Ratched the Hatchet
The team does a bunch of little job cleanup while practicing and waiting for Jonny’s show. Meanwhile, PPJ gets levitated by the weird lil spirit, and flown way west to near the wall, where he enters a nondescript facility. A nerdy middle-aged woman explains that she had word he was interested in blood crystals, and the his and the team’s actions against AZT impressed her group enough that they are willing to provide him with one for free, and possibly more in the future if the team does more work for them. PPJ tries to suss out who they are, and make sure they aren’t Black Lodge, but it seems like they’re ASPS (or affiliated). They seem not to like AZT, the Tan Robes, or the Atlanteans, and seem neutral on the IOND, so it’s chill. He agrees, and gets a replacement spine, which pulses and protrudes slightly, but makes him faster.
He returns to the team, and the spirit introduces himself as Kostas after wiping PPJ’s memory of the location of the lab. The team agrees in principle to do more work, and Guy plans to get the next reward. They do one job linking up some urban tribes with the ASPS, but Kostas says additional work is needed for the level of crystal Guy wants. They do get one magic bullet each from the master alchemist Maestro in exchange for helping her tribe in their goal of cleansing astral space for the Spirit of the City. Ratched also orders better armor from BBE, and the team plans to work on their batch of open jobs soon. The team also takes delivery of a package from the Murai/BM scientists, who give them each a single dose of reversers, saying that if combined with a pulse spell, this should prevent infection from a single exposure to CFD. They team invests in faraday pockets to keep these nanite syringes secret.
PPJ and Guy head up the IOND to check on some stuff and report in, PPJ seems to be having some success getting them to engage more with Charlease’s help, and Olivier agrees to support plant spirit Wilds and NAN enclave sovereginity in exchange for a rare reagent supply chain, and agrees to lend the illusions instructor, Prof. Thornblossom, out for Jonny’s show in exchange for PPJ making sure IOND sponsorship is clear and putting in a good word with the Mayor. He also pays the team less insultingly this time around.
Prot0 fixes up his drone, and does some digging on some matrix jobs, inquiring with the TM’s at the safehouse about a few things, and finds out that Guy’s contact Ax S. Grant might know something about “Garmonbozia.” They go to his shop and ask, and he locks it down, pumps gas into the room, shoots them with gel rounds, and says he really wishes they hadn’t asked that. He tells them if they just let him erase that name from their memories he can let them go, but they refuse. They kill what they think is him, but it turns out to be a rigged body, as he is an AI. They eventually make a deal to work for him on behalf of GB, promising to keep any info about GB offline (including the Conservatory).
He tells them it is an AI nation on the matrix, looking only to exist peacefully and do their own thing. They know that the corps would never allow this, which is why the extreme secrecy. In exchange, he gives them a bunch of info on the Null (including solving the Jackpoint/Nexus beef), and agrees to assist them against the Dissonants in Peabody, who may have made common cause with the Null as well. Using this info, Prot0 finally makes peace between JP and the Nexus, and the team gets provisional access to the local JP hub, gaining access as well to the old team’s dossiers on Boston biz.
The night of the concert arrives, the three opening acts (Grim, Kombat Karla, and Micval) are a success, and with a stage show combining AR from Prot0 and some TM’s and spellcraft from PPJ and Thornblossom, and a tarot assist from Aylin, Jonny gives one of his best performances, and insures that he’s taken seriously by the local music scene. He also makes progress on recruiting Micval to his label, though Micval says Damon is also interested. PPJ briefly talks to the Mayor and plans to rep the IOND to her during office hours, and Guy gets to ride Wyatt’s bike, with the car spirit inside. Exhausted and happy, the team gets ready to gear up for some difficult and deadly work.