The Hard Way
|The Hard Way|
|Part of Nanomachines, Son|
|Casualties and losses|
After learning of several small corporations involved in the trafficking of technomancers and forced cyberzombie conversion thereof, a team of shadowrunners decides to go on a rampage across the Seattle sprawl to punish them. Oh, and locate a certain file that could help track down other people doing the same thing. That too.
After the events of Tools of War, the Order of the Delayed Calamity had secured Search Protocol 5.0 and prepared to use it to track down and erase all remaining copies of Silicon Technologies' emergent cyberzombie project. However, they needed a copy of the file in question to use as a template for the search. They hired a team of runners to locate one.
Entering a secure host that appeared from the outside as a golden bubble, the team found themselves in a vast library. The clients were seated at a massive war table with an interactive display map of each the matrix, earth and astral plane. The client explained the situation and named five corporations flagged by sprites and technomancers searching through the Great Connection as possibly having the file: Paige Developments, Herolife, Apexi, Stockade Data Bank, and Souldream. They agreed to pay 40,000¥ for a copy of the file, split evenly among the four runners.
Analyzing publicly available numbers informed by knowledge MCT was looking for the file and Souldream was a small subsidiary of theirs, Spider determined Souldream almost certainly did not have the file. Purkinje searched for available information about the remaining four corps, finding that Stockade was an ominous datavault contractor that likely didn't know the contents of the file in its vault if it were there, or at least not their significance, that Apexi was a nanotech corp that only dealt in single-use disposable applications of small concentrations of nanites without any indication they were changing direction, that Herolife was an augmentation firm with a nanotech program that had recently taken a turn toward something dark as indicated by a disgruntled employee, and finally that Paige Developments was a general tech firm with numerous vague and off-the-books projects, one of which included deliveries marked as "virtuakinetic assets" and "nanotech." Kani and Rambozo scouted the physical locations of Stockade and Paige Developments for more information, finding that Stockade's datavault was a spire of offline data storage units and physical vaults leaning over the bay downtown, ready to disengage and drop underwater to prevent physical access and hacking if something went wrong. Paige Developments was more of a small production plant, but not an unsecured one.
With this information, Purkinje spotted a silent Stockade host containing a database with pointers to all of their vaults in the spire and vague outlines about who they were rented to. There were also some secure files with numbers matching the client list. With Spider, she went on a netrun to make copies of these files. Spider discovered inside that the spire's release switch was also slaved to this host and made a mental note to come back later when they were ready to trigger an alarm. The stolen files gave enough info to find the exact vaults they needed to approach inside the spire. They also noted a concerning client named TNC, which Spider knew was involved in some very shady matrix dealings. Legwork done, the team reconvened to discuss their options.
Purkinje demanded the recovery of the "virtuakinetic assets" or the destruction thereof were they to be non-living biomass. The rest of the team agreed, but noted that Stockade was a difficult target to approach, and they should perhaps be handled first while the team was at full strength and ready. They decided to assault the spire outright, shoving their way inside before it could drop, then performing the hack while it was submerged in the bay. Dandy was called in as a getaway driver, and one of Kani's contacts lent him a boat that had been converted into a submersible, allowing the team to perform a water exfiltration. This came with two caveats: the contents of Vault 17 needed to be recovered, and a future run was promised to them. Purkinje bought one-thousand datachips and called her fixer to have a tailor sew them into a skin-tight bodysuit she could wear under her clothes, allowing her to transfer the massive amounts of data on all the vaults. Purkinje brought her diving gear from Tools of War as well as sealed armor, and with a few purchases, the team was ready to handle a water extraction. They decided they would reassess the situation with the other corps once they had the information in the datavault.
Jumping out of a car in full combat gear, the team immediately began to assault the front door of the Stockade spire. A heavily augmented guard proved to be troublesome, but Kani escalated as he did, and she ultimately knocked him unconscious in time for Rambozo to fire an Aztechnology Striker at the door (and the guard), blowing a hole for them to enter and strap themselves into a lift. Spider hacked into the host from the netrun and located the device controlling the building drop switch. She flipped the switch, then rewrote its firmware to prevent it from being retracted without manual access to the switch, then armed a data bomb set to delete the firmware if anyone tried to access it again. The building dropped into the bay, soon completely submerged in water. Acting quickly before the building could fully flood, Purkinje skinlinked into the vault doors and called upon the resonance to open them directly, then pulled files out of the target datavaults with Editor. Spider provided matrix overwatch, which proved to be important when they ran into the TNC vault, which was its own offline host. They cracked it fast enough to grab the files and get out before more harmful IC could be deployed. With the target files from the Stockade vault, Herolife vault, TNC vault, and Vault 17 safely tucked away in Purkinje's datachip bodysuit, Purkinje ordered Galatea to carve a hole in the side of the building with the monofilament chainsaw. The team swam out to rendezvous with Dandy, who spirited them away underwater while a Docwagon HTR and a Knight-Errant HTR team sorted out their differences on the surface and tried to figure out how to deal with a completely submerged building they couldn't retract onto land. The KE decker triggered Spider's databomb, was bricked, then died of dumpshock after having sustained wounds in fight with DocWagon.
