Ivan gets in touch with Daedelus, and gets a runthru of the biodrone, and then starts rigging him. Ivan and Tobias peruse the file that Daedelus has put together from processing the hacker, as well as backtracing his datatrail, in order to be able to successfully fake his personality. It will probably help that he was a member of a different cell than the other TA survivors. The team plans to have Ivan rig the drone into Meatspace, an undercity bar popular with hackers and techies due to its serious wireless security. This is the bar where the TA has been meeting outside of the BS compound to strategize and prep for the arrival of the next crew from Earth.
Meanwhile, the team begins armoring up in preparation for the big raid ahead. They convince Wade and Daedelus to front 10,000 nuyen each, and all purchase armor liners or milspec armor thru Tobias’ inhouse Ares discount. Rolph spends some quality time in the simtank to psych himself up. They also upgrade weapons, HCB gets a smartlink, Tobias explains the sticky grenades to UB! (who is thrilled) and Tobias and Ivan armor up the cat, newly purchased thru Ango Tyrell and Abe Terkorian, as well as attaching the lmg. Ivan feels on top of the world-he’s practically drowning in drones. Ivan also gets word thru Wade that another package from Halfman has arrived, this one containing a ratskin wrapped around a fetish, with the message “another one bites the dust.” The team mourns Scrounge’s apparent death, and hopes he wasn’t eaten. K calls and tells Gavral, who is saddened. UB! has still been trying to impress Jaro, but she’s been busy moving Wade from hideout to hideout, so he hasn’t made much headway. Everyone hangs out at Tobias’ in the hottub for a while, and then split up when they decide its a bad plan to all be in one place.
Ivan’s drone enters Meatspace, and scopes the joint, with the rest of the team riding AR window shotgun in his head to provide suggestions and additional eyes and ears. They spot what they think are the TA members in a booth on the far side of the bar. Ivan head across the dancefloor to get to them, and is bumped into by someone who slips something in his pocket. He pulls it out, revealing a third skin note, which everyone else also sees thru the drone’s eyes. It tells him to acquire as many of Longpig’s organs as can be gotten intact and in good shape as his first test. Failure is presented as not being an option. The rest of the team, having not seen the previous skinnotes, doesn’t know what’s going on, and everyone spends some idle time speculating as to who would be behind them, but are unable to reach an agreement. Ivan continues to the booth.
The TA members tense up on his approach, and he takes as nonthreatening of a stance as possible. They talk for a while, but seem suspicious. The story he gives them is that he was kidnapped and kept with a headjammer in the upper level of Slot, until one day he was able to shake off the incorrectly attached jammer, slip his bonds, hack his way out the window, and jump down to the trash dump. He has then been laying low to make sure he wasn’t followed to the meeting point, and now that he is sure, he has come. They don’t believe him at first, but he eventually corroborates the story with enough believable info that they buy it. Ivan and Tobias manage to order a few of the goons favorite drinks also, which helps. They find out that there are 8 surviving TA members-two drivers, 6 gunmen. Dexter (the hacker) makes 9. There is a big team coming up in a few days from Earth to boost the op, and they’ve gotten more funding from Renraku due to the seriousness of the AI they’re up against. They’re double checking security and transport around the spaceport, and the team gets some useful info, which Daedelus plans to use to fuck up the TA’s arrival in some form. But first, Daedelus wants all the TA goons dead, which ties in well with infiltrating the BS fortress anyway.
UB! begins prepping some carbombs, which the team plans to use to take out the TA as well as offering a useful distraction/start to the assault. Ivan returns via drone with the TA goons to the BS compound, and scouts out security, while Rolph especially provides useful advice about where to look, due to his security knowledge. The compound is in the center of block deep in BS turf, surrounded y buildings. There is one approach, an alley that enters thru a security gate equipped with scanners. The drone passes the scan, and Ivan enters, noticing that there is a machine gun nest covering the long alley approach. The rest of the compound is ringed in two layers of fence, with some suspicious looking open ground in between, which Rolph assumes is mined. There is a central building, to which the TA doesn’t have access, as well as two guardhouses (one of which the TA is housed in) and four tall watchtowers, also equipped with lmg’s, and a commanding view of the block. The team is disappointed that they haven’t been able to get rockets since the Azzie spaceport raid, as they would come in handy now. Ivan’s drone meets Longpig, a tall ascetic looking human with long flowing silver hair, dressed in a stylish robe. They chat about the compound’s security for a bit, and Ivan complements him on his choice of names, which LP appreciates, decrying the fact that he is usually surrounded by ignoratn plebes. Ivan pretends to understand the reference. They discuss how problematic Ivan’s team has been for both their organizations, and Ivan plays himself up as the dashing leader, which he is thrilled about. K tries to see if he is magical, but can’t tell for sure.
