Episode 12: An Unlooked for Promotion
Another flawless (well, close enough) mission and a large payday (8000 eb each) are finished. So, what time is it? Time to go to the mall and spend it! This time the expenditures were a little more job related. A couple of suits of Metal Gear for the solos, Combat Medic Armor for the Doctor, and a new portable Cyberdeck for the net runner. Those poor starting characters now all bought phones with lots of bells and whistles and kibble be damned! All the ‘dog food’ eaters upgraded to generic pre-pack.
Well, time for the weekly complication. The Shadowed Ones, their boss’s ‘A-Team’ made the news. Zeke, their leader, was found dead along with Gretchen, their net runner in his apartment one morning. Michelle (referred to by the Killer Bees as ‘Red’) Zeke’s girlfriend was now wanted as ‘a person of interest’ by the police in their murder investigation. So, as the group leaves the mall with their purchases they get a call from ‘Smiling Sid’. Michelle just called him hysterically that she tried to turn herself in and the cops tried to kill her. She wants help turning herself in because she has nothing to do with the killing and doesn’t want to be framed. Sid asks would they go pick her up and bring her in. Michelle will meet them in a coffee shop off the park in San Morro (which is a very safe neighborhood in our Night City).
Safe or not, they call Combat Cab and an old Striker APC shows up. There is no parking place so the three female solos hop out and the doctor stays with the Combat Cab as it goes around the block. The doctor gets in his medical combat armor. Inside the shop there is a nervous Michelle with an attempt at disguise on. Bea and Christie head to her table as Rose gets in line for coffee. A parked car pulls away outside and another car immediately takes the spot (no, that wasn’t a coincidence). Out of the second car steps Chan and Sandra, two Covert Ops from the Shadowed Ones and head into the coffee shop while surreptitiously drawing their weapons. Yes, looks like trouble.
The two enter the shop but before anything is said, the car outside explodes creating mayhem in the streets and flying glass in the shop. People dive for cover as Chan and Sandra run outside. Chan is headshot by an ET Barrett .50; Sandra turns and tries to dive back in the coffee shop. Her arm and part of her shoulder are blown off by a second ET .50 caliber round. A third shot finishes her off.
Out of the wreckage of the car steps Crusher, the Shadowed Ones borg. He proceeds to head in the direction of the .50 caliber rounds killing everyone in his way; right thru the ‘family style’ function in the park. He is railed down by Militech SWAT (Wow, they just ‘happened’ to be there). After all that ‘Michelle’ isn’t even Michelle, but a student actor from Night City University who answered an advertisement to be in an ‘experimental’ spy film. By explaining what the fate of a ‘loose end’ usually is she agrees to leave with the Team. They return to Sid who calls a police contact of his and gets their story heard.
It turns out Crusher’s bio pod survived so they go to the hospital with the police to ‘interview’ Crusher. They get there as a net runner, who snakes the hospital system, kills Crusher. The police do get a trace and the group jumps on a police commandeered REO Meatwagen AV. They help the police raid the apartment. There they find a destroyed Shadow Deck, and a wall ‘memorial’ to the missing officers, men and woman of an OTEC vessel that the Shadowed Ones ‘salvaged’. That group had rubbed it in the face of Militech and the authorities, who couldn’t prove anything. A number of the people on the ship were members of fairly wealthy and influential families. The police concluded that perhaps some of these people were enraged by the Shadowed Ones arrogance and had avenged their family members’ deaths. Our group was relieved because the writing on the wall expressed the view that this was a ‘closed’ matter now.
Well, now the ‘B-Team’ is Sid’s ‘A-Team’, and what a job they got next. They have one week to go to Las Vegas, and extract Ms. Samantha Myers, Militech Intelligence Planning Director for East Asia, from Militech Corporate Housing. They have a light dossier, some local maps, and that’s it. Doctor Freeman made a call to “Jesus” Menendez, the Leader of the Hispanic Mob in Vegas, who is acquainted with, explained they have an operation to run in his city, and they would like his help. He said, sure, come on down. So it’s off to Las Vegas next week!
