Episode One – The Gathering
The ‘Super Solos’ or Nietzscheans need to put a team together quickly for a series of missions and their own resources are strained at the moment. The needs of the mission, which may become apparent later, call for non-members of the Collective to participate. For now, Takka, who is working under the name Mr. Chen (and original member of the first Super Solo Campaign), along with Sylvania Kelevra, a fourth generation Nietzschean, and James Stiles, a human, who has the nickname Link, has come to New York City to recruit a Team. James Stiles is actually a clone. He (and his “brothers”) were part of a secret government/corporate project. They were NOT “quick grown”, and were raised in a manner similar to Kurt Russell’s character, Todd, in the movie, Soldier. They along with the project were to be terminated, but their trainer and commander arranged their “escape”. The Super Solos found him and recognized that certain parts of his genome were created using primitive versions of the technology used to create them. He has been “adopted” into the Collective and hence has the nickname “Link”.
The first member was hired in Night City actually. His name is Doyle and he is a nomad with Vehicle Zen. This character was from the original campaign, Security Solutions, when we restarted playing Cyberpunk a few years ago. He befriended Mallory, one of the leaders of the Super Solos, and he is aware of their existence. In fact Doyle or rather a VR representation of him is in the current VR training simulation for the Nietzscheans. All Super Solos of the third and fourth generation are by “programming” positively inclined towards him. Also, Doyle started as an Appearance 10 and has had Euro-enhancement to add to this. Along with other enhancements this has made the man “achingly” beautiful. The character is also a world champion motorcycle rider with a Reputation 9. He owns a large custom AV, which is also being “leased” by the Nietzscheans. His job will be transportation.
Cid is a high level tech from Italy, whose specialty is Tailoring and Armorsmith with great skill in Pilot: Remote. He has run into a string of bad luck, which saw his workshops destroyed and his bank accounts “disappeared” by netrunners. He needs to rebuild his business and reputation. The money being offered seems to be the only way to recover, so he has taken this high-risk job.
Dr. Shamal is a doctor of Italian descent, who is in reality Dr. Leroy Jenkins from our 4th Corporate War Campaign (Episodes 56 through 60). The good doctor has undergone a change of identity, but not any facial reconstruction. A change of ID was necessary to leave some dangerous ‘baggage’ behind. In this case, looting his late employer, Jack Smith’s estate, and failing to take into account that Jack’s family and heirs wouldn’t notice this indiscretion.
Dr. Patrick Nis is another high-level tech (NOT Medtech) turned solo that has been around for a long time in our campaigns. He is one of the “Butchers of Malagay”, went through the Little Odessa Campaign, and is a veteran of Ted Salonisch’s Las Vegas Campaign. He served under Mallory in Malagay, and although he is unaware of the nature of the Super Solos, they have a good opinion of him and have recruited the Doctor for this team.
Henri is a French Euro-solo with a lot of experience. He knows Dr. Nis but they are NOT friends. In Ted Salonich’s Las Vegas Campaign, Dr. Nis threw an EMP grenade at some members of the Blood Razors as he drove by them in a van. The Razors didn’t see this but felt the effects of the attack and zeroed in on Henri, who was following the van in his brand new city car. (The Blood Razors had botched their awareness roll). The gang attacked and severely damaged Henri’s car. Henri was not happy that Dr. Nis and the van had not stopped to help him deal with the outraged Razors. Tempers flared back at the group’s HQ and certain words and a few bullets were exchanged. Also, Dr. Nis used another EMP grenade and over 12k eb of skill chips were lost (along with the temporary use of some optics) by party members, who were not a party to the disagreement. To say the least, Dr. Nis and Henri did not part on good terms. That was over three years ago (game time). Both seem to be willing to put this incident behind them. After all, the money for this job is excellent.
The last two members of the team were picked up in New York City. They are Jose Thomas, who first appeared in Episode 22 of our 4th Corporate War Campaign, and Caitlin Jones, who first appeared in Episode 45 of that same campaign. These two did NOT meet in that campaign. They did, however, work together in Ted Salonich’s recently completed New York Campaign. In fact the two characters hooked up in that campaign and now live together as lovers in Greenwich Village. The “Young Cyborg” (a Gemini) and “Little Miss Happy Kill” are an odd couple. They have both recently finished extensive (Intensive Care) therapy, and generally try to take jobs together. Caitlin and Doyle also know each other through Opium/Thor (Episode 45 of the 4th Corporate War Campaign).
Saturday, May 1, 2027
The first Team meeting started on an odd note. Caitlin looked at James Stiles, walked up to him and asked, “Edward?” James smiled and replied, “Hi, I’m James Stiles.” Caitlin insisted that James looked just like her late Teammate, Edward, who was killed in Episode 56 – Shootout at Jacksville (from our Fourth Corporate War Campaign). (Yes, Caitlin had met one of the other “clones”.) James kept insisting on introducing himself, but Caitlin sniffed him and pointed out that he smelled like the late Edward too (or close enough). Dr. Shamal suggested the two might be twins, but James didn’t “bite” at that explanation, and just kept his hand proffered with the name “James Stiles” on his breath. Caitlin kept away from James after that.
At this point Caitlin made a point to take note of the other Team member’s scents. She discovered that Mr. Chen and Sylvania Kelevra had no scent at all! This has made her suspicious of her employers, but the money is too good to pass up. The group got down to business and the briefing commenced
Goal: Break into and retrieve valuable art and artifacts from the Manse of DR. Oswald Benton III.
Location: 1 Hall Road Ext. Edwards New York
Security: 6-10 on-site guards heavily armed from local security company “Safe and Secure” 8’ stonewall, electronic frontier.
Dr. Oswald Benton III is a wealthy Archaeologist and Philanthropist who collects art on a grand scale. Unlike most collectors Dr. Benton displays his collection for all to see via the Internet. Dr. Benton is in his late 70s and in poor health. Recently he has begun to take heavy losses in his investments due to miss-management. His foundation, The Benton Foundation for Truth in History, is run out of his Manse and does much artifact authentication. A certificate from the Benton Foundation is considered the gold standard in the industry. Dr. Benton has 2 children, Dr. Oswald Benton IV 58, who lives in Buffalo and frequently visits his father, and Lieutenant General Rupert Benton 55 who is the Current Commandant of Fort Bragg NC. Dr. Benton III also has 6 grandchildren 8 great grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. On a darker side Dr. Benton III has been accused many times of hiring ‘Black Ops’ teams to raid Archaeological sites around the world and is rumored to have a massive private collection.
Safe and Secure is a semi regional security firm that is employed by the wealthy to safeguard their communities and homes. They have approximately 200 employees in the upper New York, Vermont and Ottawa area. By insurance dictates they maintain a minimum force of 6 on site for gallery security, 2 for Dr. Benton III’s personal security and 2 more for lab security but lately to cut costs they have been shorting the shifts by as many as 4 per shift. There nearest response unit is 10min away after the alarm is sounded. Response is a Specialist unit of 10 heavy assault troops delivered via AV or Helicopter.
The Manse was built in 1899 out of solid stone and has been renovated many times. Dr. Benton III keeps a staff of 7 full time employees that live on site (DR, Cook, Driver/Pilot, Butler, Maid and Gardener) and the foundation Employs 12 more people that live off site and work a standard 40-hour M-F 8-4 workday. While no internal maps exist the Manse is known to have a Safe Room for the doctor and several massive vaults to store artifacts in.
There have been 2 attempts to rob the Manse since 2018 both were fatal failures but in both instances the local police credited the cutting edge security system and efficient response of the onsite security team with the prevention.
Local Police are kind of a joke; they are geared to deal with small town issues, only 7 on duty at any one time, a total force of 30 with 10 squad cars. Their response time is 8 to 12 minutes.
The Team rented a RV for the following week, broke out our camping gear, and made reservations at the Cedar Lake Campsite near Edwards. With some general Library Search we also got the name of an independent media that did a story on the mansion and its public art exhibits. This media had taken some pictures inside the mansion. We hoped he might have others that he took but did not use in his article. They could prove very useful in planning our assault.
Sunday, May 2, 2027
Takka, James and Doyle flew to Buffalo to find the Media.
Monday, May 3, 2027
The three in Buffalo go to media’s apartment with Caitlin following in the NET, and break into the apartment. There the media’s lover wearing nothing but a Union Jack speedo surprises them. The man is very cooperative when promised his life and gives up the media’s (his lover’s) laptop and passwords. Takka kills him anyway. The group does get the rest of the pictures of the mansion and it provides some very useful information. The three arrive back in New York City, but Takka wants to return to Buffalo. He and Doyle do where Takka burns the media’s apartment building to the ground before the target Media returns home to find the corpse of his dead lover.
Tuesday, May 4, 2027
The Team buys a few remotes and heads out in their rented RV. At the campground gate Doyle gets recognized immediately. The group gets an “upgrade” in our camping area. The park soon sells out, when word gets out of a “celebrity” staying at the campground. Caitlin in a thermal neutral sneak suit, and James (pretending to be a “bird watcher”) each do a survey of the mansion’s exterior elements. Caitlin finds a second ring of cameras hidden up in the trees outside the wall of the mansion’s grounds. That afternoon Doyle agrees to go racing with some of the locals tomorrow and Jose plays video games with some of the local kids.
Henri went out that night and surveyed the perimeter of the target mansion. He picked up the change of shift at about 3:30 am.
Wednesday, May 5, 2027
Campground staff keeps media trucks out of park. Dr. Shamal, Cid, and Caitlin run a remote operation against the mansion that night. They plan to use two Bell Mini-bees to get to the mansion, deployed a Scorpion from each of them to find a weak point (a dryer hose), and a Grid Bug to penetrate the mansion. On the flight in Dr. Shamal got his caught in a tree so they had to go in with just one unit. They got the basement, first and second floors layouts. The Team also found five vaults and an art authentication lab in the basement. On the first floor in the center of the building was a medical room where the owner was being treated with an experienced bodyguard on duty. The guard caught sight of the Grid Bug, but as it was just a shadow moving under the door. The guard called for a bug sweep, but our remote was able to scramble outside of the house and avoid further detection. The Team waited three hours and sent the bug back in to finish checking out the bottom floors of the mansion. The remote team returned safely unobserved from its mission.
Thursday, May 6, 2027
The Team gathered in the RV for a morning briefing. A “bug” sweep before the meeting revealed a listening device (generic) set at one of the windows, which was disposed of. The pictures taken from the Grid Bug’s transmissions were enhanced and analyzed. The guard in Dr. Benton III’s room was a famous solo, and NOT part of the commercial security team that guarded the mansion. Dr. Shamal examined the read outs from the medical equipment hooked up to Dr. Benton III and realized that the man was brain dead! It was only this equipment he was hooked up to that was keeping his body alive. It was decided to look deeper into the public records of Benton’s finances, as there was obviously something going on. Chen decided that we would complete the remote surveillance of the house tonight and strike on Friday night.
James left to do some more “bird watching”, and noticed a man with a camera watching our campsite at a distance from inside the campground. The Team took note of him. James then mentioned the “spy” to the rangers as he got information on where the best places for “bird watching” were. He actually was directed to a spot where he was able to get a picture of a bald eagle. Finally, we heard a disturbance in the campground coming from where “the spy” had been. Caitlin went over and found the park ranger wrestling with the man, who was quite large, that had been watching us. She used her Sambo and delivered a non-fatal knockout punch, and rescued the overwhelmed officer. The “spy” was a local named, Earl, who was in the pay of the NET 54 news team that was banned from entering the now “full” campground. Earle was arrested and the grateful officer allowed us to take the digital chip out of the camera and have a copy of the phone number of the NET 54 media, who had hired him. An hour or so later more police showed up and arrested the NET 54 news crew for various local “violations”. The crew was allowed no phone calls until Monday when the judge would be back to arraign them. The news van was towed to a garage 75 miles away. Well, the local police might be a group of country “hicks”, but they were not to be screwed with.
