Prologue to Space Punk


After 20+ years of playing Cyberpunk 2020, we had developed our own story line and pushed our game history up to 2057. While very insightful and interesting as a future history, the original game’s technical progression became more and more antiquated as the years passed.  Also, as players and GMs we ended up trying to put a collapsing world back together.  While this made for ‘glorious’ game play we drifted farther and father for the concept of the Dark Future.  The end of our World War III Campaign saw a world re-united (somewhat) under a revitalized United Nations of Sol.  This was a wonderful accomplishment, but hardly Cyberpunk.

At this point we decided it was time to kick our efforts into the further future to get back to a grittier and more dangerous playing environment. Just as the world seemed to come together just after the historical World War II and some predicted a bright, new world order, the globe started to immediately go all to shit.  Such is the nature of humanity, I guess.  We put this concept into practice with our own game world.  Since we had developed the concepts of biogenetic manipulation and nascent interstellar travel in our path through time, we came up with the idea (yes, yes, others have done it too) of updating our campaigns to what we like to call “Space Punk”.

Besides a lot of technology adjustments, we also decided to add a new factor to the world: Psionics. Up until this point, I personally have always be a bit of a purest and kept all magic or magic-like concepts out of a purely technological game.  However, I have always been in the minority about “magic” in our gaming endeavors.  There was a second issue our group had to deal with.  All of us had developed a stable of characters that we had grown very fond of.  The fate of our PCs was usually one of two things: Death (the most frequent) and Retirement (when you got to ‘unplayable’.  Pushing the timeline forward solved some of these problems.  Players voluntarily ‘retired’ or had some of their survivors ‘pass away’.  Also, to introduce a world that would have psionic characters would fundamentally change too many things too quickly.  So this new ‘Space Punk’ would be about the beginning of humanity’s discovery of these abilities.  With the exception of the occasional “Wild Talent”, there had been no true “Psionicists” yet.  This campaign would change that.

For the starting characters we came up with a compromise solution. You could bring forward one old character, but he or she had to die.  One of our technological developments we based on the ability to transfer a brain that had been downloaded by a ‘Soul killer’ program into a cloned body.  There was to be no copying of a brain, so no one could make multiple copies of oneself and no ‘quick growth’ clones.  This technology, while legal in many places, would remain highly regulated.  Also, the clone would take a year to grow (at that point a human clone would be only 15 years old) and the person would have to be immediately downloaded into the cloned body when it reached that level of maturity.  Also, the price would be astronomical.  In our game world, this technology had been developed by a group of biogens that called themselves the ‘Collective’.  This group would leave human space during the Interregnum between our ‘Cyberpunk’ and ‘Space Punk’ campaigns.

Two of our players each had a human character (Owen MacGregor and Mason Verge) that had been killed in the game, but whose consciousness had been saved by a PC ‘Collective’ member (Natalie Lanikova) against the wishes of that organization.  These two would return (as 15 year olds) when we restarted in the year 2083.  Well, I don’t want to let too much go, since this is an important part of the future plot.  These two, along with three surviving characters (who would have to die first), would form part of the new group.  Two other players would create new PCs.  As to the new psionic rules, the five ‘old’ characters would start as the only fully psionic characters.  There would be a slight problem, however.  All five of these characters would have amnesia and wouldn’t know that they were psionic.  They would have to discover their memories and new abilities ‘in game’.  This would not be easy.

So, it is now the Year 2083. Humanity has traveled to a few star systems and founded colonies where they found some habitable planets.  This campaign begins in the Proxima Centauri system where one moderately habitable world was found, Copernicus.  The new United Nations of Sol controls all immigration off Earth to the extra solar colonies.  Copernicus was awarded to eight Eastern European nations that fought with the winning alliance of the Third World War.  At the start a group of space ‘salvagers’ (pirates) discovers a floating, powered cargo pod that is adrift in space.  In it are five hibernation pods each containing a teenager.  While slavery is illegal, the salvagers (pirates) decide not to report their discovery and try to sell the pods.  Well, the United Nations space squadron that defends the system catches them trying to slip through without an inspection and the UN Peacekeepers storm the ship where a firefight develops.  One of the ‘pirates’ is a 14 year old girl, “Gidget” Kosciusko, convinces the Peacekeepers that she is also a prisoner of this ‘pirate’ band and not one of its members.  A scan of the young people in the pods shows that they are all clones and two of these children are biogenetic constructs.  None of the five have any memories of who they are so a bureaucrat classifies them as a group that was illegally grown to take part in the underground fight areas that plague this planet.  Illegally created or not, the United Nations Charter guarantees them life and security.  However, the United Nations isn’t in the business of raising clones.  They farm out the care and upbringing of these five, along with the 14 year old Gidget Kosciusko to the lowest bidder, which is an orphanage in the industrial city of Brasov located in the Romanian colony.  Needless to say, the place is a horror show.  The clones are given names and those that don’t speak Romanian are put on a Sega Atari trainer and given Romanian at level 2.

At start there is:

Gidget Kosciusko, a 14 year old Polish girl and former space pirate

Marta Brodsky, a 13 year old Czech girl

Dick Jones, a 15 year old English speaking boy

John Smith, another 15 year old English speaking boy

Laura Torok, a 14 year old Romanian girl

Irena Korbal, a 15 year old Czech girl

Although they are different ages, the clones are classified as legally 15 years old. On the 20th day of the Month Five, 2083 Gidget and five clones (with no memory of who they are and access to only very few of their skills) arrive at the orphanage in Brasov.




Episode 1 – Escape From Hell

The violence of most of the player character’s deaths coupled with the length of their hyper sleep and lack of care on their awaking left the clones with no memories of who they once were. This amnesia denied them the use of their formidable skill set.  The senior psychologist at the orphanage, Dr. Roman Gaida, tested them and this enabled the five to get access to a few of their previous skills.  Unfortunately, none of these were any combat skills.  These tests were used to find jobs for them at the orphanage.  However, this Brasov orphanage is operated under a private contract.  The people who run it are a motivated group.  It’s a shame that their motive is to collect as much money as possible at the expense of their charges.  Cruelty and theft are rampant here.  The place is so overcrowded that all new arrivals are housed in rusted standard shipping containers.  Joining the five clones and Gidget here is a Chinese / Japanese boy named Khan.  This young man’s parents had just been killed in a car accident and, as he had no other relatives on planet, he is sent here despite that fact that he is a “Genie”.

[GM’s Note: The technology exists that allows parents to have their sperm and egg (genes) cleaned of “junk” DNA.  This generally makes their offspring faster, smarter and stronger than the average human.  They are still completely human, but some “normal” humans resent them.]

It is this group of seven young people who are assigned to a container home set on stacks of cinder blocks out at the far end of the yard in the direction of the rail line that ran by this industrial city.

Sixthday, Month Five, 20th, 2083:

The group is assembled outside their container “home”. There they receive their introduction by Damian Dembowski, their immediate supervisor and Tomas, one of the institutions security guards, stands behind them. Damian gives them basic instructions on the State Home.  Their mornings would consist of high school, while their afternoons would be spent doing vocational instruction (slave labor).   When he is finished he asked if they had any questions.

Marta raises her hand and mentions that her only possession, her gold necklace, was taken when she got her and asked when she will get it back. Damian tells the group there is a difference between good questions and bad questions and then says, “As for your question, Tomas…”

Tomas, the guard, smacks Marta with his stun baton from behind for 5 real points of damage. Damian Dembowski then says, “People who ask bad questions won’t make it here.  Now, Marta’s bad question has gotten you all a lockdown until the 22nd.”

Gidget asks what time dinner is also clubbed with the stun baton, but with only for one point of damage. Apparently there is no such thing as “a good question”.

Tomas takes Marta’s unconscious body and bag and tosses them in the container. After the party enters their new ‘home’, Tomas tosses a small medkit with a few bandages in and says, “Someone fix her up. She’ll need a change of dressing tomorrow.”

The group is then left alone. Dick Jones looks at the med kit and his hands seem to know what to do with it.  With Gidget, Irena and Laura watching he bandages the wounded Marta.  There are communal sleeping areas at each end of the container, one end for the boys and the other for the girls.  The center is a common room and a bathroom.  A security camera watches the goings on inside.  The group quickly realizes that this camera doesn’t work (like most things here).  The only regular sound they here is the rumbling of the trains in the distance.

That night the women hear something odd. Gidget follows the sound and notices that Marta purrs when she sleeps.


Sabbath, Month Five, 21st, 2083:

The day is spent locked inside their container home. Marta is reluctant at first to let Dick examine her wounds, but finally relents.  She is healing very quickly, too quickly for it to be natural.  A single meal is delivered but it is barely edible.  They all discuss what to do.  All but Gidget, who is 14, can be released next year when they turn 16.  The longest they can be kept here is until they turn 17.  All take part in the discussion except Marta, who is silent but listens.  Finally, she speaks in a frightened voice, “I have to get out of here now.  They are going to kill me.  I just know it.  Anyone who wants to come, can.  I think anyone who stays will never make it through the year.”

The group thinks on this and agrees she is probably right. Gidget informs them that the rail lines outside run to Mikelesti, the Romanian colonial capital one way.  The planetary capital of Innis lies in the other direction.  She tells them Innis and its satellite cities have a population of over a couple of million.  It’s a large enough place to get lost in.  They start to make their plans.


Firstday, Month Five, 22nd, 2083: (Winter)

This day was the group’s first day of school. The content was very mostly concentrating on improving everyone’s ability to speak Romanian.  At lunch John Smith is walking across the cafeteria when he is struck by another resident of the orphanage.  The aggressor quickly moves away. John moves to respond but the attendants pounce.  His attacker claims innocence.  A review of the security footage isn’t helpful as the attack took place in a blind spot.

That afternoon the group is assigned their vocational “training” in the orphanage factory:

Marta Brodsky – Chemistry lab assistant

Dick Jones – Plating room gofer

John Smith – Factory janitor

Laura Torok – Electrical repair assistant

Irena Korbal – Laundry and clothing storage assistant

Gidget Kosciusko – Mechanical repair assistant

Khan – Factory janitor

The work is hard with long hours, but all survive the day. Gidget flirts with George, one of others at the orphanage in Romanian.  She also steals a pair of wire cutters and smuggles them back to their container home.  That evening Marta and Laura closet themselves to talk.  The young Czech girl has discovered where her purloined necklace is being stored.  She asks the young Romanian if she can blind the security cameras in the area where it is at a certain time tomorrow. Laura says yes, she has a small and simple cyberdeck for her afternoon job.  The two spend the rest of the evening scratching the floor and collecting the rust from their endeavor.


Seconday, Month Five, 23rd, 2083:

The last “class” of the day is physical education. In the gym, half of the area is reserved for the orphanage’s top rated Martial Art’s team under the direction of Yuri Miskova.  Most of the PCs are warned not to step on that team’s mats, but Marta arrives late.  She walks across the edge of one of the practice mats.  For that, Yuri tells her she must pay the price.  He calls on his prize pupil to teach the biogen a lesson.  The towering fifteen year old champion moves on the slight thirteen year old.  She dodges the boy’s first blow and then hits him with a spinning kick to her opponent’s leg.  She breaks it and the school champion goes down screaming.

Yuri shouts at her, “We pull our shots when competing!”

“I don’t know how,” Marta replies.

That ends physical education for the group. They are sent to their jobs in the factory.  That afternoon the group moves on their escape plan. Irena brings the group’s institutional clothes to be washed, but returns to their quarters with a collection of “civilian” garb for the institution’s clothing storage.  At the appropriate time Laura loops the cameras near the office that contains the safe holding Marta’s gold necklace.  Unknown to the rest of the group, Marta’s memories are starting to return.  She picks the lock on the office safe.  Inside he finds her prize.  Inside there is also 10 ounces of gold and several thousand solars (the currency issued by the United Nations).  She takes it all and informs no one.

That night Marta takes the pile of rust she and Laura collected and mixes it with a fine powder stolen from the lab.  When asked what she is making, Marta replies, “Homemade thermite.”

They all change into the clothes that Irena has brought.  Just before midnight Marta spreads her concoction in shape of a small box on a weak part of the floor.  It burns through the weakened metal and the group escapes from their locked container.  They sneak across the yard to the wire, cut through and are on their way towards the train tracks.  The guards here are less than vigilant.

About half way to the tracks the alarm goes off at the orphanage. When they reach the freight yard, a train is pulling out. The group sprints towards an open freight car. Marta, being the fastest, gets there first.  The others are having problems as it is dark and they are having trouble seeing. Marta, being a biogenetic cat, has night vision so she leaps into the open door and helps the others in.  By now the train has picked up speed and they are all aboard. A strange voice is heard form the back of the train car saying, “OK, that looks like all of them, close the door Karl.”

Marta spins around, steps forward and looks into the darkness as the door slides shut. Her cat’s eyes glow in the darkness.  The mysterious voice speaks again. “Wow, you’ve got quite some eyes, lady.”

A cube on top of one of the freight boxes begins to glow and a handsome man in an armored trench coat comes into view. They also get to see who closed the door.  It is a combat cyborborg.  The Edgerunner gets a look at the possessor of the shining eyes and his face turns quizzical as he asks, “Jeez, what are you, like 12 years old?”

“I’m 13,” Marta replies fiercely.

“Oh, well that makes all the difference,” the man replies as he tries to suppress a chuckle.

“These must be the escapees the authorities were looking for,” the cyborg responds adds.

A third voice with a Japanese accent is heard as a third figure emerges from the shadows, “They ruined our getaway.”

It seems this trio of Edgerunners had their extraction from their last mission interrupted by the hue and cry pursuing the group’s escape. For a few minutes the young people are worried that these three will take some kind of vengeance on the teens.  No, in fact their trench coated leader is amused by the strange confluence of circumstances that has brought these two groups together.  Both groups are heading to Innis and decide to share the freight car.  The train rumbles on through the night.


