The team in the chopper pauses to drop off Senk (to return with the van) and pick up Chem, before racing to the the defense of the Leather District. They find it under attack from a 3-prong attack from NeoNET and Aztechnology joint forces, seemingly intent on wiping out anyone who may have received the various ritual info and the Salem Exposed! upload. The team takes out most of the AZT magic-heavy land assault force on the SW, with minimal damage. Tanaka uses most of the chopper’s missiles in the process, with Aemon and Chem on HMG’s and Love and Toff counterspelling and launching spell effects and spirits.
They hit NN’s land wing to the NW next, and take out their heavy weaponry, before moving on, hearing that the civilian populace, having fallen back near to the Catacombs entrance, is under assault. They race up to find Ro leading the neighborhood’s defense with the help of a mercenary named Hess and some of Buster’s militia, including a collection of civilians who seem to have an odd amount of weapons familiarity. Tanaka and Aemon stay in the chopper, while Chem hops out onto a nearby roof to set up an HMG post, and Love recuperates. Toff scouts astrally to the North, having heard that some NN merc’s headed that way.
The merc’s focus fire and manage to shoot down the chopper, with Aemon leaping free at the last second, and Tanaka only surviving due to the armored rigger cocoon within. Hess, Chem, Ro and the rest of the ground troops take good advantage of the distraction of the chopper to drive the NN merc’s back to the sea to the east, but the AZT splicer assault force that came with them ignores their suppressive fire and crashes into their lines. They cut most of them down, but some break through, and Sarah McCarthy is killed defending the weakest civilians in Smedley Pembrenton III’s safehouse. 2-Chrome arrives with reinforcements from Mama’s Boys just in time to fend off the ragers that come racing down from the Labyrinth, which Toff saw that the NN merc’s had cracked open again. Scarlett is also along to heal where she can, but dies from massively overcasting a series of pulse spells to clear Toff and others of potential CFD exposure, after 2-Chrome convinces her to go well beyond her limits.
The Leather District safe for now, the team recuperates. Hess tells them that he was sent by Asram Al-Aswani to help them out with the shedim and hurry them along. Allison Sanborn, feeling bad about what happened to McCarthy especially, and seemingly more willing to go rogue than usual (maybe due to the more limited Consensus present in Horizon in Boston?), tells the team that her projections are that if they raid the final MIT&T lab, and get the story out, the corps will probably start trying to buy them off instead of kill them- a much better position. She says that using the powerful secret transmitter at the last lab, and her corporate access codes, she thinks they can beam out a one-time pulse until it gets inevitably shutdown. It should at least enable the people of Boston to get the story, and hopefully some at least will make it out of the cordon.
The team agrees, and Sanborn helps them write up the info they wanna share (they’ll add a bit more after the last lab), with DJ McCarthy promising to fulfill his cousin’s wishes and pay the team for leaking the info. They plan to hold back some key elements and pieces of proof to have a salable amount of data for another corp/faction at the end too. They include an updated Salem Exposed!, as well as A.J.‘s journal and Chessick’s continuation of that, as well as his compiled list of the missing and the dead in Boston, and the team’s up to date info on Boston Enclaves. They also include crazy repeller schematics, as well as the general truth about CFD as a disease, and the Boston strain in specific. They head back into the MCZ, with Jane in tow.
Worried about the CFD-piasma ruining their plan, they set an ambush for it first. They manage to finally kill it using massive explosive traps, but Ro is almost killed in the process, and has to retreat to the quarantine and skip the mission. The rest of the team reaches the campus, and using the steam tunnels again in concert with the crazy repellers and a huge amount of explosive traps, manage to avoid actually fighting any CFD-Fenrir wolves. However, due to the wolves and ragers in the tunnels testing the traps, they’ve blocked themselves in and have no escape route. Love magically punches through the lab’s airlock door, and they enter, finding what seems to have been the main site of the attempted ritual. They quickly execute the remaining personnel, all heavily infected, and move the clean room.
