The team gets the details on Thom Harrow’s hideaway, deep in the wilds of the Mojave. Jackpoint members have tracked him down and done as much surveillance as possible, including reaching out to the Old Man of the Desert to make sure that their mission won’t be seen as an intrusion. Their will be 4 teams going in on 2 T-birds, approaching on ATV’s and then on foot. They decide to wait for a massive sandstorm to roll in to give them better cover. Luckily, satellite coverage of the area is shit also. The 4 teams are the main team, and 3 support teams (2 riggers and a hacker, 2 adepts and 2 mages, and a 4 person merc team sent by Picador). A runner named Ro Tain will be coordinating the 4 teams from one of the T-birds.
They gear up and roll out, and arrive safely, in the storm. They approach what seems to be a small oasis after the mages scout ahead (1 coming back badly injured). They enter and encounter some barghests, which once defeated are found to have some surveillance gear implanted. So, cover blown, they call in the others and try to find Harrow’s base. They eventually discover a shaft hidden inside a tree trunk, as well as some vent pipes, and blow it open, which also handily vents the poison gas trap in the room at the bottom. They blow through another door and find that facility is pretty well trashed- decks, servers, and consoles destroyed, documents shredded and bruned etc. They push through, finding the top floor abandoned, and descend further. They find Harrow frantically disconnecting medical gear from a grotesquely mutated child. He almost kills Ortega, but him and TY manage to take Harrow out with FA assault rifle fire.
Sempar interfaces with the kid, who is sporting a massively oversized brain, and tries to figure out how to stabilize him, as Harrow seems to have disconnected him from vital supports. The rest of the team finds 2 dead techies in another room, and gets in another firefight with 2 DG operatives who are actively destroying servers. Ortega is nearly killed, and experiences another vision of a spirit telling him that this was his 2nd favor. SP, realizing that the kid doesn’t have long to live, manages to get ahold of The Captain, who agrees to try to pull as much of the dying kid into e-ghost form as possible. The kid seems to be some kind of bizaare bio-enhanced technomancer experiment, but SP gets some useful info: it seems that this branch of the Dawkins Group, under the direction of Ted McNicholson (surprise!), has been tracking and targeting runners, and Jackpoint in specific, due to their complete dislike for following trends. As one of the hardest groups to reach & effect, they are inherently a threat to Horizon’s goals (whatever those may be).
The other hacker finds a bit of data on the trashed servers, proving that they were keeping a close eye on a number of JP members, as well as numerous others around the world, and selectively leveraging info on those runners to others who are tracking them in exchange for various favors and trades. JP decides to keep going after McNicholson, and tells the team they’ll have more work in the near future. But first, Saul Chronic wants them to track down a mellified man in Istanbul.