Civil Holiday, Month Five, 24th, 2083:

The day passes as they all travel on the train. At first the two groups keep to themselves, but soon they begin to talk. Laura is fascinated by the light cube so the leader of the other team gives her one.  In particular the Japanese Edgerunner and Khan find themselves conversing in Japanese. Laura discovers that she also speaks a little Japanese and joins the conversation.  It becomes painfully clear to the experienced edgerunners that these kids have no plan once they reach Innis.  Innis, the planetary capital is controlled by the United Nations of Sol.  It has four satellite cities controlled by the Slovakia, Polish, Czech and Romanian colonies.  This train will arrive in Donici, the Romanian city tomorrow.  The leader of the experience trio tells the teens that probably the best place for them to go is a place called the ‘Warrens’ which is located by the main train yard of Donici.  It is a half a square kilometer of area that is outside the jurisdiction of most of the competing police agencies of the capital area.  It is a true combat zone made up of mostly old shipping container homes and is controlled by various quasi-criminal groups.  It’s very dangerous, but the people there ask no questions. Gidget has heard of the place.  Her limited knowledge of it confirms this information.  The teens decide that will be their destination.


Fourthday, Month Five, 25th, 2083:

In the morning the train slows as it nears Donici and Innis. The trio of experienced edgerunners tells the teens where a break in the fence that surrounds the city is by the Warrens.  They warn them not to stray from the obvious path they will find at the hole in the fence.  It will lead to the neutral area of the Warrens.  Those three jump off first.  The teen group follows a minute later and easily finds the hole in fence.  This barricade is getting old and isn’t kept up.  It appears to be there to keep things out of city rather than keeping the people in.  They enter the Warrens and easily make out the path.  As they head to the neutral central area, the group notices that most of the structures consist of 32 containers stacked 4 across, 4 stories tall with two of these conglomerations placed long end to end.  As they move down the path these structures to their left are placed in a haphazard fashion around two semi-normal ramshackle buildings.  On the right, the housing is set in an orderly fashion around three other buildings.

A young man in colorful garb approaches them from the left group of buildings with a friendly smile on his face. The young man introduces himself as Gregor.  His demeanor puts the teens at ease as he inquires if they are new to the area.  When he finds that they are, he gives them a brief overview of the area.

“These neat and orderly buildings on the right belong to Colonel Tibor Carp, hero of the Third World War and owner of the Iron Guard Security Company.  He and his company have the policing contract for the dockyards down by the river as well as his little egomaniac empire over there.  That big central building over there is also the only legal blood sport area on the planet.”

John Smith asks, “Do they fight to the death?”

“Oh, no, not in the official upstairs area,” Gregor replies, “But they say downstairs it might be so.”

By now the group has reached the open neutral area of the Warrens. Gregor gestures to the south where more of these container homes were laid out around a collection of four or five other buildings.  “That is the Compound of the Todorov Brothers also known as “The Warden, the Sybarite and the Priest”. Sava Todorov runs the businesses in the center and rents out (owns) at least half of the Warrens. Petko Todorov runs the local prison on the hill over there and has the security contract for the neighborhood south to the train station.   Father Emil runs the St. Zlata of Maglen Church and school located over there.”

The group becomes aware that people walking by have begun to notice them.

Gregor now turned to the chaotic ramshackle group of buildings to their left and with a hint of pride informed them, “There is the domain of Prince Stephan Zeklos, champion of the poor and underprivileged.  A man who believes in freedom and independence; cares for those that society has abandoned ….. and my uncle.”

Well, the group needs a place to stay so they head off with Gregor to see his uncle, the Prince.  They enter one of the quasi-normal looking buildings which had a sign above it identifying it as the ‘Tinker Shop’.  Inside is a chaotic used goods mart.  They are told to wait as Gregor heads upstairs.  They are soon brought upstairs to see the gypsy leader.  Yes, he has a place for rent.  The price is reasonable, but they have no money.  When informed of that, the Prince’s mood becomes darker and he says, “Then you have wasted my time, which is valuable.  I believe you owe me for that.”

Marta steps forward and rolls off the cash he had requested. The group is surprised by this and the Prince’s mood instantly brightens.  The teens are brought to the third level of one of the container structures at the edge of Prince Stefan’s domain bordering on the Todorov’s area.  There the Prince’s men deliver a little more furniture and the group settles in.  All buy a few things at the Tinker Shop.  Back at their new home Dick Jones says they need to go out and find some employment. Marta lays some cash on everyone and the group (except Marta) head out to check out the area around the Warrens to look for work.

The expedition into the area around the Warrens allows the group to get a few more essentials, but legitimate work is unavailable without ID cards. Their youth doesn’t help them either.  Night falls and they head back home.  As they are walking by the Prince’s complex Gregor comes up and asks how their trip went. Dick feels that the Gregor’s conversation seems to be intent on delaying them.  Suddenly gunfire erupts in the distance.  It is coming from the direction of their new home.  The group, Gregor and a couple of the other Gypsies nearby run to the sound.  As the container structure comes into sight, another group of men is arriving at the stairs up to the container apartment.  One of these new players sees the gypsies and shouts in Bulgarian (understood only by Marta), “You dogs led us into any ambush!”

This group starts firing at the gypsies and the group. Two of the gypsies are hit and go down along with Khan.  As Dick looks at the line of men firing at them, he freezes.  He has a memory flashback to Friday, April 14, 2051 in Cabinda.  This was the day he died from a hail of gunfire by a group of rebel soldiers.  No bullets hit him here, but he goes down as his mind remembers his death.

{Psionic AwakeningDick Jones regains his memories and realizes that he is Owen McGregor.  He knows he died that day and doesn’t how this is possible.}

(GM Note: These amnesiacs usually will not get memories back all at once like this, but Owen has always had the gift: Eidetic Memory.)

The other teens also hit the ground. Irena and John both see pistols fall in front of them from the downed gypsies.  Instinct takes over as they each snatch up a weapon and return fire hitting their targets.  More opponents come around the corner of the stacked containers.  A shadow moves on the third floor porch. Marta opens up on the attackers with a sub machinegun.  She empties the clip which drops the remainder of the attackers.  The young girl then disappears inside their new home.  Soon, the Prince’s men are all over the scene.  The group runs up to their new place.  On the porch outside are two dead men.  Inside are four more corpses; one has been shot; most have had their throats cut. Marta stands in the living room, SMG slung on her shoulder, pistol in one hand and her new switchblade in the other. She is covered in blood and her eyes opened wide with fear. Gregor enters and his mouth drops.  He looks at Marta and says in a comforting tone, “OK, it’s over, let me have the gun.”

Marta’s face hardens as she pulls back the hammer on her handgun.

Gregor stops and says, “Or not.”

The young gypsy leaves and promises to send someone to collect the bodies. The group collects the upstairs attacker’s weapons and rifles the pockets for cash (840 solars). Gregor arrives, along with some of the Prince’s men, to police up the corpses. Marta remains silent but glares at Gregor.  They are informed that a new ‘apartment’ is ready for them deeper inside the Prince’s territory.  The teens bind their wounds and move to the new place.  It is much better apartment.


Fifthday, Month Five, 26th, 2083:

The next morning everyone gets up. There is a strange tenseness in the air.  A few of the group notice that Dick (now Owen) and Marta just stare at each other.  However, there is much to do to get the new apartment fixed up.  They go to the Tinker Shop and buy some things for the new place.

Late in the evening Nip (Laura) asks how she heals so quickly. Natty tells her that she has the ability to heal herself. Nip then asks if she can heal Khan, who was shot yesterday.  This question stumps the girl.  She doesn’t know, but is willing to try.  The problem is it takes so long that she might fall asleep. Nip (Laura) offers to stay with the two for the night and keep her awake for the process. Natty believes she will have to be in close physical contact if this is to work.  Unknown to the rest of the group, Natty strips down to her panties, climbs in bed with Khan and begins to touch him and purr. Nip also strips down and begins to caress (scritch) the biogen to keep her awake.  The process puts Khan unconscious very quickly. Natty purrs throughout the night.




Episode 2 – Making Friends & Getting a Job



Sixthday, Month Five, 27th, 2083:

Khan is sleeping in the early morning when he has a dream. He is walking through a forest in the mountains.  It looks like an area in Japan around an ancient temple where his Japanese maternal grandfather had brought him years ago.  A light mist covers the ground. Khan sees a small ferret lurking in the underbrush.  The animal notices you and scurries down a path.  He follows.  There is a small glade ahead where a cat and a raccoon are performing a tea ceremony.  As Khan approaches these three dissolve into mist as two other figures appear out of the mist.  They are both his Chinese and Japanese grandfathers.  They each speak in turn with his Chinese ancestor saying first, “Time has come for mankind to evolve or fade away.  You must begin the journey to the sacred mountain and discover the “Way”.

“Follow the Cat and the Raccoon. They will lead you through the dark heart of humanity to discover your destiny.”

“Master the four elements to gain the wisdom of the universal spirit, and discover the “Way” that will lead humanity to a greater consciousness.”

“Study the Earth, which is the basis of all matter. Walk unshod to connect with the material. The Cat and the Raccoon will take you where you need to be.”

Khan’s two grandfathers turn and walk away as they fade from view. The Cat and the Raccoon reappear in the ground mist and scamper up a hill towards an ancient temple that Khan visited when he was very young.  Fog envelops him and the scene fades.  The young man awakes feeling refreshed.

{Khan has his Psionic Awakening: He now has level one of Path of Earth: Sense Life}

Just after he awakens there is a knock on Khan’s door. Dick (Owen) enters to change the wounded man’s dressings.  He is a little taken aback finding the two girls in bed with his patient. Laura (Nip) is utterly unconcerned with Dick seeing her topless, but the Marta seems uncomfortable with the situation.  The Czech girl covers herself up and heads for her own room. Dick expects to find Khan unhealed in any fashion or maybe even in worse shape from his night with the two girls, but in fact the patient has healed about three days’ worth of damage. Laura cheerfully tells Dick that Marta can heal people.  They go to talk with the biogen, but she is gone.

Marta has slipped out of the apartment and gone to the Tinker Shop with Gidget.  On the way there a voice calls out Gidget’s name.  She turns around to see an old friend, Nail.  He is a 15 year old from New Kiev in the Ukrainian colony.  The ship Gidget was on with her father (during her ‘pirate’ days often landed there for supplies and repairs.  Both are happy to see each other. Nail tells his friend that a power struggle within his home city’s organized crime syndicate led to the murder of his family.  He learned he was also on the list to be liquidated.  He has come to Donici to see an old friend and try to get some protection.  Unfortunately his friend is out of town at the moment so he is wandering around trying to find a place to stay.  The three head into the Tinker Shop.  There Marta sells two ounces of gold she stole and buys some maps. The three then go to Compu Coffee which is right outside the Warrens to do a little research.  They find that the place sell used cyberdecks and Data Plans.  The trio all head back to their container home. Marta has decided she likes Nail and when she learns that his specialty is the buying and selling of various goods (a fixer) she wants the rest of the group to meet him.  After all they have a spare bedroom at their new place.   On their way back Marta buys a violin at Tinker Shop.

Back at the apartment the group responds well to Nail, but the tension between Marta and Dick is getting more apparent.  Finally Dick (Owen) asks her, “You know who I really am, don’t you?”

Marta’s eyes well up with tears as she breaks down, “Yes, I am so sorry. This is all my fault.”

She tells the group that her real name is Natalie Lanikova, a Caitlin biogenetic construct and she knows them all.  It is clear that not all of her memories have returned, but however this happened, it is because of her.  She identifies all of the clones, and fesses up to her and Nip’s robbery of the orphanage’s safe.

John Smith is Mason Verge

Laura Torok is Nip Lacy

Irena Korbal is Stepka Hasek

Dick Jones is Owen McGregor

While this doesn’t immediately trigger everyone’s memories, it gives them a place to start. Natty (Marta) tells them what she remembers, which isn’t very much.  She touches upon the Collective (a secret organization of biogens that has by now left human occupied space).  The biogen explains the download technology that they developed and that is how they have been reborn. Stepka and Nip were authorized downloads, but Owen and Mason weren’t.  More importantly, she has no idea how Stepka, Nip and she died.  She now suggests they decide on what they are going to do and her idea is continue together as a crew/family. She will continue as shot-caller with Owen as her second and Nail as sort of a consigliere.  They all agree so the first order of business is to get some basic gear.  First stop is Tinker Shop where they get Nip a cyberdeck. Natty has found places nearby to get cell phones.  They head south through the rest of the combat zone, being very careful to walk only on 6th avenue.  The group has learned that the various gangs in the area have a standing agreement that this road provides free passage to all.  Most observe this but Steel Vengeance, the only real booster gang in the area, sometimes doesn’t.  Fortunately, they usually only come out at night.  They pick up phones for everyone and go back to their place.  The rest of the day is spent trying to reconstruct their lives.

That night Natty wants to go early to Vlad Tepes Square and Dracul’s, a teen dance club she has heard about. She offers to front money to any who need it.  They all head down to Dracul’s that night.  After paying a small cover charge, they enter.  It is a teenage hangout that doesn’t serve alcohol and located right next to the Vlad Tepes Square subway station.  The rail stop also houses a GITPol substation (Greater Innis Transit Police).  There are three bands playing tonight.  The first is called Black Danube. Natty, Nip, and Nail head down front and dance up a storm.  When the set finishes, the three are waved up to join the band backstage.  There Nip hits it off with Alex Tedescu, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist, and his brother Felix Tedescu, the head tech and engineer for the band. Nail and the band’s keyboardist and back-up singer, Caterina Savu, find themselves attracted to each other. Natty talks with the bassist a bit, but ends up sucking face in the corner with Laura Dobros, a hanger on of the band and employee of Oalf’s Music located near Vlad Tepes square.

On the dance floor Stepka is dancing when several pairs of hands start touching her.  They belong to some drunken teenagers.  She bats them away quite successfully, but Mason moves in to defend her honor.  Several more friends of the gropers interpose themselves and block his progress, but don’t actually engage in physical fighting.  These kids are all laughing and not taking the incident too seriously. Mason tries to sweep them but botches the move and hits the deck.  The teen solo jumps to his feet, but the teens suddenly fade into the crowd and let Stepka alone.  Bouncers appear and grab Mason.  They didn’t see what the teens were doing, but they did notice Mason’s martial arts move. Verge is thrown out of the club for the evening.  He waits outside to extract his revenge on the gang of kids, but they don’t come out.  When Khan exits the club, the two walk home.