They find a ferrocrete cylindrical chamber, with an upper gantry and security office, and a massive ritual chamber below with a dragon-sized medical tank at its center. The upper area seems to be lined with magical objects and architecture, both of local and global historical significance, including a mantel stone covered in Draconic script that Toff and Love believe dates the the 4th World. Jane begins accessing the array, downloading the paydata and uploading the file as Senk and Hess stand watch while the rest of the team descends. Upsettingly, whatever ruined the ritual here scarred and ripped open the astral, and there are a variety of open tears in reality, stabbing out in thin beams from the medical tank. Toast accidentally brushes one, and almost loses his leg, so they steer clear.
Toff and Love investigate the base of the cylinder magically and astrally, and find that it is the last component of the ritual triangle- where the pyramid building was Earth, and the NU lab was water, this is Air and Fire, and is the origin point of the magical blowback that ruined the other labs. It seems like these final components of the ritual were tied to blending tech and dragon flesh, powered by tying into the leyline that Damon had built up. Toff also finds, after relighting and orienting the ritual braziers, candles, and mirrors, that there is a dragon skull embedded in the wall. Aemon reaches into to touch it, and is nearly killed as a fire tornado pours out. They decide to leave it alone, and are not pursued by the spirits guarding it.
They head back up top, and Jane passes along the paydata: as well as details about the ritual and personnel/corps involved in Project Vulcan, there is also a vid-file of one of the project leads as everything went wrong. It seems that Pax had infiltrated the project some time ago and worked her way up, as an expert on nano-tech and integration (which she is, courtesy of her time in the ACHE), and had corrupted the nanites that were provided by Evo by introducing nanites of her own that carried portions of Deus’ personality that survived Crash 2.0. This introduction was what lead to the massive ritual blowback, as Cerberus and Deus began fighting for control of Eliohann’s body, and everything went wrong. It seems that otherwise, the ritual likely would have worked, at least to a significant extent. They also find some Murai Holdings nano-bots, as requested by KAM on Jackpoint, and see that they are labelled as “Reversers.”
The team can all see the borehole above them, and surmise that Eliohann, warring within himself, escaped through the ferrocrete and ground above into the campus stadium, before heading south and crashing into the NN towers, all the while unwittingly spreading his disease. It seems that the shamblers and ragers are likely all those infected with an unstable mix, driven either mad or catatonic by the inability of either persona to gain control, and the impossibility of the human mind containing either. The vid-file ends in fire and death as Pax gloats and makes her escape, taunting Deus that she has “trapped him again.”
Jane says she is ready to upload, and asks if the team is ready for the pulse. They agree, and she also says “goodbye” before slumping to the floor. They all receive a pulse, containing the data, but also a message of a large barren ash that thanks them for watching over it while it regained power. Apparently Jane was infected with Deus all along! They freak out, but don’t have much time to process, as massive numbers of shamblers start tumbling down the borehole from the campus above, attracted by the pulse. Love casts a series of magical barriers while Toff levitates the team up the hole and above the horde of thousands. They cut their way through the stadium roof, but come under attack from an NN squad, including a sniper and mage.
After a brutal firefight, they are starting to get the upper hand, when the mage issues a command and one of the NN team activates a code into the briefcase cuffed to his wrist, and cuts through the stadium roof, jumping down towards the hole. The remains of the NN team take to the air, ensconced in an air spirit, while the rest of the team jumps, grapples, and levitates off as best they can. Love gets a barrier up in time to protect him, Toff, and a ko’d Aemon, and Chem, Senk, Tanaka, and Hess manage to reach the ground with only minor injuries. However, Toast is sent hurtling through the air, with Jane’s body strapped to his back, and is spinning wildly out of control until Toff gets a lucky levitate off on him and catches him just in time.