He spends the next day scouting a bit more, and playing badminton with some more boytoy clones on the sports green behind the house, trying to attract LP’s attention, and get in closer to him. He doesn’t succeed, but he seems to be in good with the TA, so the team decides to go ahead on the following day, believing themselves adequately prepared. Tobais researches LP’s art collection from the mansion raid, after Ivan sends him pics of it, and finds that here is an art scene legend of various up and comers receiving a big (and secretive) commission from an unknown patron, which they won’t let any of their friends see. Upon completing the work, they vanish, only to turn up in pieces sometime later (if at all). He finds some people he thinks may have built the meat sculptures, all of whom are indeed dead or missing, and decides the rumor may be true. Ivan and Tobias hack the TA cars’ systems, and gain access to the open trunk command. They call up Ut, who agrees to go along for the purposes of revenge, and arrange for him to cause a distraction out back of Meatspace so the drivers don’t notice invisible K putting the carbombs in the trunks. K also scouts the BS compound from afar, and sees that there is an astral barrier, but only surrounding the main building, but he doesn’t pursue it further, not wishing to get noticed by any astral security that might be present. Ivan plans to have the drone dive out of the second car right before he blows it, since Daedelus wants the drone back if possible. The team plans the assault, and comes with a three pronged assault tactic to hopefully take on Halfman. They rest in preparation.
The next day, the TA leaves for Meatspace, and Ivan gives K and Ut the go-ahead. Ut plays a drunkard very convincingly, enthralling the drivers with a more than adequate distraction, as K places the bombs in the trunks after Tobias pops them. Tobias shuts them with a second command. Ut takes off after K tells him it’s done, and meets K in a nearby alley, ditching his disguise. K makes him invisible, and they levitate towards the compound, as HCB and Rolph approach on public transit. Tobias jumps from roof to roof, nearly missing the last jump, but managing to flop forward in the nick of time. He sets up to take out his assigned watchtower. Ivan and UB! park nearby in the cab, while Ivan rigs the drone. Rolph and HCB arrive, and Rolph sneaks atop another building to take out his tower. K drops Ut near the alley, and sets up in back to take out his tower, or two, depending. Ut slips on another disguise and approaches HCB. They recognize each other by talking about Crod Stompaz, and Ut does a little dance to entertain them.
The TA cars enter, and the front car goes into the scanning security gate. The scanner alarm goes off, presumably detecting the bomb, and Ivan blows it. It totals the car and the goons inside, and blows the gates out on either side-easy access! He then screams and sends out an SOS comm signal before diving out of his car (locking the doors behind him with another command) and blowing the second bomb. He gets tossed a little ways from the explosion, but survives. It seems the cars were armored (as expected) which helped contain the blast, to the detriment of those inside. Two seconds into the run, and Daedelus’ mission is complete. Ivan sends the drone running for an intercept with the cab, as he revs it up and heads for the alley. UB! sets up the hmg and drops the windshield. HCB and Ut begins sprinting down the alley, providing a useful distraction for the machine gun nest, and allowing the drone to duck away scot-free. HCB takes some major damage, tho, and he and Ut both dive for cover and spend some time patching him up.
Meanwhile, Rolph, Tobias, and K have begun their assault. They discover that the tops of the watchtowers are protected by security glass, which adds a couple actions to each of their plans, but they manage to each blow thru the glass and take out the gunner. Tobias uses a combo of railgun, grenade launcher, and autofire, while Rolph uses explosive arrows, and K levitates grenades into place. However, it seems they have not gone unnoticed, and get some grenades and autofire in return from other guards on the grounds. K also sees a large group of guards empty out of the guard house and take cover inside the main compound. Tobias and K take out the additional watchtower guards on their towers, and K heads for the fourth tower. However, it seems the guards have finally caught on to his invisible presence and switched to thermal, as he gets severely shot up. But he takes out some additional guards with a majorly overcast powerbolt, and Rolph assists with some long shots across the compound.
Meanwhile, out front, the car races up to the alley (blasting Crod Stompaz, of course), slowing to pick up the biodrone. Ivan quick messages April with the location of the events, in order to help pay off his debt, as she might be interested in this scoop. They pick up Ut and HCB also while UB! provides covering fire with the hmg. He then switches to grenade launcher and blasts the nest pretty convincingly. The surviving guard flees toward the house, but is cut down by the hmg. Ivan begins blasting towers with the autocannon, and makes short work of them-they seem sturdy, but not built to resist tanks. The team finishes cleaning up outside, and begins mentally and physically prepping for the fortress itself.