Finally Stepka notices she is the only one of her group that is still on the main floor of the club.  She decides to walk back to the Warrens herself.  All is fine as she heads up 6th Avenue until she reaches about 64th Street.  There a battle between the local booster gang, Steel Vengeance, and a rival gang intruding on their territory spills out onto the supposedly neutral area.  Either high on combat drugs or just plain blood thirsty crazy two boosters start to chase her up the street.  The Czech teen runs as fast as she can, but the two are closing quickly.  The corner of 67th Street and 6th Avenue and safety (under the sight of the prison’s guard towers) is ahead but she will never make it.  If only I could get there, she thinks.  A strange sensation streaks through body and she hears a slight cracking sound.  Suddenly Stepka is at that corner and far ahead of her pursuers.  She doesn’t slow up but keeps running until she is the safety of the Prince’s domain in the Warrens.

***** Welcome to Level One of Psionic Teleport *****

Eventually, the rest of the group heads home. It has been an interesting evening and all have made some friends, enemies or discovered something new about themselves.


Sabbath, Month Five, 28th, 2083:

The group gets up late after last evening. Well, all except for Stepka.  She is still puzzled about what happened last night.  The Czech teen looks across the room and tries to ‘will’ herself there.  After a couple of hours, pop, he teleports herself to the other side of her bedroom.  She keeps this to herself.

Just after mid-day Gregor knocks on their door.  The gypsies are having a cook out of sorts and party.  They are all invited.  The group heads to the back of the Tinker Shop and the Family is there playing music, dancing and having a great time.  The fugitive teens are welcomed into the circle like family. Natty gets her violin and plays with the gypsies.  The rest sing, dance and eat.  This is the first time all feel like they are wanted and appreciated. Natty is summoned to come and sit with Prince Stefan, who is watching the festivities with his two wolfhounds at his side.  He is cheerful and friendly, but something about him makes the biogen uneasy.  She has seen men look at her that way before.  Finally he whispers in her ear that her new “handler” wants to speak with her inside in the Tinker Shop’s office.  By his tone she can tell this is a dismissal and is not to be questioned.

This handler, Vasily Zeklos, smiles and has her sit.  He gets right to the point.  The man turns his computer screen around and plays a video.  It is a recording of three days ago inside their first trailer home.  It shows Natty slaughtering her attackers like one of the killer elite. Vasily informs her that the Prince has got a sample of her DNA from the old apartment and had it tested.  He knows she is a Caitlin biogen and he has always wanted to have one working for him.  It seems the entire apartment was rigged with cameras and microphones.  This “handler” then explains that the businesses they have here in the Warrens are really just a side project to cover the Prince’s real business. Prince Stefan Zeklos runs the top planetary clearing house for contract killings and assassinations on Copernicus.  Welcome to the Family.

Their first job will be finishing off the gang of white slavers that attacked them three days ago. That human trafficking ring they thwarted has suffered another set-back.  They have now lost two of their four grab teams to violence.  Their third team has gone independent.  Their newly recruited team is messy and killed their first targets staying at the Man at Arms Hotel on the corner of 64th Street and 7th Avenue. He shows her the gory photos of that crime scene, which turn even Natty’s stomach.  These slavers have stepped over the line and a group of “concerned businessmen” have put up the money for the job. Vasily also informs her that these slavers are most upset that she has killed their people and are planning their deaths as the two speak.  When told the job is to kill 5 people (essentially the group’s inner core) and pays only $50,000, Natty insists the job is worth $100,000 at least.  When handler is informed that the Team must vote on it, the handler informs Natty that the price is firm and the Prince doesn’t care about any voting nonsense.  He is only interested in her services.  If she wants to include her friends, that is fine.  If she doesn’t do this job, the Prince will have her gruesomely violated, killed and fuck her dead corpse before feeding her to his dogs.  The biogen is taken aback a bit, but forces a smile and accepts the contract.

Vasily goes over the mission briefing file on the slavers with Natty:

Janos Krosko is an ethnic Hungarian from Transylvania who runs a slaving operation out of a section of an abandoned warehouse on the corner of 66th Street and 7th Avenue.  He is ex-military and served in WW III in the Romanian Army.  He is a handsome, charming narcissist with a reported sadistic streak.

Damien Gusa is one of two Romanian brothers in this gang. He thinks he is God’s gift to women and will react violently to being rejected

Bogdan Gusa is the other of the two brothers. He is a quiet soulless killer.

Stefan Yonescu is another Romanian. Stefan is a really big, creepy looking guy who says little and drools a lot.  He likes to hurt young girls.

Filip Penev is a Bulgarian who brokered the deal with the Toderov brothers to base their operations here.  The Toderovs will not be pleased if they are wiped out, but will not make too much fuss unless the Team is identified.

There is two ‘Grab Teams’ of six and five people. They are low level thugs. These groups are sometimes at the warehouse hanging out.

There are also four employees who guard the warehouse, but don’t live there. There are usually two on duty at all times.

Natty takes the file to brief the Team. On a better note, the Team gets $10,000 down.

After the “party” Natty informs the group about the Prince’s offer of employment.  While they don’t like it, the fact that the slavers are plotting their deaths moves them to accept the job.




Episode 3 – Preparations

GMs Note: At this point many of the players have been getting some of their memories (and skills) back.  One of the downsides about their ‘resurrections’ is that the process usually involves being reintegrated with your new body in a calm and nurturing environment, and they are not getting it. This includes a lot of therapy because although you don’t have your old body’s cyberware installed, you still suffer from the humanity loss.  As the trauma of the Team’s ‘rebirth’ has given them amnesia, they haven’t experienced too much of this humanity deficit.  Unfortunately, as they remember their old lives, they also begin to suffer from this loss.  Therapy will correct this, but as of now, they have no way to receive such treatment.  While no one is in danger of ‘going over the edge’ at present, all are becoming more ‘hardcore’ as their humanity drops.

Firstday, Month Five, 29th, 2083:

Gidget asks Natty if she will teach her how to fight.  The biogen agrees to do this as she has begun to develop a strong liking for the former space pirate. Khan wants to acquire some Martial Arts gear as do others. Owen is looking for a gym to work out in. Nip drops into the NET to search out some stores.  She also finds that there is a gym a few blocks down 6th Avenue from here and it is on the way to the subway station. Fred, the runner’s NET ferret, has told her Nip no longer needs a cyberdeck to enter the NET, but if she does, she is only an observer, similar to someone troding in with another NET runner. Nip is keeping this information to herself at the moment.  The girl finds some stores downtown that have the goods they want. Natty gives Nail some cash to cover these expenses as he has the best chance to get a good price.  Soon, Khan, Owen, Nip, Stepka, Mason and Nail with Gidget as their guide (she has been to this city before) head out on their shopping trip. Natty stays home to guard the apartment.  As the group walks by the entrance of Colonel Tibor Carp’s compound, they notice that the two heavily armed guards stationed there are taking notice of them.  The guards never used to before.

The group reaches the gym that Owen wants to try to join.  The others wait outside as the prospective new member enters.  Inside the people there look at him blankly.  Clearly he is the youngest person here.  A German Shepard Dog walks up to Owen, sniffs him and starts to growl.  A man (the owner) comes over and he appears angry.  He tells the young man, “Get the out of here, we don’t like your kind.”

Owen takes a defiant attitude and promises to keep coming till they let him in. Finally the owner calls over one of the boxers and tells him to throw the kid out. Owen prepares to fight, but boxer cold cocks him using his bare hands with one punch.  Outside the group sees two people bring the unconscious Owen out and dump him on the sidewalk.  The Team picks up their friend and carries him back to the apartment. Natty renders first aid. Owen has ten points of lethal damage.

The group heads back out to do their shopping leaving Owen with Natty.  As they enter the King Mircea Subway Station they see a poster on the wall.  There is going to be a concert on the band stand in the park right outside on the 32nd of this month (the next Civil Holiday).  Listed third on the bill is the Black Danube Band, their friends from Dracul’s.

Downtown, which is a nice section of the city, they walk around the shopping district. Two policemen follow them for a while until it is clear they are buying things and (despite their poor appearance) have money to spend.  Sonn they find an excellent martial arts supply store called The Sacred Path.  Just about everything they want is here.  The owner is an ex-Romanian soldier who is a master in both Sambo and Aikido.  The man also runs a dojo there but is not accepting any new students.  The return trip is uneventful.

That evening Khan lights some candles he bought and places them around the living room.  The Team relaxes in the warm atmosphere thus created. Nip pulls Natty into Owen’s room and suggests that the biogen heal their wounded friend.  The two agree, but Nip senses a little reluctance from her two friends; especially about the getting almost naked part. Natty tells Owen to just think about her as a cat and not a girl.  The three crawl into bed and the biogen begins her healing purr.


Seconday, Month Five, 30th, 2083:

In the early morning Owen is slowly waking up; drifting between semi-consciousness and REM sleep.  He starts to have a dream, but realizes it’s different that a dream. Owen is back in Blackwater, Florida in 2047 sitting in the back of the main showroom of the Blue Moon Revue, the strip club he managed while undercover with the United States Marshals Service.  The club is closed but some of dancers are rehearsing on-stage.  A door opens and he sees himself enter the showroom with SimonSlyTremont, the MC and assistant manager for the Blue Moon.  He watch as the ‘his old self’ talks to the dancers. Owen becomes aware of a growing feeling that he has never experienced.  He starts to feel warm and sensual inside and decides that, come hell or high water, he will seduce ‘his old self’ that is talking to the dancers.  This ‘old self’ up by the stage turns and looks to the back of the club at the dreaming Owen, who, suddenly embarrassed, looks back down at a book and some papers on the table.

The images swirl and change. Owen is now in Alina Lanikova’s bungalow at the Petersen Point Resort.  The former lead dancer is talking to ‘dreaming Owen’ about his ‘old self’. Alina says that she really likes (his identity as) OwenCrankWolf.  The Czech dancer says she can’t do anything about it now, but hopes that over time ‘Crank’ will prove to be the good man she believes him to be and maybe they could have a future together.  Suddenly, the ‘dreamer’ starts feeling ashamed of the previous thoughts at the Blue Moon Revue.  This ‘dreaming Owen’ is then overwhelmed by feeling of love and affection for Alina.  It is in no way a sensual love.  The woman talking to the ‘dreamer’ is the most important person in his life; the rock around which he bases his sanity.  The depth of this emotion rocks Owen to the very foundation of his soul.  This feeling is only amplified by his Eidetic Memory.

The dreaming Owen gazes around the room and his eyes stop at a mirror.  His reflection in the mirror is that of Natalie Lanikova.  As he looks into her/his eyes, he becomes aware that he is not alone.  The eyes in the mirror open wide as it seems the real Natty realizes he is there.  This “vision” slams shut and Owen feels the bed he is in move violently.  The dreamer awakes in the container bedroom in Donici. Natty is stumbling away from him towards the door.  The look on her face is one of mortification and hurt, as her tears begin to flow.

*****Welcome to Level Two of Enhanced Memory: Memory Reading*****

(GM Note:  The incident above happened on the second day of Episode One of the Fall of the Cotton Kingdoms Campaign)

Gidget and Mason look down the hall of their container apartment and see Natty dressed in her panties burst out of Owen’s room and rush into her own room and slam the door. Nip follows also similarly dressed.  The two onlookers head to Natty’s room where Nip and now underwear clad Owen are knocking on the biogen’s door, but getting no response.

“What did you do to her?” Mason demands of Owen.

“I didn’t do anything,” the young man protests.

“Well, we have to get in there,” responds Mason.

A twinkle comes to Nip’s eye as she asks Mason, “Why, do want to wrestle some naked children?”

The solo fires back some nasty comments that don’t seem to faze Nip and stalks away.  They all decide to leave Natty alone for now. Gidget goes to brew some tea and Nip joins her.  The former space pirate observes that Mason can be a real asshole sometimes to which the other girl replies, “Everyone needs an asshole friend.”

Gidget asks what Nip means by that.  The NET runner goes into their history with Mason.  The solo may be a little rough around the edges, but he is a true friend who can always be depended on.

The group spends the day working with the gear their martial arts gear they acquired, but Natty doesn’t come out of her room.  Finally, they all get worried and have Nail pick the lock on the biogen’s door.  She isn’t in there.  They start to search. Khan walks out on the porch and spies Natty.  She is sitting by the gypsy’s ramshackle collection of buildings talking with Gregor.  He has his arm around her shoulders listening sympathetically.  They see she is safe (more or less).

That evening Natty comes back to the container apartment.  She tells the group that she has spoken to the Prince and he has agreed to lend them a van and driver, Gregor, so they can get the rest of the gear they need.  When she finishes, Owen asks to speak with her.  The two talk. Owen now understands the depth of Natty’s feelings for her “foster” mother and that the biogen sees Alina as more than just that.  The pain of that woman’s murder is burnt deep in the biogen’s soul.  Yes, when Natty first saw Owen, she desired him, but now, she views him as her brother and best friend.  After this conversation the two are good again.  She also tells Owen that he can’t go outside for a couple of days since he walked in the apartment in critical condition.  It would be difficult to explain his much improved condition.  Outside he will have ‘act’ wounded until the 39th of the month.


Thirday, Month Five, 31st, 2083: (Summer)

The whole Team heads out in the morning in a van driven by Gregor.  They have made a list consisting of, among other things, cameras, microphones, radios, portable tight-beam microwave transmitter, tools and a large number of yards of dark grey SP6 armored cloth along with some soft shoe soles. Natty explains that the armored cloth and shoe soles are so she can put together some sort of stealth suits.  They won’t be nearly as effective as professional ones, but they will be better than nothing. Nail does some awesome negotiation and scores the group some great deals on the electronics they need and an industrial sewing machine along with a number of yards of the dark grey SP6 cloth.  The young Ukrainian fixer has a weapons contact in the area and secures the firearms they deem necessary for the mission.  When they return to the Warrens, Natty goes into the Tinker Shop and picks up a mono 2 switchblade she ordered. Mason has bought a mono knife so he gives his old knife to Nip.  It has been a productive day.


Civil Holiday, Month Five, 32nd, 2083:

Today is the day of the outdoor concert to be held at King Mircea Square which is next to the rail and subway station. Most are going to go except Natty and Nip, who are working on tech projects putting together a homemade surveillance package to go on the tower of Father Emil Todorov’s St. Zlata of Maglen, a Bulgarian Orthodox church.  The church is one block from the warehouse where the slavers have their headquarters.  They are also mounting a camera on a small aerial remote.