A group of young people came to the campsite to see Jose and ask if he wanted to come with them and play a hot new video game. It had not been released yet, but they had a friend, who got it for them. He went off and helped with our “local relations”, while Caitlin went to retrieve one of her sniper rifles for the mission. Doyle hung out with local racing crowd and, like Jose continued to make nice with the locals.
That night Cid and Dr. Shamal again penetrated the mansion with our remotes and got the layouts of the third and fourth floors. Unknown to us at the time, security was ready for the intrusion and we saw just what they wanted us to see. Since the first intrusion they had been dropping off more guards than they picked up to secretly increase their strength. They intended to crush our planned intrusion scheduled for the next night.
Friday, May 7, 2027
Just after noon the Team packed up their campsite, and returned the RV and trailer to where they had rented it. Preparations were made for the strike, which would occur tonight. Caitlin mounted her M-90 sniper rifle on a custom mount on Doyle’s AV. They would be out 3200 to 3500 meters from the mansion to provide covering fire if needed. Henri moved to where he could get a shot on the airborne reinforcements’ craft from the security company with a Stinger missile launcher. He was equipped with “spytech” coated missiles to help defeat any anti-missile system that the craft might possess. Chen, Sylvania, James, and Jose would form the first wave and sneak up to the mansion. Cid would run his Electronics Warfare Suite after he and Dr. Shamal sent in the aerial remotes to attach radio taps to the cameras on the house, so the NPC netrunners could seize control of them, and a small charge was set to jam the roof hatch of the hidden AV landing pad on the fourth floor. Dr. Nis, the Team’s primary explosives expert waited with those two. He put taps on the hard lines that left the building to suppress any alarm that might be triggered. He would then enter the mansion with Dr. Shamal after the building was secured with enough explosives to blow the vaults.
Everything went smoothly at first. The taps were set, and the camera systems seized. This gave us eyes on inside the place so we could watch the guards. The first wave approached the mansion undetected, and picked the lock on the front door. As the Team entered the building it became apparent that something was wrong. They moved against a guard, who was watching TV in a room, but when they entered that room no one was there. The netrunners, who were watching through the cameras, could still see the non-existent guard, but not the Team. An examination of one of the cameras revealed that it had a disguised “lens cap” on it, which broadcast a picture into the camera. Further examination of some of the rooms showed blood and Dr. Oswald’s hospital/bedroom was in shambles. The Dr. and his bodyguard were gone. The door to his panic room was sealed. Someone thought they saw movement around on of the elevators.
Chen gave the word and the roof hatch was jammed with explosives. Cid began his wide band jamming, which was immediately contested. The electronic battle had begun. The Team moved to the basement where they discovered some very high tech burglary tools set up at one of the vaults. No one appeared to be around. A search of the basement produced a young woman who was obviously a safecracker (prowler) and she surrendered immediately. A few threats later, she told the Team that they were not the only people here to rob the place. At that point Cid lost the Electronic Warfare fight (for the moment) and party communications became jammed. The prowler was named Leslie Summers, and she told the Team that the vault’s had seismic sensors. If they tried to blast them open, the vaults would fill with quick drying foam that would take days to remove. An accord was quickly reached, and she was allowed to continue to work on the vault.
One of the elevators then opened up and a folded piece of paper could be seen on the floor. James went into the laboratory to find some kind of tool to retrieve the paper without actually entering the elevator. Sylvania did not wait and cautiously reached into lift to get it. A mono wire garrote slipped quickly around her neck and pulled her up, but not enough to kill her. Chen slid under Sylvania on his back with his handguns pointed up. Up against the roof a four-armed eclipse borg decloaked. Cooler heads prevailed. Yes, it seems that another top end team had decided to hit the place tonight. Garrotes were released, guns put away, and all electronic jamming (except for that necessary to keep the alarm from going out) was shut off.
This new cyborg’s reputation preceded it and he was recognized as “Eclipse” (actually the first to get that model of body). His team’s official name is also “Eclipse,” they are a very top end team that always goes for the big score and they are here to get rich (mostly). The Team Leader was after the items in Vault 5. Vault 5 contains artwork stolen by the Nazi’s in WWII, his goal is to retrieve this portion of the private collection and return it to the descendants of those who it rightfully belonged to. There was plenty to go around so an agreement was quickly reached. Eclipse and his people were here for specific items, and we were not. It was decided to work together on this and everyone would get what he or she wanted. The alternative was a bloodbath in which many would die, the alarm would go off, and the survivors ran the risk of getting caught.
The combined team quickly dispatched the next sift change. The vaults were opened and the AVs of both Teams were quickly loaded. Still, the alarm had not been raised. Doyle, however, noticed three unidentified fast moving aircraft closing from the north towards the mansion. The two AVs beat a hasty retreat, but each was spotted and chased. Doyle went low into the Adirondack Mountains and lost the following fixed wing aircraft.
Saturday, May 8, 2027
Doyle brought his AV to a “closed” airport in northwestern New Jersey where a cargo plane was waiting to pick up our load. There Chen was given a letter. He was to go immediately to the LaGuardia Airport to meet another plane and receive further instructions. A Boeing C-25 cargo airplane was waiting with a letter for him. An emergency had come up and a Team was needed NOW. He told the group that a scientist had developed some form of chemical or biological weapon and he had to be stopped. They had his location in the Australian Outback. There was no time to wait; the plane was ready to leave. Chen offered the Team a bonus of three times their previous fee to do the job immediately. Everyone agreed and we had one hour to secure some extra gear and clothes. Doyle’s AV and Caitlin’s two spinners were loaded on the aircraft and we were soon winging our way west.
Episode 2: Down Under
Sunday, May 9, 2027
The first leg of the trip landed in Night City. There the plane refueled and Chen picked up the last hire the Collective had selected for this Team. It was an up and coming cyborg from the 4th Corporate War called Thor. (see 4th Corporate War Thread, Episode 45 to Episode 60) To most of the world Thor is a highly customized Sampson. In reality it is an experimental suit of ACPA being made to mimic a full conversion cyborg. The pilot is a young woman in her twenties called Opium, who is also the bassist of one of the biggest rock and roll bands in the world, Cheap Sex. This rather old character (in terms of real years playing) initial training as a young teenager was in weaponsmithing. She supplemented that work with being a car thief. The character may be rich now (and the quiet one in the band), but she remains an absolute adrenaline junkie. Opium is a very small person so a custom cockpit has allowed the suit to be brought down to a size similar to the standard Sampson. This will be the final series of field tests before Lone Star, an ACPA suit developer run by General Blackjack Pershing, announces the new suit line. On the current Team only Caitlin, among this group, knows who Thor really is. Opium/Thor bought Caitlin’s “lifetime contract” from the late Jack Smith during the 4th Corporate War. (Episode 56: Shootout at Jacksville)
The aircraft’s second leg took it to the People’s Democratic Republic of Malagay (located on the island chain north of the Philippines) for another refueling stop, and then on to Australia.
Monday, May 10, 2027
The Team touches down at a “smuggler’s landing strip”. It is one hundred miles from our target, which is located in the outback of Australia near the central mountains in an old cold war era research facility. It is virtually invisible from the air and from radar or satellite. All the Team has is an enhanced and retouched aerial photograph. Chen calls up a topographical map of the area, which allows Doyle to plot a route to get about two miles from the site without being seen or heard. We have 48 hours to kill our target, and destroy his laboratory and all the work there.
At 800 meters the top of the underground complex looked like a large one story outcropping of rocks. Thermal scans showed that the building was constructed in such a way as to disperse any signature into the surrounding terrain. James and Caitlin did the first stealth perimeter check at 800 meters. After that circuit they closed in to do a circuit at 400 meters. At that point two more things were noticed. At 200 meters there was a series of what appeared to be some local fauna located at positions that gave the best positions to watch the facility. This fauna was artificial and not biological in nature. Also, a figure was seen moving stealthily from the facility to a position near the 200-meter perimeter. At that position a rock kind of “shimmered” revealing another “figure” that moved away stealthily back to the hidden building. The first shape took the position of retreating one. There it “shimmered” again and it again looked like a rock. (At that point a player commented, “Ah, they have “Elvin Cloak” technology!) By now it was dark so we fell back and left a watch on the building. It was time to plan and rest for the next day’s assault.
Tuesday, May 11, 2027
The Team was up early and Cid set up his Electronic Warfare Suite to start scanning for any transmissions from the hidden base. He found three coded frequencies being used. Since Cid had taken no Programming or Mathematics he had no chance to decode the transmissions, but it became apparent quickly that one transmission preceded the arrival of a commercial transport helicopter. The first one dropped off its detachable center section on the roof of the base, and that module was lowered into the base from a roof elevator. The second and third helicopter picked up a cargo module. This occurred approximately every hour. Doyle took Caitlin back to the smuggler’s airport where she picked up her spinner bike. She followed the next chopper as it brought more “cargo” out of the base. The cargo pods were being flown to a commercial airport and were being loaded on an old commercial C-130. Caitlin took pictures of the aircraft (in particular its tail numbers and returned to our base camp. It appeared that they were preparing to abandon the base.
By now it was getting later in the afternoon. A large Chinook style helicopter arrived along with the next flight of the smaller chopper to pick up a very large shipping container. It was decided that we must attack immediately and not let this large container get away. Team One, which consisted of Thor, Jose (in assault armor), Sylvania, Dr. Shamal, and James would form the assault team. Caitlin selected a few positions 800 to 900 meters from the building on a series of rises and set up her sniper position at one with her customized M-90 electro thermaled sniper rifle to provide covering fire. Chen, Dr. Nis and Henri moved to the opposite side of the target building with the Scorpion missile launcher (with three spytech coated missiles) to shoot down the helicopters and cut off any attempt to flee from the complex.
The groups barely got in position when the Chinook started to lift the large container off the roof. Henri let the large chopper get well clear of the building before he fired his missile. The crippled helicopter went down with its cargo and exploded in a fireball. Cid jammed all transmissions. Those that had sealed combat gear made sure they were functioning in case any chemical or biological agents were released. The smaller helicopter, which was in the process of landing at the facility, tried to get away, but Henri tagged that with his second missile. It too went down in flames.
After the first chopper went down the assault team moved quickly towards the building. At about 400 meters a rock shimmered (the holographic projection shut off), and a four legged, four armed combat robot (a modified WAD with a mechanical brain) rose up to engage the group. The upper right arm had Militech Plasma Rifle and the upper left arm had a Militech Archer. The two lower arms were for close combat and each had Mono Big Rips. With a MA of 25 and cyber steroids it charged the attackers. Well, powerful as it might be everyone opened up on it and quickly forced it to retire over a rise, where only Caitlin could see it. She moved her position to get out of its line of sight, and took up another of her (semi) prepared positions.
The assault team thought they might have a clear path in but soon two more of these combat robots appeared. They quickly reported over the communications channel that there were three of these things. The team on that backside of the complex relied, “No, there were four!” as they quickly scrambled to avoid being overrun by the fourth one on their side of the complex. Jose, Dr. Shamal, and James poured fire into one of the approaching robotic sentinels. Thor took on the other one with Caitlin firing on it also targeting the weapons in its arms. Sylvania only brought pistols with her so she was fairly useless until the attackers got close. The one charging Thor was dropped before it could get into close combat. The other might have been also except as it closed Sylvania charged it with a 14mm borg pistol and a mono combat knife. That Super Solo ran right into Jose’s and Dr. Shamal’s fire lanes. The two had their fingers depressed on their 12.7mm borg assault rifles. Sylvania took a few rounds that should have hit the attacking robot. Her attack against this heavily armored behemoth was so ineffectual that the machine’s combat computer registered her “an insignificant threat”.