It seems NN just detonated a tactical, low-yield nuke, detroying the stadium, the lab, most of the shamblers, and also irradiating the team. They rest briefly at MoM’s lab, before quarantining out. Chem, familiar with rad sickness from Bug City recognizes the signs, and tells them team they better all get med-care after exiting. They clear the MCZ, and go into hospital, with a few interesting offers on the table. Both Zoh Rothberg and Sandelerro and Chen make sizable offers for the full data package, but both also want the team to do some clean-up on anyone they’ve told about it. The team says they’ll think on it, but warn their contacts to keep an eye out. DJ pays up, as promised, and says that Sarah would have been proud. Senk upgrades and kits out her new HMG, courtesy of the downed chopper, and remounts the LMG on the van.
The team next turns to the Shedim issue, and get some supplies and funding from Lil’ D and Mayor Meghan Rylan as promised. They do some recon, and luckily the shedim are still trying to keep their presence quiet, so they shouldn’t have a strong astral advantage. Senk hits them with a final missile from their recoilless rifle, and Toast assaults the cemetery quietly from one side, while Chem, Aemon, and Hess race in in the van from the other. Senk lays down suppressive fire from a rooftop nearby while Toff, Love, and their summoned spirits do their work in the astral. Every time the ground team “kills” a shedim, the astral team has to disrupt the spirit there as well to truly send them packing. However, the one master shedim present realizes what is happening and enters the astral, quickly flat-lining Love and Toff.
Luckily, the ground team’s pincer has worked, and they get some lucky shots off on the Master’s body, distracting him just long enough for Toast to reach the mages and heal them. Toff powers up, summons all his luck, and finally manages to deal a crucial fatal blow in astral combat, disrupting the master. The summoned spirits have cleaned up the rest of the lower-force shedim in astral space, seeming to relish the task, and the team calls it mission accomplished. They salvage and sell some of the armaments the shedim had taken from the Atlantean Foundation mission that accidentally brought them here, and heal up. Chem leads a small side mission up to Nahant to investigate rumors of Ares Macrotechnology doing bug research there, on behalf of Erika Knowles and the OSI.
The rest of the the team uses a cover provided by DJ to act as merc’s headed up to reinforce KE in Salem while Senk and Chem sneak off. After he and Senk sneak into some old WW-II era bunker sea tunnels, beneath the Nahant lighthouse, they find what they are looking for: a massively overbuilt security door reading “Project Viper”, and a well-stocked guard station just outside, equipped with high-tech new repeating lasers, chem-seal suits, and a group of 8 well-trained looking ARES personnel. Deciding that this looks like they at least have the situation well under control, but sensing that this does confirm bugs (which Toff and Love verify in the astral), the team calls it recon complete, and heads back to Boston. Knowles seems satisfied, as they also pass along the project data on Viper that they had previously found at the Gilgamesh Initiative labs. They have confirmed her suspicions, but also allayed her fears, so she plans to make some quiet moves next.
They head over to Jane’s “uncle’s” house to find out what the deal was with her exactly, having thus far failed to ever actually go there. They find a trad-ridden warren, with a well-concealed hidden basement/tunnel, where the uncle seems to have tapped into city power to run a small med-tank, that looks about 10-15 years out of date. There is also an old terminal, which they access, and find mostly corrupted, but do recover some journal entries. They also find disguise equipment, and a disguised stasis creche with an opening about Jane’s size, seemingly used to move her hear without arousing suspicions.
It turns out that the uncle was actually one of Deus’ “Whites”, his highest-level acolytes, who escaped the arcology with a significant portion of Deus stored in a bio-unit in the child’s brain. After all, the military manning rescue wouldn’t suspect a child! They came here to the prepared safehouse using the creche to travel, and he then kept Jane in stasis using hormonal suppressants and various endocrine inhibitors, planning to upload her portion alongside the other members of The Network during the events leading up to Crash 2.0. However, he became paranoid that someone named Ronin was onto him, and went into hiding for a number of years, riding out the Crash, but losing much more of his sanity in the process.