Mason, Stepka, Nail, Owen and Khan all head out to what they discover is a monthly concert in King Mircea Park sponsored by the Blue Danube Club, a major hotspot also located on the square.  The square is packed with young people and there is a large police presence (GITPol). Mason and Owen pick up on a number of police snipers on the rooftops.  They seem to be concentrating on the area north of the square which is the most dangerous part of the local combat zone.  It is the turf of the booster gang, Steel Vengeance.

The bands are great and all seems fairly peaceful. Mason spots many of the gang of teens that gave him and Stepka a hard time a few days ago at Dracul’s.  They don’t seem to notice him or Stepka.  He decides not to make a scene, but keeps his eye on them. Caterina Savu, the keyboardist for Black Danube spies Nail and gets him ‘backstage’.  That band comes on and they are clearly the crowd’s local favorite.  Everyone dances and has a good time.  When it is time to go home, Nail is not to be seen. Gidget suggests he might be ‘getting lucky’ with Caterina (true).


Fifthday, Month Five, 33rd, 2083

The Team continues to work on their gear. By evening Nip has finished the surveillance package and Natty has completed five of the homemade ‘stealth suits’.  Late that night Khan, Nip, Mason, Owen and Natty dress in their new matching ‘stealth’ garb and sneak over to the St. Zlata of Maglen Church tower to plant the surveillance package. Natty climbs up the tower out of sight.  The Team hears the bolt locks on the back door being unfastened and Owen thinks it is Natty unlocking the door for them so he heads for the opening door.  No, it is a slightly inebriated priest coming out to relieve himself.  The priest screams for help and runs inside. Owen retreats a bit, but not far enough as a couple of armed men rush out. Khan, Nip, Mason and Owen run away.  Only Owen is hit for a couple of points of damage.  There ‘stealth suits’ are nothing more than dark armored jump suits, but the SP6 helps stop any serious damage.

The four avoid the lackluster pursuit sent after them, but Natty is stuck on the top of the tower for a few hours after setting up the surveillance gear.  Finally she sees an opportunity to come down but botches her roll.  The conformation roll turns out to be just a failure.  Between her acrobatics and lithe (from her biogenetic cat abilities) she suffers only three points of damage and a wound to her pride.  She makes it back to the Warrens and tells no one of her fall.  With the package in place they begin 24 hour surveillance of the slavers’ warehouse.  Only at night do they fly their cobbled together drone.




Episode 4 – Death to the Slavers!


Sixthday, Month Five, 34th, 2083:

By now the five ‘amnesiacs’ who were found floating in space could no longer deny to themselves that something extraordinary had happened to them. They gather in Owen’s room to finally discuss it. Owen, Mason, Natty, Nip and Stepka sit down and stare at each other.  Finally Natty speaks, “I know some of you are aware that I have the ability to heal myself and others.  As I have been remembering things, I know now that my species has always been able to repair damage to ourselves, but none of the Caitlins has ever been able to heal others until now.  Also, as I use this ability, I find I am able to do it quicker than before.  Has anybody else noticed anything strange about themselves?”

Owen says, “As Natty knows, I have always been able to remember everything in perfect detail, but now I seem to have the ability to read other people’s memories.”  This provoked an uncomfortable stir among the five so he adds, “I have to touch you and you have to allow it.”

“Well, I can enter the NET without jacking into a cyberdeck, but I can’t do much except look around. Also, I don’t really have much of an icon when I do it.  I think I just appear as random bits of data,” offers Nip.

Stepka looks down and finally says, “I kind of have the ability to teleport myself from here to there.”

There is a dumfounded silence until Mason chuckles, “Yeah, right.”

The Czech solo concentrates for a second and ….. pop ….. she blinks across the room.  Everybody is on their feet. “Jeezes,” Owen gasps.

(GM Note: The slight ‘popping’ sound comes from the air being displaced (and rushing back in) by the transport)

As all take this in Mason hangs his head slightly and notes, “Hmm, I seem to be the only one who isn’t special.”

(GM Note: Well, actually Mason is psionic.  He has an ability called ‘Iron Man’.  Each level of ability gives him a natural +1 SP and +1 to a special version of BTM.  He has been in a few fights so far (some written up here, some very minor) and has never taken a single point of damage.  He just hasn’t noticed it yet.)

“What about the others?” Owen asks, meaning the rest of their team.

“I think it’s time we talk to them,” Natty replies.

“Do we really know Nail well enough?” inquires Mason.

Natty says, “Gidget trusts him and that’s good enough for me.  Besides if we are going to work together we have to trust him.”

The five walk into the living room and to call a Team meeting. After sweeping for listening devices they tell Gidget, Khan and Nail about themselves.  Well, Khan is already aware of Natty’s ability, but not that it is a new ability.  All three are a little skeptical about Stepka’s teleport claim until she pops across the room. Nip thinks for a moment and asks, “Can you take other people with you?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never tried,” is the reply.

The exuberant NET runner leaps into the surprised solo’s arms and says, “OK, give it a shot.”

Stepka concentrates at a point across the room and, with a slightly louder pop, blips to that location.   Nip jumps out of her arms and shrieks, “Oh my God that was awesome!”

Natty thinks for a moment and says, “You know, I think we can use this,” and then adds; “apparently something happened to us while we were floating around in space.”

The other four murmur in agreement until Khan raises his hand, “That might not be completely true.”

The martial artist then tells the group that he also has a ‘special ability’ and that it is growing. Not only can he sense living things in a small but widening radius from him, but his body is now able to absorb more damage without really hurting him (increased BTM).

“Well, so much for the space theory,” Owen observes.

The group decides to share any unusual changes in themselves that they notice and try to figure out what is happening to them. They also agree to tell no one else.  The group all fears what might happen to them if a government or corporation (or the Prince) might do to them if this was discovered.

For the rest of the day, the Team prepares their gear and watches the surveillance feed of the slavers’ warehouse and records their comings and goings. That night it is decided that Natty will climb to the warehouses roof, examine their defenses and plant a bug and listen.  She will stay up there until early tomorrow night when Mason will relieve her.

After the sun goes down Natty, slips into that dangerous part of the combat zone and makes it up to the roof undetected.  On top she sees that there are laser trip wires but only one working camera up there.  These are easily avoided and she taps into that camera to allow Nip to enter the system.  This gives the team access to the couple of interior security cameras and improves their information gathering.  Besides information concerning their targets arms and armor, Natty also realizes that this group is paying off the Steel Vengeance booster gang who patrols the area randomly.  This is another complication to deal with.


Sabbath, Month Five, 35th, 2083:

The Team continues to prepare their gear, work out and some start taking meditation lessons from Khan.  On the roof of the slavers’ warehouse Natty remains hidden and listens to the conversations of their targets.  Tonight is a second penetration of the roof defenses this time by Mason who will be left on roof to listen. Natty returns to Warrens. Mason overhears that “Killer” grab team from Man at Arms Hotel will be coming in with “merchandise” late night on the 37th.


Firstday, Month Five, 36th, 2083:

The day is spent working out, watching and learning the movements of the slaver gang and their booster gang protectors. Natty finishes her homemade stealth suits.  Early that night Mason returns and the Team reviews their information.  Their opponents are a formidable bunch.  The leader, Janos Krosko, has two cyberlegs and a cyberarm. Damien Gusa has subdermal chest armor, Big Knucks and wears armor all the time.  His brother, Bogdam Gusa, also has subdermal chest armor and a shark grin. Stefan Yonescu has a right cyberarm, some light skinweave and favors a large axe. Filip Penev doesn’t appear to be modifier much at all.  The slavers usually have a couple of freelance thugs helping guard the downstairs.  They occupy only the northeast corner of this two story U-shaped building.  On the north side is a liquor store that closes an hour or so after sunset.  On the part of the building the slavers occupy the north end is one large room where they keep a van and have a small office.  The south part has two floors.  Stairs lead up from the garage to a second floor which is a series of bedrooms and a common area.  The floor below that has no windows. But the Team has learned that it contains the slave pens.  Most of this intelligence is learned because there are quite a number of large skylights on the roof.  The Steel Vengeance patrols are irregular and infrequent.  Once a patrol passes it is usually a long time before the next one.

The skylights are the easiest means of entrance to the building, but there is no way they can all climb up and not be noticed. Across 66th Street from the warehouse there is a rundown apartment house whose roof overlooks the roof of their target building.  The apartment complex is only half occupied and has no security.  The plan will be to strike tomorrow night after the liquor store closes and a booster patrol goes by.  The Team will move to the roof of the apartment house. Stepka will teleport all across and then they will strike from above, hopefully before the new ‘grab’ team arrives.  This will allow them to take out most of the organization and free the slaves.


Seconday, Month Five, 37th, 2083:

Night time comes and Gidget, Khan, Mason, Natty, Nip, Owen and Stepka don their grey, armored body stockings. Nail will remain at the container apartment to monitor the surveillance gear.  The seven person assault group arms up with silenced handguns and assault rifles (as much as an assault rifle can be silenced anyway).  They slip unnoticed to the apartment across the street from their target building and scale to the roof.  Luck is with them.  The liquor store is closed and the boosters finish their patrol.  The new grab team hasn’t delivered the new batch of slaves. Stepka proceeds to teleport the Team across to the warehouse roof.  It takes a couple of trips.  The slavers’ roof defenses have been disabled and their camera is being fed a loop of a clear roof.  Carefully looking through the skylights they see two not very observant thugs in the garage.  On the second floor in the common room are the Gusa brothers, Stefan Yonescu and four local thugs listening to music, playing pool and drinking. Filip Penev is asleep in a bedroom of the hall by the common room.  The leader Janos Kroska is in his large bedroom.  He is wearing only a set of ass-less chaps and has a young woman bound to an X-shaped cross.  He appears to be deciding which whip to use. Natty quietly cuts a small firing loop in the skylight and puts a 7.62 round from her silence rifle in the man’s head before moving to the front to cover the two guards in the garage. Mason opens the skylight in Filip’s bedroom and headshots him with a silenced 11mm Polish handgun.  He and the rest of the Team drop down into that bedroom quietly on a rope.

When ready they rush the common room and achieve a surprise round. Stepka blows one thug’s brains all over the wall. Nip, who is naturally ambidextrous, shoots another thug in the torso and a second in the head killing him. Mason tries to call a head shot on Damien Gusa but misses. Khan slices Stefan Yonescu’s leg off.  This slaver doesn’t die, but he passes out from shock. Owen gets lucky on his called shot head and kills another thug.

The battle is now joined. Mason tries another called shot head on Damien but misses again. Owen turns his weapon on Damien also, but his shots are turned by slaver’s armor. Stepka fires on Bogdan Gusa and scores a lucky head hit but he doesn’t go down. Khan strikes Bogdan with his katana and kills him. Damien fires at Mason, but misses. Nip drops the second to the last thug with four 9mm hits.  The last thug pulls out an SMG and lights Mason up.  He is hit but takes no damage.

(GM Note: Mason credits his “awesomeness” to why he took no damage instead of realizing he might be psionic.  In his defense, his character is well, kind of awesome, for a 15 year old.)

On the last round, Stepka drops Damien and Mason kills the thug with the SMG. Natty has dropped the two in the garage.  The Team sweeps the rest of the bedrooms and the garage, but wait before entering what they believe is the slave pens. Gidget, who is on lookout reports that no one has seems to notice their relatively quiet strike. Owen and Khan take the tortured young woman down from the cross to treat her. Mason pulls the ass-less chaps off Janos and presents them to Owen as a gift. Natty finds a safe in the floor of that room and she cracks it.  They find 34,000 solars and a couple of ledgers.  She pockets them.

Khan walks up to the door of the slave pens and uses his Sense Life on the room beyond. He feels the presence of humans and they are not in good shape.  He also senses two other life forms that are not human.  All he can tell is that they are animalistic, aggressive and moving around the room.  Someone spots a panel near the door and opens it.  There are two buttons with lights above them.  The red light is on and it is labeled ‘release’.  The green light is off and labeled ‘confined’.  They push the button under the green light. Khan senses the two animalistic life forms move to separate areas near the center of the room and stop.  The red light then shuts off and the green light shines.  The Team enters ready for trouble.  In the room there are 8 people in cages along with two large six-legged animals that look like a cross between an armadillo and a fanged wolf.  These creatures are now locked in cages.

The Team quickly sees to the prisoners. They are alive but frightened.  Also in the room are two large open pits containing some sort of acid.  They learn from the prisoners that the slaves who didn’t ‘work out’ were tossed into those pits alive. Gidget calls from the roof that a van is pulling up by the main door to the garage.  The Team hides in the garage and then opens the large rolling door into the garage.  The van drives in and the Team hits the button to close it.  The grab team exits the van and is met by a hail of accurate (silenced) gunfire.  Inside the van are three people, drugged, tied up and blindfolded.

Outside of the sight of the freed slaves, the Team removes any saleable cyberware from the now dead slavers and loots the rest of the building. They also dismantle the laser grid from the roof and the camera system. Natty takes the heads of the five contracted targets and puts them in a bag.  As stated before the Teams’ humanity is not the best. Nip drags the dead bodies to the acid pits and feeds them into it.  She cheerfully marvels at the effect it has on the rapidly decomposing bodies, which freaks out the former slaves a bit, but they say nothing. Gidget sees the creatures that had been guarding the slaves and identifies them as Grizzts.  It is the largest carnivore on the planet.  They are extremely vicious.  These two had been implanted with cyberware to control them.  They leave the two predators in their cages.

The Team loads one van with their loot and gives the second one to the now free slaves along with directions to the nearest Donici Police Precinct. The former slaves head south and the Team heads north to 5th Avenue and the entrance through the fence surrounding the city.  While there are guards at the fence no one is ever stopped from leaving.  They drive out of sight, stop and all but Stepka and Natty leave with their loot.  The two Czech girls head to a small dock they saw when coming into the city.  There they set the van to drive off the dock into the river.  Fearing that the authorities might be able to track them from there, Stepka teleports the two to a hill she can see a couple of hundred yards away.  The two then slip back into the Warrens using the hole in the fence they know of.

Back at their container apartment all have gotten home safely. Natty then heads out to retrieve the surveillance package on top of church tower.  She returns and all go to sleep.  It’s been a long day.


