Harmony Craig Bottow
Ivan the Jackle
Remus is trying to distinguish himself on hacking forums, and leaves April’s hideout to attend the ever-relocating hacker cafe and symposium “Hack The Planet.” Posters of Fastjack’s avatar and t-shirts bearing logos like “Captain Chaos Lives!” are the norm. Sadly, Remus gets a little too amped on one of the meetings, and isn’t quite careful enough about disguising himself and his route when returning to April’s hideaway, not that he notices. He goes into the apartment and greets his roommate, Scrounge. Both suddenly hear a noise by the door and turn towards it-Remus is injured by the explosion which blows it open, but Scrounge is able to dive out of the way. He goes invisible, and overcast stunballs the first wave after they enter, then quickly executes all four of them. Remus takes some machine gun damage, but still, it seems like they might escape. They call for backup and exit into the hallway, where they engage in a running gun and grenade battle as they head for the stairs and the ground floor.
HCB, in his enthusiasm to rush to their aid, hails a cab and offers the driver a 30 nuyen bonus if he can get him there in two minutes. Being new to Mars City, he does not realize that this is dangerous bordering on impossible. The resulting 200 mph crash decapitates the driver and sends HCB flying thru the car, out the shattered windshield, and into the side of a brick building, where he lies broken and bleeding, quietly calling for help, until April tracks his signal and get him to a hospital. (But hey, at least he saved 30 nuyen. – The Dour Salmon)
Meanwhile, Ivan makes his way towards April’s hideaway in his cab with his newest toy alongside-a Steel Lynx fitted with a White Knight lmg. April lent him money to purchase it, and he feels like this will be the perfect test run. Scrounge and Remus are fighting their way down the stairs, heavily injured and outnumbered, when a dog-sized robot careens around a corner and jumps off the wall and over their heads quickly killing the nearest two hitmen with a full auto burst. Outside, Ivan fires an autocannon shell into the very surprised hitman van parked out front, as the driver frantically tries to start the already running engine. Remus and Scrounge make their way to the ground floor and into Ivan’s car. The lynx jumps out of the window and joins them, having sustained fairly serious damage while covering their escape. Ivan blows out the second floor facade behind it, as two hitmen appear and begin to fire. The team speeds off, away from the burning and partially collapsing building.
They have a few jobs on offer: Srounge’s talismonger (Madame Gavral) is having supply issues, Ango has an extraction that needs to happen, and the Johnson from the Azzie drug raid has a mission on the prison-moon. The team decides to do the job that Ango is offering: they need to extract the hirer from the core of the Renraku acrology in the wastes, and bring it to a safehouse that Ango has been preparing. Ango gives them the job details, and an advance on payment, which they spend all of on medical, lynx repair, 1 more missile that Wade finds for them, and various other gear. April sets up a press tour thru Hermes news -doing a puff piece on “life in the arcologies.” The team attends as cameramen (scrounge), editor (remus), driver/lighting (ivan), and sound guy (HCB). Ivan slips away well April gets the tour and does some staged interviews and Remus, Scrounge, and HCB get background shots and such. He meets up with a maintenance crew, and they take him to a still they’ve constructed back in the vents-shutting down some of the fans to get to it and back. He then proceeds to show off his extreme alcoholism by trying to drink them under the table, and then trying to extract information from them. He discovers that there’s a truck which takes non-processable wastes out to a toxic dump, and convinces the crew to allow him to ride along with well they go out. They all head down to the garage and convince the guys who were going to be driving that they should go instead. They take Ivan out and he sees the route and procedures for opening the outer gate and whatnot.
