|Part of Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger|
Night Claws - John Holis
|Mitsuhama Computer Technologies|
|Casualties and losses|
|Kani, but she got better||4 MCT Zero-Zone Veterans|
The race to recover the Five Technomancers from the file recovered in Mirage Island was reaching its breaking point. The Red Children had Shadowhaven runners find Monique Gray in Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod?, and Purkinje had wiped her own name off the list in Some (Wo)Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn. Three names remained, and Scarlet's prophecy from In the Court of the Crimson King hung over the heads of those who cared to save them: The Tiger will make its move soon. The dragon crouches in the shadows. KillSec approached Shadowhaven with a new job offer: destroy an emergent tech prototype they were after, which according to their data was in the same facility as one of the three remaining technomancers: Tanaka Mariko.
In a mysterious Emerald City host shaped like a glossy, black cube and full of floating Platonic solids, the group met with KillSec contact RM-RF. Stormcrow helped Queen resist her decaying dissonance so as not to cause a scene inside the host. RM-RF cut to the chase. KillSec had been monitoring drone traffic in Vancouver, where they caught wind of Mariko's abduction in the process of searching for details on something called Project Daedalus. RM-RF wanted the group to locate and destroy the Project Daedalus prototype. They added that they would not mind if Mariko were extracted as well. This information was given as a peace offering to Night Claws, who had had a less-than-pleasant interaction with the group before. Queen tried to negotiate for better pay, but RM-RF argued back the information about Mariko was worth quite a bit in addition to their pay and the expenses KillSec would pay to have the team smuggled into Vancouver and back. RM-RF also provided a trid file with location data in Vancouver. The recording went as follows:
A Japanese elf woman adjusts the camera before forcing a smile.
"Konnichiwa! Got your message about our mutual business rivals, and uh..." She trails off here and looks around before continuing. "I seem to have found myself in a bit of trouble! No that sounds desperate, edit that out in post. I could use your help with a little thing! You see, some friends of mine-"
She is cut off by what sounds like pounding on a nearby door.
"Anyway, gotta go! See you soon!"
The team went to a dock on the west side of town, where they were loaded into a small cargo ship that sailed through the Puget Sound and made its way into Vancouver by night. Once there, the team was given the location of a safehouse, and the location of Mariko's home address. They could also clearly see the prominent MCT skyraker downtown, looming large on the skyline like a scar. They decided to check out the scene of the abduction first. Kani was able to break into the antiquated mechanical locks, and enter Mariko's apartment. Inside was the scene of a struggle, where Night Claws found an inconspicuous datachip left in the debris. The datachip had the trid recording from the meet, as well as a watermark of a winking emoji. Stormcrow began tracking to see what happened, finding a forced window and broken fire escape leading down into a parking lot where two heavy people dragged a light person standing through a puddle of mud two days ago. They got into a van and left. Stormcrow, Queen and Howler used their drones to follow the trail, which went down a series of streets before pausing in a downtown alleyway, switching cars, and continuing to the MCT skyraker.
Searching the matrix, Queen was able to find information about the MCT skyraker's defenses. All the walls of the interior were covered with IR-reflective paint, and there were cameras that could see thermal positioned such that they could easily see around corners this way. Surveillance coverage was extremely redundant, in the infrared spectrum. The contractors behind the building's astral security had put a Force 8 astral mana barrier in place over the building, which would prove a problem for the dual-natured Kani. The security staff had also been training barghests, which had the potential to frighten Night Claws in addition to being dual-natured killing machines. On top of all that, high-threat security staff had been brought in for a few days until Mariko was "processed," and pipes full of Neuro-Stun X would flood the area if an alarm went off on those floors. Time was of the essence if Mariko was to be recovered alive and well. The team bought thermal damping modifications for their armor and prepared to go inside.
