Otters aka Roadkill
The team decides to hold off on tracking down the escaped critters lab, and Cholula heads off to keep an eye on the 696 Slayers and start plotting the gang coop mission to take them out. The rest of the crew decides to knock out the assorted jobs they have for Grandmother Biyu. They head down to the Long Storage facility first and try to contact Static, the AI landlord, who appears to be absent or offline. They break in, and are nearly overwhelmed by the terrible odors coming out from many units. There are also a lot of obvious signs of looting and other break-in’s.
Luckily, Dig as a dog has an excellent nose and tracks down the unit they are looking for with ChewGum and necro spirit assistance, and they manage to talk their way in without any trouble, despite some home-built auto-turrets that Tator has rigged up. He turns out to be a somewhat chaotic-seeming dwarf with nano-tats, who seems to be a Technomancer who ended up in deep debt to the Triad. He says it was actually kinda lucky since he was in a Farady’ed holding cell when they Blackout hit, so wasn’t effected as many TM’s were, and now can work down his debt at an accelerated rate.
He has the pieces of the previous mystery vans the team blew up, which Biyu seems to have retrieved after they tipped her off. He also has a more intact third van, as well as a cracked-open SpriteLok. He explains that he managed to bust it open and free the captive Sprite onto the local hardwired grid, and when the team, worried for Static, asks if he say anyone else on there, he says it looked empty to him. He also agrees to free the Sprite from the Spritelok that the team recovered, since they don’t have a handy grid to let it stabilize on.
He passes on some intel he’s scraped from the van’s nav and comms systems, and Dig and Otters manage to retrieve a bit more, recovering another few days of Jackpoint logs from the first few days of the Blackout- it seems there is a lot of live information manipulation happening, and confusion as to where is or isn’t blacked out, what caused it, what’s happening etc. Also, there was at least one sighting of somewhere wearing a III Corps jacket who appeared mutated in a fight inside the ARCHology in St. Louis. Based on team file records, the team speculates that the Black Lodge portals used to construct that facility may have been involved….
They also review the info Tator found. It looks like Camden Espinoza, who they previously extracted for Brunwyn, made the offline GridGuide substitution as well as the hardened map devices that the vans use. So the team now has the route, as well as knowing a little more about Espinoza’s role. They also trace it back to Run and Sollars Private Library, where the map Espinoza used came from. They decide to head there later and check that out as well.
They stop by the port and pass along the small mystery package to a somewhat chastened-looking Triad LT, who is missing an ear. They then swing by the container graveyard adjacent, and with a clever idea from Creep track down the seafood container they are looking for via it’s massive heat output from it’s (luckily) still working AC. They manage to get it all loaded into the van as well as a trailer they buy from Rubberhead at the Triple R for this purpose.
Managing to speed by various hungry survivors on the way with no serious problems, the team drops off the seafood and reports in to Biyu, who pays them the first increment and also buys the trailer off their hands. They next head to Casa Aurelius and pull off a quick assassination, blasting the shit out of an elf businessman with CG’s shotgun from the open side door of the van before Otters speeds off while under covering fire from the machine gun mounted on the roof.
With that done, they rest up and then head to the library the next day. Luckily TD and Otters have good reps there since they didn’t call ahead, and TD manages to con The Cartographer into showing them the visitor log by claiming they are trying to help find out who kidnapped Camden Espinoza, as his family has been asking around. They get the name Astrid Case, ESQ, which Creep and TD recognize as being the honorific for a lawyer.
Knowing only one set of lawyers in town, they head to Belle Isle, and find Sahara Jones working for STV, having been left behind in the chaotic ARES withdrawal. Happy to see her previous saviors, she helps them out for free, and tells them Case is a local hardline corp rights attorney with a high fee who works for a boutique firm. She gives them the mailing address they have on file- an old bank downtown. They head there next.
The bank is under control of the Cutters, who took it over after ARES cut them loose back during the bug crisis. It looks like they have a civilian community there also, though the relationship is unclear. Dig notices an unknown number trying to call them, and puts it through. They make contact with the fixer Peregrine, who they’ve heard of but not interacted with yet. They agree to work with him to get an in with the Cutters, make sure the civvies are being taken care of well, and get him access to the basement, in exchange for him getting them the info they need on Case.
With some recon ahead, they start talking through some plans for how to get the Cutters on board, but since Peregrine is offering resources and material support, they think they can make it work without excessive bloodshed, though he seems open to a change in gang leadership as needed.