Worried that he had failed his master, he carefully kept the portion under his care in excellent condition, and waited. His day finally came when some runners escaped the ACHE, bringing another portion of Deus with them, which quickly freed itself onto the matrix. The uncle made contact, and managed to integrate the new components into Jane’s limited fragments, before waking her up. It seems like it was just random timing that he had her out at the ballgame when Eliohann crashed into Fenway, as he had been bringing her out for a few months to socialize her, in preparation for possibly approaching some of the Dissonant Technomancers that had begun collecting in Boston with news of their master’s return. The team, some of them now having set Deus free twice (and Cereus once!), decide to keep these tidbits to themselves. They also sell Jane’s body to Cereus, feeling that it is already likely optimized to hold a powerful AI, and warn Smedley and others about the very general outlines of the situation, in case they see “Jane” around. Cereus is thrilled.
Toff takes a week to research their metaplanar exit, while the rest of the team trains, and loads up on necessary gear. They hire a team of runners through Smedley to raid MIT&T’s libraries, which should now be safer to access with some many of the shamblers nuked. They also sell off their crazy repellers after they copy the schematics. With the research and the purloined data, Toff is able to find an “ideal” path: they will exit the Gateway onto what seems to be the Shadow metaplane, a land of nightmares and shades governed over by 4 despotic and massively powerful spirits, which each preside over their own orbiting moon. Toff recognizes 2 of these spirits as the forces behind the Aleph Society. Luckily, the nightmare plane often bleeds over into the plane of Man, so they should be able to find a shallow between the 2 where they can cross, without having to brave either the Endless Bridge between the planes, or the possibly unnavigable Astral Sea. They decide to steer well clear of the deep metaplanes, after a brief discussion of continuing their fight against the Shedim on a border trash plane that they manage to locate. From the plane of man, they should be able to find their way to the astral rift that open in February of every year, and emerge in the ruins of the Sears Tower/Shattergraves area of Bug City (the date of the opening commemorating the event). They hope to be able to reach the rift in time, as they only have a few days to make the traverse before it closes for the year, and they know that time flows strangely on the astral planes.
Having wrapped up all their biz in Boston, and wanting to shop the data around a bit more, the team decides it’s time to take Dr. Dyna Mite up on her promise, and leave via the Gateway. They say some cryptic goodbye’s, not wanting to tip anyone off, and pay off Tanaka to stay with Chessick inside until they can find more doses of Shade and drop them in, as they can’t secure quite enough for everyone. They head back into the MCZ, one last time, and reach the lab with little interference. Asram Al-Aswani greets them, welcoming Hess back. He is a bit disappointed when Hess decides to leave with the team, but he understands: once a merc, etc. Al-Aswani’s 2nd in command enacts the ritual that he says should lengthen the effects of the shade, and the team all takes their doses, along with Guts (to deal with the terror of their journey and any spirit effects they encounter), and they step into the activated Gateway, carefully timing a sort of sideways leap to avoid shunting through to Salem. As they emerge, the last through see a few of the mercs in the lab suddenly ensconced in crystal as the the crystalline entity tries to force it’s way in.
They quickly disrupt the half ritual circle on the shadow plane, and though some crystlline shared make it through, they seem to halt its pursuit (though the Gateway may not be usable for a while, if ever?). A huge face atop numerous spidery limbs approaches them, and Senk remembers that some street kids they knew would have a recurrent nightmare very similar to this, which only would end when she fed it. The team all offers up different oddities for it to eat, gaining it’s permission for passage, though Love’s hand is bitten clean off as he feeds his riot shield into the spirit’s massive maw. Strangely, the wound is perfectly clean, and doesn’t bleed at all. The creature also gives them a rough direction to reach a current shallow into the plane of man, before bounding of into the distance, hopping about on its creepy legs, and promising to “visit them soon.”
They proceed for a while, with Aemon killing it at navigating. All of a sudden, they realize that three of their shadows seem to be moving on their own, and as they do, the 3 shadows flip 90 degrees upright, and causes Love, Hess, and Toast to begin seriously self-harming. Luckily Toast overcomes the gloom and depressive fog that accompanies these injuries and notices that when he attackes the shadowy tendrils connecting him to the upright shadow, it lets go. The team manages to free the others, but the spirit keeps following them until they all pay a blood price, which they all eventually do, after which it leaves them. Aemon gets them within sight of the plane of man when they encounter their final challenge.
