Well that did not go quite as well as expected.
I had intended to impress Crimson with a display of daring, cunning, stealth and wit that would put her in awe.
I had hired a hacker, an orc named Jeff I met whilst working for S-K and we had a whole elaborate scheme planned out. I would ambush Crimson, knock her out, dress her up as that bimbo actress that played her in the mini-series and put her in my car on grid-guide programmed to take her round the block a few times whilst I infiltrated her social circle and introduced the multi-talented Jeff.
Unfortuately despite throwing a message out to all of her runner companions the only person who turned up at the Cracked disk was the sotted drunk of a mage Arthur McPride, who appeared to have been spending every penny of his commision on various kinds of booze.
We showed up, I passed effortlessly as Crimson and even had her com-link. But honestly, a blow up doll could have fooled him.
Arthur looking at his comlink did however have a contact who could get us a job. His associate Mr Sly as it turned out knew a Johnson who had need of our skills.
Naturally that’s when Crimson showed up, honestly I was a bit embarased, expected her to punch me in the head again, but I guess wealth and time had mellowed her out a lot from when we were kids together.
She gave me a bit of a verbal chewing out, but seemed interested in getting back to work. So we looked over the job offer. 20,000 nuquid for an infiltration job, seemed right up my alley and would be a good start on paying back my not insubstantial debts.
We had to meet the Johnson at this terrible Mexican/Hungarian restraunt. I can’t be certain, but I’m suspect the Goulash tacos should have had biohazard warnings on them. At least we got the private room upstairs.
Johnson was about as dry and non-descript as every other, I swear there’s a cloning facility that churns these guys out somewhere.
Anyway he says that some corp has been experimenting on the local ghouls and he wants us to shut down their opperations. Gives us the contact for one of theghoul leaders one Gerald Scamel, who lives with his community in an old abandoned doctors surgery in the Canford Barrens.
I talk him upto 25,000 in exchange for waiving the standard 50% upfront fee. Crimson chips in and gets him to agree on an extra 2,500 in bonuses/expenses. Not a bad pay-cheque
They want the facility destroyed, the research wiped and copies of the research for themselves.
Sounded easy enough. Anyway, we drove down to Canford, although before we hit the Doctors Surgery, we got flagged down by some crazy guy (He tried to make himself look smart with tip-ex to whiten his shirt and boot polish over his tattered jacket), selling tiny little racist ork figurines wielding huge swords. Apparently this guy tried to sell them a lump of rebar before. I think Crimson felt sorry for him, between the bouts of laughter.
Anyway we declines his offer to sell us the figurines and because of my stunt, I got volounteered to take point and go upto the ghoul nest to speak with Gerald. Arthur had an astral snoop around and told us that it seemed to be a full community of infected in there of all ages rather than just a gang.
Anyway when Gerald came out to speak he sounded pretty surprised. He’s never heard of the Johnson and says that all the experiments have been completely volountary. He mentions a company by the name of Intrinsica.
A quick Snoop by Jeff suggests that Intrinsica are working on the Big D’s Bequest that gives a big fat reward for the first commercially available meta-human flesh substitute for ghouls. It’s all up on their front-page and suddenly I feel a lot less sanguine about this job. A flesh-substitute is the sort of thing that could save tens of thousands of lives each year. If Intrinsica are working on this then more power to them, but if we back-out of a job, our street-rep will take a nosedive.
Not good anyway you look at it. But we had a deeper look anyway. We found a Doctor Lorenzo who was one of the top researchers, so we decide to do a snatch and grab with him. Find out what he knows and if he’s on the level.
He lives with his family out in Yeovil and Jeff worked his magic again getting all the information we needed, including his vehicles com-code, schedule the whole works.
Jeff redirected the car out to the middle of nowhere and prevented any alarms. Arthur did an astral reconisance, not finding any signs of astral security, unsurprising really.
We pulled him over only to find that he was working in the back seat on an old-style stand-alone tablet with a propriatary port. I made him hand it over, letting Jeff and Arthur examine it, whilst me and Crimson talked to the Doctor.
Jeff cracked the case and rigged up a connection to his comlink, downloading the data. Arthur said that there were elements of some complex variation of a health spell in there, as well as a lot of chemical formula and other technical notes.
Meanwhile the Doctor spilled his guts apparently quite honestly. It was as we suspected, he was just a contractor working on a solution to the problem of a ghouls dietary needs. He didn’t recognise Mr Johnson, but suggested the names of a few corps and groups that might have an interest in stopping his research, from competitors to racist ass-hats.
So Jeff spoofed a load of data onto the car and com-link to give the impression of a maelfunctioning GPS system and I gave the Doctor a whiff of Leal, that would wipe his memory of the last hour or so and sent him on his way. Everything clean as it should be.
