The team heads into the MCZ aka the MIT&T Containment Zone, to rescue a small survivor community that Aiden Wagner and DJ McCarthy have been in touch with. They were trying to help them plan an escape from the MCZ, but lost touch 3 days back. Aiden gives the team the necessary clearances to enter on an “approved” rescue/salvage, and says they should also be able to get back out so long as no-one is infected.
They head to the MCZ, and find it surrounded by 4 layers of fencing with killzones in between. In the center is a pathway and various buildings where the Knight Errant drones and guards are based out of. They don’t seem super invested on keeping people out, or evening patrolling the Zone, so much as keeping things in. The teams hears distant gunfire and sees smoke from various locations as they enter.
They make their way to the address they were given, after scaring off a small pack of ghouls on the way. Toast infiltrates the target building from above while the rest of the team breaches from the street. They get in a running gun battle with a large group of CFD shamblers, who almost bring Aemon down, before his incendiary grenades and Senk’s new gyro-mounted LMG take them out (for now). They flee to the fire escape and head up to meet Toast, having assensed a large incoming infected horde, attracted by the explosions.
They find the apartment where the survivors were supposed to be, but it looks like they left about when Aiden lost contact, luckily Toast finds a note with the new address. They prepare to flee the building via the roofs, and they herd on the street starts crashing against the base of the building. Toast splits off from the group, and using some flare arrows, manages to draw much of the herd’s attention away as his team flees to an adjacent roof via leaping and grapple guns, and sneaks down to ground level. They head for the second address, but Aemon spots someone signalling them from a high level of a condo tower nearby. Ro zooms in and sees a ragged man flashing a light. He waves a commlink once he sees she’s spotted him, and they talk briefly (to avoid calling more infected to the area).
He says he has a small group of survivors, but they are holed up on the 14th floor, and the building has a large amount of infected inside which they don’t think they can get past without help. He also thinks someone has been collecting the infected there and may be controlling them in some way. They enter the building after some astral recon, and manage to avoid a large group of shamblers on the 3rd floor by sneaking past. The doors off the fire escape stairs all seem to have been broken open, but are closed at the moment. They reach the survivor group, who really want to leave, but Ro insists on investigating the other large group of auras on the roof. Senk begins leading the survivors down, with 2 Chrome encouraging them along and Aemon bringing up the rear.
Ro sets off a noisemaker opening the door to the roof and gets rushed by over a dozen ragers- she flees down the stairs after setting off a grenade, which seems to have also alerted the shamblers below, as they start up the stairs. Trapped in the middle, the survivors panic and 2 Chrome leads them across the 6th floor to the opposite corner and the other stairwell. Senk and Aemon set up a choke point to wait for Ro, who comes racing down the stairs and past Aemon into the floor. After some fancy explosives work and some slick shooting, they make good their escape, though Ro once again insists on investigating the roof. As far as she can tell, there was no obvious mechanism of control present, and it seems that the ragers were simply trapped there.
She heads back down the stairs, but finds that some of the infected have reanimated and occupied the lower portions of both stairwells. Luckily, she still has Senk’s grapple gun, and manages to exfiltrate out a window at the last moment as the pack closes in on her again. They decide to guide the survivors back to the wall before finding the original group they sought, and do so without incident. However, Aemon pases out from his injuries, so they head back out without him. Luckily, Toast finally rejoins them. They reach the rendevouz address, and find a house with 4 ragers and about 30 shamblers outside, and 4 auras within. Ro and Toast snipe the ragers, silently, from a distance, and then Ro hollers at the ragers, and leads them off on a chase while the rest of the team gets the survivors inside out.
They are part of the original group, but say they got split up after they got spotted on the road- they have another rally point they think the others might be at. The team brings these survivors back to the wall, except one who guides them to the rally point. They find a horrifying scene- hundreds of shamblers, well over a dozen ragers, and what seems to be an infected piasma (aka a large horned bear) have surrounded the house, where 6 survivors wait on the roof. Two with pistols are perched on the roofline, while the other 4 are seemingly trying to rest while lying in the roof further down, tied to each other over the ridge to keep from falling.
As they watch, the ragers leap at the edges of the roof, but seem unable to reach it- the gutters have all been pulled down, and the lower shingles are ragged and torn. The piasma occasionally reaches into the 20 meter deep ring of shamblers and chucks one up on the roof, which the 2 women with guns are quick to dispatch, though they seem to be careful with their ammo. Toast shoots over a pair of grapple gloves and a note explaining their plan, and then he and Ro infiltrate into position to snipe the piasma from a ways away.
Ro makes her shot, and the piasma reacts disturbingly quickly, turning on a dime and charging in her direction. Toast tries to follow up, but biffs it, so the team decides to proceed with their plan. Senk gets to a high position on a house across the street, and fires the grapple gun over. They survivors anchor the line, and one hauls themselves across with the gloves. A small group of shamblers and a few ragers follow, but aren’t in the building yet. A second survivor gets across, but much slower, attracting more attention from the herd below- ragers leaping at their feet but not quite reaching and such.
The group moves locations after retrieving the grapple, and resets the line. Another survivor attempts to make the crossing, but falls halfway after losing their grip. Toast shoots their other pair of gloves across, and another survivor makes the crossing. A sizable portion of the herd is closing on their new building as a 5th survivor tries to cross, but also loses their grip and falls, triggering a feeding frenzy. Lacking any more gloves, Senk cuts the line and they flee out the back of the building as the herd surges in, after 2 Chrome shouts at them (and tells the remaining survivor to attempt to leap off the back end once it clears).