A masive nightmare spirit watches the border between worlds, appearing to each runner as their own personal worst nightmare, and nearly destroying their minds before they fight it of, leaving some lasting negative mental effects for them to suffer. Hess sees himself failing his team repeatedly, his luck running out, falling at the crucial moment, and becomes obsessed with becoming the ultimate transhuman, pushing his body beyond the known limits in order to make himself unkillable. 2-Chrome sees her wits failing her, all her charm abated as her drug addictions overwhelm her and the team abandons her, and lastly finds herself captured, at her lowest point, by her tormentor Katsuo Shichirou Tanaka. Ro see herself rescuing all the Ro clones from the Renraku Computer Systems facilites where they were kept, only to have them turn on her, just as she discovers that not only are her parents still alive, they were the ones behind the project the whole time.
Aemon sees himself helping Ro rescue her clones as he descends further and further into addiciton, with Ro pushing him harder and harder to take more risks (and drugs) to get the job done. After they free the last clone, Aemon pleads for the Ro’s assistance in hunting his parents’ killers, as promised, but they turn on him and laugh as they gun him down. Toff sees the truth of the universe revealed to him, all of his beliefs falsehoods, while Aemon laughs at his hidden homosexuality, which he has uncovered after discovering Toff masturbating to images of Ash, his distraction causing him to fail his team at a crucial moment. Senk sees that her sister chose to die just to get away from her, and that it was her who killed her parents all along. Toast sees a vision of the wife he long ago abandoned in Tir na nOg, and the life (and children) they could have had, before it all turns to dust before his eyes. Chem sees himself captured by toxics again, having lead another team into another trap, and sees them all tortured to death before his eyes, as he is left alive and mutated, yet again.
They all manage to finally push through the nightmare, and emerge, damaged but alive, into the plane of Man. It is bustling and lively, the opposite of the shadow plane in every way. They hire a guide who takes them down a long valley, riven with pathways to other connecting planes. The ask about travel to Terra, and he says they need vouchers, and must see the council which rules the valley, made up of one of each of the denizens of the 8 connecting planes: Man, Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Faerie, Beast, and Plant. They agree, and manage to brazen their way to the front of the line with a series of shady deals, assistive spellcraft, lucky bets, and one on one combat.
They enter the council chamber, and offer up gifts as required upon stating their request. Toff also supplies some rare alcohol he smuggled out of Boston, which earns the Council’s approval. They gain passage, and the chamber walls rotate, allowing they to exit along their chosen paths. Some of them are nearly translucent by now, so they hurry as best they can. Luckily, as they race down the path, they encounter an elven woman racing towards them: Frosty Jane! She is carrying the 4 astral navigation artifacts (the Piri Reis Map, the Phaistos Disk, the Sextant of Worlds, and Shataya’s Compass), and explains that a bunch of Jackpointers took up a collection to watch for anyone trying to escape Boston via the metaplanes, and that she was on call with access to the artifacts, due to the intervention of Ehran the Scribe.
She says they must hurry, as the rift is about to close, and they dive through just in time, as it snaps shut behind them. They find a team of runners that Jane hired waiting for them with glider packs to escape the ruined tower, without running into the bug spirits that have made it their home, or the FAB III that has pooled there. They reach the ground, and a prepared safehouse, and prepare to sell all their info after they rest up. Chicago seems to be much more corporatized: Operation TAKEBACK appears to have been a glaring success. They reconnect with friends outside Boston, and catch up on backlogged calls an messages. They also drop in some supplies to Boston, specifically Chessick and Tanaka.