Thirday, Month Five, 38th, 2083:

About midmorning the sounds of helicopters are heard to the south. Natty leaves their container apartment with a large bag.  She sees both a police and news chopper circling the area around the slavers’ warehouse.  She pays it little heed as she goes to see the Team’s handler, Vasily Zeklos.  At the man’s office she pulls the five heads of the slavers out and places them on his desk. Vasily tries very hard to hide his horror especially when confronted with the blank soulless stare that Natty is giving him.  The gypsy counts out the balance of the job and hands it to the biogen.  She leaves. Natty, Owen and Nail go over the ledgers.  They are the records of everyone this gang did business with. Prince Stefan is listed there not as a buyer, but a seller.

(GM Note: The first container apartment Prince Stefan rented the group was one he used to place people he would sell into slavery.  It was rigged with cameras so various slavers could look at the merchandise before bidding on the right to take them.  He gypsies would never actually take part in the snatch themselves.  When the Team slaughtered the attackers it put the Prince in a bad position. When Janos Krosko’s new grab team bloodily botched a grab at the flea bag hotel it enraged the other local criminal element as it attracted police notice.  So Prince Stefan hired the Team to take the slavers out.  If the Team failed and was killed, he would be back in the slavers good graces since he planned to warn them when and if he learns the date of the Team’s attack and it would be a win.  If the kiddie killers smoked the slavers, he also wins!).

At the apartment all have their eye glued to the video news reports. Donici and GITPol C-SWAT along with elements of the Romanian Army had the booster’s HQ surrounded.  The gang had been told if the come out, they die.  Investigative elements of various law enforcement agencies poured over the scene at the warehouse.  The daring elimination of the slaver group and the mess left at the crime scene is great visual news fodder.


Fourthday, Month Five, 39th, 2083:

In the morning Gregor knocks on the door.  The Prince wants to see Natty.  She tells him she’ll be right over. Nip asks the biogen to ask the Prince if there is any way they could move out of the Warrens. Natty heads out, and brings Owen with her. Prince Stephan isn’t pleased. The IBI (Innis Bureau of Investigation) has organized a Special Inter Agency Police Task Force to look into this crime and white slavery in the area of the Warrens. Natty hands him the slavers’ ledger. Stefan thumbs through it.  This is what he was afraid the police might find.  When asked if he could help them move out of the Warrens, the Prince thinks a moment and says yes, he’ll look into it, but makes it clear they still must work for him.  Actually Prince Stefan had been considering having them move.  Putting a little space between him and this Team might be a good idea.

By the afternoon the Prince sends word that a friend of his has a property on the corner of 63rd Street and 6th Avenue.  It is just south of the Steel Vengeance’s territory and close to the subway.  The part of the building that is available is the western third of a strip mall.  The space is 30 meters by 25 meters with entrances on 63rd Street and also 6th Avenue which has a customer and a service entrances.  The Team can look at it today.

Well, the place is a mess, but it’s better than living in the warrens. It used to be an old clothing store.  It has a huge open plan retail area and a back series of rooms that would serve well as bedrooms for the group.  It has only one working bathroom, but others that can be repaired.  The basement is one large space filled with dried feces from squatters using the broken toilets.  The heat and air conditioning don’t work, and only about half of the lighting does also.  The rent is 2500 solars a month plus utilities.  They get the key as soon as they can pay. Natty peels off the cash immediately.  They will move in tomorrow morning.  The Prince will loan them a van and Gregor will drive it.


Civil Holiday, Month Five, 40th, 2083: (Winter)

The Team moves out of Warren’s 4-container home to the store front. As they are moving into their new digs two GitPOL officers show up after the handover of the storefront and extort a $500 per month ‘protection’ fee.  The group considers this money well spent.  After that the move goes smoothly.  The Team maintains a one container apartment free of charge from the Prince to use as a “safe house” and storage in the Warrens


Sixthday, Month Six, 1st, 2083:

The slaving operation and its bloody end have made a serious public relations nightmare. Many in the city are cheering what the media is calling the ‘Grey Ghosts’ who liberated the slaves, but the slaughter of the slavers make the authorities look impotent.  IBI (Innis Bureau of Investigation) tries to enter the Warrens and is instantly opposed by Colonel Carp’s Iron Guard and Warden Toderov’s prison guards.  The standoff lasts a couple of hours but finally the IBI withdraws.  The New Iron Guard and Toderov’s Prison guards will do the investigation in the Warrens.  Two days later The IBI, New Iron Guard and Warden Toderov announce that they have discovered that an elite team of ‘out of town’ hitters killed the slavers and have probably fled.  They have 3 suspects.  The Team recognizes the published pictures as the three edgerunners they met on the train from Brasov.  This makes the second time the kids have put a crimp in that trio’s plans.  Fortunately the three have actually been off-world for quite a while now.


From Sabbath, Month Six, 2nd, 2083 to Fourthday, Month Six, 13th, 2083:

The Team is now (relatively) awash in cash. They have a new place where they don’t have to walk by the area claimed by the Steel Vengeance boosters to get to King Mircea or Vlad Tepes Square, and are under the protection of the corrupt GITPol that patrols this area; for as long as they pay their monthly bribe.  These two weeks are spent cleaning up their new digs, bringing in furniture, and equipping their new private ‘Dojo’.  The Prince provides them with less than moral cyberdocs so a few can get the few pieces of cyberware that won’t cripple their young bodies and a cyber shrink to help them with their humanity. Natty installs a chemistry lab in their new safe house in the Warrens to start making explosives; she just loves to make things go boom. Nail is able to sell most of the slavers’ loot they don’t want to keep.  The friend he had come to see in Donici, Luka Popovic, is back in town, happy to see his old friend and help with these deals.

Khan organizes his lessons as the Team looks to him as their ‘spiritual’ mentor. His meditation class prospers.  The Team’s friendship with the Black Danube Band grows. Nip continues to see the Tedescu brothers, but she starts to favor the younger Felix.  The tech guy shares more of her interests and she discovers he is extremely intelligent.  For Nip that makes him more attractive than physical appearance. Nail’s relationship with the keyboardist, Caterina Savu, grows and she becomes a regular fixture around the place. Laura Dobros, the band’s hanger on, and Natty’s relationship grows.  The two become (annoyingly) loud lovers. Laura has a mellowing effect on the biogen, who finally seems to find a little happiness.

Black Danube gets invited to perform at a large three day outdoor concert on the 14th of this month to be held on the outskirts of Hevelious, the Polish city to the west that forms part of Greater Innis.  The band invites the Team to be part of their backstage entourage. Gidget and Natty build them some road boxes for their equipment.  The two also install some hidden compartments to house some small arms; never can tell when they will be useful.  Things are looking up for the group.




Episode 5 – Rock and Revolution



Fifthday, Month Six, 14th, 2083:

The Team gets together for a three day Music Festival on the outskirts of the combat zone in Hevelious where Black Danube will be playing as second act tomorrow morning. The band has obtained a large box van to carry their gear and all the hangers on. Natty puts a few handguns and the small Łucznik PMM SMG she got from the slaver attack on their first apartment in the band’s equipment boxes that she and Gidget made.  Everyone helps load the band up and piles in to leave by 1 pm.  They arrive on the festival grounds by 3pm and after a cursory search by the festival guards, that doesn’t find the secret compartments, they get to the backstage area where they have an area set aside to put their camp.  A few of the band members have brought private tents, but only Natty, from the Team has brought her own.  Well, it’s actually for her and her girlfriend, Laura Dobros.  For everyone else there is a large 10 person tent plus an equipment shelter except Nail who is invited by Caterina to share hers.  Still, there is plenty of room for everyone.  Not all the bands playing over the next two days have arrived yet, but some are already here to party hardy over this weekend.  Before the music starts the techs of the various bands are called together.  There is a problem with the sound system that no one seems to be able to fix. Gidget heads over with Felix Tedescu and Nip to look into the problem.  No one appears to be able to find the issue until the young female Polish tech looks at it. Gidget figures out the problem and the festival sound system is restored.

At 4pm the first band starts playing. They are called Industrial Noire, an up and coming Belarussian band.  They play from 4 pm to 5 pm and their music is dark and somewhat misogynistic.  Still, they are a crowd pleaser.

The second act plays from 5:15 to 6:15. They are a major planetary act, Bullets for Breakfast, the top Bulgarian band on Copernicus.  They are a happy, party hard group.  They rock the crowd. Natty seems to especially like them as she speaks Bulgarian and gets most of the lyrics.

While Bullets for Breakfast is playing, Mason is walking around backstage.  He sees two men trying to ‘convince’ (coerce) a young woman into Industrial Noire’s campsite.  He tells them to leave her alone.  One of them confronts the young solo and tells him to “fuck off”.  Mason sweeps him and the man is down and unconscious. The other yells something back into his camp (in Belarussian) and gets into Mason’s face.  The solo sweeps him also and down the second harasser goes with a broken leg. Mason figures they had just called for help so he and the young lady take off back to Black Danube’s campsite before reinforcements arrive.  Once safely at their campsite and after the backstage security makes a feeble attempt to find the two, the girl invites the Team and Black Danube to meet the band she came with.  This group is a Polish band from Hevelious called the Hong Kong Cavaliers (yes, I’m a huge Buckaroo Banzai fan, so shoot me). Mason, Khan, Gidget and Felix head over there.  There are a few ethnic Asians in the Cavaliers including their lead singer, a half-Japanese, and half-Polish teenager named Satoru Lubelsky.  He is a martial Arts fan (as is the whole band).  He and Khan (along with the rest of that band) hit it off instantly. Nip is excited as she now gets to work on her Japanese with someone other than Khan.

Backstage Industrial Noire is incensed that security is unable to find the man that attacked two of their entourage.  That failure may have more to do with the exaggerated description of Mason given to the investigating security personnel.  Neither of the two wanted to admit they were beaten up by an apparent 15 year old.  This band leaves the festival in a huff.  No one is sad about this.  On the main stage the last band of the night, Freedom Daze, a top Polish band, is playing.  They are crisp and professional; clearly a crowd favorite.  After their set, they leave the festival.

Back at Black Danube’s camp everyone there is having fun. After Freedom Daze finishes playing, a few members of Black Danube take out acoustic instruments, including Natty who has brought her violin. Laura sings while Natty and Alex Tedescu play.  The Team is having a wonderful time.


Civil Holiday, Month Six, 15th, 2083:

The first act of the morning is the Hong Kong Cavaliers.  They are a hometown favorite and rock the crowd!  The Team heads backstage and dances with the rest of the groupies.  Next up are their friends, the Black Danube.  They too have drawn quite a number of their fans and are enthusiastically received.  The Cavaliers remain backstage to watch as they have gotten to know some of the Black Danube’s entourage.  Both of these bands head back to their respective camps when the third group comes on to put up their gear.

This third act is a Czech band called the Defenestrators, a comic but very political group that riles up the audience.  By early afternoon, the crowd is almost 100,000 and the Polish group, The Revolution, is onstage.  This fourth act is a combination of music and revolutionary diatribe.  Half-way through their hour set a firefight develops between the police and gangs heading to the festival.  The band begins to harangue the audience preaching revolution against the murdering authorities.  Suddenly scruffily uniformed and armed men rush the stage and backstage areas firing into the air.  They declare the ‘Revolution’ has begun.  The crowd roars their approval and the police are driven from the festival grounds.  The festival security people melt away or join the rebels.  The bands still backstage are told not to leave ‘for their own protection’.

Over the next hour the stage becomes a scene of political theatre. The gangs of Hevelious pour into the festival area to support this revolution.  Backstage the situation is a little tense.  These revolutionary cadres are well-armed and organized.  The Polish authorities move swiftly as SWAT and C-SWAT units move in to block the movement of gang members from the combat zone to the festival area.  Soon these and other police units move on the festival.  The backstage cadres move out to meet them and are replaced by members of various Hevelious gangs.  The police assault is bloodily thrown back.  Soon military gunships are seen in the sky.  The two headline acts that are supposed to play tonight have not arrived yet.  Both groups get on the radio and condemn the uprising.  The unstable gangers take it out on the backstage bands as “fickle, disloyal musicians”.  A cyberpsycho ‘parts’ borg terrorizes the artists and finally kills two of the Defenestrators, who complain about their treatment.  This is seen by a military helicopter which swoops down and opens up on the gangers.  The borg goes down; blown into chunks.  With the guards distracted or dead, Owen and Gidget run to the van.  Unfortunately to the gunship they look like fleeing gangers.  Owen is dropped with 11 points of damage and Gidget is hit for 12 points.  They both go down and the van is shredded. Mason and Natty duck into their equipment tent and pull out the hidden firearms.  When the chopper flies off, the few remaining gangers try to round up the musicians. Mason and Natty come out of the tent shooting.  The remaining gangers are killed or flee.  The rest of the Team gathers up some fallen fire arms (handguns, shotguns and an AK-74) and their friends from the Black Danube Band. Owen’s and Gidget’s wounds are seen to. Natty suggests they head out northwest into the country and try to loop around the fighting and back into Hevelious from the north.  The other bands and their hangers on are scattering in all directions before more gang members return.  The band and team head out to the northwest.

They keep their weapons as much out of sight as they can and the band carries the wounded Owen and Gidget.  They soon reach what appears to be a checkpoint manned by some gang members who shout to them, “You’re going the wrong way.”

Mason and Natty reply with automatic weapons fire.  The others with these two yank handguns out and the gangers are dispersed.  In a couple of hours the group makes it out of the closing ring of military and police trying to surround the festival grounds.  They head east towards the combat zone moving slowly to avoid the choppers who are firing sometimes indiscriminatingly.  The fleeing teens hear a major firefight developing in the area of the former music festival.  As it starts to get dark they reach the combat zone that is unusually quiet. Alex Tedescu tries to make a phone call, but all cell signals seem to be jammed.  As they walk down a street a young group of gangers come around a corner and starts to approach the team and band.  They clearly are displaying a hostile attitude. Owen wants to duck down an alley but there isn’t one close enough. Natty just pulls her Łucznik PMM SMG from under her coat and empties her clip into the advancing youths. Mason does the same with his AK-74.  Those gangers not dropped flee in terror.

It is almost dark and they all find themselves in an almost abandoned neighborhood. The group enters an apartment building whose door is off its hinges and looks for a place to hold up for the night.  As they are searching the second floor an armed man steps out in front of Khan.  The martial artist easily disarms him.  This man though the group was a gang looking to hurt him.  They let him go.  The team and band find a defensible apartment on the third floor and settles down for the night.


