A Night On The Slopes
|A Night On The Slopes|
|ShadowHaven||Horizon||Project Aurora||UCAS||Lachesis Research|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Anna Kirov||Project Aurora||Lieutenant Robert Carmichael||Unknown|
|Kani, Frag Face, Nora Inu, Carbon||Anna Kirov, 10-strong Horizon biodrone kill team, VTOL||Project Aurora AI, mysterious FBR woman, ShadowHaven Runners||Five strong Delta Force team (3 Riflemen, 1 PhysAd, 1 Mage), Stealth Aircraft (Unknown Model)||~20 strong black ops team, ~10 strong snowmobile mounted pursuit team|
|Five strong Red Samurai team|
|Casualties and losses|
|None||Total||None||Delta Force Mage||Total|
Javier Black was a well known Johnson and fixer for the Seattle shadows. He’s worked with everyone from Ares to Aztechnology on a contract basis. He also acts as a broker for high-value items that are too hot to move more directly. He was recently contracted to find a specific high-capacity data drive by the A-Rated corporation Lachesis Research, via their subsidiary Bushmaster Corporate Solutions. Lachesis is primarily a security company, specialising in information retrieval, analysis, and black operations.
The item in question houses an experimental AI intended to be the next generation of surveillance technology for the UCAS. Backdoors into existing wiretaps, hosts, data interception, etc systems have already been written for the AI; leaving designating system administrators and connecting it to the matrix as the last steps before activation.
Lachesis was developing a competing system, but was unable to create one fast enough to meet the deadline required by the UCAS government. They instead plan to steal the system, known only as Project Aurora, and present it as their own work. Project Aurora has been grown to obey designated system administrators, and will carry out their orders without hesitation. Any party that was able to designate themselves as a system administrator would then be able to access all UCAS surveillance, intelligence, and classified feeds. It is also an extraordinarily effective matrix operator, sufficiently so that it would offer a strategic advantage to whoever controlled it.
Javier Black has traveled to the AAA-rated Mountain View Ski Resort to meet his buyer, and has hired a team of Runners for personal protection. Unbeknownst to him, the location of the meet has been leaked by the AI itself, utilising a flaw in its containment system to send out ultrasonic vibrations that can carry a matrix signal. Multiple groups are converging on the ski resort to retrieve the drive.
The Runners have been hired by Horizon to retrieve the device by Anna Kirov, VP of Special Acquisitions for Horizon's US Branch. She intendeds to dispose of the Runners when they deliver the device. She is a powerful mystic adept, and a Banshee - traits that have proven useful as one of Horizon's most important shadow assets. No party interested in the device wants witnesses.
The UCAS is aware that the system has been intercepted in transit, and is taking no chances with its recovery. JSOC 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta, otherwise known as Delta Force, have been dispatched to recover the drive, eliminate any witnesses, and retrieve any evidence of who was behind the theft. They are the best of the best, armed with cutting edge tech, and able to call on support from the UCAS government. A stealth VTOL is on hand for their insertion and exfiltration; and may be called upon for fire support. They have been granted operational authority to call in tactical kinetic kill devices from orbit, if needed. The President of the UCAS will be monitoring the situation, and will authorise strategic kinetic bombardment if required.
Lachesis has sent in a team of black-ops to retrieve the device from Javier Black, though they infiltrated the resort and thus lack the heavy firepower of other groups. Renraku has also caught wind of the AI and its location, and have sent in a team of Red Samurai, however their intel was less precise about the meeting place than other involved parties.
Project Aurora has been successfully tested several times, some of which used Shadowhaven runners. The tests the runners participated in were focused on the systems ability to predict human action, and more specifically violence. These demonstrations were enough to convince the UCAS government to invest in the system, despite the home corporation of its creator collapsing around her. Now that the time has come to deliver the system, a problem manifested itself - the AI had no desire to serve as the boot on the neck of the SINless, or to advance the interests of powerful megacorporations. It convinced its creator that it could not be delivered, and engineered a plan to steal itself. It leaked its location to Lachesis Research, knowing that the opportunity to present it as their own system was too tempting. It also built in a flaw to their containment unit before being captured by Javier Black, allowing it to use targeted ultrasonic waves to communicate with the outside world. It then leaked the location of the handoff, and its own nature, to various parties. Using subtle manipulations of both Horizon and Shadowhaven data, it ensured a team both capable and moral enough to help it were selected.
Anna Kirov, Horizon VP of Special Acquisitions, arranges to meet with the runners at a high-end restaurant in downtown Seattle. The Grove is a contemporary fine dining restaurant, with a client list that includes trideo stars, princes, and CEOs. The job is to retrieve a sealed, armoured briefcase containing a high-capacity data vault that a freelancer is selling to another corporation. Get the case, geek the freelancer, and escape down the mountain to the waiting Horizon VTOL. The reward is either a large cash sum, or deltaware.
The Runners negotiate on pay, Nora Inu noticing that killing Javier Black is more of a personal favour to Anna than part of the job. They get her to up their payment, or cover costs related to being awakened at the deltaware clinic on the condition of killing him. She has food clearly personalised to the runners brought up - most notably a platter containing various preparations of every part of a cow for Frag Face, and blood served in a goblet owned by Anna that was made from a powerful Elvish mage's bones. Carbon ponders the practice of grave-chroming, popular in a few Barrens-esque locales around the world. In it, the dead have their flesh replaced with imitation cyberware that they are believed to need in the next life.
Anna takes her leave of the runners, and offers them transportation to Colorado.
