on it and drops both of the combatants quickly. Time passes by and the drinks flow, but the Team still paces themselves so they don’t get too drunk.
Finally Suki, who didn’t come out after her first dance, hits the stage again. This time she is doing a “duet” with Rose, a 5′ tall, ATT 9, petite white female with medium length blood-red hair, bright green eyes. The two do a wild sensual dance that borders on a live sex show. The crowd goes wild and parts with even more of their hard earned (or stolen) money. The two finish and leave the stage. Soon Suki comes out from the back now that she has finished her second dance. Harlon asks if she would like a drink and she starts talking rapidly. As they listen, it is clear she is really, really high.
Red asks, “Are you OK, Suki?”
“Sure, I’m great, I’m having a wonderful time,” Suki says as she swings one of her legs over Red’s lap and asks, “Hey, I was wondering if you could install a smart link on my submachine gun. I’ll buy the parts.”
“I’m sure we could work something out, Red replies.
With that other Team members start to ask for weapon “favors”. Mitzi in particular is looking for a Nova Arms City Hunter. Red knows where he can get one at a good price. Rose finally comes out from the back and Harlon waves her over to the table. The red haired dancer comes right over and almost sits in Suki’s lap as the two engage in a short game of tonsil hockey. It is clear that Rose is not only high, but also drunk. This brings Kicker over who warns the two, “You danced right up to the line tonight.”
The girls just smile at him.
The club closes and the Team starts to walk home. Most are ready for sleep, but Suki is bouncing all over the road. When they get home, the majority head right to bed, but the dancer heads to the upstairs living room and music starts blasting. Harlon goes upstairs to find a half-naked Suki dancing on the furniture. The solo walks up to the audio player and turns down the music. He heads out of the room with the words, “Some of us are trying to sleep.”
Harlon turns around at the door as he finishes his final comment to see that Suki has pulled up her shirt and is wiggling her breasts at him. When she sees him turn she quickly pulls her shirt down and smiles sweetly. Then she does her best catwalk by him and adds, “Some of us are trying to go to bed too.”
Saturday, January 26, 2069:
Suki is up early in the morning (or perhaps she never went to sleep) and she meets Ari before she heads out to A Better You and gets a +1 ATTR (€600). She goes and buys a Universal Link & sells her cybermodem link and puts 8 hours on Killer IV program rewrite. Tom and Ari head out and Tom gets a basic tool kit, a flashlight, a week of generic prepack, a level four key lock, snake bit / first aid kit, a rug and futon for his room. Mitzi heads down into the bank and opens up a bank account at the Bay Area Savings and Loan before going shopping herself. She gets an SP8 Urban Flash dress, has her armor jacket repaired, a box of 9mm DP for her Militech Avenger, a holster for the City Hunter, two speed loaders for the Cityhunter, a level 4 key lock for her bedroom, box of ammo for her expected City Hunter, a bureau and a set of curtains (€1100). As she, Tom and Ari return they all notice posters going up around the neighborhood announcing that the “Winter Nationals” will be held a week for tomorrow at 11am on February 3rd a few blocks north of here. This is an annual event sponsored by a myriad of gangs that inhabit the old Mid-City Housing Development. It is one of the few times of the year that these gangs maintain a truce to host a series of (illegal) drag races. The police ignore this as the gangs maintain a (mostly) peaceful event. Red does his morning yoga and drops off armor to be repaired before heading out and picking up a Nova Model 757 Cityhunter for the bargain price of €400 for Mitizi. Harlon brings out all his weapons and begins stripping them down and cleaning them. When Mitzi, Tom, Ari and Red return, they admire Harlon’s collection.
It is then that Suki returns and her face is completely bandaged. They ask what happened and she seems surprised by the question, but quickly answers that she “had some work done”. When asked why she only says that she had some “blemishes” fixed. Red presses her on what blemishes she is talking about, but she avoids the question. Some on the Team have noticed in the past that she has been beaten on, and this is an uncomfortable subject with her. Suki also tells the Team that she has come up with an estimate on what is needed to get the surveillance system of the house up and running along with some physical security (4x Level 4 key locks) and a tech scanner. The Team approves the €2,300 expenditure. The NET runner then runs upstairs and locks herself in her room to work on her programs and order the security electronics.
Mitzi checks the electrical system and discovers that it has just been refurbished by the previous tenants. Tom checks the plumbing to the second floor public bathroom and makes note of the pipe needed to fix it. Red installs the smart link of Suki’s SMG. When Suki comes down and asks about her weapon, Red hands it to her and she gives him a peck on the cheek and heads upstairs. The fixer says under his breath in a disapproving tone, “Yeah, go back upstairs where the drugs are.”
Suki hears him, stops, turns her head and says coyly to him before running upstairs, “Then I guess sex is out of the question.”
