They get a job offer to do some morally solid work that Ortega just can’t refuse, and arrange to travel to Catagena, and then move on to Bogota from there. Ro gives some info about the last job to Hiro Katakura, which he says is a good start to rebuilding trust with Renraku after double-selling the data on the Chicago job. Aemon Burst stays behind in a medically induced coma after od’ing on stim patches. Ortega secretly baptizes him while noone is watching. They fly in, using Roser Masamba Moles to get their gear past the naval security provided by the UN/ Free Marine Corps. The Exchange sends Ut-Napishtim to meet them, feeling they might need another runner.
They link up with Victor Agramunt, a Catholic contact of Ortega’s, who puts them in touch with a man named Stormcrow. He is a generic-looking South American human, and tells them the job is to get some footage of Aztlan abusing denizens of Bogota, in order to run a PR campaign against them. They suspect he may have Horizon ties, continuing their fight against Aztechnology’s currently dominant PR machine. Aztlan has taken over all security in Bogota after the FMC/UN pulled out.
They get smuggled in via van, and manage to bribe some Amazonian rebels on the way without getting into a gunfight. They get into town, and Ortega takes them on a tour of the different zones before they start filming. They get some quality footage of squalor, long lines at clinics, and children being attacked by devil rats, before tracking down some more promising leads from a local rebel named Regulo Graciano. TY also makes contact with Silver from the Las Munecas network to look into side work while they’re in town, having heard that the Munecas have beef with the Olaya Cartel, which has moved from tempo production into bunraku parlors, with an unusually high turnover rate. They seem to have developed some yakuza connections to do so.
They film a Catholic outreach worker getting stomped by some Path of the Sun devotees while the cops look on, in the AZT-dominated (and relatively nice and rebuilt) Zona Oeste. They find proof of AZT troops summarily executing denizens and burning the bodies, in the more rural and destroyed Zona Sur. They film an arms deal in Zona Norta between non-uniformed AZT soldiers and members of the David Cartel. However, they feel they still need a little more, so they head to a major cathedral that does outreach, and discuss conditions with the priest and people in the line and clinic there. Then AZT troops show up to disperse the crowd and arrest the Catholics.
Ortega is in a faraday cage confession booth, and unaware, and Ut and Ro decide to stir things up to get some good footage. Ro antagonizes in the crowd, while Ut sneaks behind the AZT troops and chucks some smoke grenades into the crowd, which Ro then says came from the Azzies. Ro also fires a shot into the ground, after the crowd still doesn’t charge in. This get the Azzie’s firing, and Ro barely escapes getting nailed, but manages to dash off as the crowd scatters. The Azzie’s arrest everyone they can grab, and throw all the injured and dead-looking people into one of their APC’s.
TY lands a drone on top and rides the APC to the Don Juan dump in Zona Sur, where they find a secluded spot, execute the survivors, and burn the bodies. Throughout all this, Ro has managed to keep Ut and Ro from interfering only through some spectacular leadership. TY also has a weirdly emotional response to the corpse piles, reminding him of his own massacre of his village, and breaks down to Ut (who knows more of his history than anyone in the current team), and also Jane, who he fills in about the recent events in Seattle as well.
They get the rebels to hide them in the city, as increased AZT patrols and rioting locals have encouraged them to obey the curfew. However, TY sends his drone out to get riot footage and it gets spotted, so they bail on the safehouse (which gets raided) and hide in the jungle with the rebels. They smuggle them across the border the next day, and they get picked up by a small biplane and flown back to Cartagena, and then Seattle, with their pay and some queasy feelings of ethical distress.
Butch is working on a job for them to infiltrate the ACHE (aka the old Renraku Arcology) and investigate what’s happening in there, having heard some disturbing reports. There are close to 100,00 poor and distressed residents recently relocated inside, under Kenneth Brackhaven initiative to get the streets cleared. However once inside, they often don’t have the option to get back out, so there’s not much info. It has essentially become a huge, closed debtor’s prison, and Lone Star is bidding for the contract to police it. They are stinging from the loss of the Seattle contract, and this would be a good way for Brackhaven to assuage them. The UCAS still has military units in the highest and lowest levels slowly combing through the leftovers from Deus’ reign. Speculation on the boards suggests everything from secret AI activities, to insect cults, to Butch’s worry that there may be an outbreak of the disease she is investigating. So she wants a capable team inside to get some real info.