Jose’s left leg was disabled and a head hit by the robot’s melee arm tore into him. Caitlin and Thor turned their fire on this last robot and dropped it. From the other side of the building, Team Two reported it had finally taken its combat WAD too.
However, by now six heavily armed troops were now on the building roof. Caitlin blew four of them away in short order. An explosive satchel charge came flying on to the roof from Dr. Nis, who had moved up and finished the rest of the defenders topside. By now Dr. Shamal was deep into Mortal with only his Endorphin/Surge chip keeping him on his feet, and Jose had one leg disabled, and only a couple of points left before his torso was disabled. Those two started back to the base camp where Doyle and his AV waited. The remaining members of the assault team and support team moved onto the roof of the building with Caitlin, who had moved to a new position, on overwatch.
The roof elevator was stuck in the “up” position and the controls were damaged. Dr. Nis bypassed the damage and was able to lower the elevator. Thor easily dispatched the guards left in the one large storeroom that was that top level and the Team entered the facility. Sylvania, who was seriously injured from her running through the heavy machinegun fire, remained on the roof and watched the storeroom from above.
Much of the storeroom was now empty, but there was an elevator down.
The elevator controls indicated that there was only one level beneath this. Obviously a trap would be waiting below. Thor and James opened the roof hatch and got on top of the car. Chen reached in and pushed the down button. All went well for the first six or seven feet when Thor saw the cut cables pass through one of the winches. The elevator car went into free-fall. There was no place of safety to jump to. Thor pulled his rocket-assisted hammers and swung at the walls. The first skittered off the wall, but the second bit and held. James grasped at Thor’s waist, but slid down the armored body until he reached his feet where James finally held on. The car crashed six stories below. A second later, the explosives set at the bottom of the shaft went off.
Thor swung James to a place in the shaft he could hold on to, and then secured himself. The hammer that had saved them was effectively destroyed as a power assisted weapon, but they were both alive. Down below a guard opened the elevator door and poked through the rubble. He turned and looked out of the elevator and said, “There is no one here.”
Thor dropped a satchel charge, which landed at the guard’s feet. The guard’s last words were, “Oh, shit!”
The “cyborg” decided that he could survive this fall and dropped into the rubble below. He knew where the guard had looked to report so he felt he knew where the rest of the defenders would be. He (she) landed with debris still falling, which obscured his (her) landing somewhat and saw a long corridor leading to a heavy blast door. In front of that door was a makeshift barricade with a crew served Militech Sure Shot. Thor tossed a BOM Wire obstacle at the makeshift fortification. The remaining defenders (and the heavy weapon) ended up pinned to the walls. He strode down the hall to the trapped troops passing two doors on either side of the hall just past the elevator entrance. The guards asked if surrender was an option for them. Thor replied yes, so they did.
The rest of the Team in the warehouse area above descended on ropes they had brought, and picked up James on the way. They swept the remaining three rooms below, and freed the guards from the BOM Wire obstacle. After a brief interrogation, Chen executed them all. They gathered up what files had not been shredded and destroyed and took the hard drive from the base computer.
Meanwhile, up in the warehouse, a floor hatch opened and a figure emerged from the escape tunnel that led to the complex below. Sylvania saw the target scientist emerge. She shot him, but did not kill him. He returned fire, the Super Solo failed her stun save, and fell into the warehouse below. The target got on the elevator and came to the surface. Well, Caitlin saw Sylvania fire and then pitch forward into the hole. She saw a figure come up on the elevator, but could not see his face, which did not matter too much for only Chen, James and Sylvania knew what the scientist looked like. Since he wasn’t dressed in the Team’s gear, she shot him in the leg. Well, an electro-thermal fifty caliber round does a lot of damage in its own right. When added to Sylvania’s damage that killed him anyway. After setting enough explosives to “close” the facility permanently, Chen and the rest of the Team came up. The Super Solo leader cut the target’s head off and put it in a limb preservation kit as evidence of the kill.
Meanwhile, Dr. Shamal and Jose were on their way back to the base camp and the AV, when they noticed what was probably tracks from the last damaged combat WAD going behind a rock. We still didn’t know that the rocks were a hologram, so the doctor thought the WAD was pretending to be “rock”, and fired at the rock. Well, the WAD hadn’t detected them until that point, but now it attacked. Furthermore it was hiding “behind” that rock so Dr. Shamal’s initial shot did no damage. They finally managed to “kill” it but not before Jose almost lost his head and the doctor was driven deeper into the Mortal states. They called for AV pick up. There was no way we could reach a hospital before the doctor would run out of LUCK and probably fail one of his mandated Death Saves. He used a Flask of Bandages. Caitlin used all her remaining LUCK and made a First Aid roll to stabilize him. Dr. Shamal made his roll not to lose a permanent point of REFLEXES and BODY exactly. (That roll being the downside of the Flask.)
The Team returned to the smuggler’s airstrip where Chen could contact the Collective for the Team’s next move. A couple of hours later a rebuilt C-130, an unmarked MacDonald F-33 Wasp, and an unmarked Saab Gustav Jet Fighter-Bomber arrived. They were quickly refueled as Sylvania Kelevra was loaded on to the C-130 along with all the material salvaged from the underground laboratory. A doctor patched up Dr. Shamal, but our doctor stayed on the Boeing C-25. Chen told the Team that he was taking Sylvania somewhere and James would be going with us back to Malagay where Dr. Shamal would be hospitalized and we would have a few days off. It was probably none too soon as Caitlin was starting to look flushed and very nervous.
The F-33 Wasp escorted the C-130 as it left for its mysterious destination. (The Nietzschean home base in New Zealand.) The Saab Gustav escorted the C-25 Boeing to Malagay but the fighter-bomber did not land at the civilian airport. It landed “somewhere else”. On the flight to Malagay, a list of parts to repair Jose and Thor was made and arrangements to have them waiting at the airport were made. Caitlin, Jose and Thor turned down the offer of rooms and rented the penthouse at the hotel in Malagay at their own expense. Doyle also upgraded his lodgings at his own expense. Dr. Shamal went right to the hospital with a private room and a private nurse (a Super Solo). Jose was quickly repaired. It seems his “Mr. Studd” had been blown off. Caitlin went into a panic over that, but a replacement was waiting in Malagay. The two hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their bedroom door and were not seen for a few days. There were, however, several noise complaints lodged by the people below them over the next couple of days.
Sunday, May 16, 2027
Chen arrived on a Roland SST with Sylvania and new instructions. He tells the Team that the data that they had recovered from the bio-chemical terrorist’s laboratory in the Outback revealed some more disturbing facts. It seems last target had at least five associates he was involved with. They all had to be hunted down. Chen needed a commitment from the group to pursue and eliminate the remaining “terrorists”. All agreed to the one year “contract” except for Dr. Nis, who could only make a nine month commitment, and Henri, who felt he needed to return to Europe. Henri was given a ticket and sent on his way. Chen briefly considered tying him off as a “loose end”, but thought better of it.
The first of the “associates” was in the Danville, WA area. This town is on the border with Carson, British Columbia. Since the Collapse these two towns have pooled their resources and turned the area into a corporate retreat area that maintains that “small town” feel. It is decided that the Team will go in with two groups. Chen, Sylvania and Dr. Nis will go in representing Chen’s actual “business”. He actually has a “licensed” business in Indonesia as a corporate “headhunter”. His clients are mostly looking for “security” employees. It is an operating “cover” for the Collective. He will be in the area to run some “retreats” for perspective clients. This will be a real event so it will hold up to any scrutiny.
There is a major motorcycle race in the area on Memorial Day Week End. Doyle will enter the race. His actual “racing team”, which is comprised of the O’Leary Nomad Family, will accompany him and his four cybernetically enhanced great cats. Dr. Shamal will be accompanying as his private physician, James Stiles will be the liaison to the “Chen Group”, who put together this Team. Cid will be making a custom armored racing suit for Doyle. Jose will be the “high profile” (Reputation 7) personal bodyguard. Caitlin will be there as Jose’s girlfriend, and is an “established” personal friend in the media of Doyle anyway. Thor would remain in Night City for now and wait.
This would give the group “pretext” to being there, and allow us to try to find our target. In a few hours the Boeing C-25 with Doyle’s group aboard was heading to Night City. They arrived in the early evening to Night City on this same Sunday (they crossed International Date Line). Doyle returned to his own apartment in Night City. Thor went to an apartment he (she) keeps in the city. Caitlin and Jose returned to Opium/Thor’s factory and mansion complex outside of Night City. The rest stayed in rooms at the Advocet Hotel that were acquired by Chen. We had a few days to get ready and would be leaving Night City on Thursday to begin. Chen and his people would go to Indonesia and then immediately fly travel to Danville, Washington to set things up.
Episode 3 – Danville, WA
So the Team has decided to continue their employment with Mr. Chen (Takka) and his two assistants (Sylvania and James Stiles) from the Collective. They will hunt down the remaining members of this bio-chemical terrorist group. The pay is fantastic, the logistical support is first class, and the Team would be doing a great service to the world. NOT!
This job, like so many others in Cyberpunk, is not as advertised. In fact it is a complete lie. (Big surprise!). The Collective is trying to hunt down and kill a Dr. Lawrence Kimura, who used to work with the Collective.
The Real Truth About the Missions
The Super-Solo Collective has discovered that Dr. Lawrence Kimura has betrayed them and has been for some time. Dr. Kimura has been one of the chief scientists in the Collective since its foundation. He was a lead research assistant during the creation process and is still trying to de-cipher all the coding that went into making the original specimens. The “creator” was absolutely brilliant/insane and his work has been extremely difficult to unlock. Dr. Kimura ran to a property he owns in Australia and was tracked there. The team was tasked with retrieving or eliminating him and recovering/destroying any research discovered on site. Of course the Collective can’t tell the truth about Dr. Kimura’s research without endangering their own existence, so they have come up with the bio-chemical terrorist plot as a cover. Of the Team only Chen knows the true story. He has not informed James of the actual nature of the mission, or even Sylvania who is a fourth generation Nietzschean, herself.
Kimura Time Line (Incomplete)
Unknown even to the Collective, Dr. Kimura is a clone. He cloned himself originally around the turn of the century. The original Dr. Kimura has been working on cloning since its inception in the late 1980s and was on the team in Boston that first cloned sheep and in the 1990s was on a Korean team that cloned cattle. He wasn’t the lead on either project but he has never wanted to be famous either. Around the turn of the century he got involved in illegal human cloning and was once again a mere assistant on a team that created a line of human clones trained as soldiers. Leaks of this project’s nature led to TV shows like Dark Angel and movies like Hit Man and they became part of pop culture. Inspired by Dark Angel, Dr. Kimura took his research into a new field and started splicing animal DNA into his “specimens” all were dismal failures. The one thing that came out of Dr. Kimura’s research was the protein strand needed to combine animal and human DNA in the same sequence.