Sabbath, Month Six, 16th, 2083:

The sun finally rises. There is still smoke rising in the direction of where the concert has been held.  Helicopter gunships prowl over that area.  Occasionally one would lay some fire down in the distance. Nip hears some sounds on the road approaching.  As the sounds of heavy equipment get louder she looks out and sees a column of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles heading in the direction of where the music had been.  A soldier sees her and she ducks.  The troops continue on their way.  A girl looking out the window is not perceived as any sort of threat.  A few of the tanks mount a rise a few hundred meters away and fire some shells then move on.

At 8 am Nip drops into the NET, but it is filled with icons in the shape of badges.  She drops out again.  The cell phones are still all jammed.  Finally around midday the gunfire has ceased.  The Team tries their phones again and the jamming is no longer in effect. Natty calls Gregor but there is no answer. Nip drops into the NET which does no longer resemble a police convention and finds the number of a van delivery service.  That company will pick them up if they go another eight blocks towards a better neighborhood, which they do.  The Team and the Black Danube Band get driven back to their neighborhood in Donici.  The dispirited band members head home.

The Team makes it to their strip mall home. Their afternoon is interrupted by the delivery of much of the repair materials to get the building in shape.  The Team helps unload the truck and then drop into their beds totally exhausted and sleep.


Firstday, Month Six, 17th, 2083:

Natty offers to psionically heal Gidget and she accepts. Natty, Gidget and Nip head to Natty’s room and the biogen begins to purr.  It will take hours to heal the tech.  The others tend their wounds and rest.




Episode 6 – Death and Betrayal



Seconday, Month Six, 18th, 2083:

In the morning Gidget is now only at 2 damage points (she was cured of 9); Natty attains level 3 in Psionic Healing. Natty attempts to heal Owen over 9 hours and will cure him for 9 points, after which he will give Gidget a Jeet Kin Do lesson.

Gidget meanwhile gets working on repairing the systems of the Team’s new digs. By early afternoon the tech has restored all of the basic electrical system of the old store, but not beyond the interfaces that connect to the other systems (heat, air conditioning etc.).  The lighting system is fully restored. Gidget goes on to repair the buildings telephone interface by sunset they have a house land line and a hard wired NET connection.  Normally it takes weeks to get the city to turn out water and reconnect the sewer system, but with Prince Stefan’s assistance both systems are up and running by the end of the day.

Khan and Nip scout out the roof of the complex and check out the middle of the other abandoned store next door.  They install the stolen laser detection grid and security camera on their roof.  They also install mini-cams the watch the approaches to their new place on 6th Avenue and 63rd Street as well as the door main doors of the building.


Thirday, Month Six, 19th, 2083: (Summer)

The Vasily Zeklos, the Team’s handler, summons Natty, Nail and Owen.  On the way up 6th Avenue a patrol of the New Iron Guard stops the three and begins to harass them over lack of IDs and why they are not in school.  When the cops’ supervisor shows up, he lets the three go.

When the trio reach the Warrens, Vasily lays out the mission.  He has an easy short term bodyguard job for part of the Team. Adrian Lucescu is a spoiled, indolent little rich Romanian lad, and the most successful pop star on the planet.  (He is the ‘Justin Bieber’ of Copernicus)  The problem is the young man is finishing up his new album, but has hit a mental block.  The pop idol has fired three sets of bodyguards in the past two weeks claiming that these ‘clowns’ have blocked his muse.  There have been a few credible threats so the young man needs close protection while finishing his record.  His manager is an acquaintance of the Prince who has agreed to provide some youthful but competent people to watch Adrian. Owen, Stepka and Mason will be those people.  They will be gone about a week and will leave immediately.  Payment will be a 10,000 solars (more if they foil any attempt against the pop star).

(GM Note: Adrian Lucescu is pleasant but kind of arrogant.  He is trying to move from mindless pop star to social rocker.  The Team successfully joins the entourage and Adrian takes a liking to them.  He gives them all nick-names: Stepka is ‘Beauty’, Mason is ‘Mr. Grim’ and Owen is ‘Pizza Face’, due to his low ATTR.)

Back at the Team’s new Dojo home, Gidget works on the heating system.  It takes her all day, but she is successful and they now have heat.  Since it is “summer’ now, the building is warm.  So having heat is no big deal, but this does mean hot water for showers!


Fourthday, Month Six, 20th, 2083:

Gidget continues to work on their new home’s damaged systems and Nip helps her.  By midday they finish working on the air conditioning system. Gidget hits the start button and the system comes on.  The two head upstairs for lunch.  About a minute later the air conditioning shuts down. Gidget goes downstairs and hits the start button again.  She waits for a few minutes to make sure it won’t just shut off.  After being sure all is well the Polish tech heads back upstairs for lunch.  About a minute after she arrives in their kitchenette, the air conditioning shuts down again.  Both Nip and Gidget return to the basement to look at the system.  The go over the unit top to bottom and Gidget hits the start button.  It starts right up.  Again, about a minute after they come upstairs it shuts off for the fourth time.  Now the two start to take apart the unit and everything it’s connected to. Nip checks the insides of the power plug.  The wires are extremely corroded.  In fact no electricity could possibly have crossed through this connection and the air conditioner should never have worked in the first place.  They replace the wires. Nip hits the start button and the system comes on and stays on.

As the two techies are eating lunch with Nail and Khan discussing this anomaly, Caterina Savu comes over to see Nail.  She is extremely upset.  Their friend (and Natty’s lover), Laura Dobros has been murdered.  Her battered body was fished from downriver this morning. Khan knocks on Natty’s door, but there is no answer.  The biogen isn’t home.  They will wait till she comes home to tell her about her lover’s death.  This isn’t something where a phone call will do.  Unfortunately Natty doesn’t come home that night.

(GM Note: That afternoon Natty was arrested by Donici Police for the murder of Laura Dobros.  She spends her night in police interrogation as they try to beat a confession out of her.)


Fifthday, Month Six, 21st, 2083:

Khan checks on Natty in the morning, but the biogen still isn’t home so he calls her on the phone.  A Sergeant Comescu of the Donici Police answers.  The officer is polite and asks a few questions.  He confirms that Natty is in custody and being questioned.  The sergeant keeps Khan talking on the phone for quite a while.  Finally there is a knock on the door. Nip opens it before checking the security monitors and finds a number of Donici policemen there.  Both she and Khan are ‘detained’ for questioning.  More officers enter the dojo and begin to search.  Fortunately for them, Gidget and Nail are out getting some materials to continue fixing up the Dojo.  The Donici police start to make a thorough search but GITPol shows up and asks for their warrant.  They don’t have one so GITPol forces them to leave and padlocks the door.  Fortunately, the city police didn’t find any of the hordes of illegal weapons stored in the basement.

Both Khan and Nip are grilled about the relationship between Laura and her ‘lesbo’ girlfriend, Natty.  In an effort to break them the two are shown parts of the autopsy report and pictures of the dead girl. Laura’s body was found beaten, molested with physical objects and scalped with her throat cut floating under a dock about a mile down river.  The authorities seem convinced Natty is the killer.  After a few hours Khan and Nip are suddenly released and given back their phones.  When they ask about Natty, the police tell them that she will be released shortly.  They can wait outside the back door of the precinct for her.  The two wait.  Soon the back door opens and a bruised and battered Natty is thrown out the door and down the stairs.  The Czech girl has been beaten severely.  The two help her up and Natty immediately shreds her cell phone.  Both Khan and Nip do the same after they call a cab to get home. Natty’s spirits are crushed.  Their Dojo is chained shut with a lock so the young people call the landlord.  He comes down and cuts off the lock with bolt cutters to let them in, after checking for permission from GITPol. Nail and Gidget return to find out what has happened. Natty just crawls into her bed.  She hasn’t spoken a word.  The girl just cries quietly. Nip stays with her trying to coax the biogen into healing herself.

Nail starts thinking and suggests that they sweep the place for bugs. Every bedroom has a listening device except the basement, Gidget’s, Natty’s and Mason’s bedrooms.  The Team’s computer is bugged along with their small office and they find two devices in the main room of the Dojo. Gidget and Nail also trash their phones. Nail keeps his separate ‘business’ phone since that number never was put into any of the Team’s directories and no one from here has ever called it.  That is a good decision since just before nightfall, Luca Popovic calls Nail.  He has some business to discuss and invites Nail to have lunch with him at the Odessa Club tomorrow.  That club is a couple of blocks southeast of Vlad Tepes Square and is known to Nail as the headquarters of the Ukrainian mob.  The young fixer heads to the Hotel Transylvania to spend the night to first, be closer to his meeting and second, to be away from any police surveillance now that they have destroyed the police listening devices.


Sixday, Month Six, 22nd, 2083:

In the morning Gidget practices the Jeet Kun Do moves she has learned from Owen and takes a lesson in meditation from Khan. Nip finally coaxes Natty out of her bedroom and gets her to talk.  Both Gidget and Khan comfort her also and help bring her around. Laura’s death has awakened the old memories of the murder of her old lover, Paris, back in Blackwater Florida in 2047 when she was a ‘real’ teenager.  The three distract the biogen by going out and buying new phones. Natty also buys an armored Long Coat (SP 10).

Luka and Nail meet for lunch at the Odessa Club.  Besides the business he has to discuss, Nail’s friend has news about Laura Dobros’ murder. Luka grew up with Laura and has become friends with the rest of the Team.  Her death has affected him too.  First of all, Laura’s step-father is a Donici policeman which is why the department is on a rampage to find her killer.  Their investigation has uncovered an outside security video from the nearby Royal Bank of Romania showing her being kidnaped and forced into a van by a group of men.  That is why Natty was released. Nail asks if Luka can get a copy of that video.  The fixer says he’ll try.

Now Luka gets down to business. Popovic has a deal going down the night of tomorrow’s Sabbath.  He is going to buy some intelligence on a Polish government official. Nail’s friend is now just a low level gofer in the Ukrainian mob and wants to move up to be an info broker.  This deal could raise Luka’s status, but it could be dangerous so the man wants some back up.  He’ll pay a Team 10,000 solars.  The meet is at a closed factory at the edge of the CZ in Perek. Luka has transportation, but he just needs some muscle on the off chance something goes wrong. Nail says he’ll bring it to the Team, but is sure they’ll do it.

Nail returns to the Dojo and lays out the offer from Luka.  The Team agrees to do the job.


Sabbath, Month Six, 23rd, 2083:

Khan, Gidget, Natty and Nip get their gear together. Natty works with her weapon smith set up in the basement and puts a silencer on one of the AK-74s they have.  She will be on over watch in her homemade sneak suit.  The others sort thru the armored clothes they have acquired (mostly leathers) and take some handguns from their growing arsenal. Luka pulls up in the late afternoon with a van and they all pile in.  It is about am 1 ½ drive.  They drop Natty off a block away from the warehouse where the meeting is to take place and give her time to get into position.  At the appointed time they pull into the parking lot outside the target building and head on in.  As they move through the crates stacked here and there, Luka sees his contact sitting in a chair behind a table with a large imposing bodyguard behind him.  As they approach, Nail whispers, “Your friend isn’t moving.”

The sharp hearing of the team detects a silenced shot. They all dive for cover as four more men in dark clothes jump up from behind the scattered crates and open fire with handguns.  Two of those weapons roar as the blasts of as electro-thermal .44 magnum fires and a 14mm Malorian arms flash to life.  The remaining two handguns are 9mm.  The 14mm streaks by Luka but misses.  The .44 seems to be aimed into the steel rafters above.  One 9mm misses, but another hits Gidget and lightly wounds her.  The sound of an RPG is heard from the rafters, but the back blast heads into the center of warehouse.  Outside their truck explodes.

All hell breaks loose. Khan moves forward and takes down one with his katana.  While the Team is fired at as they move through the maze of crates, most of their opposition’s heavy fire is aimed into the steel rafters.  One attacker faces down Nip, thinking her an easy target.  The dual-wielding teen puts four 9mm rounds into him before he can react. Gidget pops up and ‘blows a raspberry’ at the enemy.  Someone pops up to shoot her and is taken down by Natty’s automatic weapons fire from the roofing grid above by. Khan maneuvers quietly forward and surprises a second attacker, who goes down to that martial artist’s katana before he can bring his weapon to bear.  The fight slows down and becomes a game of maneuver through the crates.  After about a minute it’s all over and all the opposition is down.

From the ceiling they spy the body of a sniper hanging with his rifle and sling. He is still dangling in the air. Natty comes down.  She has been hit in the back, for just a little damage.  The 14mm went right thru the steel girder she was hiding behind. Luka checks his contact that hadn’t moved throughout the fight.  That man was already dead and tied to the chair when they arrived.  Behind him on the floor is a data chip that has been stomped on.  None of their ambushers have any identification or labels on their clothing. Nail takes pictures of their faces. Natty cuts of an index finger from each one and puts them in a bag.  The rest of the Team collects all the weapons.  Among them are a Malorian Arms 3516 knock off, a .44 magnum revolver a knock off, two WIST-94Ls, a Glock 17, a Sig Saur P226, an RPG-A and an odd looking sniper rifle. All these weapons have had their serial numbers expertly removed.  The sniper has a top of the line sneak suit with just a small hole in the hood.  They divest him of it.

Sirens announce that Czech police units heading to their location. The group sprays some nano-cleaners on any area where blood from their wounds might be and leaves.  They head deeper into the combat zone.  About five blocks into the zone a group of gangers come out of an alley to challenge them.  The Team is in no mood.  They pull their silenced weapons out from under their coats and kill them all.  No one bothers them after that.  They find an abandoned building to bed down for the night.


Civil Holiday, Month Six, 24th, 2083:

Natty calls Gregor in the morning and talks him into coming to the City of Perek to pick them up.  She lays some cash on him and the tired Team settles in at home. Nip thinks she might be able to salvage some information of the chip, but it will take some time. Before leaving, Luka Popovic apologizes and pays them. Nail says he knows a top flight info broker in New Kiev. Natty fingerprints the cut off digits they have and puts those together with the pictures of the faces of the dead ambushers. Nail sends them off to his friend for identification. Natty examines the sniper rifle they recovered.  It has no serial number and never did.  The weapon is a Sako TRG-42 chambered for a .300 Lapua Magnum.  To her knowledge this rifle was never manufactured in the caliber.  It is a completely custom weapon.  The young sniper decides to keep it.