An adjacent tower was under construction. The team broke in to the construction site and climbed to the top of the tower (eventually), where Stormcrow used an alchemical prep to turn Night Claws into a bird for a few minutes. During that time, Night Claws used his skinlink to snoop on a drone sensor in a drone bay on the top floor of the MCT skyraker and get a delivery drone big enough to transport everyone inside to divert its course slightly so the team could get inside. It went off as planned, and the team was able to sneak in that way. Kani barely managed to slip through the mana barrier without her form being disrupted. The team was in. Howler looked through her thermal glasses and saw the interior looked like a house of mirrors. Fortunately, the team's thermal damping had made their reflections very hard to see. Kani took point, narrowly leading them past a team of IR cameras, patrolling cyborgs, spirits and barghests. They hacked their way through a door into the stairwell, descended the 13 floors they needed to reach their target, and assessed the situation.
Once there, Howler cast Detect Life and pinpointed all the life signatures on the floor. There were three cyborgs, a security mage, and an injured elf in a state of distress. Knowing the position of their target, Kani led the team out onto the floor, just barely scraping by an IR camera that zoomed in to look at the spot directly in front of them for a moment. They ran into a problem here. The door leading to Mariko was locked and sealed from all sides, and a sensor wired through a Faraday cage on the inside would spot the door opening but couldn't be accessed from here. There was only one option if they wanted to open the door quietly: access the host. Night Claws went in, but was immediately spotted by a night watchman in a hakama and carrying a wood and paper lantern. Panicking, he called his crack sprite to suppress the host. However, the spider showed up and link-locked him.
An alarm went off. The security staff reacted immediately, and the team found themselves grouped closely together in a corridor with no cover while pinned in from all sides by three heavily augmented cyborgs and a mage. Kani took one out with a depleted uranium round, but the remaining two began tossing motion-sensing HE grenades down the corridor. Seeing that Night Claws was in no position to run for it, Kani jumped on the grenades and began bleeding out on the floor. Fletchette picked up one of her motion-sensing HE grenades off her bandolier and tossed it at the two grenadiers, momentarily disrupting their plans. Night Claws managed to break the link-lock and jack out, and the team pulled away from the door so they could find a more defensible position. The cyborgs laid down suppressing fire on the two hallways the team could escape from while the mage called a spirit of air to flank them. Fletchette managed to occupy the spirit while Howler threw powerful stunbolts at the mage. They held out long enough that Kani's banshee regeneration kicked in, and she recovered fully. With a fury, she sniped the two cyborgs. Howler finished off the mage then shot him in the head to break the spirit's binding, at which point it vanished.
Acting quickly before other teams could find them, the runners broke into the cell and found Mariko. Her head had been shaven, and her aura showed cyberware had been implanted in her skull. They also found a room housing the Project Daedalus prototype on this floor. The files indicated it was an attempt to make a rigger control console that could interface with living personas in the same manner as the Kitbashed Sleeper cyberdeck, and the project showed promise but hadn't come to fruition yet. The team destroyed the prototype and wiped the files off the offline terminals before exiting out a hole in a nearby window Stormcrow had caused with an acid stream prep. Kani zip-lined to an adjacent skyraker, and the team exfiltrated.
RM-RF was satisfied with the destruction of Project Daedalus. Mariko was recovered alive, though a cranial shield had been implanted in her head. She tried not to think about what would've happened had the runners not acted so quickly.
- 8 Karma
- +2 KillSec Rep
Player After-Action Reports
Howler got home and collapsed in an old overstuffed chair barely held together by copious amounts of duct tape. The fight was intense. She was pretty sure Kani died at one point but Banshees are apparently harder to kill than that. The wagemage was a problem. He didn't actually need to die, if only he hadn't called that bound spirit. Shooting an unconscious mage in the head just to free their spirit so it'd stop attacking the team didn't feel right, but this was MCT after all. MCT would have done far, far worse to them given the chance.
Days like this make me regret my alcohol intolerance... I certainly could use a drink or two after diving on a pair of grenades to keep the CorpSec from blowing up Night Claws, but at least we got Mariko out. She's going to need some surgery to remove the headware MCT put in place, and probably more than a little therapy, but given time, she will probably recover. Now, we just have to pull the last two out...