After the team exchanges Shortchange for the promised nuyen, they head to Doc Todd’s country clinic to heal up. HCB gets his half busted ‘ware repaired, which the team counts as an overall expense before divying up the loot. HCB also gets extensive (and expensive) facial reconstruction surgery and a new fake SIN in order to avoid recapture, as well as replacing all the gear he lost upon arrest, as well as purchasing a claymore. He also enhances his sense of smell with pheromone detectors, so he can record the smell of someone’s fear. He also finds out that Crod Stompaz have gained a big following due to his very public capture, but he realizes he may never be able to return to the band, since presumably LoneStar is looking for him. He receives a message from Matsunori Kitsuno, who tells him that he has heard good things about HCB from their mutual friend Ken Ichiro, and that he will be in touch. HCB is convinced that he is now in good with the Yakuza in Mars City as well, and is thrilled. Daedelus sends Ut a message that it wants the Turing Army investigated, and is thrilled to have him back from prison so quickly. Ut recovers his gear and scraps the SIN he was using when captured. K spends a long time in a simstim healing tank while his mind is meeting astrally and in matrix with Madame Gavral in order to create a level 2 sustaining focus, in order to allow himself to permanently levitate, and once and for all abandon false legs. He gets fake teeth, including one poison gas filled tooth, one storage capsule tooth, and two sets of permanent implant replacements (4 upper and 2 lower). The 4 uppers are the physical aspect of his focus. He decides to wrap his face in bandages and travel invisibly when possible to avoid detection for his part in the bank job, he also invests in a fake SIN.
Ivan gets ahold of Tamany Clark and starts spending his cash. He pays off his debt, get the oil slick sprayer he has had on order, and drops a bunch on ruthimer polymer cam coating for his car. It’s looking doable, but Tamany says it will take a bit, so Ivan drives the car there while his meat body heals in the clinic. He also orders a pair of latex disguise masks and a new fake SIN. Ivan gets a message from Wade that it seems like Tendo (the snitch) is actually dead. Wade and Yoleus are also working on setting up what they hope to be a major blow on the Black Shadows, but they are waiting for the post bank heist heat to die down in the undercity first. Ivan also hears from April that someone has been hacking Yann’s datatrail and scouring th matrix for info about their hotsim run uploads (which have obviously ceased during April’s absence from the team). Ivan’s a little freaked. The team also meets up with Ultraboy! at the clinic, who fills them in on what’s been going on in the undercity.
Essentially, the post-bank heist crackdown has been severe. Lots of LS cars on the prowl, as well as city cops. There are new cameras and censors up all over the place. There has also been a spate of terrorist bombings against various offices and manufacturies involved in terraforming Mars, which some in the news (including April, who has been getting some major screen time) have speculated to be the work of Olympus Prime. UB! got attacked by some LS cops, and managed to escape, but has left the city for a while to lay low and recuperate. He dies his skin blue and tones down his style (loses the mirrorshades and leather, puts on sweatpants, combs over his mohawk). He is thrilled to be back in the team’s company, especially Ivan. News from the moon is almost non-existent, LS is saying there was an outbreak of fatal food poisoning that some prisoners used as an excuse to start a riot, which was quickly put down by the capable LS facility staff. BS, in other words.
After the team finishes healing (and their free medical runs out) Ivan gives Tamany a call to see if is car is ready. Tamany tells him it is almost done, but he should really come check it out first. Ivan is wary of a trap, but agrees, telling Tamany they will be there in 5 hours, but planning to arrive much sooner. Tamany also tells him that he has a line on a rocket pack idea for HCB. They call a cab. An autocab arrives, and they pile in. K flies invisibly above, scouting the surrounding territory. He spots two hovercraft all of a sudden, closing rapidly on the cab from the low hills to either side of the road. The team in the car can’t see them yet, but Ivan decides to hack the autocab and hopefully coax some more juice out of it. He succeeds in gaining control without shutting it down, but can’t get much more speed. The hovercrafts appear, they seem to be light armored scout craft, and HCB fires ineffectively with his new machine pistol. UB! opens up with his grenade launcher, winging one, and slowing it significantly. Ut blazes the other one with Ex-ex rounds from his submachine gun, sending it crashing to the ground in flames. The first hovercar returns fire with some sort of (comparatively) small railgun, and blows a huge hole straight thru the cab, trashing the engine block. HCB catches some shrapnel, but everyone else avoids injury, especially Ut, who uses his skills as an escape artist to safely dive out the window. HCB attempts to follow suit, but his luck fails him and he times his jump wrong and ends up in the recently blasted open trunk.