Meanwhile the press tour wraps up, and there is a minor crisis when Ivan can’t be found, and his visitor badge is detected offsite. April tries to explain it awa that he’s just a drunk, and only the team’s driver (hahaha), not even that important of a part-he doesn’t even have a camera, what harm could he do? April then threatens to release a severely negative piece about Renraku if the press agent doesn’t back off and let them leave. When Ivan shows back up in the company of drunken maintenance men, it seems to confirm April’s story, and Renraku doesn’t want unnecessary bad PR, so they let them go, but the press agent says she will be contacting Hermes News about their team’s unprofessional behavior. Ivan begins talking about how great of a way he found in before Remus shuts him up, suspecting that Renraku might have placed monitoring devices in their news van. They try to pay it off as the ramblings of a drunk and silently agree to talk later.
The hirer has promised he’ll be able to help with some alarm and internal subsystem control once the team is inside, but they need to gain entry of their own initiative, as there are limits as to which systems the hirer can affect. The arcology consists of 6 semi-spheres, each set inside of the previous. The outer layer is the least secure-lowlevel employee housing and such. The next level is mid-management, and some of the nicer dining areas and such. The third level is offices and lowlevel IT. The fourth level is upper management. The fifth level is the high level IT and research labs. The inner core is The Vice President in charge of operations, the boardroom, and the mainframe. This is where the employer needs to be extracted from. The employer will assist the team from when they access the third level on. All the food growing/waste processing/etc. is underground and only connected directly to level one.
The team returns the next day and stashes Ivan’s car a little ways from the dump. They sneak up on it, and ambush the guard and two maintenance guys onboard, killing all three. They dump the load, including the two maintenance guys Ivan had been drinking with yesterday, now gorily deceased. Dressing in stolen coveralls and the guards suit, Ivan, Remus and Scrounge sit up front. Ivan pulls his hat down low, to conceal his ears. HCB rides in back, and April (in stealth suit) up on the roof. Ivan eventually retraces the previous day’s driving thru the drunken haze of his memory, and they arrive at the gate. It remains inert. Remus eventually thinks to check the pocket of the stolen suit he is wearing, and find the code scribbled on a slip of paper-Ivan types it in to the overhead on the truck, and the gate opens. The three team members hold aloft their security passes as they enter and are scanned. Once inside, they exit the cab, and Ivan fasttalks his way past some other maintenance guys. HCB and April slip past the camera and the team enters the maintenance tunnels, and from there, the airducts.
Once again, Ivan’s questionable memories of the preceding day’s events are relied on to get them closer. He eventually follows his nose back to the site of the still, which is now gone. He finds the buttons to shut down the vent fans, however, and the team heads for the second level. They make it past a small array of sensors as Remus jams them for a few moments-hopefully not long enough to register. They continue through the vents towards the third level-the sensor array is much larger and more intense this time, however, and Remus’ jammer doesn’t seem to be taking effect on the floor sensors, only the scanners. The team rigs a line over the sensor pads and one by one crawl over. Remus and Ivan struggle mightily, both appearing to call up all their reserves of luck to eventually make it safely across. The team descends thru a ceiling panel into a bathroom, as the vent comes to an end here. April drops onto the lap of a man sitting in a stall below, and quickly breaks his neck.
They get contact from their employer now-they tell the team to prepare to make their way on foot towards level 4, as a distraction has been arranged. The team exits the bathroom to the sound of fire alarms and pushes against the flow of people-not totally out of place, as they still all have their coveralls on (except April, in her stealth suit). They reach a guard station at the entrance to level 4 and approach. The guards warn them off, but April quickly dispatches one, and the rest of the team perforates the other guard as he goes for the alarm. They use one of the guards’ prints and retinas to gain access to level 4. They quickly sneak along amongst the offices until they find an occupied one, they enter and hold the manager at gunpoint while Scrounge controls his mind and forces him to take them to the elevator to level 5, where they use him to get past the guards and into the elevator.