In 2014, Dr. Kimura brought his research to Arasaka and after a quick review was hired as a research assistant on the Homo-Superior project. His protein strand was the missing link in the creation of the super solos. During this time Dr. Kimura was able to “steal” research from the cyber-intelligence division that dealt with copying the human brain into a digital pattern. Even though Arasaka’s research did not work, due to Dr. Kimura’s subtle sabotage. Using the TV show, Doll House, as inspiration in 2016 Dr. Kimura learned how to in theory save a brain imprint and transfer it to a cloned brain. Dr. Kimura went to visit his “brother” aka his first clone of himself who was in a “coma” in a private hospital. He was successful in transferring his brain pattern to himself. This was an absolute success. However an attempt to transfer his brain pattern into other coma patients even those that were “blank” were utter failures and lead to the deaths of the ‘would be’ hosts. After five tries Dr. Kimura concluded that a brain scan could only be imprinted on a clone of the original. When Dr. Kimura returned to Arasaka’s research facility after his 2-week vacation it was actually his clone that arrived to continue his employment. Dr. Kimura and Kimura1 came up with ways to keep in touch. Dr. Kimura was able to send research to Kimura1 and in this way Dr. Kimura1 was able to drastically increase his work output on the Homo-Superior project and in 2017 was promoted to a full researcher and given his own budget and lab to work in. Dr. Kimura1 held this position until the whole project when into the toilet. Dr. Kimura1 was then “liberated” and offered his position in the Collective. A position he truly and passionately enjoyed. Approximately a year ago Dr. Kimura1 started to succumb to the stress. This was noticed and Dr. Kimura1 was interviewed repeatedly. He was found to be “over-worked” and “over-tired”. Dr. Kimura1 was a valuable and trusted asset at this point and was given a reduced work load and plenty of vacation time. This included supervised off site trips. In reality Dr. Kimura1 had actually succeeded in deciphering the original DNA strand of the Homo-Superior project. What he found scarred him to the core as he saw the eventual destruction of the entire human race. This is not what he signed on for. He used the last year to re-invent the failsafe gas that could incapacitate or kill a Homo-Superior, which actually gives the bio-chemical “terrorist” story a hint of truth. (Hence the Collective’s decision to use as many non- Nietzscheans as possible to hunt down the rogue researcher.) He then planned his escape and ran like hell. Unknown to him was the fact that he was rigged with a failsafe. His nanites were modified to send out a tracking signal but only if he moved out of range of the Collective’s research facility.
Meanwhile the original Dr. Kimura was hard at work. Taking inspiration from another TV show, Star Gate, Dr. Kimura activated the “Baal Project”. This led the doctor to clone and imprint himself onto multiple copies and, as the copies know they are not the original, they are subservient to him by nature. Starting in 2019, Dr. Kimura sent his clones into the world in cells to do various research projects. Dr. Kimura annually received research updates and sent instructions to his brood. Dr. Kimura also sent a good amount of research to Kimura1 and received annual progress reports from Kimura1. The annual reporting cycle has just been completed, so, barring any major media story on the subject, the Dr. Kimura and his remaining clones should be unaware of the fact they are being hunted for almost a year. Well, that is the plan anyway.
So far, the Collective has located the areas where the five remaining targets are. The first is, of course, Danville, WA/Carson, BC area. The second and third are in Norcal and SoCal respectively. The second is around the San Francisco area and the third is near San Diego. The fourth is near a small town called Williams, NV. The last is a set of coordinates in the Pacific Ocean. The Collective is trying to attain more information on what is at those coordinates, but that will take more time.
At Chen’s request, the Collective prepared a briefing on the Danville, WA and Carver, BC area. Included was a digest of local weapons laws. This was given to the Team to help them prepare.
Danville, WA Briefing Information
Danville has boomed since the collapse mainly due to global warming. Always an agricultural hub Danville was able to vastly expand its wealth when the farming season expanded. Always in the shadow of Carson, Canada this town has grown and prospered. Carson and Danville have a combined economic development council that sets policy for business on both sides of the border. This arrangement has led to both towns prospering. New Main Street is an experiment in economics that has been successful for both towns by having merchants provide goods and services that are highly restricted or taxed on the other side of the border then redistributing the profits through a local tariff system. Both towns have their own police department but patrol together and the officers all hold dual citizenships and have been deputized in the neighboring town so that pursuit of criminals is not an issue.
Town Police are well equipped and financed. Response time ranges from 5 to 15 minutes anywhere in town and they have a standard SWAT team. Much like the town police the border officers work together and try to inspect cargo together to save on work. Unlike the local police the federal agents have no authority on the opposite side of the border but they can bring huge amounts of firepower to bear. Danville is also host to a National Guard MP Company. Carson has a Mounties Precinct. A few miles north in Grand Forks, BC is a British Columbia Provincial Police Barracks.
Danville starting in 2022 re-opened its public schools k-8 using a massive donation to fund the refurbishment and re-supply of the empty school buildings. The New Blood political party rightly takes credit for this and has the support of the property owners in town even though it led to heavy property tax increases. Carson seeing that it can be done is scheduled to re-open their schools in 2028. The New Blood party was able to secure the same “anonymous” donation to help fund the Carson school system restart.
The Town has two sources of power. One is the traditional way through the electrical grid. The second, which supplies approximately 20% of the power, is “green energy” from wind, solar and hydroponics. The town has plans to increase this by 5% a year until all its needs are supplied by green energy.
Danville has very strict zoning regulations, which it has used to restrict population density and maintain a small town feel. The exception to this is new Main Street, which caters to the tourist industry. Through a heavy advertising budget on both sides of the border Danville and Carson have attracted executives from many large corporation to come here for relaxed conferences and corporate survival and hunting trips. On the edge of Colville National Forest is an abundance of log cabin style homes that the towns own and rent out for the perfect vacation spot. The heart of the tourist season is just a couple weeks from starting. During this time there will be a lot of tourists and corporate vacation groups coming and going.
Danville Gun Laws
Any non-electro thermal semi-automatic handgun, rifle or semi-automatic shotgun can be registered in town for 50euro each as long as the person has a valid US, Canadian, or Corporate permit. This process takes around an hour per gun per person. Special permits for full-auto, heavy weapons, electro thermal guns and concealed cyber weapons can be applied for at a cost of 200euro each and take 24 hours to process. If a special permit for personal/corporate defense is granted then the owner must bring the weapon in for processing which takes about an hour. Without a permit a weapon may not be carried at all even openly. A person has 24 hours from the time they enter town to register all there weapons. Permits can be revoked at any time by any police officer for any reason they want, even if for no other reason than they don’t like the person.
Any non-handguns must be transported unloaded and with a trigger lock. In vehicles where it is possible they must be secured in a separate compartment of the vehicle then the passengers. Unless the “special permit” covers them it would make no sense to have weapons for defense and be unable to travel with them.
Carson Gun Laws
Canada is very strict on gun possession. In Carson a handgun of 10mm or less non-electro thermal may be registered in town for 75euro each as long as the person has a valid US, Canadian, or Corporate permit. Rifles that are classified as hunting may be registered as above. Semi-automatic Shotguns of no less than 10 gauge follow the same rules. This process takes around an hour per gun. No permits for full-auto, heavy weapons, electro thermal guns and concealed cyber weapons are allowed for non-citizens. However Corporations may apply for short term special permits at 500euro a weapon and the permits are only good for 1 week and have a 24 hours processing time. A person has 24 hours from the time they enter town to register all their weapons. Unless they came across the border in which case they have 1 hour. Permits can be revoked at any time by any police officer or Mounties for any reason they want, even if for no other reason than they don’t like the person.
In 2023 Danville and Carson passed the “friendly neighbor” gun amendment which allows residents of either town to cross the border with a valid permit from their neighbor for a mere fee of 100euro a year. Non-residents can get the same permit-allowing border crossing for 100euro a week. This permit only applies to handguns, including electro thermal, Hunting Rifles and Semi-automatic Shotguns no smaller than 10 gauge.
Rifles and shotguns must be transported unloaded and with a trigger lock. In vehicles where it is possible they must be secured in a separate compartment of the vehicle then the passengers.
Handguns may be loaded with standard or armor piercing ammo only. Rifles may only be loaded with standard ammo. Shotguns for hunting may only be loaded with buckshot or bird shot; unless a “Big Game” permit is issued which costs 100euro and allows them to be loaded with dual-purpose ammo or deer slugs.
Monday, May 17, 2027
Chen, Sylvania and Dr. Nis fly into Spokane, WA from Indonesia and then catch a local flight to Danville. At the Danville Hotel and Convention Center the events coordinator, Michelle Gray, meets them. She is friendly, efficient and helpful as Mr. Chen goes over the needs of his company for the coming “Corporate Retreat”, which is scheduled to take place around the weekend of June 11 thru 13, 2027. She tells them they were very lucky to get that date. The hotel had just had a “cancellation” from the group that originally booked that weekend just before Chen’s people had called. The season would open with a Furry Convention on Memorial Day weekend followed by the North American Forensics Convention the following week. Later on in the summer Arasaka would be holding its first western hemispheric convention since the end of the Fourth Corporate War. (The two-year ban on Arasaka doing business in the United States was about to expire.) The meeting goes well and their cover is solidified. Chen also asks if there are sightseeing aircraft that can be chartered in the area. Of course there is, and he makes reservations for an aerial over flight of the area tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 18, 2027
After spending a little time in the morning taking care of weapons registration and checking out the joint Danville/Carson “downtown”, the advance team heads to the airport for their “sightseeing” flight. The true purpose of the flight is to look for any buildings with a larger than normal thermo signature. As they tour the American side of the boarder they realize that doing this in the day is not the best idea with the equipment they have (various cyberoptics). They reschedule the Canadian portion of the tour, and book a new flight to rescan the American side for that night.
The night flights provide some interesting results. The high thermal signatures on various power and small industrial facilities are to be expected, but a few of the buildings don’t seem to make sense. In particular a large building in a fenced area near the Colville National Forest (with some smaller outbuildings) is marked as belonging to the Forestry Service. The building is generating a huge thermal plume, and there seems to be little to no information on what this facility does. Chen decides to investigate some of these buildings tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 19, 2027
Mr. Chen rented a car and he, along with Sylvania and Dr. Nis, head over in the direction of the various suspicious buildings. Local police stops them twice when they enter areas that tourists generally do not go, but the three had no way of realizing they had done that. While heading down a third road, a National Guard Military Police Humvee mounting a TOW launcher stops them. The MPs are friendly and polite, but ask them what they are doing on a road that has no public facilities that would bring them out this way. They reply that they are having a business retreat in the area in a few weeks and they are simply getting acquainted with the area. The three’s identification are checked and recorded. Mr. Chen tells them he doesn’t remember seeing any National Guard armory on the map, and (politely) asks why they are out on a weekday. The MPs explain that they operate a little differently than most units. They go on active duty a week before the tourist season begins and are out until one week after tourist season ends (in September). It seems a few years back that someone (an idiot) booked corporate groups from both Petrochem and SovOil for the same week at the hotel and convention center. It took the National Guard and the local Mounties to restore order. That and an unfortunate incident a couple of years ago involving Militech and Arasaka led to the local MP company being “on active duty” for the summer. This story jived with what Michelle Gray had told them at the hotel. The MPs sent the Team members on their way (back the way they came). The three drove by the “Forestry” building, which didn’t seem to have any purpose that was immediately apparent. Chen decided that they would have to run a covert penetration of that “Forestry Service” facility that night.