Ivan manages to pull off a controlled slide with the careening car, and brings UB! around to fire again. He does so, demolishing the remaining hovercraft. The team gets out of the cab and investigates the wreck, finding a logo they take to be the Turing Army’s. The craft and guns are totally trashed, though. Ivan and HCB get a call from Mr Johnson, who tells them that he has been observing the clinic discreetly, and manged to block the hovercrafts attempts at communication to an outside source, so hopefully no-one knows yet about their discovery of the team and ensuing destruction. He sends them a military/megacorp grade satellite video of the previous minutes chase and attack, and Ivan and K go look around to figure out where they came from, and find some camo tarp covers up on poles back a little ways to either side of the road. They take the tarps, and head back. The team decides that the TA likely was just watching their usual haunts, and didn’t specifically know they were leaving right now, so they figure they are safe for a minute. Ivan calls Tamany and asks him to send a few cars with some muscle to pick them up and get them into the city. The team hides under the tarp and keeps a lookout until the towtrucks arrive, and then head back to Mars City.
They are happy to return, but there is a noticeably increased police presence, and a lot of physical and geotag graffiti, much of it bearing an “OP” logo that the team recognizes as Olympus Prime. HCB puts the Crod Stompaz on and has a conversation with one driver about how awesome they are. He manages not to reveal his true identity, although the guard is lauding praise on him. They reach the junkyard, and see Tamany waiting with an unfamiliar uppercity looking type. They hop out, and Tamany asks who the fuck they are and what they are doing in his yard. Ivan (who is wearing one of his disguise faces) says they are there to pick up Ivan’s car, to which Tamany responds that he doesn’t know any fucking Ivan. Ivan makes a cryptic mechanic related in-joke, and convinces Tamany to go take with him in private. Tamany signals one of the towtruck goons to come along.
Once in private, Ivan reveals his true face, and tells Tamany that the dwarf outside is HCB. He fills him in, and they exchange some pleasantries, and then Tamany takes him to his car, which looks great. Except that there is huge shaped charge hidden under the drive seat, which Tamany explains was set to trigger when anybody went hot and rigged the car. Ivan is a little spooked, and decides to try to track down surveillance tapes of the garage and neighborhood where he left the car. They can’t find any id’ing marks, and it looks like it was a fairly recent addition, so they decide just to take it out, which they do. UB! enters and tries to help, but just gets in the way and gets yelled at. Ivan tells him that he likes, but will kill him if he blows up the car. UB! retreats and sits on his hands.
Meanwhile, outside, HCB has introduced himself to Tobias Cheney, the fancy looking dude. It turns out he is also interested in rocket based movement enhancement, and has been working with Tamany developing some ideas. They think they can maybe modify rocket boosters from automotive use to personal use. Tobias also makes sculpture using scrap material that he buys from Tamany in bulk. He is also a wine snob, but HCB manages to impress him by using his enhanced senses of smell to compare the wine Tobias has with him with an internet database, correctly identifying its year and vintage. They chat about illegal deeds, and UB! prompts HCB to show off his Yakuza tattoo, which he does. Tobias appears to have enormous legs, and is carrying a duffel bag. Eventually, everyone heads inside to check out the newly tooled up car. It looks awesome. Tobias manages to use his photographic memory and hacking skills to identify some of the illegal mods to it, breaking the ice (pun not intended) a bit. Ivan declares that he is taking Ramose-Hotep’s ceremonial armor back to Heliopolis, and that anyone who wants to can tag along. UB!, K, Ut, and HCB all decide it might be good to leave the city for a bit longer and agree. Tobias invites himself along, although he is acting kind of like a narc. Ivan asks him if he knows how to shoot, and he opens his duffel bag to reveal a machine gun/grenade launcher/sniper rifle combo. Ivan tells him to sit in front and man the machine gun if needed, and tells HCB to sit behind him and shoot him in the head if he acts up. He is not very subtle about this.