Toff fills Frosty in on Eliohann’s situation with the Children of the Dragon in Salem, and she thanks him for his trust in imparting that (he hasn’t told anyone else). She, in return, tells him some major secrets: Dunkelzahn wasn’t assassinated. He sacrificed himself in a massively powerful ritual to delay the coming of something Frosty calls the “end time Horrors”, which signal the end of an age of magic. Apparently, due to the high population of the globe, and thus the higher incidence of magic, these end times were coming much sooner than they should have in the 6th world (compared to the 4th, the last age of magic). Big D made the hard call, and gave up his life to save metahumanity, who he loved so much. Frosty confirms that Ghostwalker is for sure not Big D, saying they knew each other from before, and basically puts the kibosh on any real chance of D’s return- she says he is probably still out there in the Deep Metaplanes, locked in an epic struggle to contain the apocalypse he died to prevent.
However, she also informs Toff that Invae (aka insect spirits) and Shedim are 2 of the forebears of the Horrors- sort of prophets of the coming end-times, and that the more of them that there are in the world, the more likely the Horror’s will find a way to slip in. Toff is horrified/elated to get all this secret info, and tells Frosty he will do anything is his power to help. Toff also relays some of this info (and his secret Boston info) into a higher position within the Dragon Church, and secures their assistance in initiating into the greater mysteries. Frosty also tells the team at large that there is a war for the Exchange: Thankyou’s Deus-infected group on one side, along with the AI SYD and a version of Daedelus, both corrupted. Regular Daedelus is on the other side, with backing of Sem-par, Lafeyette, and Tobias Cheney (for now- there is some worry he may have been infected). Barnaby “Wombat” Rudd got black-bagged by TY’s faction while trying to retrieve some of his precious ancient texts from the Hamburg safehouse, so the team assumes that any safehouse TY knows of is burned.
The team also gets a general world update: it’s a great time to be a runner, as the Corporate Revision is well under way. Every AAA down through A level corp is scrapping and scraping to get by, and not lose any share, while some are making major gains. Mitsuhama Computer Technologies has wrested the top spot from Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries, using their creepy technomancer research, and understanding of the new matrix to make major plays, including consolidating power in Africa for a possible corp HQ relocation from Japan. MCT has also been investing heavily in metaplanar research, given them access to a significant stash of rare materials. MCT is also pushing Danielle De La Mar’s new SIN registry proposal, hard, leaving the Yakuza as the only quality fake SIN game around. This has heavily disrupted Renraku, who up til now were the largest SIN registry managers. SK is also not happy about this turn of events, needless to say. Meanwhile, NN is in damage control freefall, trying to blame AZT and Evo for CFD/Boston, while AZT turns the blame back on NN. Horizon is helping NN out with this a bit, but not too much. Wuxing, Shiawase, and Evo are squabblling over turf in the Pacific after major turnovers at every corp.
Evo has embraced Monads, after they issued a series of interviews, public statements, and a secret ultimatum to the Corporate Court. The team can’t find details, but the Monads disavowed being the cause of Boston, and explain that CFD only began as a desperate escape measure from corp labs where AI’s/e-ghosts/ and other digital personas were vivisected and tortured for study. This seems to be true, with NN as the prime culprit. The Monads issued a global call for all who identify with their movement and share their infection to get to Mars, in order to build a new society there, and eventually launch a colony ship away from humanity’s reach. The ultimatum to the CC included a bit more: in exchange for free corp transport to Mars for any interested Monad, they would provide a cure for the nanopocalypse (only effective in tech- they say there is no real cure for metahuman infection), and provide the brutal and devastating nanopocalypse on Mars as a proof of concept. It seems like many corps have fallen in line, using space elevators and mass drivers to get Monads off-world. Evo is the only corp to be openly welcoming, though the Sioux Nation is still accepting all infected.
Samantha Villiers has been assassinated, along with Evo’s CEO Kirilenko, and both the assassin Riser and his mentor Yankee. Riser seems to have gone on a spree after integrating his CFD personas, and was trying to make up for past ill deeds. Villiers is the odd one out, and seems likely to have been targeted in a power play for control of the weakened NN. Ares upper management is also in disarray, due to the recent death (seemingly by insects) of the presumed heir to the throne. All in all, a good time to be working the shadows!