They collect the survivors they were able to rescue and and retreat the the wall. Meanwhile, Ro takes another shot at the piasma, but misses now that it knows it is targeted. It also seems to have her scent or have heard her, based on its demeanor. A small group of ragers have raced off after it as well. Ro leaps out the back of the building and runs for the wall, but the piasma seems able to outpace her, exhibiting terrifying speed. She fires at it as she runs, winging it once before it reaches her and swipes her with one of its massive paws. Luckily she manages to resist much of the damage, and drops the piasma with her rifle. Not wishing to stick around and wait for the ragers, she leaves before confirming that it is truly dead, and races back to the wall.
They get paid, and get a thankful message from Aiden passed to them by a KE guard. 2 Chrome manages to secure some rations for them, as well as a silencer for Senk’s machine gun and some medical supplies. They seem unwilling to sell them ammo or much else, though. The survivors have all been placed in quarantine, looking for “encephalitis”, before being moved outside the MCZ. They suggest if the team wants to shop further, they can do the same. However, they get another job offer from Zoh Rothberg to turn around and head back in instead. They negotiate a bit for pay, and get a sizable offer to go find and MIT&T lab, gather evidence and data, and make sure no one else gets the info.
They accept, and head back into the zone. They reach the pyramid building with no trouble, and find an Aztechnology -sponsored lab complex. They infiltrate the museum on the ground floor, and prepare to seek Lab 15, hopefully avoiding the large amount of spirits and other auras they’ve spotted from outside. They find that the first floor is a museum explaining what is worked on elsewhere in the building: seemingly primarily cultural thaumaturgy and luck magic (on the 13th floor!). They assume lab 15 is likely to be on the 15th floor.
They get in a fight with a rager while headed to the elevators, and come under attack from a trio of spirits who seem to be defending the rager. They defeat them, and deduce that the rager is an infected security guards, and the spirits were most likely commanded to assist them, pre-infection. So they decide to avoid further fights, where possible. The elevators are out, so they take the stairs to the 2nd floor, but decide to grapple up the elevator shaft after sensing some auras further up the stairs. There’s an awful smell when they open the elevator doors, and there seems to be a large corpse pile on top of the car at the bottom of the shaft.
They get up to floor 12, deciding not to risk passing floor 13 in the shaft, as there seems to be some sort of odd magic leaking out of the cracked open door. They take the stairs past 13, with a few of them improbably eating it in the process. They reach the 15th floor, and find the lab they’re looking for, as well as what looks to be the remains of a ritual of some sort. The whole center are of the triangular floor is one large chamber, with a glass barrier that’s cracked and crazed as if from a large explosion of the inside. They head down the hall along one side, looking for an entrance into the lab, when Ro, Toast, and Aemon all drop unconscious unexpectedly. After stim patches bring them to, they figure out that they passed through a mana ward of some sort, and only 2-Chrome (with a high enough force of will) and Senk (non-magical) were able to go through unmolested.
They get to the door, and Senk pops it. They enter, and find an arcane sigil carved into the floor, with the points of the triangle and the pentagram within marked with candles and incense burners. Ro determines that the ritual would have been related to centering and binding something, and the draconic feel in the air, they figure this fits with their emerging theory of what exactly kicked off this whole mess- this ritual would have been a crucial component of merging Cerberus with Eliohann’s body. They document the scene and try to pull data off the room’s terminals, with limited success. They attempt to leave, but are halted by 4 large spirits. They fight 3 of them off, but are getting pretty roundly pummelled, when a mage runs into the room and banishes the last one.
The mage is accompanied by 3 more, and they introduce themselves as the remaining security staff for the facility- they’ve been getting supplies, but no word on rescue, and are willing to pay the team to get them out. 2-Chrome talks them into trading some invisibility potions instead of pay to help them creep out, and also to provide the info they needed off the terminal. They get it quickly, as the lab is well and truly on fire at this point. They hightail it out, and make for the fence. Ro tries to steal a lucky dice from an exhibit in the museum, but finds it distressingly hot to the touch, and decides to leave it. They’ve almost reached the wall when they realize something is following them- worried it’s the piasma returning, Ro and Aemon decide to make a last stand as everyone else continues their retreat.
The piasma seems to have circled around them somehow, but luckily Aemon spots it astrally as it sneaks up. Ro and Aemon get some shots off before Ro gets ko’d, and Aemon pulls out all the stops to blast it. It sends him tumbling, and runs off before anyone can get another shot. They flee, hauling Ro, and reach the wall. 2-Chrome tells the guards about the mages, who seem to have snuck through the quarantine with magic, and the guards lock the crossing down. Looks like the team isn’t going anywhere for now! After Ro wakes up, she calls Zoh, and they get paid. She also receives a call from someone named Creech, who seems to work for Evo Corporation, based on his overall trashumanist vibe.
He wants them to head right back into the MCZ and get some more info. 2C manages to negotiate a day of rest, some supplies, and some upfront money out of him, but for a reduced rate overall. They agree on terms, and he gives them the deets. They restock, getting supplies delivered via a guard he’s bribed, and rest up to head out the next day.