Dr. Nis’s stealth and covert skills are not his strong point, but Sylvania is a Super Solo stealth/assassination model. Chen decided only he and Sylvania would make the intrusion that night. Dr. Nis would remain (visibly) at the hotel. It took a few hours to reach the complex. There was a six-foot chain link fence with barbed wire crowning the top. Visual examination did not detect any sensors or video surveillance cameras. The outer perimeter was easily breached. The large “hot” building had one large delivery door with no visible access on the outside and two normal man sized doors. One of those doors had no handle on the outside and appeared to be an emergency exit. The third door had a handle and locking mechanism. There were no windows in this building. The two checked out the remaining buildings in the complex. One was a garage that contained Forestry Service vehicles that one might expect in a National Forest. The other two were some kind of small office/reception buildings. There was an AV/helicopter pad but no craft on it. The occasional guard walking around was armed with a pistol, but none seemed to be particularly on alert.
Finally, a man in a lab coat exited the large building with an electronic clipboard and walked away. He appeared to be going on some kind of break. Chen decided to break into the large building in his absence. Sylvania focused her optics on the researcher’s ID badge and caught the name Dr. Forest Black. The lock was child’s play and the two entered the building. The first room had a large thick paneled window looking deeper into the building with a series of instrument panels built into a long desk. To one side of that was a heavy door similar to one that you would find on an air lock. On the left wall was an office style desk. Looking through the glass into the next room, they could see a large room beyond filled with a wide variety of plants. The lights in there had a soft red tint to it. The two checked out the instruments, the clipboards and paperwork on the desks. They were able to puzzle together that this was some sort of joint research facility maintained jointly by NASA and the Forestry Service. They were irradiating the plants at low levels to simulate what might happen on a deep space flight.
Chen put on one of the two rad suits hanging nearby and entered the chamber. He has an internal Geiger counter, which read safe, but the suit’s sensors confirmed the radiation in the plant room. He spent a while in that room until he noticed that one wall was shorter than the building was long. Chen searched the wall and found a hidden door. He opened it and entered. The room was full of plant seeds. However, his suit alarm started screaming and his internal Geiger counter started to tick. The increased radiation in this room was overwhelming the suit. He left the room quickly.
Meanwhile, in the observation room, Sylvania was standing by the left wall when the outside door opened and the researcher came back from his break. Sylvania quickly closed and knocked the researcher out. It was Doctor Forrest Black. She dragged the unconscious body back to the observation console and put him in the seat, and slumped him over the console as if he were asleep. At this point Chen was coming out of the “seed room” and she was able to get his attention and signal him there was trouble. The anti-radiation shielding blocked their commos. It took almost ten minutes for the de-contamination procedure to cycle and Chen was left a soapy mess. The fixer looked over at the still “unconscious” researcher. Something was not right. Under the researcher’s arm was a red light flashing furiously that he hadn’t seen before. As he approached the man, the “unconscious” scientist picked up his head and cried out, “Don’t kill me!”
At that moment the outside door opened up and a security guard was standing there. Chen immediately charged him. The Super Solo took a 9 mm hit to the leg, but was able to snap the guard’s neck in hand to hand before he could get off a second series of shots. After she saw the guard die, Sylvania twisted the scientist’s neck killing him also. Chen was furious. He had wanted a prisoner to interrogate. They grabbed the two corpses and ran.
(Sylvania’s unexpected killing of Doctor Black apparently rattled the two, since they left all the information they had found on the project and the researcher’s electronic note pad.)
As the two ran across the grounds to the fence, another guard opened up with an assault rifle. The guard had no way of knowing that the researcher and fellow guard was dead so he used single shot mode and fired at the fleeing intruder’s legs. Chen was hit once before he could clear the fence. His super human speed was noticed and the fact that he cleared the fence in one jump surprised the guard. Sylvania was a bit slower and not nearly as graceful going over the fence. At least she wasn’t hit. The sounds of an approaching helicopter kept them moving. A few minutes later an AV could be heard entering the area. They wanted to burn the bodies (who knows why?), but there was no time so the dropped them. The searchlight of the helicopter found now abandoned corpses, and that slowed the chase down, which allowed the two to escape.
Thursday, May 20, 2027
Chen and Sylvania made it back to the Danville Hotel and Convention Center in the wee hours of the morning. The two packed up their things and headed to Spokane, WA to take the Roland SST back to Indonesia. Dr. Nis would remain behind to deal with any issues relating to his upcoming “Business Retreat.”
Meanwhile, Doyle, two of his four great cats, Cid, James and Dr. Shamal flew up in the racer’s AV to an eight-bedroom log cabin just outside of the Colville National Forest in the “wilderness” corporate tourist area of Danville that had been rented for his “entourage”. Waiting there was Samantha Winters, a representative of the town’s rental agency. She showed everyone around the place, but it became obvious that she was very interested in Doyle, personally. He picked up on that and asked her if she wanted to join him and two of his friends for dinner and dancing. She immediately accepted. When asked what was the best restaurant in town, she replied that would be the Exquisite Gourmet, but you needed reservations weeks in advance. After a brief silence, she said she could probably get them in tonight. (Exceptions are often made for a Reputation nine.)
After she left, Doyle noticed that his leopards were acting strangely. There was a rail fence running around the log building at about 100 meters. This marked the exclusive use area of this property. It was another 400 meters east to the edge of the Colville National Forest. The great cats were pacing nervously at the fence line and looking towards the forest. They had never acted this way before. Doyle and a few others went out to the fence line but everything seemed in order. People made note and preceded to move into their lodgings. The complete security/bug sweep was done. The whole roof of the lodge was one giant web of receivers that fed a roof dish that kept the cell signal strong in the area. Other than that the place seemed clean.
James went into town and took care of his weapons registration. He took the opportunity to walk around and get familiar with the tourist downtown. Among the various shops he found was a blacksmith, who was also a skilled sword smith that crafted his weapons using traditional methods. The smith told James that the tourist season would begin in earnest next week and the town would be bustling then.
A few hours later, Jose and Caitlin arrived at Doyle’s “log mansion” in their Crystar Falcon Spinnercoupe. Their craft did not have the range or speed of Doyle’s AV so they had to make a fuel stop and fly slower. They got settled in and Doyle asked the two if they wanted to go out for dinner and dancing tonight with him and his “date”. The two immediately said yes.
(Normally Doyle has a general dislike and distrust of full conversion cyborgs. Since he and Caitlin are friends and she so obviously enamored of Jose, the nomad was trying to extend himself to the Gemini.)
When Caitlin heard about the leopards’ odd behavior, she volunteered to check it out. She seemed to have a good relationship with the great cats and they liked her. As she approached the fence she slowed down and her eyes locked onto the woods in the distance. The girl expressed an uncomfortable feeling that she had never felt before, and quickly went back to the house.
The three got all dressed up in their super chic, high fashion best. The Personal Grooming and Wardrobe & Style rolls were all at least 25+ and most were in the 30s. They were styling! Samantha Winters was waiting on the AV roof pad for them and they went down into the restaurant. The Exquisite Gourmet is a five star eatery. Not only are there no prices on the menu, there is no menu. They pride themselves in being able to make just about anything. The four and a wonderful diner that cost about as much as a normal workingman makes in a year, and then they went out dancing. Samantha picked her favorite place, which was called the Happy Girl. It was a Country Western Bar! Everyone was way overdressed, but it did not seem to matter. The only excitement was Caitlin slipped and fell while dancing injuring her ankle. (OK, it was a “1”, with a confirmed roll as a botch and a result of five points of damage!) All four returned to the “log cabin” afterwards, and Samantha spent the night.
Friday, May 21, 2027
In the morning James decided to take a walk in the Colville National Forest. He asked Cid and Dr. Shamal if they would like to join him, but the two declined, so he went alone. The rest of Doyle’s Team went into town in the morning to register their weapons. This went quickly. Doyle made application for the weapons mounted on his AV, and was given a temporary 24 hour permit until they could run a record check, which in this case would be a formality. Caitlin asked for special corporate automatic and heavy weapons permits. When asked for her federal permits she produced a myriad of licenses. She explained that she was a sales representative for the Opium Arms Company of Night City, and asked who the department’s procurement officer was. She got his name and left her card. Then Caitlin went over to the Carson Police Department and introduced herself. Again she got the procurement officers name and left her card.
(Caitlin actually is a sales representative for the Opium Arms Company. Opium originally got her those licenses so she could possess the wide variety of illegal weaponry that her “other” occupation required. While in New York City during the New York City Campaign, Caitlin actually started to go around and trying to sell the company’s weapons to various police and registered security agencies to give some truth to her “cover job”. She found out that men would often buy weapons from a beautiful woman. In the end she sold over two million euro worth of weapons to various area agencies, and made some valuable police contacts. She turned her “cover job” into a real one. The girl now tries to continue to sell her friend, Opium’s, products.)
Doyle and the rest of the crew cruised the tourist downtown, and took in the flavor of the town. They also found the blacksmith/sword maker, and got a look at his impressive operation. Doyle ordered two finely crafted Zhi Daos. The group also located various food stores where they could fill up the larder in their “log mansion”.
Finally Caitlin caught up with them and they all went to lunch at a local eatery. While they were sitting there a LawDiv forensics team (of about six) came in for lunch also. This team was here in response to the break in and murders at the Forestry Service/NASA facility two nights ago. The young assassin’s acute hearing caught the Fed’s mealtime conversations. It seems they had recovered some DNA off the sweat on the faceplate of the radiation suit that the “foreign spies” had used. These agents suspected that the Chinese Space Agency was involved in the break in. This project had been a quasi-secret program run by the United States Forestry Service and NASA. The government was taking this security breach very seriously, and making every effort to find the perpetrators. They also talked about something called the “Man Eater”. The local authorities had been keeping quiet that a “bear” seems to have become a killer. A number of people had been recently killed in the area, or rather torn apart. Most recently a team of hunters led by someone named “Adam” had disappeared last week without a trace. A ranger named Brian Tilkman was quietly looking for experienced hunters to go into the woods and take care of this problem before the tourist season. On the way back to the “log mansion”, Caitlin informed the people that had gone to town the substance of the Fed’s conversations.
Doyle’s group got back to find that the racer’s nomad racing team arrived with the bikes, his “family” entourage, and his other two great cats. James came out of the woods. He had gotten turned around on his walk, but quickly reoriented himself. He reported that this was an old growth forest that had never been cut or logged. He hadn’t found anything out of the ordinary, except maybe that the Colville National Forest was a magnificent natural area, which in the Cyberpunk world was extraordinary in itself.
In the afternoon, Doyle decided to check out the Colville National Forest. He took his four great cats with him along with Jose and Caitlin. The cyber leopards normally love to go out into the wild, but here they were nervous and on edge. Two of the great cats kept by Doyle’s side protectively as he walked with Jose. The other two leopards were on point along with Caitlin. As they got deeper into the forest, Jose noticed that Caitlin was also getting nervous and jumpy. She and the lead cats seemed to be moving more cautiously. All three would stop every now and then and sniff the air as if they were trying to pick up a sent that seemed to be just beyond them.
Doyle was looking up into the trees when he noticed something about fifteen feet up. It looked like some kind of mark or cut in the tree. Caitlin climbed up to take a look. It was some kind of very large claw mark. She took a picture of it with a reference object to record its size. Whatever made this was huge. The group continued deeper into the forest with the great cats and Caitlin getting more on edge as they went.
About a half a mile further Caitlin smelled something like rotten meat. It was obvious that the leopards noticed it too. The headed towards it and in about a hundred meters they found a clearing where a large amount of blood had been splashed about. Someone noticed more blood dripping down on the ground. The group looked up and saw a bloody bear carcass in the tree. Again Caitlin climbed up the tree to examine it and take some pictures. She discovered it actually only about the front two thirds of a bear. Large claws had torn off the animal’s rear quarter off. As she was examining it, she started getting very nervous as a feeling of dread she had never experienced before came over her. She could almost smell something, but it was strangely elusive. The four great cats also starting pacing nervously again, and gathered in a protective circle around Doyle. After a minute or so the feeling receded. Caitlin came down from the tree and they turned back the way they came. That is when they saw it. About ten feet from where they had been standing was a set of huge clawed footprints that wasn’t there before! Now everyone was on edge. Doyle “talked” with his cats.