Episode 13: Oh, Unlucky 13
OK, so the Killer Bees headed out to Las Vegas to extract/terminate Ms. Samantha Myers, Militech Intelligence Planning Director for East Asia. Doctor Freeman’s contact, Jesus Menendez, head of the Hispanic Mob in Vegas met them at a restaurant in the Junction, which he controls. No amount of money could get Jesus to take such a chance with Militech, but he offered them his full support if they would eliminate the Italian Mob leadership for him, in a few months time. The party agreed to the deal.
As a side note, we did the module, All Fall Down (in 2021), and our version of Las Vegas is now 4 years in the future from that. A council of 5 organizations runs Organized Crime now. The leading group is the Russian Organitskaya, which is closely allied to the Hispanic Mob. Dimitri, the leader of the Russians and Jesus grew up together in Night City, and are childhood friends. The leading Triad group is beholding to this duo and is the third power. The Yakuza is the fourth group. The Italian Mafia was dethroned from leadership in the last Mob War holds on to the last seat of power. It should also be said that Jesus is a Player Character, who is run by the same player as Rose in this campaign. I allowed the PC to make some of the basic decisions regarding how much help would be given, and for what price.
Jesus hooked them up with the assistant dispatcher of the garbage company that services the Militech Base, and the dispatcher arranged to have them ‘pick up the garbage’ at their target’s house one morning, fake engine trouble and leave the base with their prize. Well, everything went great until they walked up to the door at the executive’s house. Two Militech agents in Advanced Mobility Armor popped up from each trash can, a combat borg stepped out of the door, an APCA suit stepped out of the van parked next door, a pair of snipers appeared in second story windows, and a half-dozen other AA Threat equipped operatives appeared from the houses around them. Oh, yes, and the engine on their garbage truck cut out! This all occurred as bullhorns blared, “Militech Security! Drop your weapons and get down on the ground!”
Similar scenes were taken place were Takashi, the net runner was tapped in and where Tyree, the sniper covering the net runner was located! The group wisely dropped their weapons and surrendered. The evening ended with all of them searched, disarmed, and processed as Militech prisoners. Interrogations will commence next week. The only reason they will probably not be shot is that the Ocean War ends in two and a half weeks and the interrogation will last at least that long. After that they will either be released without any gear, ID, or funds, or they will be sent to the Death Valley Free Prison as special corporate prisoners. I am favoring the second option at this point with maybe a chance to escape along the way.
Well, how were they so easily caught? Simple, Jesus Menendez sold them out to Militech. Yes, as GM, I was quite surprised too. I got ready to talk to the player privately, and he himself came up with the plot to sell the group (and his other character) down the river. The ‘assistant dispatcher’ was a top Militech operative, and a some in checking with laborers from the garbage company might have alerted them to the trap, but trust was there! Now, it is Militech who is going to help him cash out the leadership of the Italian Mob next year. It is a campaign fact (that the player remembered) that Militech got embarrassed by their previous relationship with the Mafia here, and wouldn’t mind a little payback.
Well, every Edgerunner group has its ups and downs. Stay tuned for next week: Escape from DEATH VALLEY!
Episode 14: Escape from Death Valley
Well, our intrepid group ended their last session in the custody of Militech. It is pretty apparent to them that they were sold out, and most have (correctly) blamed Jesus Menendez, the Vegas mobster who said he would ‘help’ them. The group was caught dead bang guilty by Militech security who did NOT turn them over to the authorities. The corporation has assembled a top interrogation team, because they believe this team has lots of good intelligence (not).
There wasn’t much time left in the Ocean War and their value, as prisoners would become considerably less when the war ended because they are freelancers. Regardless of what anyone does, Militech has only limited time to do this. Militech believes that this group is responsible for much more than they actually did, so they have assigned three teams of their top investigators to this. Only if Rose’s secret gets out will they feel that this was worth it. Any other result will lead them to discount this group’s importance in the future. Therefore, after the Ocean War ends, Militech, as a corporation, will cease to harass them because of this.
Because of the shortage of time, Militech gets only three rolls against each member of the group. There are four levels of interrogation. If anyone refuses to cooperate at a level, they are quickly passed on to the next level until they reach level 3, where at least two of the rolls will be made. If they are not happy with those results, then they may have one roll at level 4.