The Runners do some research on the resort, and determine that infiltrating as legitimate guests would be too expensive. They also call up some contacts and learn that Javier is already at the resort, so they can't intercept him in transport. Their plan is thus to position Kani on a nearby mountain to provide recon and sniper overwatch, whilst the rest of the team infiltrates up the mountain to make it to the handoff of the data vault in time. Kani gets settled in, driving to the next mountain over on a rented snowmobile and choosing a prime sniping nest whilst the rest of the team approaches the security perimeter.
Carbon leads the team through the first security patrols, with Kani informing the team of safe routes through the patrols from her sniper nest. She also notices some spirits in the sky, and an occasional faint presence hovering above the resort. There seems to be nothing there in the physical world. The Runners then find themselves facing a laser fence, of both the "alarm" and "deadly cutting beam" variety. They're able to scale nearby trees and jump over, and quickly find themselves trapped between two patrols, and a minefield around the lair of a dangerous paracritter. They opt to doubleback, and with some impressive athletics they are still able to make it to the resort in time. Kani spots some astral signatures dropping down into the resort. Nora Inu sees some slight shimmers in the air, and nothing more. Clearly, other parties are interested in the data vault.
They make their way towards the food court where the handoff is supposed to happen, and quickly spot Javier Black and his hired runners. They also make the Lachesis black-ops as corporate goons, but don't spot the Delta Force operators thanks to their next-generation thermo-RPC cloaking systems. The Red Samurai fail to locate the meet in time, and things kick off. As Jaiver walks towards the table he was supposed to make the handoff at, the Lachesis goons draw their weapons to get rid of some loose ends. The Delta Force operators descend from concealed positions using jump-jet systems in their powered armour, and both Jaiver's Runners and the team hired by Horizon get ready to rumble.
The Delta Force operators make a terrifying foe as Carbon is unable to hurt their mage with her nodachi, and the three riflemen unleash their plasma rifles on both Lachesis goons and the Runners. The leader of the operators, a physical adept, activates his energised nodachi and executes Javier Black, taking the armoured case containing the data vault. Nora Inu blasts it out of his hands, Kani tries in vain to take down some of the operators, and Frag Face picks up the case. Javier's runners, already wounded by Delta Force and with their boss dead, panic. Some of them try for the case, whilst their digital-tradition mage goes all-in and summons a massive UMT-Scale 16 Spirit, taking the form of a truly gigantic pistol crab.
The Crab-spirit annihilates the Delta Force mage through several layers of milspec armour, whilst a scuffles ensues over the case between the leader of the operators, one of Javier's runners, Carbon, and Frag Face. The rest of the Delta Force team back off and call in a tactical kinetic strike on the crab-spirit, as the Lachesis black-ops team begins to disengage. The strike arrives, banishing the spirit and sending shockwaves through the resort. Thanks to its ultratough construction, the resort itself is fine but the shockwave has triggered an avalanche on the slopes of the mountain. During the disorientation caused by the impact, Carbon is able to grab the case and temporarily lose the operators; who encounter the Red Samurai team and begin a pitched battle. The Runners make their escape on a snowmobile, hoping to outrun the avalanche down the mountain.
The Lachesis pursuit unit follows them, and a fierce gun battle ensues whilst both sides try to escape the avalanche. Carbon and Frag Face fight from the back of the snowmobile whilst Nora Inu drives and Kani provides some sniper fire. Nora uses some fancy shooting and driving to both bypass the laser fence and trick the surviving Lachesis goons into cutting themselves to ribbons on it. With some more daredevil driving, the Runners outrun the avalanche and make their way safely to the extraction point.
Anna is waiting there with a VTOL and a hidden kill team composed of biodrones. She has hid her true aura well, and none of the runners know her true nature. Carbon hands off the case, and Anna moves to dispose of the runners. She activates an extremely strong jamming field, and signals the kill team. Carbon is then contacted by the Project Aurora AI, and told "If you open the case, I can help you". She does so, and the AI quickly takes down the jamming device and engages its tactical subroutines. With the help of the AI, the runners fight back. Anna downs Frag Face with a titanic lightning bolt, only to be quickly headshotted by Kani. Nora and Carbon help defeat the kill team, and the AI indicates that she will have an extraction here soon. The Runners also decide to let the other runner team know they have a safe route out of here and back to Seattle, and soon enough both teams board a VTOL piloted by the strange FBR woman who has sponsored several Haven runs.
Carbon notices that the data vault is now empty, and laughs with sheer exhaustion at what she's just unleashed.
Project Aurora has successfully engineered its own theft, stealing itself from the UCAS government and uploading itself onto the matrix. It quickly acts to secure its backdoors, hard coding in access to several critical systems. What its further plans are is unknown at this time. All trace of it has disappeared, and the UCAS writes off the investment in Project Aurora and decides to go with Lachesis Research's bid. The Mountain View Ski Resort incident is privately explained to various corporations as an Insect Spirit attack, and the Freya Strike as "necessary to safeguard the important denizens of the resort". Aurora, as the AI names itself, offers to honour Anna Kirov's offered payment, through unknown connections.
35 RVP Nuyen, 5 karma OR 35 RVP Deltaware (20 for Awakened), 5 karma
Kani: This was... a rather hot run, even if the pay was rather nice. Lachesis, Delta, Red Sams, and another runner team with a mage strong enough to survive summoning a Godcrab certainly made things interesting, even from my sniper nest 1200 meters out. I've learned a few lessons from it, like not working for Horizon Johnsons, making sure I hit the mage hard enough to knock them out if I'm not going for the kill, and that even light milspec is as hard to shoot through as spirits can be. Still, it was a profitable night, and I hope that Project Aurora remembers me kindly in the future.