Seconday, Month Six, 25th, 2083:

Gidget, Khan, Natty, Nail and Nip all rest up.  The cat biogen takes care of the wounded. Nip continues to work on the damaged chip. Two days of news reports from Perek just mentions a small gang fight in their combat zone.  Someone doesn’t want this incident to get out.


Thirday, Month Six, 26th, 2083:

Nip recovers as much of the data as she can from the damaged chip. All that can be gotten off it is a name: Senator Czcibor Lucjan, some pictures of Polish Colonial armored forces and a couple of Polish colonial officers. Senator Lucjan is a former Polish general and hero of World War III.  He is vocal opponent of the UN planetary administration and a Polish nationalist.  As Nail examines the information, his face falls and he speaks just one word, “Coup.”




Episode 7 – Of Bands and Boosters



Fourthday, Month Six, 27th, 2083:

Mason, Owen and Stepka return from their bodyguard job of Adrian Lucescu, the Romanian pop star.  The young man finished his album and leaves back to his mansion to rest before preparing for the tour that will follow the release.  The three leave on good terms with Adrian which is a first for any of his close bodyguards.  The Prince is very pleased. Natty distributes the two paydays among the Team.  Everyone gets a taste of every job.  You get a double share if you actually took part in the mission.  Each group tells the other of their trials and tribulations of the past week.  The three rock star babysitters are deeply saddened at the murder of Laura Dobros. She was a friend to all.

Owen’s eyes light up when he sees the electro-thermal .44 caliber revolver recovered from the ambush at the warehouse in the Czech city of Perek. With his growing body and the enhancements he acquired recently he can fire it.  The Team let him take it. Mason is too young to get his skeleton reinforced enough to fire the 14mm Malorian, so Natty takes it as a two-handed weapon.  Her biogenetic origins give her a strong enough bone structure to handle it, with two hands at least.

With ‘winter’ at its height tomorrow the dojo is getting cold. Nip goes downstairs and turns on the heating system.  It doesn’t start up.  Remembering the oddity with the air conditioning a week back, she doesn’t tell anyone about trying to turn it on.  Instead she asks Gidget to go downstairs and start the heating plant.  The Polish tech goes downstairs, hits the switch and the heat system roars to life.  As before, about a minute after Gidget comes upstairs it shuts off.  The tech minded people head downstairs and examine the system closely. Nip finds a mistake in the wiring and fixes it.  They all realize it never should have turned on in the first place. Nip looks at Gidget and says, “I think you have some sort of power, like the rest of us.”

“Well, not like all of the rest of us,” Mason sighs; still not realizing he is getting rather bullet resistant with every passing wound.

Nip tells the Team that she is now able to memorize certain utilities and use them when she enters the NET without using her deck. The young NET runner wonders if she could somehow rig up a chip rack of sorts to put her programs in and then jack into that device; would she be able to use those programs without a deck. Gidget and she get down to working on that theory.


Fifthday, Month Six, 28th, 2083: (Winter)

The Team is glad that they have restored the heating system in the Dojo as it gets unusually cold today. Nip has been cruising the NET here in Greater Innis for some time and has met a NET runner called the Nowhere Man.  They have struck up a friendship and actually done a few minor corporate raids, mostly for fun.  The two have finally decided to meet face to face at Compu Coffee across from the Warrens. Stepka and Natty walk with her up north. Natty has to pick up a few items she ‘ordered’ from the Tinker Shop. Stepka is looking for some good coffee.  The Nowhere Man turns out to be a slight 16 year old named Jan Nemec.  He too has brought a friend / bodyguard in the shape of his large and foreboding cousin, 17 year old Ambroz (Broz) Nemec.  Actually Broz turns out to be a rather kind and gentle soul, but quite capable of defending himself and his cousin, Jan.  As they wait for Natty to get back, Broz’s and the others fighting skills are soon put to the test as nine members of the local juvie gang, the Wharf Rats, come in looking for trouble and shake down money.  They come up to harass the Team and their friends.  All hell breaks loose. Broz has his hands full as two of the juvie gangers take him on. Stepka goes down with one punch. Nip, however, tears into punks like some possessed buzz saw and drops five of them unconscious. Broz takes down one and Stepka manages wake up and knock one out.  The remaining two flee.

Soon, the local law enforcement shows up. It is Colonel Tibor Carp’s New Iron Guard.  Two of the three officers see that it is their sons who are knocked out on the floor.  When the owner of Compu Coffee realizes this he lays into the cops screaming that the colonel will hear about this, and what the hell is paying protection for.  One of the officers starts to demand answers from Nip and her friends.  His superior pulls him aside and whispers in the man’s ear.  A hint of fear briefly passes over his face and no one bothers them further.  The fathers in the New Iron Guard turn their attention to their sons and holler at them for harassing this internet café and the patrons.  The juvie gangers are dragged out to face a wrath of their furious parents.  The owner of Compu Coffee offers free coffee to Nip and Stepka for a year as a thank you.

Natty returns and meets Jan and Broz before the two have to head home.  The three head back to the Dojo. Nip stays there, but Natty, Khan, Stepka and Mason take a cab downtown with a shopping list for Sacred Way (the Martial Arts store).  They will catch a cab later back to the Dojo. Nail and Gidget head to King Mircea Square and the park.  They stop on the way at the local herb shop where Nail gets some scented soap and Gidget buys a yellow candle.  There they find out that Natty is a regular customer; she buys a lot of catnip.  After the herb shop, they head on down to the park. Nail and Gidget talk in the park and decide to head to Olaf’s Music Store.  That is where Laura Dobros worked.

Once at Olaf’s Music Nail prices a new keyboard to replace Caterina’s destroyed one (lost at the concert (riot) in Hevelious).  She has a back-up instrument, as does the rest of Black Danube, but it’s pretty shitty.  He maneuvers the subject around to Laura’s murder.  He finds out that she was grabbed on the corner of 54th Street and 10th Avenue.  Before leaving he orders her a new and expensive instrument for his girlfriend. Caterina had mentioned the model in their conversations previously.  It will take a couple of days to come in.

Nail and Gidget head down to where Laura was snatched.  It seems like a moderately safe area right on the edge of the Ukrainian Mob protection zone.  The two note the businesses in the area until they see an enhanced cyber gang coming up from the south.  They return home.  There Nail asks if anyone would be interested and getting up some money to buy Black Danube some better instruments to replace the ones they lost.  Everyone ponies up some cash. Nail will take care of the purchases.


Sixday, Month Six, 29th, 2083:

A very nervous Oleg Kovalenko, Nail’s information broker in New Kiev calls back with the identities and information about the seven attackers in Perek.  However, he wants an additional 2000 solars for this information. He tells Nail, “I owed your father a debt and not turning you over to certain people will clear me of this obligation.  However, professionally, I must have this additional money so I can say you paid me off.”

While this seems curious to Nail, he agrees and sends Oleg the additional money.  The file that the info broker delivers identifies five of the ambushers as Military Information Services (Wojskowe Służby Informacyjne, or WSI); members of Polish Colonial Military Intelligence.  The other two are members of the Wojska Specjalne, WS (or Special Troops; an elite Army commando unit).  They are all current active duty troops, but don’t appear to be assigned to any authorized unit.  Also, elements of Polish Military Intelligence are looking for people responsible for an incident in the City of Perek, and they are offering a six figure reward for information on who was involved.  A very grateful Nail thanks Oleg.

Later that afternoon, Caterina comes over with news that lightens everyone’s mood.  Black Danube has gotten a gig at the Footballer, a sports bar just south of the city prison (and the Warrens) in two days on the 31st.  Everyone is invited.  The good mood last until the evening news broadcast.  There is a story about fresh units of Polish Colonial Armored Forces being moved to Hevelious in response to riot and revolt at the music festival.  The Team recognizes the units and their commanders from the pictures salvaged from the damaged data chip.


Sabbath, Month Six, 30th, 2083:

In the morning, Gidget and Nip are outside working on the door camera facing 6th Avenue when a few of the older boys from Saint Gregory’s Middle School across the street come over.  While the two girls are a little nervous at first, it becomes clear that the young men are just here to chat up a couple of pretty girls.  They are a year or two younger than Gidget and Nip and very polite.  After about ten minutes a priest comes out of the building and sees this scene.  He marches grimly across the street and orders his students back to Saint Gregory’s.  The priest then lays in to the two girls verbally, suggesting that they are tramps or worse. Gidget remains polite, but Nip tells him basically to, “Fuck off”.

At first the priest looks like he might strike the teenager, but something about Nip’s steely reserve stops him.  The man retreats back to his church.

In the afternoon most of the Team rests at home except for Khan, Gidget and Nip.  Those three head downtown and do some shopping in advance of the Black Danube’s show tomorrow.


Firstday, Month Six, 31st, 2083

The day is taken up with meditation lessons from Khan and some light sparring amongst the Team in the main Dojo area.  In the evening Khan, Mason, Nip, Stepka and Owen finally get ready and head up to the Footballer to see Black Danube. Nail had left in the afternoon to help the band (well, Caterina) with their gear. Natty had gotten ready earlier and left about 45 minutes before.  The main group gets to the place just as the band is beginning to play.  They sit down and look around.  Suddenly Mason’s back stiffens.  Over in the corner are sitting five of the young ‘thugs’ that were involved in the ‘handsey’ incident with Stepka and got him thrown out of Dracul’s last month.  He points them out to Stepka, but she really doesn’t seem interested.  After all she had defended herself more than adequately. Mason tries to get some of the Team to back him up for a confrontation, but no one is really interested in fighting.  They do notice that the ‘groping group’ has three girls at the table with them.  As they look closer the Team realizes one of them is Natty!  She seems absolutely captivated by one of the handsomest of that group.

Gidget sees Nail up by the stage and goes to him.  She delivers her 250 solar donation to the band’s instrument fund.  Their back up gear is serviceable but could really use an upgrade.  The fixer is delighted. Caterina’s new keyboard will be in tomorrow at Olaf’s Music.  He has talked to the band and they are all going down tomorrow to get some new gear thanks to the Team.  When they take their first break, the whole band comes over to thank them.  Also, they inform the Team that there is another concert tomorrow in King Mircea Park.  They aren’t playing but some are going down to watch.  The Team agrees to go and join them.  When Black Danube finishes for the evening the Team gets ready to leave.  They look for Natty but she is already gone along with her new boy toy.


Civil Holiday, Month Six, 32nd, 2083

Mason is up in the morning bringing his coffee from the kitchenette back to his room when out of the bathroom walks one of the gang of teens that got him thrown out of Draculs at the end of last month. The young man is squeaky clean with a towel wrapped around his waist and a huge smile plastered on his face.  The reborn solo almost can’t believe his luck.  As the interloper walks by Mason says, “Boy, this just isn’t your lucky day.”

The young man just smiles back and says, “Oh, I beg to differ. I’ve already gotten quite lucky today.”

Before Mason can take a step Khan comes out of his room and sees the rage building in his teammate’s eyes.  He asks the young man, “Who let you in here?”

“I’m here with Natty,” he replies.

On hearing her name the biogen steps out of her room buck naked. Khan asks, “Is he with you.”

Natty walks up to the young stranger, wraps his arms around him and lays a lip lock on him. She then tells Khan, “This is Nicky, my friend.”

Nicky sticks out his hand to Khan and says, “Hi, I’m Nicholae Tomescu.”

Khan shakes Nicky’s hand just before Natty pulls him into her bedroom and shuts the door.

Mason turns to Khan, “I’m going to kill that fucker!”

“So, you want to kill the biogenetic assassin’s new boyfriend? You know that’s the first time she’s smiled since Laura was killed.  Good luck with that.”  With those words the martial artist returns to his room.

Mason rallies up other members of team, but no one seems interested in his revenge. An hour later Natty and Nicky comes out of the back.  She brings her new boy toy where the others are sitting and introduces him to her Team.  After the two leave, Mason turns to Stepka feeling she will want revenge too. She looks at Mason and says, “That wasn’t one of the guys who try to screw around with me.”

“No, he joined his friends when they stopped me from coming to your aid.”

“I had it handled,” a slightly annoyed Stepka responds.

“Well, he’s Natty’s friend now,” Khan says.  “He’s off-limits.”

Everyone gets dressed up and ready to go to the concert. A few take knives, but the square is always well protected by GITPol, so no one wants to carry a gun and take the chance of arrest.  At the square they run into their friends from the Black Danube along with Nail and Caterina.  They spot Natty wrapped around Nicky who is hanging out with his friends from the “Groping Gang”. Mason notices the group, but pays them no mind.  The music is fantastic and the company first rate.  The only issue occurs half way through the show when a disturbance is heard coming down 8th Avenue.  It is the booster gang Steel Vengeance moving in force.  GITPol C-SWAT is waiting for them and the boosters are turned back with no violence.  The roof tops are filled with snipers armed with powerful weapons.

When the show is over, Nail tells the band about the money they have raised to replace their destroyed gear. Nail, Owen and Nip go down to Olaf’s Music with most of the band to pick out new gear and get Caterina’s new keyboard.  Only the band’s bassist heads back with Khan, Mason, Stepka, Nip and a couple of the band’s hangers on to party at the dojo. Natty has gone off with her new boyfriend.  As this group is walking up 6th Avenue to the Dojo, a van drives by going south.  It slows a voice booms out from it, “Steel Vengeance Rules!”

This is followed by the stattacco blasts of a heavy sub machinegun. Three rounds hit the bassist and he drops down into the back end of critical.  Seven rounds hit Mason, but he takes only 1 point of impact damage.  Everyone else hits the pavement but the van speeds off.  It takes the first right turn and is gone.  Everyone rushes to the Dojo and safety.  The party mood is now gone. Khan stabilizes the bassist and they call an ambulance for him.  As the martial artist works on the musician he notices that he is wearing the same amount of armor as Mason.  When everyone leaves, Khan asks Mason to spar with him but insists he take off his armor.  Ever suspicious, Mason refuses not to even spar without his armored clothes. Khan suspects that maybe the solo’s lack of damage might indicate some kind of psionic power, but isn’t confident enough to mention it without a test.  They all decide to stay in for the rest of the night as the neighborhood is alive with police units.


Thirday, Month Seven, 1st, 2083:

In the morning there is a knock on the door. It is the landlord looking for the rent. Natty, who has already made her early morning ‘walk of shame’, gives the man his due.  Fifteen minutes later two GITPol officers show up for their monthly ‘protection’ fee.  The biogen pays off the two leering cops.  Finally, Khan, Mason, Natty and Stepka walk up to the Tinker Shop.  They are there to pick up an order and do a little shopping.  While in the shop, Vasily Zeklos, their handler comes out and points to Natty.  He curls his pointing finger back and forth at the biogen and says, “I have a job for you.”