They emerge on level 5, and some more guards ask the manager what he is doing up there with these maintenance guys. The manager shakes free of control and makes a run for it-the team opens fire. They quickly slay the defenseless manager and two surprised guards, although Remus and Ivan are wounded. They then enter the nearest lab room (a chem research station) to obtain a box that their employer says is needed to complete the mission. The scientists inside have tried to bar the door ineffectually and when one of them doesn’t respond quickly enough to April, she (in her adrenal rage) breaks his neck. The scientists quickly give up the box (which they would probably have done anyway), and the team heads upstairs. One of the scientists splashes April with some sort of acid, which eats through a good portion of the torso of her stealth suit and some of the flesh beneath-she manages to stuble out to the hall, closing the door behind her against further salvoes.
The rest of the team has started up the stairs to level 6, their destination. Their employer has placed 5 dots on their huds, which are the necessary component pickups. As the team emerges from the top of the stairwell, they are fired upon, HCB being wounded, and hear “fire in the hole” as a grenade arcs into the stairwell-they manage to bobble it along until it reaches April at the bottom, who having just gotten the last of the acid off doesn’t have time to respond. It detonates near her, and she only dives partway out of the way, taking severe damage. Fortunately, it was clear of the much more enclosed stairwell, avoiding the proverbial “chunky salsa effect.” The team hears one of the guards above order someone to “release the special project.” The rest of the team takes some minor damage and then chucks grandes in response and charges up the stairs, finding 1 guard blown to bits and the other curled up behind the booth. HCB rolls him over and gets gunshot in the gut for his troubles, before the team finishes the guard off in a hail of bullets. Scrounge and April down below hear the elevator they came up on close, and begin to descend, and they decide to grenade the shaft to prevent anyone from getting to their position easily.
The team upstairs enters the boardroom and discovers what they are picking up. The three members of the board are all jacked into thick fiberoptics cables emerging from a new looking hole in one wall of the room. The team’s employer contacts them and tells them that only the heads are needed-there is a cradle in the box for each. just disconnect the cable and decapitate them. They do so, and then head across the hall to get the VP, who has apparently been resisting, Ivan chucks a gas grenade in, blinding the guards, who fire wildly in response to little effect. Scrounge enters and stunballs the room, knocking the guards unconscious. They drag the resisting VP over to the board room and hook him for a few seconds, and then decapitate him and place his head in the fourth and final cradle-one dot left to investigate. The team enters the mainframe room and quickly realized that they are extracting the arcologies central A.I core. It tells them to hurry as a detachment or Red Samurai appear to be making their way towards their position, shutting down all systems and closing off escape routes as they go.
The team takes the computer data core which emerge from the mainframe, and the mainframe quickly begins to sputter and shutdown. They slap the core in it’s slot in the box and seal it shut. The A.I. tells them it will be operating in a severely limited mode while in the box, but should be able to provide some aid-it tells them to head for the fourth lab, the experimental flight division. The team reenters the downstairs hall, only to come face to face (?) with some horrible mutated monstrosities-thy attack with hoof, claw, tooth, and tentacle, and inflict serious damage on Ivan, April, and Remus before they team puts them down. Not such a special project after all! They make their way down the hall, and bust through the door to flight division-two paragliders sit within. Remus and Scrounge shoot up the control board in one and the team enters the other, as HCB attempts to determine how to launch. They hear an explosion from the far end of the hallway, and then the sound of frantic cries of “help us” and “they went that way” followed by gunfire. as HCB launches the glider, the door to the room splits open, and some hulking red armored assault troops enter, blasting fire at the rapidly exiting glider.
As they break free of the acrologies walls and exit the flight tube HCB feels fully at peace. This lasts until the second glider emerges behind them, apparently not sufficiently disabled. They exchange fire, although at the speeds they are traveling, it is fairly inaccurate, and the gliders themselves are unarmed. HCB makes for Ivan’s car, and Scrounge launches a stunball at the tailing craft, dropping a red armored figure off the side and a long way to the ground. They rapidly approach Ivan’s car, and he dives in and deploys the autocannon. At the least minute, HCB pulls out of his dive, and Ivan fires straight thru the tailing craft, sending its’ flaming wreckage hurtling into the ground, barely avoiding the car. HCB lands the glider a little rough, but they all survive and make their immediate escape via automobile.