Among the Herolife files was a memo that the disgruntled employee was to be terminated within 24 hours - literally. Feeling she had to do something, Purkinje called in her connections with the Laesa to arrange for the employee to be smuggled out of Seattle through the Daisy Eater run. The employee was grateful, but had an additional request: the Herolife host would come online at dawn for a few minutes, and their copy of the target file could be deleted from it during that brief window. The team promised to remove it. In the hours remaining before dawn, they decided to take care of Paige Developments. Purkinje and Spider cracked the unrated corp's small host and immediately plunged into the depths of its foundation, where they made a mad dash for the master node and successfully assaulted it before the foundation paradigm could mount any effective defense against them. The host was deleted, and its contents spilled out onto the grid. Rambozo meanwhile rigged up a firing line of all his remaining Aztechnology Strikers, tying a string to all their triggers. A Knight-Errant team happened upon this setup, but quickly turned around and ran as AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock" started playing. He and Kani successfully extracted the "virtuakinetic assets," not meeting much resistance. This referred to a kidnapped technomancer, who was taken to an address in the barrens where the Order would secure them. When the word "fire" was shouted in the song, Rambozo fired the Strikers, which then hit the building in time with the music.
When dawn came, Spider and Purkinje went on one last netrun. They quietly went into the host and located the file, cracked the encryption, disarmed its data bomb, then deleted it while Spider was running Nuke From Orbit. The host went into alert as soon as the encryption was cracked, but the hackers were never spotted.
The Order was suitably impressed with the team's work, and they granted Purkinje an extra 2,000¥ for arranging for the safety of both the technomancer and the Herolife employee out of her own pocket (which was just enough to recoup the fee her fixer imposed). The team handed over their copy of the file, noting they hadn't deleted the files in the Stockade datavault since they wanted there to be no trace of what they were after. They were paid according to the contract, and they managed to sell off quite a bit of paydata they retrieved. After hearing about "TNC," however, the client became very concerned. They told the team to enter hiding immediately. The team was almost certain they couldn't be tracked, but they headed for a safehouse in Kani's old apartment. Purkinje passed the Event Horizon, routing her matrix signature data trail into the resonance realms for the duration of its existence. Between this and the apartment being obscure, the team was extremely hard to find; it didn't stop TNC's ground team, however, and a heavily augmented troll showed up outside with a fenrir wolf and a high-depth null form. Kani sniped the troll, successfully killing him with high-caliber depleted uranium rounds fired into the same spot in his armor. The Fenrir wolf charged in and tried to use its fear magic power on Galatea, not understanding that she wasn't a living person who was susceptible to it. She immediately brought her monofilament chainsaw down on the back of its neck, blood and fur spraying on the inside of the apartment as it squirmed. Kani put it out of its misery with a shot to the head. Meanwhile, Purkinje was locked in Defrag with the null form. It put up a massive resistance, and her biomonitor indicated she was about to die of a stroke, but she pushed on in spite of its warnings. Spider ran matrix interference, protecting Purkinje while she continued the exorcism, and the null form was unable to penetrate her defenses. Finally, Purkinje succeeded, and the null form was banished into the matrix. She soon passed out and wound up in a coma for two days, but eventually made a full recovery with enough medical attention.
- 3 Karma
- Up to 20,000¥ of gear no higher than 16 Availability OR 5 additional karma
- +3 Faction Rep: Order of the Delayed Calamity
- -2 Faction Rep: The Null Council
- +2,000¥ for Purkinje
- 5,000¥ driver's fee for Dandy
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
After all that, I made it out alive. I just woke up, they tell me I was unconscious for just over two days. I'm lucky I had such talented people to back me up along the way, or else we could never have accomplished so much. Paige Developments is tanking, I looked at their stock prices. Herolife... well, at least they lost their valuable data and that employee got away safely. That should set them back a bit. This news of the "Null Council" is worrying. I can't defrag them all - that one null form took so much out of me. It did struggle harder than its depth felt like it should, but that's a risk I knew about before taking it. That I was able to pull it out at all is amazing to me - I've never seen a matrix being so deeply rooted. I hope the Order can devise a plan to deal with the files. I'm going to need to go deep into the resonance realms to finish the job when that day comes.