Sunday, January 27, 2069:
Sunday after church about noon Harlon gets a phone call from Jack Reynolds who tells them he wants them to start rehabbing building #161 tomorrow. As to tools he has a closed garage about 45 minutes north of North Oak that has some tools they can use. Jack will drop off a large box truck tomorrow that they can use to pick them up. He says everyone will be needed to move them. Tom has some sick days coming so he uses one for tomorrow. Suki puts in 8 hours on her Killer IV upgrade before heading to the garage and making an estimate on how much parts will cost for her to get the van there running (€3500). The Team approves the purchase of the parts needed.
Monday, January 28, 2069:
Vito works 7am to 3 pm at Kip Ave. Community Health Center. Jake now has +1 BOD to 10. The solo now starts to carry the big AMT Automag V which he now has the strength to fire one handed. Ari, Tom, Harlon, Red, Mitzi, Suki and Jake get ready for their short road trip. They armor and arm up. They give Ari a Federated X-9 and a Sternmeyer Stakeout loaded with slug. Jack comes by with a large box truck which (fortunately) Ari can drive. They head out with most of them riding in the back of the vehicle.
After about 45 minutes they arrive at the closed garage. It is in a tiny abandoned town. The pumps have been taken out. The place consists of repair bays on the left side of the building and a small empty convenience store facing front with rooms in the back. They pull up the rear of the box truck to the forward repair bay where they think the tools will probably be. Mitzi fails to open the padlock on one of the garage doors but succeeds on the second. Unfortunately there appears to be a lock on the inside. The Team moves around the building and then enters the store part of the station. They move through the back rooms and find two destroyed rest rooms, a wreck of an office and an almost empty parts room. In the parts room they find a large machine tool under a tarp. It is a metal lathe. Red’s eyes open wide as he realizes that he can definitely use this to build and repair gun barrels. There are doors leading to the repair bays. Inside the two bays are a huge collection of all kinds of tools. Suki squeals with delight as she notices there is a complete master mechanic’s tool set. Yes, there are bolts holding the rolling doors closed. These are easily removed and the back door opened.
The sound of motorcycles is heard approaching. Tom, Red and Suki head to the convenience store to look out as eleven bikers ride by then turn around and pull into the front of the station. These are clearly not a group of “motorcycle enthusiasts” out for a pleasant drive although they can’t recognize any gang signs. A very nervous Suki asks over the com, “Are we going to fight?”
Harlon answers, “Looks like we will.”
So Suki immediately opens up on full auto with her 9mm “bullet hose” and shoots three of the bikers. All hell breaks loose as lead start to fly. The fighting is brief as six of the eleven bikers are shot and killed before the others flee the scene. Mitzi is very unhappy as she feels they have just committed 1st degree murder, which is true in the strictest sense. Harlon disagrees and says next time she can go out and talk to the biker “bandits” and maybe they just won’t kill her out of hand. Nobody yells at Suki who started the shooting and is now realizing that Mitzi is right, but in a sense so is Harlon. Still they all table the moral questions and move the bodies inside where they are stripped of all usable cyberware. Several people take samples of the decorations on the clothes of the dead bikers and takes pictures of their faces before being thrown into the grease pit.
The tools are quickly loaded into the truck along with the six bikes from the dead bikers, but when they move the metal lathe, they notice a small hatch in the floor that was once cleverly concealed, but now is a bit more noticeable. Under the hatch is a floor safe set in concrete. Mitzi fails to open it, so she pulls out a blow torch from their newly acquired tool sets and expertly cuts through the door without damaging the contents. Inside is €17,470. The Team puts aside €1,470 for the “company fund” and everyone gets €2,000. Now the problem is getting back to Night City. The surviving bikers have headed off in that direction they have to go and no one has a map. Mitzi does, however, have a GPS on her phone and succeeds in charting a course back to the city by other roads rather than the one they came in on.
When they get back to the house the Team notices that they see workmen in building #190 diagonally across the street from their home and signs up there saying “Mid-Guard Pawn Shop, Opening Soon!”
The Team loads the tools and bikes into the basement. While they are doing that a delivery truck arrives with the equipment to repair the security system. Mitzi gets right to work on installing it. Suki gets the bandages taken off her face and goes to work with her new ATTR 9, (ATTR 10 w/mask) and makes €183 & $204.
Tuesday, January 29, 2069:
Vito works 7am to 3 pm at Kip Ave. Community Health Center; Tom works at Hampton Mall & Red is out hustling. Suki asks for some help to take the engine (30 hours to rebuild), transmission (24 hours) and front axle assembly (16 hours) out of the van to work on. The guys help her with this and she spends more time getting her work area set up and parts placed. Suki then puts 5 more hours into her Killer IV program and rolls a 21 on a needed 18+ roll to finish her upgrade.