They head out. Ivan has been drinking steadily from a flask since the return to Mars, having had some problems with the shakes on the moon after his supply ran out. K is craving more beetlegum, which is the part of Heliopolis he is most excited about. UB! gives him a piece he has been saving (after Asp told him not to take drugs). K once again flies invisible above the car, although Tobias eventually notices him when he swoops down for the gum. HCB tries to tell him it was a bird, but he knows otherwise. They reach the gates of Heliopolis, and K notices one of the crocodile headed guards looking straight at him. He communicates astrally and signals his non-violent intent, but the guard insists he come down and remain visible while in Heliopolis. He does so. They park near the entrance, and head down the narrow steep-sided alleys to the looming Hathor temple, where they enter the bar and try to give Kano RH’s armor. He suggests they talk to Thutmose instead, but seems saddened. They also buy some beetlegum and cram.
A temple guard in ceremonial armor leads them to Thutmose’s office, where they give him the armor and present an awkward and halting version of his death. Thutmose says that they had sensed his soul’s successful ascendance, and that he is glad the armor is returned. Ivan tries to offer condolences, and Thutmose rejects him as undercity scum. They ask for a reward, and Thutmose says there is not one, but that he will pay them to do a job he had expected RH to take care of upon his eventual return. He wants the nearby temple of Thoth investigated for any sign of heresy, specifically of involvement with the ghoulification of Heliopolis residents and funding of or involvement in the Olympus Prime movement. If any sign is found, he wants the whole temple cleansed with a blood sacrifice. He will give them 20,000 nuyen + 2 days medical for this, or 10,000 just for the investigation. They discuss over wireless tranceivers, while Tobias (unaware of the hidden conversation) attempts to negotiate. The team eventually agrees, after which Thutmose plays back a snippet of their wireless convo and encourages them not to betray them as he will be watching. He also tells them that if they are caught in the act, he will of course deny all knowledge. The team heads out for the Thoth temple.
Ut and Tobias enter while the rest linger outside. Ut makes an enthralling show of looking around at all the art and masonry, while Tobias asks for info about the temple and area. He has shifted his clothes’ appearance to look more like the locals. The guy at the front desk directs him towards a nearby data terminal. He jacks in, and starts trying to hack into the system. He eventually gets security access, but fails to find any particularly useful info. He tries to shut down the cameras and fails, setting off a series of alarms. He panics at the appearance of some IC and jacks out, suffering dumpshock. Ut jumps over the desk and quickly ko’s the guy there, who was going for his walky-talky. The rest of the team runs in as the door begins sliding shut. Ut tries to take out one camera with a thrown knife, but misses, and shoots it instead. An alarm goes off in the building. They check the desk, and finds buttons for the doors on either side of the room, opening them. They decide to take the left hand path, after K checks out the near area and calls the all clear.
The head down the passageway, and UB! blows open the first door. Three people inside seem temporarily shocked by the explosion, and UB! tells them to get down. They begin to, but as he approaches, one slashes at him with a knife. He responds with his arm blade, doing some serious hurt. HCB fires into the room, and nearly kills one of the others. K levitates him out and HCB tries to force him to reveal his allegiance to OP, but he just seems confused. HCB cuts off his arm with his new claymore, causing him to go into shock and die. Ut shoots out the lights in the hall to give the team cover. UB! and Ivan finish off the first attacking temple employee, and K levitates the other one into the ceiling while HCB tries to force him to reveal his allegiances. He refuses, and HCB shoots him in the face.
The team members in the hall hear a noise from the end of the hall and turn to see a priest and two ceremonial guards with halberds enter through the door there. The priest shouts something about “why are you desecrating my temple?” before they drop him with burstfire. The guards, enraged, charged, and inflict some serious damage on Tobias (whom K levitates out of the way while he continues shooting) before being killed themselves. The team now has a closed door on the right side of the hall, past the first they entered, and an open door at the end. But they are starting to wonder whether OP is really here at all. On the other hand, they get paid twice as much if they are, so they kind of have to be, right? Also, Ivan feels he is wasting his time doing this kind of piddling job now that he pulled off this huge moon mission. The rest of the team doesn’t entirely disagree.