– Level 1: This is a friendly interrogation, where they will go over basic information such as who is working with them and what they have done. If the subject is truthful then only a (Militech) Interrogation roll (18+) versus subject’s Stability will be made. At this point, if the subject “spills all”, they will not go beyond this level, and they will start to receive privileges (no shackles, better food, bed, blankets, pillows etc.) If they try to lie, then it’s a Human Perception roll (17+) versus subject’s Persuasion/Fast Talk. Failure on that roll sends the subject to level 2. Success on this roll allows the subject to skip at least one Interrogation Roll. If anyone else breaks and the subjects story cracks, then its off to Level 2, but if the stories hold then its “privileges.”
– Level 2: This is intense interrogation, where Militech threatens to turn them over to LAPD, or maybe even the families of the people they murdered in LA. Militech has the evidence against most of them so this is a real threat. If the subject cooperates then it is the same Interrogation roll as Level 1. Breaking at this level gets some “privileges”, but not many. Lying has the same roll and results as Level 1. Success on this roll has the same effects as Level 1.
– Level 3: This is drugs, sleep deprivation, some physical, and intense psychological torture. The roll here is (Militech) Expert Torture (17+) versus the subject’s Resist Torture and Drugs. Cooperation here just stops the pain. Trying to lie here is a Human Perception roll (17+) versus subject’s Persuasion/Fast Talk. If you failed the Persuasion/Fast Talk roll by 10+ points, you can’t lie, as you break like a twig. If you fail by 5+ points your Persuasion/Fast Talk roll is at –3. Only two rolls are done at this level. Recalcitrants will be sent to Level 4 for their last Interrogation.
– Level 4: This has everything that Level 3 has but adds brutal physical torture, mutilation and, in some cases, rape. However, all these additional “coercion” is actually in VR, so there are no physical marks as the body is not actually damaged. There are severe psychological consequences. Takashi has a (slim) chance to notice that this is in VR (Int + System Knowledge + Interface vs. 25). Doctor Freeman, as he has established himself as a video junkie might notice (Int vs. 25).
Bea started to be her wise ass self, but a few jolts with the stun baton got her back on track. She cooperated enough to avoid the unpleasant aspect of Level 3 & 4 and acquired a good amount of privileges. Her strategy was to give them SO much information (most of it rather useless) that she would keep them happy and her alive. She really didn’t know a lot anyway.
Rose also cooperated in a similar manner, and was able to keep her true status a Ninja secret. She also acquired many prison privileges.
Doctor Freeman started to cooperate, but became more evasive as the questions centered on their recent activities. He made it to Level Three for one roll, but still came out all right.
Christie and (to my surprise) Takashi chose the route of total none cooperation. Militech eventually cracked them like two eggs and got all the information they were looking for. The two characters ended up with damage and some minor psychological problems that will become apparent soon. Takashi actually won one of the interrogation rolls so he got to choose one important piece of information to conceal. He chose to keep Rose’s true nature secret.
Ty (whose player had to work that night) has disappeared. The CIA has snatched him up.
Well, the war ended and suddenly Militech had no use for them, so they decided to throw them in the Death Valley Free Prison and forget them. Of course that wasn’t the end of that. The convoy was attacked and their transport went off the road into a deep ravine, where they were able to make their escape into the desert. Battered and bruised they rested for the night, but in the morning heard vehicles and a few shots over the next hill. They investigated and found some Raffin Shiv had ambushed two nomad outriders and were in the middle of crucifying one on a cactus and raping the other. Bea, Rose and Christie peeled off their nice bright orange prison jumpsuits to sneak up one the bad guys. They got very close before they were spotted and then it was the Charge of the Naked Women!
No, the Raffin Shiv didn’t laugh, they fought, but were shot down quickly. Gang types do not usually do well against well-trained solos whether they are naked or not. The crucified man was dead, and they dawdled too much to save the woman, so she died. They took the raiders dune buggy and went the wrong way for all the right reasons. They soon found the walls of the Death Valley Free Prison. So they turned around and ran out of CHOO right about where they had fought the Raffin Shiv, so it was time to walk. That night they found a highway, and left Christie (ATTR 10) to hitchhike. No, the few people that went by did not stop for want looked like an AMBUSH! Some nice people did call the So Cal Highway Patrol though.