Natty goes back to Vasily’s office.




Episode 8 – Corporate Retrieval


Thirday, Month Seven, 1st, 2083:

Natty sits down in their handler, Vasily Zeklos’, office.  The job is to bring back wayward former employee of the client.  The man has stolen a prototype for a methane fuel injector.  The fee is $50,000 alive, but only $10,000 if dead.  Recover the prototype for another $50,000.  The target’s name is Gabi Pitu, a thirty-two year old engineer.  He has a third floor apartment in the moderate zone of Donici on the corner of 43rd Street and 9th Avenue.  The man also has a sister.  This sibling’s name is Otilia Pitu, and she lives in the center of the moderate zone one block from the river.  This job is time sensitive because the client believes Gabi Pitu will be selling the injector soon.  The biogen and the others walk back down 6th Avenue to the Dojo.  There the job is laid out to the Team. Nip gets down to researching Gabi, Otilia and the Donici Engine Works, the client.



Fourthday, Month Seven, 2nd, 2083:

For those up early in the day, there is interesting news on the vid. The Donici police have cleared the booster gang, Steel Vengeance, for the series of drive by shootings that occurred after the last concert on King Mircea Square.  After being turned back from the concert by GITPol, the entire gang was put under immediate surveillance by drones and covert police operatives.  Someone is trying to frame them for the shootings.  The police are continuing their investigation.

Nip does research on Gabi Pitu and his sister, Otilia. Gidget, Khan, Mason and Stepka head up to the Warrens and talk to Gregor about buying what is needed to put together a proper kitchen for their place.  They get a phone number and order a refrigerator and stove.  They head to Compu Coffee to use research where a local hardware store.  The business doesn’t have a dataterm and they don’t have a cyberdeck so they go looking for a dataterm on the street.  The have to walk around this neighborhood a bit and locate a number of interesting businesses, drug dens and other shady operations.  Finally the group finds a dataterm that’s not being used and after five minutes locates a hardware store an hour and a half walk away.  They say screw that and take a cab.  At the hardware store they pick up paint, brushes and some drop clothes before heading back.

Meanwhile back at the dojo Natty makes 2 silencers for Mason’s 11mm handguns.  When the others return they paint the new kitchen sky blue.  The refrigerator and stove arrive in the late afternoon and are installed.  The Team now has a proper kitchen.

That night there is a Team meeting and Nip tells everyone wat she has learned. Gabi Pitu, the thirty-two year old engineer, has a third floor apartment on the corner of 43rd Street and 9th Avenue.  She hacked his phone answering machine.  It had 10 numbers in the incoming and 10 in the outgoing cache.  Of outgoing numbers 5 are to his former company, two to his sister, one to a burn phone with a Perek prefix, one to a rival company in the Polish colonial city of Lubin and one to a dataterm in the Czech colonial city of Ostrava.  The incoming numbers are six from his company, one from his sister, two from a dataterm in the Perek and one from the Donici Water and Power.  It seems he hasn’t paid his bill and they are threatening to shut off service.

Nip also hacked the sister, Otilia Pitu’s phone. She lives in the center of the moderate zone one block from the river.  She is a secretary at the local precinct of the Donici City Police.  Dumping the last 20 calls incoming and outgoing finds that half of the incoming are from the local Donici Police precinct.  The only odd call is one from a dataterm in the city of Torun in the Polish Colony.  All outgoing calls are local, one keeps repeating.  It is her boyfriend’s number, a Donici police detective.  The Team checks a map and realizes that Torun is right across the river from Ostrava. Nip has located the three dataterms in question.  The one in Perek is in a rough neighborhood. Nail recognizes this one is across the street from a club where one of his contacts, Larissa Polozkova, a Belarussian shoemaker conducts her business. Gabi Pitu now has a new identity.  Approaching Larissa is out of the question.  The dataterm in Ostrava is across from the train station.  The one in Torun is in a seedy neighborhood made up of mostly apartments.  It is the perfect place to hide out.  They decide to go there to begin their search.



Fifthday, Month Seven, 3rd, 2083:

Natty goes to see Prince Stefan.  The biogen asks for a truck and a driver to go to Ostrava and she is willing to pay for it.  The master of assassins agrees and asks if Gregor will do for the driver.  She says yes.  Vehicle and Gregor will pick them up in the early morning.

Nail gets a call from Luka.  He has acquired a copy of the police enhanced security recording of Laura’s kidnapping.  This is a freebie as Laura was also his friend and the data chip that Nip was able to salvage has put him in the Info Broker business. As they study the vehicle they notice a small dent on left side of rear bumper.  This is the same van that did the drive by shooting aimed at them just after the concert at King Mircea Square.  The Team isn’t sure about the color but its real close.  The van is the same model at least, but a popular one on this planet.

They will all be doubly on the lookout for this vehicle.



Sixday, Month Seven, 4th, 2083:

The Team leaves early in the morning and Gregor drives the van all day with the Team hidden in back.  The roads are in passable shape.  They arrive in Ostrava in the evening and load into the safe house Nail has arranged for.  The fixer also calls his contacts to make sure that the other safe house and weapons he ordered to be picked up in the Polish city of Torun will be ready by tomorrow. Gregor will remain in Ostrava for the operation.  Tomorrow the Team will cross the river and begin the search for Gabi.  Tonight they rest.



Sabbath, Month Seven, 5th, 2083: (Summer)

The Team crosses into Polish city of Torun during rush hour. Nail has arranged for them to occupy a large garage with an apartment above.  Weapons for the mission are waiting for them there, also arranged by Nail. Natty, Nip and Stepka do a weapons and equipment check while the others disguise themselves and break into two groups and take a bus to the neighborhood where the dataterm that made the mysterious call to Otilia Pitu’s phone is located.  The two searcher groups divide up the area.

The first pair of searchers is Khan and Nail.  They walk around with a picture of Gabi Pitu.  Finally a pair of neighborhood toughs come up to them and demands 100 solars from the two.  If they pay, they will be allowed to continue their search and maybe the two extortionists will give them a clue.  When they pay the 100 solars, one of the toughs pulls a gun and demands the rest of their wad of cash. Khan strikes the robber in front of him and breaks the man’s leg. Nail doesn’t win initiative and takes two bullets; one in the torso and one in the leg.  Even with his light armor Nail goes down with 6 points of damage. Khan then turns on the armed attacker who fires once at the martial artist but misses. Khan strikes and snaps this man’s leg also. Nail wakes up, but the two thugs die from their injuries.  The two Team members retrieve their money, any loose change in their late assailants’ pockets plus the firearm.  They then beat a hasty retreat.  Being careful not to be followed, they make it back to the garage. Natty psionically heals Nail with Nip’s assistance.

The second group, consisting of Owen, Mason and Gidget, has better luck.  Since Gidget is an ethnic Pole, she finds it easier to deal with the people in the neighborhood.  They find their target.  He is in an apartment on the third floor of a three story building with a small business on the third floor. Owen has brought a laser mic and listens to each of the apartments on the two floors above the first floor.  Of the three apartments he can scan from his position, one appears empty, the second has a family in it, but the third has their target.  As he listens Gabi is talking to two bodyguards he has hired.  The man is going over the plan for the hand off of the experimental methane fuel injector which will occur tomorrow night.  The corporate buying it will be bringing payment in cash.  One bodyguard will be posted in the apartment’s master bedroom to watch the street.  The other will wait with Gabi in the living room.  The solo bodyguards report that they have installed cameras on the roof, the long 3rd floor hall from their door to the outside door and on the back stairs to the third floor which is located in an alley behind the building.  All the camera feeds go to a central monitoring device and are wireless.  Also, all the windows are alarmed.

Owen, Mason and Gidget bring this information back to the group. Nip is set to find out what she can about the building.  The NET runner gets into the city housing office and finds that the third floor has five apartments.  One apartment has just been rented (their target), one has a small family in it, another is occupied by two city policemen who work the night shift and the remaining two are unoccupied.  She also manages to get a floorplan.  The team decides not to strike tonight.  They will make their move an hour before the scheduled exchange and wait for the corporate buyer to show up.  As the payment to Gabi will be in cash, they will take the payoff for themselves.  It is a risky decision, but they believe the money will be worth it. Natty calls Gregor across the river and arranges for the Team to be smuggled across the river tomorrow night after the grab.  The gypsy is also told to tell their ‘client’ to be ready to pick up Gabi Pitu late tomorrow night outside Ostrava. Mason and Owen go out to case a local business that has vans parked out back.  They will steal one tomorrow for their getaway.  Everyone rests for the operation tomorrow.



Firstday, Month Seven, 6th, 2083:

The day is spent in preparation for tonight’s mission. The Team cleans the garage area for any prints or possible DNA.  An hour after the local business that they cased yesterday closes Mason and Owen steal the van they will use tonight. Nip finds the GPS and disables it.  Everyone moves to the target neighborhood. Stepka will drive the van. Owen will be across the street with a silenced rifle where he can see master bedroom window where Gabi’s bodyguard will be on over watch. Natty helps Gidget with a disguise as the tech will be hanging out on the street corner as a lookout. Nip taps into the security system and quickly owns it. Mason and Khan move to behind the target building and prepare to enter the back bedroom of the target apartment. Natty scales the building next door, positions herself to cover the back stairs up and waits.  Soon the two resident policemen leave for work.

Mason and Khan climb up the building to the back bedroom. Mason jimmies the window lock and the two enter.  When the over watch solo is looking out the window overlooking the street, Owen squeezes the trigger and gives the go command.  His target pitches back with a perfect headshot kill. Mason bursts into the room and kills the bodyguard while Khan follows and knocks out Gabi Pitu.  They secure the experimental methane fuel injector. Nail moves up to the apartment.

Nail, Khan and Mason wait in the apartment.  The fixer will play the part of Gabi and Mason will act as the bodyguard. Natty holds her position. Owen remains across the street with his rifle. Gidget moves to the immediate corner outside and “hangs out”. When the corporate team arrives, five people get out of the limo and one remains in the vehicle.  The corporate and three of his bodyguards go around the side of the building and head up the outside stairs.  A guard remains outside the vehicle.  One of the three guards with the corporate remains outside on the third floor landing as the others enter.  They go to the end of the hall and knock. Nail tells them to enter.  The corporate and one solo enter while the other remains outside the door.  The corporate opens a large valise full of money and Nail shows them the device.  This puts the buyers at ease a bit. Natty speaks into the radio link, “Go!”

After that she turns on a radio jammer. Inside the room, Nail hits the floor as Mason quick draws his two 11 mm handguns and wounds one guard and blows the head off another. Khan bursts out of the back bedrooms and knocks out the corporate as he draws his weapon. Natty kills the man on the third floor landing outside and leaps the short distance to that landing. Owen fires but misses the man outside who runs to the stairs.  The driver waits.

The corporate guard outside the apartment door enters and empties his FN RAL into Mason, who goes right down with 24 points of damage. Natty enters the hall, drops the FN RAL wielding solo at range and closes on the apartment. Khan takes out the last bodyguard.  As Natty approaches the apartment door she is surprised by Nail in the doorway firing at her.  The bullet wizzes past her ear and kills the last corporate solo who has just run in from outside. Owen fires on the driver but the armored limo stops the shot. Gidget closes on that car.  The driver hits the gas and escapes.

With a man down and the driver escaped, Khan picks up Mason and Nail secures both the injector and the money. Natty sprays down Mason’s blood splatter with some nano-cleaners and hoists Gabi up.  They all head for the stairs and the alley below. Owen calls to Stepka on the only frequency they left unjammed and he and Gidget also rush for the extraction point.  As they are loading into the van a half a block away, they hear an AV coming.  They wait until it lands on the target apartment’s roof before heading out to meet their escape boat at the docks. The Team checks for trackers and find none.  Soon they are aboard the gypsy smuggler’s boat and across the river into Ostrava.

They meet Gregor and head to the rendezvous.  A Donici Engine Works AV lands, and takes possession of both the experimental methane fuel injector and Gabi Pitu.  The client appears very pleased, but Gabi is terrified.  The Team heads back to the safe house.  They keep the severity of Mason’s wounds from Gregor.  All is well as the mission has gone off better than they have expected.  The Team doesn’t inform Gregor that they also acquired Gabi Pitu’s payoff.



Seconday, Month Seven, 7th, 2083:

The Team rests in Ostrava that day. Mason is kept away from Gregor so Natty can heal the solo’s wounds.  They all keep a low profile and listen to the news for any word of the firefight from yesterday.  There is nothing.



Civil Holiday, Month Seven, 8th, 2083:

The healing of Mason continues by Natty and the others heal naturally with Owen’s help.  The Team doesn’t want to try to drive back to Donici yet in case they get stopped by the police with seriously wounded people. Gregor seems a bit disappointed that Natty is always “busy”, but the Team successfully keeps the Prince’s cousin from learning anything about their enhanced ‘abilities’.  By evening Mason wakes up with only 6 points of damage.



Fourthday, Month Seven, 9th, 2083:

Gregor makes the long drive back to Donici with the Team. The trip is blessedly uneventful.



Fifthday, Month Seven, 10th, 2083:

The Team’s handler, Vasily Zeklos, comes to see the Team in their new digs at the old clothing store turned private Dojo.  He has the remaining 72,000 solars that was promised for the job. Vasily also brings word that the Prince is very pleased with the group and has arranged for them to be able to get both cyberware and some therapy if they wish.  Of course, the individuals will have to pay for most of it, but he offers each Team member free Euroware prescreening and an additional 10,000 solars to get them started on their purchases.  This isn’t a cash offer.  He has the doctors and the clinics in his debt.  Still, the Team is grateful.  However, since Khan can’t use cyberware, he has a special gift for him.  It is an antique but still very serviceable Katana, Wakizhashi and Tanto set.  It is exceptionally sharp and cuts as if it had a mono-molecular edge.  It doesn’t suffer from the enhanced breaking flaw of such a weapon and is virtually unbreakable.  The Prince also brings word that they will have a good deal of time off for their good work.  Actually, his rivals have become suspicious of this Team’s skills so he wants them to just be kids for a while.


Next: Episode 9 – Looking for Mirco