Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
The team heads into the DDB to begin their multi-phase series of jobs down there. They spend most a day navigating a long series of deadly traps after reaching the site of their showdown with Otto Hendricks, and attempting to explore deeper into his area. Luckily with careful drone recon, good sensor use, and some quick-thinking, they take minimal damage and clear/mark a mostly safe passage to a back entrance to the lab, which they manage to access.
Unfortunately, they then to blind a gun turret by throwing a sleeping bag over it and it fires, detonating some C4 strapped to an adjacent wall and triggering a cave-in. They spend another good portion of a day excavating their way back into the lab to find it in a state of disarray, but they do manage to salvage some useful info, while also potentially exposing themselves to deadly toxins.
It seems that Hendricks (whether initially on ARES’ behalf or on his own initiative) had been manufacturing some experimental weaponry based on spores, toxins, and modified acids, and providing it to GreenWAR cells, possibly for false flag operations, possibly to make Vogel look bad, given his past ties to eco-activist groups. The bio-containment on the experimental weapons lab failed due to the explosion/partial collapse the team triggered, luckily all of them except Cholula and Creep have full seals on their armor, and Creep is running an internal air tank…..
They continue digging around and find a few former SCIF chambers, now rendered non-secure by the structural damage, where people were doing old-school offline paper-based research, data collation, and investigation, into two primary areas of interest: what’s up at the new ARES HQ site in Atlanta (they seem to have semi-secretly bored a huge shaft underneath it) and what is up with ARES’ metaplanar activities. It seems likely based on all this that ARES has/will have a new portal to Vhortas and their fortified base “Colony” there, in the shaft underneath their new HQ, as the construction of that began shortly after their space station portal was shut down.
ARES also is using a lot of materials to build the HQ that have no clear sourcing- could be standard corp shell games, or could be a metaplanar origin there too. The team also finds a disassembled portal closer, with some notes about it. The magical part of the payload is missing (either removed or expended) but the notes suggest that even Hendricks and crew didn’t fully understand how/why these worked. There is also a suggestion that ARES was attempting to find a way to use bugs as magical batteries, and an explanation of how Firewatch members were chosen for service at Colony (awakened members) or for turning into ALPHAs (mundanes).
This is all good paydata for some various Johnsons, so the team decides to return to the surface, collect Dig from whatever animalistic magic quest he went off of, get paid, and patch up themselves and their armor before heading back underground for the next stages of their missions.