The team stocks up at ATF, and Test and Carol call their local contacts, getting a brief on what the broad situation in Chicago is currently. Feeling a little more grounded, they locate a secure coffin motel on the Westside with a good rep and a price to match. They head there, clean up, stash some gear, and then head to Horde territory to find a smuggler to drive them into the CZ to their meet. They end up hiring a Skraacha member after Kinnie helps him tune up his van and he gives Carol some shit about not knowing Or’zet. They reach the Purple Pig without trouble, and find 3 other teams also interviewing. They play it cool and 6 Cyl makes friends with 2 laconic street sams.
They meet with Sarah Silverleaf, who flirts aggressively with the more charismatic team members, which only Test rejects. They banter for quite a while, with 6C offering an extensive breakdown on his pseudo-relationship with Zeha Cadgris. They head back outside while the 4th team interviews, and then get the job- some of the other teams seems annoyed but only the Silver Vixens are at all aggro. The team shakes it off and heads into the back to get the job deets. They then head down to Goober’s dock near the Calumet port to stock up on water gear and meet their sub pilot.
He sells them some last minute gear, and they head out. They reach the former Yamatetsu facility without incident, though the sub creaks and groans a lot. One of the 3 modules is completely wrecked, and the connecting shaft between the other 2 is damaged. Luckily, the moon pool in the top module is intact, so they head up through there without getting wet. They check out the module, which seems long abanonded, though repairable, aside from a scattering of small, well-tended plants. They get some air flowing again to clear out the rotted fish smell, and investigate, finding nothing of note until they stumble across a teenage girl sleeping amidst a pile of tech devices in a storage closet.
They grab her to keep her from fleeing, and question her, not getting a ton of info. However, once they agree to repair her “busted” tech, which turns out to just be a case of drained batteries, and repair the saltwater osmosis generator for her to keep recharging stuff, she becomes much friendlier, and goes to fetch a massive man who seems to run security for whatever community is here. He agrees to bring them down to meet 2 others who he say know more about what they seek. A few team members stay back with Goober and the sub, but most head down, squeezing through the busted elevator shaft and then swimming a short distance to the other module, where they find a small crowd of humans of various ages waiting.
Conversing with an elderly man named Ryujin, Avocado and Alyin make their purpose semi-clear, and are ushered back to meet Dr. Urashima. He gives them the data core they seek in return for 3 things: a ride to the surface, help finding him an appropriate new place, and help finding an appropriate non-corporate sponsor for the uplifted merrow community living here. He explains a bit of his work, but they are interrupted by news of another sub approaching. They encourage Ryujin to use illusion spells to make the habs look more damaged and uninhabitable, while Big Meat preps for a fight. BM and Otoko help get the data core and Urashima up to the sub, and the team leaves a broadcasting RFID saying that they have the data core and sabotaged the structure behind them. They race back towards the docks.
Using his newly improved Fresnel coat, Test is able to spot and quick hack an incoming torpedo just before it impacts them, allowing them to reach Goober’s dock safely. Silverleaf greets them there and takes possession of the data core. She pries for more info, but the team plays it cool and she seems satisfied. They then bring Urashima to their motel, and make next plans. Evo seems like the best fit for him still, so they contact Holmes, the local Evo fixer, who seems to have been the one pursuing them in the other sub as well. They hope this will help them remain neutral between the corps in Chicago for now. Mrs. Clean also tips the team off to some other work opportunities in town, and Carol gets some more Tarot and investigative work from Ares.
They accept a job from Holmes and pass off Urashima succcessfully, and also purchase the sub from Goober. They make a deal with Ryujin, Big Meat, and Otoko to use the upper module as their safehouse, with a promise to bring no trouble, in exchange for contacting the Sea Dragon on their behalf to ensure the protection of their communities independence. 6Cyl meets with a local toxic shaman/anti-corp activist named Catharsis who seems affiliated, and shortly thereafter the Sea Dragon publicly announces her protection for the “free merrow” and other water-life in Lake Michigan, much to the consternation of some. Fargus Sol and Arleesh seem well-pleased by the team’s moved though, and happy to report that with help from the Unseelie they have begun devising a ritual to free Aylin and 6 Cyl from Tohu-Wa-Bohu’s patronage. However, this will require the presence of all 3 Books of 9 Gates, of which they only have 1. 1 more was at least once held by the Catholics, and the other is long lost.
The team grabs all their gear and some repair supplies from town and heads down to the new safehose, spending a couple days cleaning and repairing it, first getting the air exchanger working again. Kinnie plans to continue Goober’s tinkering with the sub, getting it back to spec (or above), and he and Hotkey begin scheming how to get away from using fuel oil for the generator in order to stay on the Sea Dragon’s good side. Avocado also picks an arbitrary date for 6C’s birthday and they celebrate wildly until everyone crashes.