Soaring. Diving. Pulling out into a beautiful loop-de-loop. Just another day at NeoNet’s experimental aircraft division for Harmony Craig Bottow. Flying the friendly skies. He returns to the base for lunch, and after a quick soya protein shake, he jumps back in his newest toy and takes off. The launch tube clears around and he’s hit by the glorious glow of the sun. He likes the double length seasons on Mars. Really gives you time to appreciate the weather. All of a sudden, his sensors start going off wildly-he’s got incoming! He quickly pulls himself together, remembering his UCASAF days-but he’s amazed that anyone would fuck with NeoNet-it’s not like they’re just going to abandon their test plane and best pilot! He tries to lose to lose whatever’s on his tail, but he can’t quite shake it, and it clips his rear stabilizer-he’s spinning out of control and trailing a huge smoke cloud. He does his best to regain control, in order to land the craft as intact as possible, but to little avail. NeoNet contacts him and tells him that he will be auto-ejected and the craft detonated in order to ensure that no unsavory characters get their hands on the tech. He asks when they’re coming to get him. As soon as they can, they assure him. He doesn’t feel very comforted in the brief instance before the hatch blows and his seat launches him out.
He hits the ground hard, but doesn’t seem to have broken anything essential. He gets untangled from his chute and draws his sidearm as he sees dust trails approaching from multiple directions. He hears an explosion behind him as the craft explodes on impact. A number of armed men wearing piecemeal armor roar up on scavenged looking bikes, trikes and buggies. They confer about what to do with him, since his craft is gone. They figure he night still know something worthwhile, and they tell him to put down his gun. He knows he’s always been lucky, but he’s not stupid. He obeys. One of the men walks up and clocks him in the side of the head, and he falls to the ground stunned by his rapid turn of fate.
He awakens in a jail cell carved out of stone to the sound of gunfire and explosions-he hides back from the door, hoping not to die in this stupid place. His gear is nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, the team enters the cace, although something seems to be interfering with their vision as they try to peek in: Barry takes a shotgun blast to the face and responds with a grenade, and the team charges in. They seem to cross some sort of magical barrier (with Scrounge’s assistance) and then can see again. They quickly dispatch the 4 guards in the front room with minimal damage. Then they hear a voice calling for help from a nearby cell. Unbarring the door, they discover a dwarf in a skintight NeoNet flightsuit, and set him free. He finds his stolen equipment nearby. They make quick introductions, and HCB, ever the thrillseeker, agrees to tag along, partially motivated by revenge, no doubt. The team splits up, with Ivan and Barry setting up one of the machine guns from the nest outside by the cave entrance in case anyone tries to escape. Ivan rolls his eyeball drone down the tunnel to watch for movement-he sends it up one side path, while HCB and April explore the other. They are set upon by three more men, with axes this time-both take some severe damage before killing them. April is now in an adrenaline fueled rage, and tears one of them to a bloody pulp as HCB watches in bemused horror.
They leave the sideroom, finding little of use and HCB heads to where Ivan’s eyeball drone has found a bunk room with sleeping figures inside. Barry starts down the tunnel to join in on the massacre-unfortunately, it turns out to be an illusion concealing a dead end, only shattered by the sound of a door at the end of the tunnel splintering open and spewing forth 3 single rider bikes and two with sidecars. April has returned to the entrance and passed out from her adrenal overstimulation-Ivan pulls her to the side (leaving this part of the sim a very exciting array of sounds accompanied by a view of the wall). Barry and HCB stand their ground and fire at the enclosing bikes, taking one of them down. Barry dodges out of the way down the side tunnel, but HCB is run down, sustaining some serious damage. Ivan opens up with the heavy machine gun as the bikes round the corner, taking down one of the sidecar rigs, while Barry shoots a second single bike out from under it’s rider, who deftly jumps free of the wreck and makes a run for the entrance, only to be relieved of his head by Remus, still providing sniper cover. The remaining bike and sidecar exit, although the gunner in the sidecar is bleeding heavily. The single biker whoops with joy at his surprising escape, before he is also felled by Remus’ rifle. The driver of the remaining sidecar mutters an arcane phrase and transforms into a flock of birds which quickly disperse in multiple directions-Scrounge tries to discern which one is real to no avail.
The team searches the back room and discovers maps and markers detailing the plans of the group (called Olympus Prime) to reclaim Mars from the human incursion. Apparently Bathcat has set himself up as some sort of prophet of a coming technological collapse, and has near religious significance to members of the organization, which appears to be more widespread than the team had imagined based on their research. They seem to have plans to infiltrate corps and city government to help bring about the collapse, but it isn’t clear how much of this they have actually achieved yet. They haul April’s unconscious body to the car and they drive slowly and carefully back to Yerbal, having photographed the carnage and bringing along what’s left of the face of Gorode, the first victim of the sniper.
The mayor happily pays them the agreed upon price, plus extra for the map from their lair containing they plans. April wakes up, and decides this will make a good story for Hermes (“scary cult out in the wasteland”) heads back to they city in a cab, and begins going over it with Yann. She begins getting paid for subscription fees for run uploads. Get car patched up and running again at a local scrapyard, but it looks a little less sturdy and definitely more piecemeal. Barry feeds part of Gorode’s face to a stray dog that wanders into the bar while he’s waiting for the car to get fixed. The dog begins to follow him around, and he decides to bring it back to the city. They sell most of the weapons they collected in the cave to help offset the cost of auto repair, but they keep one heavy machine gun to mount on a newly installed swivel mount on the fold down passenger side windshield. They take 5 days doing all this.