The team gets job info from their various Johnsons: Sandelerro and Chen, who seem to work for Aztechnology, want them to plant info on a Knight Errant station mainframe. Getting a bit paranoid, the team has Jane scope the data, and she reports that it is very similar to the data they just stole in the last mission, except it has been altered to remove AZT involvement, and play up Creech’s role at Evo. Deciding that this is just some inter-corp squabbling, the team feels a bit relieved.
They also check with DJ and Sarah McCarthy about this particular KE station. Sarah doesn’t have much intel, but gives them what she does- she is still seeking the truth and pushes them a bit on what they’ve uncovered recently. DJ gets them schematics, and clears their entrance into the MCZ with the cordon guards again, but also wants them to report back on the station: it may be fully infected, and he’s heard reports that uniformed officers have been rounding up survivors on the inside to “keep them safe” but making no effort to get the out, which worries him. He wants the team to rescue any available survivors, and take out any infected KE personnel. They agree.
Smedley Pembrenton III gives them an address to pick up supplies in the CZ and also to drop them off in the MCZ. The team gets to the first address and meet an attractive woman with a CAS drawl, who introduces herself as Penelope Xavier, aka Penny. Aemon gets a crush and flirts a bit, and she says she’ll take him up on his dinner offer if they help her out with a job: she offers a ton of money to get into the MIT&T, and turn on a series of relays and a main terminal in order to get some secret data for her and some of her colleagues. They agree, since they’ll be on campus for the delivery anyway.
Meanwhile, Ro has managed to distract the bear during the last mission, get out of the MCZ, and get some implant upgrades courtesy of Musa Matevosian and Doc Wagon. She has to trade in a bit of gear as she’s short on cash. Also, the doctor’s seem very interested in her unique physiology, and accidentally spill the beans to her that she is a cloned body- apparently Renraku Computer Systems had to transfer her brain (or just consciousness?) over to enable the experimental ‘ware overload they put into her. The doctor’s are quite impressed, as Ro’s magic remained intact, suggesting possibly some sort of CFD/blood magic combo, they say.
Ro is obviously distressed, and turns to her PAB machine to try to provide counseling. However, the PAB is really pushing a pro-Renraku stance, which initially works to reassure Ro but increasingly creeps her out. She gets ahold of Smedley, grabs more supplies, and rejoins the team on the way in. She only tells Aemon about her “issue”, and he sympathizes and suggests she try to find the killswitch that Renraku likely implanted, before leaving Boston. Ro agrees, but wants to focus on the mission for now.
They decide to do the MIT&T leg first, so they can unload the supplies. They find the campus cordoned off and overrun by thousands of decrepit, decaying shamblers (the student body hahahahaha). This seems to be possibly the epicenter or original incident site? Not wanting to try to get through, and with the impression from their surveillance that the more intelligent infected and ragers have already escaped the cordon, they find a building likely to connect to the old steam tunnels under the school, and launch some flashbangs nearby to distract the shamblers in the area. They race to the building and get inside without getting spotted. Jane keeps their cargo drone moving, and seems to have a knack for keeping it out of sight.
They kill some infected inside, and work their way into the tunnels, which unfortunately have anywhere from 1-7 inches of standing water in them, crawling with CFD. They brace themselves and head in, managing to get most of the way to their destination before being set on by a pack of infected Fenrir guard wolves. Toast and 2 Chrome are instantly sent fleeing in fear by the wolves’ howls, but the rest of the team manages to shake it off and drive the pack off, though they take some severe damage in the process- these things bite hard! They rush to magnetics lab, and head upstairs.
Everyone except Toast (the only one with no implants), feels a terrible humming noise in their heads, as if both from within and without. Senk gets instantly cranky and irritable. They sneak across the open lobby of the building, carefully not getting spotted by the massive shambler horde outside. They find the lab they seek, and are ushered in by a manservant drone with a monitor for a face, through which they meet Dr. Brain. He introduces himself as the “Master of Magnetics”, and says they can call him MoM. He thanks them for the supplies, and runs Toast, Aemon, and some of their gear through an intense jury-rigged series of whirling magnets, which he says should take care of any lingering nanites that haven’t gotten in yet.
He offers them a magnetic field device (basically a portable version of the field on his lab), which he calls the “crazy repeller”, and which he says seems to keep shamblers at bay. They also trade their cargo drone for a 2nd unit, with the promise to deliver 3 more partway across campus, to the Brain Research Labs, where a colleague named Dr. Volt is trying to regain access to his labs, and begin his own essential experiments. They head back into the tunnels, leapfrogging the units (they only work when stationary), to get to Volt’s lab. They find him holed up in the basement, and he requests their assistance in reaching his labs.
They agree, and using the repellers as safe zones, work their way up the building, killing some trapped ragers and shamblers on the way. The field seems most effective against shamblers, the ragers get confused and slow a bit but keep coming. Useful intel to pass onto Brain! They reach the lab, and Volt convinces them to help capture and restrain 4 shamblers trapped inside, one of which is his niece. After convincing the team that he understands that she is gone, and merely needs subjects, they agree to help, and he pays them a small sum. They make it back to Brain’s with the last of their juice, and rest up in the safety of his larger field (though not all are able to rest well- the humming keeps 2 Chrome and Ro up all night). They recharge the units, heal up a bit, and prepare to head down to the basement to find those relays for Penny.