(The cats can’t actually talk, but they are so close that they can communicate simple one word concepts to Doyle. Anyone who has had a smart pet, that they know well, can usually understand what the animal is trying to communicate. I have an old yellow Labrador retriever IRL, and he will walk up to me and give me a look. I will know if he is hungry, wants to go out, wants some attention, or which of about four people is coming to the door. His has a number of little dances that he does depending on who is coming.)
Jose asked Doyle what was up, and Doyle thought a minute and then replied, “You know those nature shows you see on TV? Well, it’s like that grazing gazelle you see that is being stalked by some big predator. The gazelle will suddenly lift its head, and you can see in its eyes that it realizes it’s about to become prey. Well, these cats feel like that gazelle right now!”
Caitlin, who was now getting jittery again, suggested they go back to the house now and all agreed. She pulled out her compass and Data Tel Navstar Mapmaker and plotted a course home. As they moved towards the safety of the house both Caitlin and the leopards still felt that presence although not as immediately threatening as before. About a half a mile from the compound Caitlin backtracked a little, climbed a tree and hid herself in the branches to wait as they others continued back home. About fifteen minutes later the feeling of dread increased and again her nose detected something that seemed to lie just beyond her ability to identify it. Then see saw a giant clawed footprint appear silently on the ground, then another and another as something walked by the tree she was in following the path that the group had taken. She could not see whatever was making them, but just after the prints were made she noticed a slight heat signature in the print. It stopped about ten meters away. Whatever this was it was bipedal. She held her breath. Then the tall first growth tree that was ten meters away swayed violently as a claw mark dug into it about fifteen feet up. Caitlin experienced a new emotion: stark, primal terror! She briefly though of using her camera to take a picture, but the possibility that the shutter might be heard was too great. It was all she could do to just hide, be part of the tree, and not jump down and try run away.
The footprints turned at about a ninety-degree angle and headed off away from the path that the others had taken. Caitlin remained hidden and silent in that tree for about ten minutes. She then jumped down and sprinted towards the “log mansion”. James was at the rail fence facing the forest when Caitlin burst out of the tree line. She was moving at super human speed. She saw James and shouted, “Run!” He did.
Caitlin might have beaten him to the house but she slowed after she vaulted the rail fence. She could see the great cats on the back porch and they were relatively relaxed. Whatever it was had not followed her. Inside she curled into Jose’s arms and told everyone what she had seen or more correctly didn’t see. There was much discussion, but whatever this was it was beyond anyone’s experience. Still, the security of the house was an issue. It was suggested that some kind of seismic sensor might be helpful. Doyle called General Blackjack Pershing who was now serving as commander of all United States ground forces in Africa for advice. Doyle and the General had both worked for Security Solutions together about eight years ago, and had remained good friends. General Pershing contacted a company that made and installed seismic sensors. That company would dispatch a group of technicians that would install an arc of sensors between the house and the forest by tomorrow. The price would be steep, but Doyle’s pockets are deep. The Team and Doyle’s nomad racing team settled down for a watchful night.
Saturday, May 22, 2027
In the morning, local news reported that the Forestry Service was issuing free hunting permits for a special bear hunt this week (just before the tourist season begins). After some discussion, Doyle and a few others decided to go to see ranger Brian Tilkman to tell him what they had discovered yesterday, before any more hunters were slaughtered. The nomad racer took his AV to the ranger station, where a large group of prospective hunters waited. There were also a number of news vans there. After noticing the media, Caitlin declined to leave the AV and go in to see the ranger.
Doyle attracted the assembled media’s attention. The nomad racer told the press that he was here to get permission to use wood from the Colville National Forest to build a “stunt ramp” for his bike. The Forestry Service saw Doyle and he was immediately led in to see the ranger. The nomad suggested that they talk privately, and ranger Tilkman brought them into his office. Doyle spun his tale of yesterday’s events and the ranger listened intently. After finishing the story, the ranger stared at Doyle and said, “So, you are telling me that this rogue bear is really some kind of invisible “bigfoot”?
There was an uncomfortable silence as it became apparent that the ranger was more than a little incredulous. However ranger Tilkman pulled out a few maps that marked the general locations of hunters and others that had been killed or whose disappearances had been attributed to the “rogue bear”. The bear and wolf population has been reintroduced to this area with the help of a Doctor Yamato, a “zoologist” working for the Forestry Service. It was the ranger’s belief that one of the larger bears had turned into a “man eater” by the competition from the increased numbers of bears and wolves that had been introduced by Dr. Yamato.
(Wow! A huge clue may have just fallen into our lap. Too bad we are looking for a bio-chemical terrorist and not a bio-geneticist! Well, this is what happens when people decide to play important information “too close to the chest”. Since Chen wasn’t around and most of us did not know how to contact him, this was just interesting (and dangerous) local trivia. However, it was clearly NOT related to our mission.)
The ranger told Doyle that he really couldn’t believe him. He showed them another map with all the “Bigfoot” sightings, and said they had gotten a lot of them every year for many, many years. However, the nomad seemed truthful and since Doyle had fame and fortune already he could see no reason that the nomad would be lying. Tilkman asked if he could send this information and picture that they had brought to an independent researcher he knew for his opinion. Doyle agreed and the group left the ranger station. Outside, he told the assembled media that the Forest Service had denied his request to build a stunt ramp with wood from the national forest, and they all left in the AV to return to the “log mansion”.
When the group returned, they found the security company that General Pershing recommended had arrived and was installing the seismic sensor field. Most of the rest of the day was spent working on those defenses. Those preparations were completed by late afternoon, and the security people then left.
Just after dinner, but before sunset, a car was heard honking its horn outside. The leopards had it surrounded and a nervous looking man waiting inside the vehicle. Doyle called off his cats, and the man came out to introduce himself. His name was Dr. Timothy Wales. He was a friend of ranger Tilkman, and one of the leading “Bigfoot” researchers in Canada. When he looked at the files that his friend had sent him he left immediately to speak to the witnesses to this “sighting”. Dr. Wales was astounded to discover that the person who his friend had told him about was none other than Doyle O’Leary, the famous motorcycle racer. They invited him in to hear what he had to say.
Dr. Wales confirmed that the pictures of the claw and footprints were consistent with his extensive research into this subject. The only difference was that the size of the markings was larger than any previously recorded. He wanted to hear from all the people involved. At that point Caitlin excused herself, left the room and never returned while the Doctor was there. Doyle, Jose and James each in turn told the researcher about their experiences in the Colville National Forest. He eagerly took notes, and was given copies of any photographs that the party had relating to this phenomenon. Wales told the Team about his research into the subject. His belief was that this was a creature that actually existed in places around the world. In particular he believed that the Yeti or “abominable snowman” of the Himalayas was related to their local Bigfoot. A temple in those Asian mountains had a skull of a Yeti but the monks had refused to allow any examination of it when it was discovered years ago. Dr. Wales had led an expedition a couple of years ago to the temple. They brought with them, money and a collection of important Buddhist artifacts they had acquired to trade for a hair off the skull. Unfortunately when they got to the remote temple they found that the skull had been stolen about four years earlier.
“That would have been the proof I needed. We would actually have the DNA of a Yeti/Bigfoot. That would have been the definitive proof I need to confirm my theories,” the Doctor said.
(Oh, my god! Another important clue to the puzzle! Oh wait, we are looking for a bio-chemical terrorist cell. I guess it’s just interesting sub plot, and a red herring to distract us from our “true” mission. The person who plays Chen had left for the evening to go home by this point, and besides his character was in Indonesia anyway. The rest of us (as players) were laughing our asses off as the clues just kept on coming, but had to be considered interesting but, in the end, useless trivia!)
Dr. Timothy Wales thanked the Team for their information and help. He announced that he was going to into Colville National Forest tomorrow to check out the clues at the GPS coordinates we had given him. He was advised against it, but the researcher was adamant. The researcher left and the Team hunkered down for another night. Doyle and his team had a race next week to prepare for. Caitlin had a number of meetings with various local police procurement representatives to get ready for. More importantly the Team couldn’t afford to waste its time getting involved with any “Bigfoot” nonsense. After all there was a bio-chemical terrorist cell to deal with!
Episode 4 – Dreams and Nightmares
Sunday, May 23, 2027
In the morning Dr. Timothy Wales, the “crypto-zoologist”, showed up at the lodge decked out in hunter’s orange. He wanted all the witnesses from the Team’s “sighting” to go with him to check out the GPS locations that the group recorded. Doyle, who put on his flying ACPA suit, along with his four great cats, Jose dressed in his Viper suit, Cid put on his assault armor and James, feeling slightly underdressed in only his combat fatigues, said they would come. Caitlin hesitated and told the group she had some computer programs that needed updating. Doyle told her if she didn’t want to go, she should just say so. She immediately looked at him and said, “OK, I don’t want to go,” and went upstairs.
The group headed out into the Colville National Forest. The cats were again very nervous and kept their protective circle around Doyle. They easily found each of the spots that were discovered a couple of days earlier. Dr. Wales broke out his equipment and documented each of the sites and asked questions as he went. The Doctor’s study of these locations took most of the day. While the cats remained tense and on alert, they did not seem to get any more so than usual. The day was mostly uneventful except for a scream was heard way off in the distance followed by some shots. There was another scream, more shots, and then silence. Whatever was happening was occurring probably miles away. It wasn’t clear, and they could only get a general direction. No one seemed too interested in checking it out. The group returned late in the afternoon. Dr. Wales expressed his thanks and said he would be in touch.
That evening James, Cid and Sylvania went into town for drinks and dancing at Da Boom Boom, a dance club in Danville/Carson. Sylvania attracted a host of hopeful young men looking for Ms. Right (Now), but they were all coldly shot down. Nietzscheans generally find the thought of sex with humans as repulsive. It is considered similar to bestiality. By the end of the evening Sylvania had acquired a local nickname: the Ice Queen! James drank, danced and generally made merry with the locals. He was able to pick up two snippets of information with his schmoozing. The first was that someone named “Guido” had moved into an old VA facility nearby, and that “Adam’s wife” was putting out a reward for information on the fate of her husband. Cid went “looking for love” but just ended up getting his face slapped once or twice. Still, it was a pleasant evening. The club closed at 4 am so they went out for breakfast before going home and getting to bed at the “crack of dawn”.
Monday, May 24, 2027
In the morning the nomads cooked up a big breakfast for all, who were awake. Jose, Dr. Shamal, Doyle and his racing team went to the local track to prepare for the coming race on Memorial Day Weekend. Caitlin took her spinner to the Danville Hotel and Convention Center to pick up Dr. Nis, and continue his instruction in Expert: Structural Architecture. While there they saw James walk by and sit down for breakfast. Caitlin called out to him, but he did not seem to hear, so she went over to say hello and ask him to sit with her and Dr. Nis. “James” insisted he didn’t know her. She then noticed that this man was wearing a LawDiv badge on his belt. Caitlin apologized and said she thought at first he looked like an old friend of hers. As she and Dr. Nis left, she asked the Maître de who he was. The man only knew he was with a LawDiv Team that had arrived in town. Caitlin called Doyle with this latest bit of news. At worst, James was a LawDiv agent or something. The “real” James had already denied having any brothers, never mind a twin, when Caitlin first met him when James denied being her late Teammate “Edward”. (see Episode One) This has led to Caitlin constantly referring to James as “Not Edward” when not out in public.
