|Part of Adversaries|
|The Phantom||Detective Barry Wender|
The runners learned the news that 'Princess' Rosemary was reported dead in a fire (see news report about fire), with a note from Neo-Haven that "You ignored the masses' demands, now weep as your individual is severed from you." Likewise, Prince Dunkle was offering a reward for information about who killed her.
The runners suspected Princess Rosemary had potentially faked her own death. Something she had indicated she was considering, particularly as Prince Dunkle continued to look for her with increasing resources (see news report about Dunkle's search).
They investigated the scene of her death, and the KE morgue where the remains were stored, and found evidence that her death had indeed been faked and that The Phantom and several other Neo-Haven runners were involved.
They tracked one involved Neo-Haven runner to the A-bar, and then to a rented safehouse. Was Princess Rosemary inside?
Prince Dunkle and Princess Rosemary became engaged on the show Bachelor Royalty, a reality trid. Their wedding was to take place April 24. Princess Rosemary hired a team of runners including Moth to kidnap her from the wedding to help her escape the unwanted marriage (see news report about the wedding). Moth helped arrange for her to hide out in a Laesa safehouse. Since this happene 4/24, it was after Neo-Haven infiltrated the chat. They could be aware of the connection between Moth and Rosemary, but that would not give them the location of the safehouse.
That safehouse was burned to the ground on 6/3, and a burned body found within.
On a run earlier that week, a Neo-Haven member The Phantom challenged Trash Panda to a heist related to a scepter belonging to Moth's papa. At the end of the heist, the runner's found a note from The Phantom suggesting that he was unhappy with Neo-Haven leadership and potentially interested in working together. He provided a book with coded inforation about the location of a piece of the Trident sought by Neo-Haven. The runners also discovered that The Phantom seems to be the same person as Detective Barry Wender who is a KE detective in charge of their runner suppression department.
Moth invited the runners to her home. While Prince Dunkle appeared to be willing to pay for information about who had killed Princess Rosemary, she suspected that Rosemary had faked her death, perhaps hiring the Neo-Haven runners to help her. If they found that she was dead and could find the killer, there was no harm in telling Prince Dunkle and claiming the reward. But if the truth was that Rosemary had faked her death, it would be wrong to tell Dunkle. It would defeat the whole purpose.
The runners agreed to investigate. Roadie also felt strongly that they should not betray Rosemary if she was alive, trying to escape an unwanted marriage.
Spider did a matrix search to add to the background information.
Roadie checked with contact News Van Dan for any leads. Spider checked with contact Carly Reeves for leads. Carly had learned from eye witnesses in the area of the warehouse that several people had been seen coming and going but no one could clearly remember their faces. They left in a black van.
The Plan #1 - Is she alive?
The runners decided to investigate the crime scene first, and gather what information they could. When they arrived, there were KE police on site investigating, including Detective Barry Wender. Moth approached him, assuming he was The Phantom and had expressed an openness to working together. He did not appear to recognize anything that she said, denying he had any role in sending a package to her home (the scepter) etc. to confirm he was the Phantom and sincere that he wanted to help. She played it off that she had mistaken him for someone else, and returned to the group. He was either not The Phantom, or he was unwilling to work with them at this time.
Four Stars was able to stealthily get into the warehouse and place a data tap on a camera inside. Spider hacked the camera and obtained the interior video feed. Four Stars found traces of a strange chemical foam, and collected a sample. Spider's knowledge of chemistry proved useful - it was Cleaner Cleaner, which is used to remove and contaminate evidence of bio material. She was also able to hack an exterior camera at a gas station across the street. It was also clear to those who could assense that Detective Barry Wender was a powerful mage adept. Moth helped inspire everyone to do their best investigating.
Review of the video footage suggested the death might be faked. Roadie's keen perception helped them see that the runners going in and out spreading gas to start a fire mundanely were illusions. But The Phantom did come in with what looked like 'Princess' Rosemary. Though the camera footage suggested she was fighting him, the movement of the dust suggested he was dragging an unconscious body that he left to burn in the subsequent fire. The exterior camera had caught footage of one of the assisting runners before his magical disguise came up. They likely had an image of his true face. Spider destroyed the original video footage; the runners have the only copies now.
How could they verify if the death had been faked? There were many ways to change a body to resemble a person's biometrics - particularly in charred remains. The runners had a good idea that they could look at details of the remains and see if they were consistent with a woman of her birth and privilege. Bone shards for a SINless born in poverty (and likely to be sacrificed in such a trick) would show greater malnourishment. They decided to try to get samples from the remains at the morgue.
The Run #1 - Is she alive?
Spider hacked the KE host for the electronic autopsy records. These records suggested the remains had been contaminated with Cleaner Cleaner in the body. Very suspicious. However, the conclusion was that the 70% match on biomarkers was sufficient to confirm identity, and the Cleaner Cleaner explained the discrepancy. Spider also destroyed some non-essential data on the KE server, creating chaos.
Moth built a disguise, including synthskin mask of him, to impersonate him. When he stepped outside, Leroy shot him at a distance with stick and shock knocking him out. Roadie played the part, in a nurse disguise, of a nurse on break who saw him fall from a seizure, and removed him from the scene to get him medical attention. Moth slipped in while he was black-bagged, and made her way to the morgue with an invisible Four Stars. Spider helped guide her to the right file cabinet for the physical records of the autopsy, including the location of the remains in the cadaver storage. Moth found the records quickly, and the correct remains. She used her medical skill to take appropriate samples.
There was a sound from another cadaver storage unit. Someone hiding or sleeping? Something more dangerous? Moth and Four Stars hurried out with the evidence. At the car, Roadie had the KE employee well disguised in a lounging position with sunglasses. They moved him to a gurney where he would wake peacefully. Spider left an apologetic note to his commlink.
They examined the records. Spider was able to confirm the paper records had been forged. They had originally said only a 30% match! It was definitely a faked death. Proof!
Princess Rosemary was alive! But where was she? Was she truly well? Did Neo-Haven intend her harm? Was there a way to still find her?
And how did The Phantom fit into this? Was it Detective Barry Wender, as thought? Spider hacked Detective Barry's personnel file at KE. It showed that he was a level 9 power mage, and had been since he was hired. He was who he appeared to be. The Phantom was not just taking his role some of the time.
The Plan #2 - Where is Rosemary?
Moth remembered that they still had the footage of the presumably true face of the minion runner who had participated. She contacted former Neo-Haven member 863 (Contact) who she had helped escape Neo-Haven. He did recognize the man in the footage. That man was an 862/865 - a mage adept. He often hung out at a bar called "The A Bar", slogan 'for the A team', a runner bar.
The runners headed there, hoping this minion 862/865 would be willing to talk. Moth and Roadie walked up, but the Neo-Haven runners wanted absolutely no conversation. They shut down all attempts. But this allowed Four Stars to get into position invisible above them and eavesdrop. The Neo-Haven runners were discussing what to do, since they had been approached by Moth. They agreed they'd stick to the plan, and head back to the safehouse. Four Stars was able to plant a stealth tag from Spider in 862/865's pocket.
Spider was able to track the tag to a safehouse. It belonged to a security company that rents safehouse space.
The runners planned to investigate...
The Run #2 - Where is Rosemary?
To be continued...