Early in the morning a nomad convoy passed by, but they hid from them. (Bad move) The police finally showed up when Christie was doing her “lone hitchhiker” act and she ran off into the desert, when they stopped. Soon, helicopters arrived with other ground vehicles and “caught” all but Bea and Christie. Well caught isn’t the right word, this was a rescue and the rest of the group was taken for medical attention. The police bought their story of being attacked by raiders (there was a rash of that happening). No, Militech did NOT report the escape (which occurred in Nevada anyway). The group told the police that they still had friends out there, and so another rescue was attempted. This time a starving and dehydrated Bea and Christie were brought in.
They had no money, no phones, and no ID. Bea swallowed her pride and called her rich corporate mother, who hired an AV and flew them back to Night City. While it may seem like an obvious good move, the character did not get along with her mother and hated her corporate lifestyle. They arrived back at their building and walked up to their apartment doors. Those heavy, reinforced security doors with level four card, key and voco locks, that they had spent so much time and money installing were now all that was between them and a hot shower, bed, fresh clothes and cash stashes. It was too bad they didn’t have any of the keys or cards to open them!
And that was where we ended! Next session will be my last running of this group for a while as another GM takes over. We will then be entering the Shadow War!
GM quote: “Bea started to be her wise ass self, but a few jolts with the stun baton got her back on track.”
Bea’s POV: Hey, they were taking all kinds of samples, DNA, finger prints…Bea just offered them a stool sample as well.
GM quote: “She cooperated enough to avoid the unpleasant aspect of Level 3 & 4 and acquired a good amount of privileges. Her strategy was to give them SO much information (most of it rather useless) that she would keep them happy and her alive. She really didn’t know a lot anyway.”
Bea’s POV: She said she wanted to know everything, so Bea left no detail out…no matter how mundane. The more she (Bea) blathered on, the better her chance of being able to slip untruths into the torrent of information she was feeding the interrogator…like saying that Dr. Freeman was in charge of the operation in L.A. (going in to help the wounded) but was so stupid that he got himself caught and the rest of the group was just trying to make it out of there. It worked to hide our real reason for being there (at least for a while). Bea doesn’t know if that factored into a harsher interrogation for Dr. Freeman, but she was hopeful. She blames him for the current situation (being held by Militech), since he was the one who contacted Jesus and vouched for him.
Of course her deception it didn’t last forever. They eventually came back and threatened to turn her over to SoCal with evidence of the murders (of cops) she had participated in during the L.A. assignment. She dropped the act of the vacuous blathering air head and called their bluff saying “when do we leave?” Heck, when the group was in the transport vehicle heading out of Nevada, she really thought they were on their way to SoCal to face the death penalty…leaving her thinking, “I guess they weren’t bluffing”.
Episode 15: Ocean War Ends with a Whimper
Well, kind of sad, but true. At least the group remembered that there was a locksmith nearby on Morrison Square so they got into their rooms and new keys made (for a hefty fee). The next two days were spent trying to get their identifications back. Militech hadn’t zeroed them, as they wanted to perhaps use them again. Also, if challenged on their imprisonment, they wanted to have all their I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Doctor Freeman had just had his residence changed, so he was remembered. Takashi went down with Rose to the Japanese Consulate where they were suddenly treated like VIPs and got everything they needed with the personal assistance of the Vice Consul. Both of them realize it was due to something about Rose, but it is more than just her status. Yes, this is a continuing plot thread that is now another GMs responsibility.
A new (old) character arrived, Cleo Jane Skye, a self-professed freelance programmer from England (my character) and Electronic Warfare Specialist hired by (the late) ‘Smiling’ Sid Rabinowitz. Bea had to return to Iowa to get her papers in order, and she will remain there for a while to help her mother, who is an agri-corp executive.
Before anyone left they went to check out Sid’s office, which was ransacked and had a trigger on the door to summon ‘someone’ if the office was entered. The group found the device, left the office and watched as a carload of ‘serious’ people arrived. A check of their license plate found that it was a Militech vehicle. Sid had moved out of his residence and left no forwarding address. His entire organization disappeared without a trace (so far).
That left everyone with no job. Cleo offered to hire the group to work for her with 2K-euro stipend a month (plus medical insurance) and a cut of any job she got. Takashi jumped at the offer and she bought him a couple of new suits of “styling threads” and some new gear and program updates. Rose and Doctor Freeman said they would think about it. Christie decided that she would return home to Worcester, MA (and create a new solo character), and Bea left with her (for St. Louis) on the Plantran Maglev. The session ended with all the old party waving goodbye on the platform.
We now move onto the Shadow War.