James was confronted by Doyle and his entourage. It was that kind of confrontation where one walks into a room and there are many guns pointed at you. James decided to come clean. He was one of twelve clones created years ago for a military/corporate Blacks Ops project. They were slow grown and “born” as babies. They underwent years of training as children, through their teenage years until they became of age to fight.
(The training and situation was similar to the film, Soldier. staring Kurt Russell.)
For reasons unknown to him, the project was cancelled and they were ordered to be terminated. It was still illegal to clone human beings and the “brothers’” existence meant that someone would go to prison if they were discovered. However, their commander, an old Marine, had instilled them with a loyalty to each other, which he shared. He could not just execute them, so he tipped them off and helped them escape into the world. Someone has been hunting them down. They don’t know where each other are, but the clone brothers try to keep in touch once they discover one another.
The Team listened to his story. While everyone agreed it was quite a “tale”, most detected a ring of truth to it. Sylvania backed him, and so the Team accepted this explanation, which had the good fortune of also being true. The Team settled down for the day to prepare for the coming busy race week.
Tuesday, May 25, 2027
Sergeant O’Reilly of the Carson Police Department called in the morning for Caitlin and made an appointment with her to see the Opium Arms weapons line at 2 pm next Wednesday, June 2nd at the Mounties’ Barracks.
The Danville Realty Corporation called James and told him they have a few locations that might serve his needs. James had inquired about getting Cid a short-term rental of a small workspace for him to make the Motocross Suit for Doyle. James turned the phone over to Cid and the designer made an appointment for 10 am tomorrow to look over a couple of places.
About mid-morning Sergeant Timothy Johnson of the Danville Police Department called for Caitlin. He was very busy, but if she could be available tomorrow at 1 pm he could see her demonstration at the National Guard Armory’s range. The appointment was made. Later in the afternoon Dr. Nis came by and she gave him further instruction in Expert: Structural Architecture.
Doyle and his crew went to the track again. During the day a fellow racer named Slice’ came up to Doyle and told him half-mockingly, “I have lost a lot of respect for you.” And then he handed Doyle a folded newspaper. The Irish nomad opened it up and looked at it. It was the Midnight Sun (a cheap rumor rag) with the headline, “Doyle Sees Bigfoot!” It was complete with a combination of real and faked photographs. It seems perhaps Dr. Wales may have sold the story to further fund his “research”. Later on in the day, Doyle walked by Slice and whispered (loudly) to him, “I didn’t actually see “Big Foot”. He was invisible.” The two shared a good laugh.
James put on a disguise and headed into town. He was on the lookout for his clone. It took him hours but he finally found him having dinner at the Danville Hotel and Convention Center’s dining room. James managed to give his LawDiv clone one of their old combat signals. James then went back to his seat at the bar and let his “brother” see him slip his card with his phone number on it under a coaster at the seat next to him. In a few minutes the “brother” came up to buy a drink and surreptitiously pocketed James’ card. James got up a few minutes later and left.
Sylvania looked through the phone book looking for a Dr. Yamato. She found a Yamato Jujitsu Dojo in Danville so she headed to the tourist town to find it. Eventually she discovered that it is on the old Main Street of Danville. Sylvania took a cab there and found it quickly. People keep coming up to her and asking if she needed help. (Actually, the subtext here was: What are you doing on this street, tourist?”) Eventually she saw a man going into the locked dojo, and she stopped and asked him about Dr. Yamato. He was helpful, but the information wasn’t particularly useful. The doctor was here at nights teaching. Jujitsu was his passion when he was not working for the Forestry Service as a ‘zoologist’. Sylvania decided to come back that night and watch a lesson.
Early that evening Sylvania returned and got to watch Dr. Yamato teach. The doctor is a white man with a Texas accent. Some of Dr. Yamato’s ancestors were Japanese, but he is basically a Texan. After the lessons the two talked as she tried to get him to give her some private lessons. He asked Sylvania what her style is and she responds with Sambo. He seemed a little disappointed, and pointed out that that was a very offensive martial art and her training would do her no good her. She would have to start out with one of his assistants so she could get her skills up to the point where his teaching would be helpful. Since he would be leaving next week for the Forestry Service’s annual count of the bear and wolf population, he would probably not get a chance to teach her for quite some time. Sylvania thanked him and returned to Doyle’s lodge.
In the evening a fierce thunder and lightning storm blew up. The crashes of thunder kept spoofing the seismic sensors rendering then ineffective. Everyone settled down and went to sleep.
Wednesday, May 26, 2027
A little after 1 am all the people at Doyle’s lodge had strange dreams or rather nightmares!
(Here are the principle dreams, as handed out by the GM)
You’re in the woods. Your cats are pushing you on toward something. They are on the hunt. The excitement they feel as they run their prey to ground can be felt in the air. Coming over a low hill you see it. It looks like something out of a movie. It stands around 15’ tall and is powerfully built. Its fur black is as pitch and very thick. Its arms are longer than any humans. It is panting and has backed up to some rocks. It grabs a small tree and there is a loud cracking noise as it breaks the tree at its base to use as a club. Your cats close in as you start to shoot your pistols at it. It barely registers the impacts. Then the air changes and you feel that primal fear again. Something is very wrong. Your cats are not so confident now and have slowed their approach. You hear a low rumble behind you and turn to see another beast walking out of the trees. It runs straight at you with lightning speed knocking you down. The “cornered” one charges your cats and a fast brutal melee begins. Soon it is just you looking up at a severed tree as it descends toward your head.
You wake up slowly, groggy as if you were drinking way too much. Your mouth is dry and your head is pounding. Your cats look at you and begin to purr. They say two words “bad sleep”.
You are in the living room, everyone else has gone to bed and you have the TV on while you work on Doyle’s new motocross armor. There is a banging on the door. As you approach the door and call “who is it” the banging gets louder and the door is shaking. You decide to stop and draw your pistol. Suddenly with a loud snap the door careens off its hinges narrowly missing you. A large Brown creature walks in. It almost looks human but tall and powerful with apelike features and very hairy. You start screaming and shoot at it. The bullets seem to thud harmlessly into its thick fur. It runs over to you and grabs you lifting you into the air, you keep shooting but with no effect. It swings you like a baseball bat and your neck hit’s the door jam. The last thing you remember seeing is your broken headless body flying past your fading eyes.
You wake up slowly, groggy as if you were drinking way too much. Your mouth is dry and your head is pounding. It was just a dream…
The woods seem wrong. No noise except what you and your group are making. You are running, fast, something is after you and your team. Caitlin has split off to secure the retreat. Suddenly you hear a branch break in front of you. You turn drawing your pistols but see nothing but a low branch. Then you realize that the branch is not attached to a tree and is flying right at you. You try to duck but it takes you square in the face knocking you from your feet. As you’re getting up something lands on you. You hear nothing, see nothing but feel the metal you are made of breaking. Then you see another uprooted tree coming down at you like an oversized ball bat. You fire your pistols but to no effect. You try to push the weight off of you but it is too heavy. The tree lands again and again. Your last thoughts as you feel your metal body breaking are of Caitlin.
You slowly wake up your head pounding in massive pain. It was only a dream…
You’re in the woods looking toward the setting sun. You miss-timed getting back to the cottage again and are hurrying to make before it gets too dark. You suddenly notice that you are on edge. The woods have gotten darker then should be possible and it is quiet, no noise at all. You realize that you are lost and try to get your bearings but there is a heavy cloud cover and your compass is spinning wildly. You orient yourself and head off in what you hope is the right direction. Suddenly a branch breaks and there is a loud snap that sounds through the forest. You see two Yellow dots that remind you of eyes then two more than two more than two more. Your turn to run but they are all around you. As terror grips you a blow lands on your head. As you drift into darkness your last thought is that you finally answered one of the age-old questions. You know you screamed but you also know that you didn’t make a sound.
You wake up slowly, groggy as if you were drinking way too much. Your mouth is dry and your head is pounding. It was just a dream… Or was it? You hear a woman screaming.
You are perched in a tree looking back down the path waiting to see what is chasing your team. You can almost smell it. It is a predator whose odor burns your nose and sets off every combat response that is burned into your design. Your spot is perfect. The training combined with an animal instinct that is all but extinct in humanity has placed you up wind in a perfect hiding place. You watch it come down the trail shimmering as it walks. Its fur shifting colors to match its surroundings. Not like a stealth suit it is far too natural and relaxed for that. It stands a good 15’ tall completely bipedal its arms are long and powerful almost reaching the ground its fur is thick and is always shifting color. Its eyes are milky white you can hear it clicking as it walks. The noise is beyond what a human could hear but not you. It stops and smacks a tree the noise is loud and seems so close. The beast then turns and walks off. Suddenly it spins around and looks straight at you. It seems so close suddenly 10’ away at most.
You bolt awake every sense in overdrive. The thunderstorm is still going on outside. It takes a few seconds as you realize you’re in your bed, Jose next to you. Then you smell it, a scent that is at the same time there and not. The lightning flashes and in the window there is the face from your dream staring at you. Its eyes burn into yours and its lips move. A voice beyond a human’s ability to make or hear stabs into your ears “What are you?” it asks. The lightning flashes again and it’s gone.
Caitlin wakes up screaming!
Sylvania was awaked by Caitlin’s screams. The Nietzschean ran to the window facing the Colville Nation Forest and saw a sixteen to twenty foot tall shape heading towards the forest. It seemed to match its surroundings but the lag time was faster than any stealth suit she had ever seen. The Super Solo charged out the door in pursuit. At first she started to catch up to the shambling shape, but then it increased its speed. She moved faster and started to close, but her quarry picked up speed to match hers. The giant shape finally crossed the tree line and entered the forest. Sylvania followed it right in. Big Mistake!
The Super Solo looked around in the woods, but the creature seemed to have disappeared. No, wait, a small tree was swinging at her like some kind of primitive “Louisville Slugger” wielded by, apparently, Thin Air! Sylvania attempted to dodge but the “log’ connected to one of her legs. She went sailing through the trees as the blow shattered that limb. She was unable to rise by herself, but “Bigfoot” grabbed her by the legs (ouch!). She responded by stabbing the beast with her mono spawn blade. She did a pitiful two damage points (not enough to even activate the memory metal blade). The creature was not amused. It used the Super Solo’s body as a club and smashed it into a tree. This utterly destroyed one of her arms. At this point, Sylvania went limp and “played dead”. The creature flipped her around a bit and then tossed her out of the trees and into the clearing outside the fence. Sylvania had her Endorphin/Surge chip activated so she remained conscious. At Mortal 4, it was only a matter of time before she would fail a death save.
Meanwhile inside, James struggled to pull himself out of his dream state. He heard Caitlin screaming upstairs. He rushed up and burst into her and Jose’s room. Caitlin had dragged the still unconscious Jose into the far corner of the room. She was crouched protectively over the Gemini with nothing else but her 20mm Vindicator at ready. James found himself staring down that barrel held by a naked girl frightened out of her wits. She shouted at him, “Who are you NOT?”
James was briefly taken aback but shouted, “Not Edward!, I’m Not Edward!”
Caitlin lowered her weapon. She was hysterical. Jose would not wake up. James suggested they go check on the others. Caitlin pushed Jose under the bed and out of sight. The two then started to check on the others. The first people they checked were asleep and could not be roused. James looked out the window and caught the shape of a figure crawling through the grass coming towards the house. He pointed it out to Caitlin, who dropped a 20mm round a few feet in front of what they were sure was an intruder. Sylvania called out with what little strength she had. They recognized her voice. Caitlin sniffed the air and felt that the creature was not very close. James sprinted out to get Sylvania with Caitlin providing cover.