The team uploads a massive amount of data to Jackpoint, including the update on Fastjack’s likely locale, the death of /dev/grrl’s parents, and Toff’s info on the leyline for Winterhawk. They also have the Murai nanobots (both the soft nanite sample and the reversers) delivered to Butch, who is working with KAM to develop a potential CFD cure (it will only effect a portion of the infected but is better than nothing). Toff is made a full JP member for this all, and Senk, Toast, and Chem all receive provisional memberships. They also reupload the transmission, only parts of which made it out of the cordon, and get a lot of cred, as well as much disbelief, from that.
Aemon contacts Horst, and gets the info Sanborn promised: his parents were killed by members of the secret vampiric cabal within Ordo Maximus after his parents stumbled upon a secret meeting between members of OM, Trans-Latvian (a NN subsid), and members of the newly formed Fear the Dark. They set up human supremacists to do the actual killing to through off any trail, and turned Acostado Comer Bosque into a vampire as a reward. A troll alchemist and family friend, he was worried he was reaching the end of his natural lifespan, and felt that he deserved to live forever, which drove him to this betrayal. Aemon gets a commemorative “Don’t Fear the Dark” tat in response, and vows revenge.
The team fields a huge amount of offers for their main paydata after posting the public file, and seriously entertain a few. It comes down to a vote between sharing it all publicly, selling it to SK, selling it to Evo, or selling it to Wuxing Inc, who aren’t directly involved but want financial revenge against NN as Wuxing is Boston’s largest insurer. They go with SK, feeling that they have the best offer, the best longterm chance of revenge, and the best ability to protect the team against jilted others. The one catch is they can never run against SK again. Aemon ends up talking to Lofwyr directly, after going through Simon Andrews, and also gives Lof the info that Celedyr abused his position as Loremaster to borrow a dragon skull for use in the MIT&T ritual chamber- a major faux pas, which Lof is sure to use to his advantage. The team feels NN will be appropriately punished over the long run, and this will ensure Celedyr takes some hits personally as well for his part.
They sell the data on Project Abyss (MCT t-mancer and cytech research) to Evo, Gilgamesh Initiative into to Shiawase, The Black Lodge/crystalline entity to Frosty/the Draco Foundation, Horizon pays to keep Project Orion a secret, and Ares pays for the same with Projects Viper and Hammer. They post the info about PAX, the Dissonants, and what Deus thinks they’re up to in Boston (without ID’ing the source) on Jackpoint, as well as data on Renraku Computer Systems’ Project Heatwave. The reason they don’t try to sell this info is that when Aemon and Ro were on the call fielding Renraku’s offer, Ro noticed that Renraku was slighting them by having them talk to some low-level lackey, presumably due to Ro’s failure to secure Heatwave/the Harborguide facility. Aemon, refusing to let his friend by slighted, forwards the video of him pissing on Inazo Aneki’s seppuku site while Ro watches, along with annoying on-screen text explaining just what is happening.
The man blanches and hangs up, and Ro gets the distinct impression he will be killed for having seen that, if he doesn’t volunteer to die first. A 1 million nuyen bounty quickly pops up for both Ro and Aemon, but at least TY doesn’t have anything over them anymore! Ro and Aemon pass on their The Continental invites to Toff and Toast, and after a tearful goodbye dinner at Chicago’s Best Pizza, they head to NYC under SK SIN’s to start stealing Renraku’s data and freeing Ro’s clones. Aemon decides to largely abandon direct involvement in Aemon’s Kids, as TY has become the prime benefactor in Aemon’s absence, with the Dragon Church a near second. The rest of the team rests up, and spends some of their massive payday in SK-provided medical facilities, as they try to decide what to do next. They keep the ancient dig site/potential leads on Atlantis info that they found on the ATL Foundation ship and at the MIT&T labs for themselves.