I think we need to find out more about Mr Johnson.
We met up with our newest recruit, a female ork gun-slinger adept with a complex name I can’t quite recall.
Then after much bickering we decided to investigate Mr Johnson, to work out if this job was a set-up or not. Reasoning that if he were a humanis policlub member then he might have good reason to want the ghoul flesh experiments stopped, so that politicians wouldn’t have any viable alternative except extermination on the ghoul issue.
Hitting the matrix, Jeff did an image-search for Johnson and found a few photos of him, notably one as part of a meta-human rights group. Which seemed to blow that theory out of the water. There were also reports of him frequenting a local bar for management types, so Crimson, Koh and Jeff set out, dressed up in smart casual wear to investigate (Koh mimicking a male human manager in a power-suit, the others just dressed up and given a bit of make-up to help fool any image recognition software trawling the place.
As it happens the place is quite Luddite, with hard-wired CCTV cameras and average, but low-tech security (a couple of bouncers and a secured system only accessible by terminals seemingly behind the bar.
Crimson tried to chat up the bar-tender, although getting quite worried by a mechanical-looking jerk of his head, she concludes that he could in fact be a robot.
Koh lurks around just listening inconspicuously at the door to the private room (They don’t seem to be discussing anything important)
Jeff hits up the bars matrix node, disappointed to find that he needs terminal access, he grabs a wi-fi dongle and looks for a way to plug it into the terminal. Crimson distracts the barman, luring him down to the other end, Koh stealthily plugs in the dongle and Jeff trounces the firewall in no time. It’s not terribly informative however, he does find Mr Johnson speaking with a representative of a minor UK firm. Which after some digging appears to be a distant shell-front company for Ares Macrotechnology.
Crimson gets the barman’s phone number, hoping to cultivate some contacts, Koh steals back the Dongle and Jeff and everybody else heads back out nonchalantly.
Meeting back up with everybody, information is exchanged and contacts are sought for information and/or advice. The vague conclusion is that there’s no immediate reason to suspect that Ares would just be trying to kill this research for no reason and even if they are, it’s not really our business. Lets just do the job and get paid.
Crimson buys herself a spy-fly (Which hilariously she needs Jeff to look after as she would just snap the wings or otherwise break it if she touched it) and everybody bundles into the rented van, driving up to the Intrinsica site.
Intrinsica is part of an industrial park about 5 minutes drive south of Yeovil. With a perimeter fence made of hardened steel with tall spikes on it to prevent access and a main front gate that leads to a few distinct sections, one of which is Intrinsica.
Jeff pwnzors the Intrinsica firewall again and escapes detection by the resident hacker. Allowing us access to all the admin systems.
We get the lay of the land and come up with a plan. Since Dr Lorenzo is away on sabbatical, we nab the most senior researcher available, kidnap her by Jeff jacking her car and Koh delivering a knock-out/memory loss dart. Koh takes the doctors car and comlink, learns to mimic her voice and drives up to the gates. Jeff inserts visitor passes into the system for Koh to pick up and the rest wait nearby. Jeff will stay outside to control the matrix from a safe distance, whilst Arthur becomes Dr James Kilkenny, thaumaturgical researcher in the area of Re-generational spells and his two young assistants from the University of Aberdeen (With a little make-up to obscure their real features)
Koh blends into the corporatocracy with advice from Jeff, until the others arrive at the gate. Koh in disguise gives them the full guided tour. First stop the server room, as we needed to secure the data from the servers here. A quick dart of neuro-stun incapacitates the sole inhabitant of the IT suite, presumably the resident spider/hacker. Plugging the dongle into the IT guys com-link and plugging that into the firmware allows Jeff to get unrestricted access to the otherwise hard-wired servers.
A tense minute passes as the data downloads, finally it’s done. We drag the hacker to safety as a High Explosive grenade blows the server and the fire alarm sounds.
Heading outside we moved over to the barn where it appeared they were storing the cattle for the experiments. For good measure, Koh got up onto the roof, and dropped another HX grenade into the middle of the cattle pen, destroying or damaging the careful natural balance of the test subjects.
Koh fled outside, where the others were waiting for Jeff to cut the fence with Arthurs beloved monofilament chainsaw. Arthur alert for the mage he saw back at the offices who he is worried will turn up and cause trouble. However Koh drops a smoke grenade and it melds with the smoke from the server room to give them a screen to escape with. The guards being surprisingly on their feet are searching for the “guests” that arrived earlier.
As a few bars are finally cut free, everybody escapes out and piles into the waiting van, before heading back to civilisation.
The end… (Except for the bit where we get our money hopefully)