Otters aka Roadkill
and goodbye to:
The team spends a while trying to figure out what to do about Ellis. Dig attempts to use his new “hacking box” to investigate the drive that Creature found in Ellis’ lab, but fails to cast the spell he needs to do so and decides to go to sleep instead. Tabasco gets Iva to patch up his shredded cyber-armor while the team discusses next steps. They scan the drive as best they can, and finding nothing worrying, check out the files within. They find a text note that says “sorry, they’re breaching, can’t wait” and an attached video file. The video file shows Ellis seemingly disabling the facility security to give the team access, while also preparing the pod in her lab to get rolled out. She gets overridden when the hit squad shows up and starts gunning down security, and starts trying to figure out next steps.
As a cutting torch from the hit squad starts piercing her lab’s bulkhead door, she looks to the camera and says that she doesn’t trust either Otto or Knight’s plans, and thinks she found a different path, before flipping a bunch of switches, and crawling into the pod alongside what looks to be a bug nymph spirit. They embrace each other as the pod closes again, tilts towards the wall, and a retrofit rocket blasts it out through the side of the facility. The feed cuts when Creature comes in and yanks the drive.
They decide to get in the sub, hope to avoid FAB, and get down into the river, though hours have passed as this point. CG manages to use assensing both to avoid the FAB and follow the pod’s path down to the river bottom, where it looks to have plowed in pretty hard and shed some plating and exterior bits. Following some drag marks, they track it to where it appears to have been winched out of the river into some woods. Carefully heading ashore, they find the pod itself camo’ed with some tree branches and debris, and some evidence that fight took place. However was involved used a liberal amount of Cleaner-Cleaner, and seems to have had a mage do some cleanup on the astral as well.
They report in to Ringmaster, and are told to gather what info they can and continue, but that if Ellis merged with the bug this is now a termination contract. CG uses his spirits to search out her last known location, and finds that however encountered her on the river bank took her over water to the large Docklands port area. They head there and Creep sneaks around a bit, finding that her last known location was a loading area for cargo containers, with mechanized cranes and huge stacks of isotainer all around, as well as ship and truck loading zones. So she could be nearly anywhere, and whatever she is in seems to be blocking further attempts to astrally track her.
Tabasco calls up Remo, who reports that there is something bad afoot in the Detroit matrix: lots of killer ICE, etc, so Remo refuses to help hack the port, and warns the team to be careful. Lacking a hacker, they decide to report in first to Weathernight, hoping Vogel might be able to salvage something out of this, before reporting their failure to Ringmaster. Weathernight convinces Carol to finally come in out of the cold (not that it took much doing), and he tells the team he’s stepping back to more a fixer role, and buys them a new van as a parting gift. Carol also calls RIngmaster and explains that they failed, but that he passed the info along to the “3rd faction” who he confirms he works for, without ID-ing Vogel, though Ringmaster as usual seems to know a bit more than he lets on. He agrees to an info-sharing agreement on this one particular gig, as a possible avenue to a future alliance. He also gets the remaining team members some fake merc SINs to allow them to continue to move about town, in exchange for the info gathered.
When they get back to the safehouse from the port, Creature also announces xe is leaving, along with Shan and Shun, to help maintain the Sea Dragon’s gains in Chicago amidst the corporate push back into the former CZ there. They take the sub and head off, with Tabasco briefly debating going along with as both he and Creep ponder what exactly they’re still doing in Detroit. CG and Dig have made some more local connections they’re invested in, and Creep is learning his way around the city, so they decide to stay. Creature seems more likely to return in a “day-to-day” capacity than Carol, though xe will be more geographically distant in the interim.
Dig, waking up from his nap, hears all this and informs the team he recently met a driver at the Zoo, who seems to do some shadow work on the side. They call up Otters and get her to come take the van for a test drive, very much impressing them. In Tabasco’s best attempt at OpSec, this all takes place in front of the Tin Can, instead of out back, directly at the safehouse. They sell Zennia the FAB suit they found in Ellis’ lab, but Creep proves to be a poor negotiator, so they quickly realize they’ll be neeeding a face. Luckily, Otters just met one, the face/sniper Locke, doing some smuggling jobs, and has actually just gotten a call from Locke to look into a mystery for The Detective, Locke’s mentor.
There are some strange broadcasts occurring around town, and The Detective thinks it might be a numbers station or similar, and wants it looked into. She’s too deep into a Zen binge to do it herself, so has enlisted Locke’s assistance. The team agrees to help Locke with this job in exchange for their help with a job they need a face for: getting the local rap collective Glock .50 to agree to sing to Johnny Silver’s “Silversound” imprint on Perianwyr’s label. Otters calls her Keepers contact Arda, who passes along the number for another Keeper who is also part of the loose G50 collective: Marjo-Lin. Recognizing her as one of his new magical order members, Dig makes contact, and after allaying her initial suspicions, she listens to Locke’s pitch and passes it onto the rest of the group.
They get back in touch shortly, agreeing to the terms with two addendums: they want a celebratory gig at the Brickhouse, and they want a meet and greet with Silver himself. The team gets the gig set up easily via Locke’s connections with Marv, who seems to view it as a good opportunity for a secret meeting that he invites the team to. For the meet and greet, the best they can get through Zennia is an agreement that it will happen sometime, when Silver is available, as he is still on the run from the Wild Hunt at the moment. G50 agrees, so job done! Zennia pays the team the signing bonus and seems to have taken a shine to her new safehouse renters, as they are proving adept at closing contracts for her.
They next all head out to check out the numbers station mission, as an exchange for Locke’s help. The team kinda fumbles around for a while before semi-accidentally revealing to Otters and Locke the existence of MAMA. the RCC/TacNet CCOB hidden in the van’s smuggling compartment, and a few other big/expensive secrets. However, once they give Otters access to the RCC, the mission goes a lot faster, though Dig did manage his spell this time and got some good data from it as well. They find 7 broadcast points on different frequencies, and spending some time on it over the day, figure out the schedule as well. However, Locke is unable to decipher the code, so they might be using a one time pad or similar, which would make decoding incredibly difficult. CG also harvests some interesting toxic-adjacent plants up in the Blight that Jaga had recommended as interesting culinary additions for Castiron.
As they all link back up with the van to compare notes, they spot and hear a number of KE drones and cars travelling the city, as well as receive matrix broadcasts, that there is a shelter in place order starting at midnight for the duration of an ARES “special military operation” training period (an unspecified duration). Remo manages to get a message through to Tabasco with a screenshot of Jackpoint post telling users there to “keep an eye on Detroit in the next few days”, as well as a linked video what looks to be a hacked weather satellite that JP was using to do just that getting shot down by a ship coated in Void Black.
In a bit of a panic, the team decides to quickly bring Otters and Locke into the team norms, files, and secret knowledge, and after they both agree, do so. Locke quickly disappears into a Tarot and secrets hole, and is almost non-responsive while sponging up info. The rest of the team decides to head for the Brickhouse for the G50 show ahead of the curfew, and see what this secret meeting is about. They are unable to get any matrix comms out of the city, though comms inside still seem to be working. Otters is very stressed about an AI with self-editing capabilities living on the teams TacNet but otherwise is very excited to be included.
Reaching the club, they are ushered into a back room, with some stairs leading underground, into the warded area CG had previously spotted from outside. Marv, Ringmaster and Rifleman, as well as some other mercs and runners, are poring over screens and info, and Marv ID’s a technomancer in a hacker’s crash couch, hooked up to IV drip, as their current means of getting info in and out. He says they have a lot to talk about, and invites them to grab what seats they can amidst the chaos and get down to biz, then enjoy the show, then head out to get to work…