Harlon and Ari work on the rehab of the first unit in building #159. Jake goes and buys a phone before heading over to help at building #159. Mitzi continues to install the new security system. She spends a lot of time laying wire in the house to keep the system off the NET.
Wednesday, January 30, 2069:
Vito works 7am to 3 pm at Kip Ave. Community Health Center; Tom works at Hampton Mall & Red is out hustling, and picks up his now repaired armor. Harlon, Jake and Ari continue working on the rehab of building #159. Mitzi also picks up her repaired armor jacket and then continues to work on the house’s new security system.
Suki goes to Hampton Furniture and buys (all synthetic) a Queen sized bed, bureau, two chairs & a desk, a rug and €200 worth of sheets, blankets and pillows. These will be delivered on February 9th in the morning. The dancer then goes to work and makes €132 & $136.
After he returns from work Tom is there to receive the order of pipe he ordered and puts it in the basement until he gets time to install it; probably this weekend.
Thursday, January 31, 2069:
Vito works 7am to 3 pm at Kip Ave. Community Health Center; Tom works at Hampton Mall & Red is out hustling. Harlon, Jake and Ari continue working on the rehab of building #159 and Mitzi continues to work on the house’s new security system.
Mitzi, Ari, Tom and Red go shopping for February food supply and buy generic prepack. Suki and Jake buy 3 weeks generic & 1 week good prepack (for $1,400). Harlon buys good prepack for the entire month. Suki also buys an upgrade for her Code Cracker program (€18).
That evening Suki comes downstairs with some information. She has been working on identifying the pictures and insignias of the bikers they killed on Monday and has discovered that they were a group of wanted Raffin Shiv members. In fact, if they had brought a couple of the bodies back there was a reward on them. The Team discusses going back and getting the corpses in question, but then their identities would be public record and the remains of that gang would have targets to pursue. Mitzi feels a little better about what happened, but is still disturbed by the Team’s wanton attack.
Friday, February 1, 2069:
Vito works 7am to 3 pm at Kip Ave. Community Health Center& payday (€800); Tom works at Hampton Mall (payday = €1000) & Red is out hustling (€750). Suki updates her Code Cracker program.
Ari, Harlon, Jake and Red go with Jack to check on the tenants of building #164. The first floor paying tenants, who were on the rent strike, see Jack and pay the rent with some thanks to the Team. On the second floor all but one of the squatters has moved out. The last one has the rent ready and wants to stay. Jack approves and they become paying tenants. On the third floor the old codger there and Jack greet each other in a friendly manner. He also has his rent ready and the Team moves him down to a better apartment on the second floor. The old guy becomes friendlier with the Team. Harlon tells him when they get the last 1st floor apartment gets rehabbed he will make sure that the old guy gets it and they will help him move. Jack has them seal up the third floor to prevent more squatters from easily moving in. The four Team members then head to building #159 to continue rehabbing the 1st apartment in that duplex.
Mitzi finishes work on the security system in their house and does an excellent job. The system isn’t accessible to the NET and she has installed protections to prevent easy access to the hard wired circuits.
Harlon, Jake, Red, Tom and Mitzi go down to the Temptation Social Club to watch the show. Suki puts on a good show and remains apparently sober. She makes €270 & $200.
The Team all head down the street to home after closing. As they reach the corner of 87th Street and Carlton Avenue, Red notices a figure in the shadows with a long gun in heavy armor. He smells an ambush, draws his pistol, drops to one knee and calls out. There are four attackers set up on the corners of the road in front of them and in the alleys behind them. A firefight immediately erupts. Harlon puts a round in the first attacker in the shadows head, and discovers that he is wearing metal gear. It is a short, sharp fight. Tom takes a couple of light hits, Mitzi takes three lethal, but she drops one attacker, but Red is knocked into critical. Two of the assassins are killed and the remaining two flee. The Team gets their wounded to safety and drags the two enemy corpses into the house. They search them and find no identification, but each is carrying an envelope with €250 and two addresses. One is their house and the second is the Temptation Social Club. This was clearly a hired hit. Ari and Vito tend to the wounded. The Team learns that while Ari went into the service of his country as a soldier (solo), he became a Medtech while working with the prison camp doctor.
Saturday, February 2, 2069:
The seriously wounded of the Team rest today. Tom, Ari and Harlon install the new pipe under Tom’s direction and have the last bathroom up and operation by evening. Tom then helps and installs locks on both his room and Mitzi’s. Suki goes to the Cyber Barn at the Jersey Mall and gets Kerenzikov Level 2 and Boostmaster along with two points of damage before heading home.
The Team gives Matt, the Ghoul a call and he comes by to pick up the loose cyberware and corpses the Team has accumulated this week for disposal.
Next: Episode 5 – Jobs Start Coming Their Way