Inside Caitlin examined Sylvania’s injuries. Caitlin told James that she wasn’t really good enough to tend her wounds. (First Aid 2) Caitlin went upstairs and found the sleeping doctor, but she could not wake him up. She gave him a stimulant. It roused him a little but not out of unconsciousness. Caitlin said she could try to bind Sylvania’s wounds and stop the bleeding but she might do more damage. Caitlin felt that they needed to call an ambulance. James acquiesced, and Caitlin called one. An AV-4 ambulance arrived quickly. Caitlin pulled on a dress and a pair of sandals. She went with Sylvania to the hospital, and left James with the still unconscious Team. As Caitlin walked out to the waiting AV, she noticed that the beam of wood under her bedroom window had been crushed and a pair of giant footprints was under her second story bedroom window.
(This was a huge mistake. Super Solos can NEVER go to a standard hospital. They may look human, but they are not. Their temperature, blood work and basic chemistries are not those of a human. Any doctor will quickly realize this. Caitlin had no way of knowing this, but James should have. While he is not a Nietzschean, the clone was aware of this and should have vetoed the idea immediately. Maybe he was still under the effect of whatever knocked the rest of the Team out? Well, that is the story he will be sticking with.)
James began gathering all the sleeping bodies into the living room so he could watch them all. Slowly they began to wake up. Jose awoke before he was brought down, so he woke up looking at the underside of his bed. Eventually everyone woke up from his or her “deep sleep”. Jose did not accept James’ story about where Caitlin was and drew down on the clone. James called Caitlin on his speakerphone to reassure the solo she was all right and not the victim of any misadventure perpetrated by James. Everyone, who was there, talked about their dreams. While they pretty much all ended in the character’s death, a few chose to interpret them differently. Doyle saw himself dodging all further damage and emerging victorious. Jose just flat out lied and told a tale of victory over the Beast! The Team then checked the grounds and found the footprints. Whatever this was had been apparently looking for something, or so they concluded.
At the hospital Caitlin waited. The wait was interrupted only by a call from James, which he asked her to tell Jose that she was fine, which she did. A doctor eventually came out and asked her if she was a relative. Caitlin replied no, his patient worked with a corporation that was sponsoring her friend, Doyle O’Leary who was here for the Memorial Day Weekend Race. The doctor said they really needed to talk to Sylvania’s family or personal physician. Her stats were all off the standard human base line and they were having trouble identifying her cyberware. Caitlin looked confused and replied that she didn’t think Sylvania had any cyberware. (Her surprise here was genuine as she had thermo scanned the Super Solo and found nothing.) The doctor said his instruments hadn’t detected anything either, so after she was stabilized, he tried to go in and repair some of the damage, and he was astounded to find what he did. Caitlin gave the doctor James’ phone number. She said she didn’t think they were related, but they both came together and worked for the same company so he might be more helpful. The doctor thanked her and said he had informed some specialists of his findings and people were on their way to “help”. Since there wasn’t anything Caitlin could do, he suggested she go home. The girl called a cab and returned to the lodge.
James called his emergency number for the Collective. Their orders were simple. Go to the hospital, and get Sylvania out immediately. They sent James some documents ordering her transfer to another clinic. If this failed they were to extract Sylvania using whatever means necessary, collect any forensic evidence that would indicate that she was a bio-gen, and silence any witnesses. (This was their standard protocol.)
The doctor at the hospital called James and asked about Sylvania’s background. He had found some “genetic abnormalities” and needed to talk to her “doctor”. James told him her doctor had been informed and arrangements were being made for her care. After Caitlin had returned, James flew to the hospital with Dr. Shamal and Doyle in the nomad racer’s AV with some forged medical orders to take Sylvania to a clinic experienced in her “peculiar” genetic abnormalities. A member of the Canadian intelligence services was now in charge. The doctor (at the Canadian agent’s prompting) declared Sylvania unable to be transported due to her condition. The Team had to leave unless they wanted to take on at least four Mounties and whomever else they hadn’t seen yet. They flew back to the lodge.
This left the Team with the extraction option. Doyle, who of the entire group has had extensive experience with the Super Solos, flat out refused to use his AV in any extraction attempt. He had just flown it there to try to get Sylvania out and had been rebuffed. The Nietzscheans didn’t care about human collateral damage, and the fact that the use of his AV in that type of bloody extraction would earn him a governmental priority one hunted in two countries would mean nothing to them. He wasn’t going to risk his life and those of his Family for a screw up that was the Super Solo’s own fault. He would fly if there was going to be an extraction, but James would have to procure a new craft.
There was no way that the Collective could let Sylvania remain in custody. James contacted his LawDiv “brother”. Blood proved thicker than water here. His brother said he would leave his identification, badge and such in his car at the hotel. He would then make sure he had plenty of witnesses around, but would have to report these items stolen by 9 am. James would have till then to get Sylvania out. The first thing James did was rent an AV using his brother’s LawDiv credit card. Doyle put on a disguise and went along. Fortunately, the brother had an AV pilot’s license. Still it was Doyle, who jumped behind the controls and flew the craft. They returned to the hospital in Carson, BC. When they got there, they were directed to a different (VIP) AV pad. There they were informed by the doctor that Sylvania had been moved to a secure wing and was now under the protection of the Mounties. This time James pretended to be his brother, the LawDiv agent, and told the Canadian officials that Sylvania was a special LawDiv agent, and he had to get her to their facility before she died. The Canadians released her to him. He did, however, have to submit to a fingerprint scan, a retinal scan and a DNA test. The last test result would take a bit, but since he passed the first two (and would pass the DNA screen), they didn’t delay the release. Good thing too, as it was 9:20 am by the time they flew away. The reports and hunt for the missing identification had begun. They flew about 20 miles south of town and Doyle landed the craft in the woods where no one but an ace pilot could put it down. They disabled the GPS and wiped the craft down. One of Doyle’s nomad family flew his AV at low altitude and picked up those Team members. James contacted the Collective and arranged for transportation for Sylvania to a safe house in Seattle by renting another AV from that city and picking them up at Doyle’s log cabin. That craft would not arrive till later in the afternoon in Danville.
At 10 am, Cid went to see the real estate agent and looked at a few places to set up a temporary workshop. The final choice came down to two places. Cid chose the bigger, better powered (and slightly more expensive) location. He signed the agreements and put down the money. Then the tailor called the equipment company that was sending his new machinery and gave them the address to deliver it to. It would be there tomorrow.
Caitlin woke up after a fitful sleep and got ready for her demonstration. She was still very shaken so she got a light sedative from Dr. Shamal. She arrived at the National Guard Armory and was directed to a parking lot. People were there to help her with her gear. There Sergeant Timothy Johnson pulled her aside. “I have to apologize; I brought you here under slightly false pretenses.”
Caitlin smiled coyly, but inside she was terrified.
“I want you to meet a relative of mine, Major General Jeremy Davis, who is commander of the Washington State National Guard. I have looked at the specifications for the Vindicator and I think they would be perfect for the new squad heavy support weapon for the guard. Today is the field test to decide which weapons system will be bought. If they choose the Vindicator, I hope that the Opium Arms Company could find their way to paying me a finder’s fee? Not a bribe mind you. I want everything legal and above board.”
A relieved Caitlin assured him something could be worked out so they headed down to the range. There she was introduced to the general and a Mr. Travis Trent from Militech. The general apologized to Trent, but if this was to be a “shoot off’ for the contract, there had to be “some” competition. Trent, who was obviously retired military, politely shook Caitlin’s hand and acquiesced to the shoot off. He seemed to feel that she would not be much competition.
Caitlin with her Vindicator out shot her Militech competitor. At a few points she delayed firing until Trent was able to bring his weapon to bear, and then shot the target out from under his sights. Caitlin walked away from the competition with an order for 500 units from the Washington National Guard and 2 units for the Danville, WA Police Department (compared to the order from Militech for only 150 units). Caitlin had not made a friend in Travis Trent.
The girl returned to Doyle’s place floating on air. She made a few calls and got the main office for Opium Arms working on the details. The sergeant had earned himself a 250,000-eb finder’s fee. Caitlin found the closest place that sold the type of Furry costume she liked was in Seattle. She then made reservations at a first class hotel in that city and she and Jose left in her spinner for there.
An hour or so later, the AV that James had sent for from Seattle arrived. He along with Dr. Shamal, who was there to look after his patient, left with Sylvania to meet a Super Solo air transport to bring the critically injured Nietzschean to one of their facilities. At the transfer point was the Vet, a 3rd generation Super Solo and a medtech. Dr. Shamal briefed him on Sylvania’s condition. The Vet thanked him. As Dr. Shamal turned his back to leave Vet reached for his handgun and looked to James for his OK to “clean” the good doctor. James shook his head no. Doctor Shamal got to walk away blissfully ignorant of how close he came to a bullet in the brain. The two then returned to Doyle’s place.
Thursday, May 27, 2027
At 7 am, four very grim looking people were at the door. There were two men and two women. They were looking for James and Sylvania so they were not pleased to find out that she had already been evacuated to Seattle. Doyle recognized the one who resembled a mountain as Mickey, one of the Nietzschean leaders. This did not please the nomad. Eight years before he had seen Mickey blow a Team member’s head right off at a meeting just for continually interrupting him. The four called a Team meeting immediately and listened to everyone who was there tell their story. Doyle, Dr. Shamal, Cid and a few of the nomads who had some useful information all talked as the four listened.
The Super Solos were surprised that the Team had been kept in the dark about the true nature of the mission. The four then filled in a good deal of the facts as the Collective understood them. The Team was told they were looking for a bio-geneticist NOT a bio-chemical terrorist. This allowed the Team to bring forth the clues about “Big Foot”, Dr. Yamato, the missing hunting party, and the stolen Yeti skull from the Himalayas. While this discussion was under way, Caitlin and Jose returned from Seattle. Caitlin burst through the door holding up a human size house cat tail, and said, “Look what I bought!”
She was greeted by silence. The Super Solos told the group to continue. As the report on the incident from early Wednesday morning droned on, Caitlin sniffed the four new arrivals and their scent frightened her. She realized they were not human but were like Sylvania after she returned from Indonesia and Hisoka whom she had fought with in the Fourth Corporate War. Cid was talking at the moment and said, “It was obviously looking for something and may have found it because it stopped at only one window outside where we found its footprints.”
The Super Solos wanted to see the footprints so everyone went outside. Well, everyone except Caitlin and Jose, who went upstairs to “put away their purchases”. Out of sight (and hearing) of the Nietzscheans, Caitlin told Jose that they had to go. She did not trust these four and feared for her life. They grabbed some clothes, some gear, and any weapon that might be considered “illegal”. They slipped out of the room and waited until the others came back inside before heading to their spinner.
When the others came inside Mickey asked, “Who lives in that room?” The reply was, of course, Caitlin and Jose. Everyone looked around for them, but they were gone. They went up to their room and knocked on the door. There was no answer. They went outside and looked up at the window, which was now open. As one of the Super Solos climbed up to the open window, the spinner lifted off and flew away. The Nietzscheans looked through the room but found nothing of interest. This could be dealt with later. They turned to James and asked, “OK, what is your plan?”
James told the four about the “Guido” and the VA hospital and the Adam’s woman and her desire for information about the fate of her husband and his party. One of the four returned with their AV to Seattle to help move Sylvania. One went to check out the VA Hospital. The third went to talk to the woman about her missing husband. The fourth, Mickey remained at Doyle’s lodge.