ThankYou is contacted by Netcat, a Jackpoint member who Jane hired to hack into TY’s secret Gilgamesh Initiative comm. She has some info, and wants to meet in a wireless dead zone, so they find a z-zone composed of old Amsterdam slum housing, in a former suburb. They meet at a squat guarded by a techno tribe who Netcat knows. NC tells TY that the comm seems to mostly have been for collecting scientific data on TY, as he appears to be some sort of test subject. There are records of infrequent downloaded updates, and NC’s best guess is that one of the IC/Agents that were running on the comm were sending suggestions to TY’s normal comm, explaining his ‘superstitions’. NC had to nuke these all to get the data, as well as bash through a bunch of milspec encryption & defusing ample databombs. Weirdest of all, someone had intruded in the system before. They didn’t seem to have edited or or destroyed anything, just glided in and looked over some stuff. The comm seemed to only have sent and received communications from the outside world when in range of pre-approved ‘safe’ networks (mostly large cities and the like). Also, the comm refers to TY as “Project Enkidu”, and records 2 contacts with “Project Boedicca”, which they determine to be referring to April O’Mally. NC offers to try to trace the in/out connections, but warns it will be difficult, and tells the team she needs some work from them first.
Her friend, also a technomancer, is missing, and she recently found some info in the deep resonance realms about where he might be. She located a message that a former Mitsuhama Computer Technologies employee tried to get out to the shadow community. Apparently, he was not secretive enough, as he has also gone missing, and his message was judiciously scrubbed from the more commonly accessible parts of the matrix. The message says that, while auditing an MCT bio-research experimental program, Tanaka found a secret lab, hidden under a clinic that an MCT subsud, Collison Biotech, operates in Amsterdam. They were doing experiements on technomancers there, and many of the ‘subjects’ did not look likely to survive long, but one of their descriptions matches NC’s missing friend. Being a closet techno himself, Tanaka was obviously concerned, and so fled MCT and tried to get the word out, in exchange for help entering the shadows (for his own safety). NC has put this together with the large amount of techno’s recently going missing from a variety of z-zones & sprawls around the world, and wants to find out what MCT is up to.
The team agrees to help, and fortunately Rooster wants to get a vocal enhancement bioware put in, so he checks into the clinic, and pays for an executive suite so that the rest of the team can come in and investigate as his “security detail.” He gets his implant while the rest of the team pokes around. Lodestone scans some minds, TY & NC hack the local node, and Saul and Zuberi do a little physical and magical surveillance. They find out that the staff of the facility doesn’t seem aware of the secret lab under the clinic, but that there is a securely locked “medical waste” room, from which 2 pickups a day are made, on a tight schedule. This room also has an elevator shaft off the back of it, leading to a small basement complex (which they see through spatial sense and radar). The node seems to be only patient files- the security systems are hardwired. They leave, after the surgery, and wait outside for someone they recognize as a guard to leave.
They follow the guard home, read his mind, and kill him and the cats he was feeding when they burst into his dingy apartment (they were making noise, and TY decided to shoot them, as he doesn’t understand pets). Rooster imitates him, using his clothes and studied mannerisms from the tacnet, verified by the blood sight spell that LS casts to make sure his face looks right from all angles. He goes into work, and bluffs his way through part of the day until it’s time for the first waste pickup. Then, the rest of the team slips in (using invisibility spells and a trid phantasm illusion to fool cameras) as Rooster distracts the other guard. They slip into the waste room (which Rooster handily propped open), and begin hacking into the elevator, while Rooster continues his day. They descend, disabling all of their wireless connections, as the elevator demands. They hack through another security door in an airlock-like decon room, and surprise a few guards patrolling nearby, killing them quickly. They find 7 living techno’s in cells, 5 of whom survive being disconnected from their life support. Tanaka is dead in the 8th cell. NC tells them to wait by the elevator, in the company of some spirits that Saul and LS summon to provide watch, until they can all escape at once.
They continue, killing more guards, and find some sort of medical room- the guards seem to be packing things up, and the facility seems largely empty- they have yet to find any scientific staff on hand. The techno’s there seem completely mentally destroyed, and die shortly after being disconnected from life support. They find the main guard room, killing 4 men playing poker before they can reach their guns. Having no wireless seems to really impede the facility’s security personnel. They proceed into the final 2 rooms and find a real horror-show: there are dozens of techno’s hooked up to a central computer array of some sort. They are in various states of physical completeness, with some having only minor implants and trodes attached/implanted, while some are missing limbs or large pieces of their torsos, and some are only severed heads or brains in nutrient vats. They are all connected to the computer, spiralling out from in in their vats, creches, and beds. The final room contains an acid vat that seems to be used to reduce failed “subjects” into a thick slurry, which is being siphoned off into some “medical waste” barrels, some of which Rooster recently loaded on a truck. They seem to be literally liquidating the facility, so NC demands they enter the computer core and find out what’s up.
TY backs her up, and they enter- her friend, who introduces himself as Puck, a name which worries TY a bit to hear. The rest of the techno’s in here seem considerably more mentally decayed- however, they seem to have maintained there access to resonance even given the massive essence loss they have all suffered due to repeated surgeries and implants. This intrigues TY, and he downloads all the available data, although NC demands that he delete all the test data, so that noone can ever benefit from this atrocious abattoir and the deeds done herein. Valuing his newly enhanced reputation as a trial member of Jackpoint, TY complies, against his wishes. They free Puck, and flee the basement, after thermite-ing the data core, and all the research materials. They bring the other survivors along with them, and decide to hide those that can fit in some of the excess empty “medical barrels” while Saul maintains invisibility spells on Zuberi, himself, TY, and one of the prisoners. They wait til the second truck arrives to collect waste, and Rooster once again distracts while they sneak/are loaded onto the truck. He works the rest of the day, and then leaves, rendevouzing with the team after they hack the gridlink on the robotruck, bring it to the z-zone, and trash it. They bring the rescues to the techno tribe that NC knows, who take them in.
Puck and the other rescues confirm that that facility was being shut down, with research moved to another locale, after Tanaka’s leak. However, they have a lead, as the MCT researchers didn’t bring any subjects with them, as they are difficult to secret out of the clinic. And, since there have still been rumors about local underclass techno’s going missing, they decide to stake out a few local tribes and see if anyone pulls a snatch & grab, and then follow them back to the new facility. Puck also says, after TY and other express concern about him (given his involvement with Deus and the 2nd matrix crash), that he was investigating some odd matrix happenings nearby when he was snatched- apparently there are some bands of dissonant techno’s calling themselves Discordians using some sort of ritual to drive free AI’s insane. Worst of all, there are rumors that they are lead by Pax, also one of Deus’ prodigy otaku, who has remained in hiding since the crash.
LS and TY also use their brand new Jackpoint access to post details of the run, to much dismay on the VPN (and some small celebrations, amongst the anti-techno ’runner set). Netcat defers to them in posting, as she is busy mining the data herself.