|Part of Adversaries|
The runners investigated a message from Z3K3 suggesting that he might be in danger or dead. Unfortunately, he was found dead in his apartment. The runners tracked down his stolen cyberdeck and a kid who Neo-Haven had manipulated into posing as Z3K3. This revealed a significant breach of Shadowhaven security, which was addressed.
Z3K3 had been investigating Neo-Haven, and was suspicious that there was someone still on Shadowhaven giving them information. He had an antagonistic relationship with Janitor Dan. He had expressed suspicion that Janitor Dan was involved with Neo-Haven, and said that was why he was messing with him so much.
Z3K3 had posted earlier in the day that he had partnered up with a woman who was also investigating Neo-Haven. This woman Eight-Zero posted to the haven, a new runner, also expressing concern that something had happened to him.
Rapture is a former Shadowhaven runner who left the haven for Neo-Haven.
Neo-Haven is looking for something called the Trident of Atlantis.
The runners had two possible addresses for Z3K3. One provided by Eight-Zero, and one provided by Janitor Dan. The two addresses were only a couple blocks apart. Downtown apartments. The group saw that Janitor Dan's van was parked in front of the address he had provided. The group questioned him. He appeared to be telling the truth that he was upset that Z3K3 was in trouble, and had expected to find him at the address given to the runners, but realized it was not right. He denied any involvement with Neo-Haven, and again appeared to be telling the truth. The runners encouraged him to leave the area. Hydro collected Janitor Dan's flyspy that was looking in the window of the wrong apartment, and the runners jammed it.
The runners investigated the address provided by Eight-Zero. The keypad was damaged. Trash Panda was able to repair the door so it could be opened. Twitch addressed the alarm triggered when the door was unlocked. Moth ran to Z3K3's body, and tried to see if he could still be saved with her medical skill. Two gunshots in his chest. One in his head. Fired from behind/above him. A post-mortem cut to his neck, removing his implanted cyberdeck. Setback confirmed it was a heavy machine pistol. Hydro suggested they hack his cyber eyes to see who killed him. Twitch was able to access the recorded data. Unfortunately, Z3K3 never saw his attacker, but the runners learned that there were three people present. One who was in charge, for whom they had a voice recording. One person was commanded to 'use his deck, infiltrate the haven, do not turn the deck off'. Another was commandd to 'leave the present in the corner where it will be easy to find'.
The runners contacted TANJ to cut off Z3K3's haven access, to prevent any further infiltration. TANJ verified that the Z3K3 account had accessed the basic information on the runners available in the system - list of runners, their roles - and had access to the chat.
The runners found a box in the corner. Fearing it was a trap/bomb, they all cleared out to the hallway, with Z3K3's body concealed under a bedsheet and Moth's RPC cloak. Trash Panda investigated the box, using mage hands and clairvoyance. Unfortunately, the box was welded shut. Setback opened the box with her monowhip. Inside the box was a severed hand and a note. The note stated: "The Masses have noticed you the individual have continued to escalate even though the Masses have indicated that aforementioned. The masses show you proof that repercussions have been taken. The Individual Ezekial has designated to the Individual Haven that he wishes to pursue us immediately. Each Action Desires Reaction. -Mr. 860". The hand was a human male right hand with the callouses of a sword user. The runners suspected it was Rapture's hand.
Setback found leaked oil from a vehicle outside on the street that could be tracked to a Soybucks a couple blocks away.
The runners needed to try to learn all they could, following the attackers to the Soybucks.
Twitch hacked the video camera for the drive through, and the runners found a match to the voice of the man who had spoken in the apartment. They could see that while he made his order, a second person exited the vehicle, and moved in the direction of the Soybucks interior.
They were able to verify this second person was in the Soybucks still, and had Z3K3's cyberdeck. It appeared to be a young man playing the role of Z3K3.
The runners planned to try to draw him out of the Soybucks, with a goal of getting the deck, and learning all they could from the young man.
Moth entered and approached the young man, with Twitch in her pocket, riding a drone. Trash Panda disguised her with a magic spell. The young man appeared to have instructions to not leave his spot, and attempted to scan Moth with a scanner, but Twitch was able to disable it. His instructions were too specific to simply talk him out of his position. Trash Panda added an influence spell to encourage him to want to go with Moth. Twitch examined him and bricked the cyber deck (Z3K3's), and also discovered that the young man had grid guide - a GPS locator - on him. Someone was remotely tracking his location and would know if he moved. Twitch was able to create an effect to maintain the appearance that the GPS locator was still in the Soybucks at that table, spoofing its location, while actually moving him. The effect would last as long as Twitch sustained it. Setback walked up and hit the young man with a narcojet finger touch, while he was distracted by Moth's conversation and the attack on his deck. Moth leaned into him the moment that he was knocked out, and made it look like he was hugging her, and walking out with her, leaning against her. They got him to the car without being noticed.
Moth arranged use of a safehouse with a farraday cage. Once he was in the farraday cage, Twitch ended the sustained effect and bricked the grid guide. Unfortunately, it was linked to a bomb in his head. The runners acted very quickly to save the young man. Setback yanked out the bomb, using emergency first aid skills. Moth stabilized him with medical skills, and Trash Panda kept him alive with a healing spell. Twitch's drone rushed the bomb to a body of water and dropped it to the bottom before it exploded. The young man would be asleep for several hours recovering before he could be questioned.
Twitch began the process of recovering the data from the cyberdeck, but worried that it might be protected in ways that would wipe the file. They remembered that Eight-Zero was partnering with Z3K3 on the investigation and might have access. Hydro called Eight-Zero and met with her at a safe location. By now, the runners had verified her story. Z3K3 had introduced her to his fixer, Mr. Incognito, and the fixer had vetted her for access to the haven, where she was now a runner. Eight-Zero was able to log in and pull all of Z3K3's files, which will take time to thoroughly review. [More could be revealed in future chapters...]
Moth confirmed that the young man had not only the bomb in his brain, but also alterations to match Z3K3's biometric markers exactly. Hydro raised the key question as to how Neo-Haven could have had Z3K3's biometric data. The team reviewed the cyber eye data going back further, searching for anyone with a biometric scanner near Z3K3. The team found video footage of Janitor Dan's drone Monica, deliberately bumping into Z3K3 with a biometric scanner. There were only two possibilities. Either Janitor Dan was working for Neo-Haven, or Monica had been hacked.
The runners called Janitor Dan to come get his flyspy, in order to question him further. However, he continued to appear to know nothing about what had happened. Twitch hacked Monica and confirmed that there was a sub-owner - a hacker with the signature "Nope" - who had given that command. The runners explained to Janitor Dan that his drone had been compromised and he admitted - to their horror - that he had given Monica his log-in access to his commlink. He seemed to have not understood the danger of this, and been unaware that Monica was asking for this access to compromise the haven. The same hacker had programmed Monica to log in under Janitor Dan's credentials and report back the conversation on the Shadowhaven chat room to a mysterious host. [This host can be investigated/attacked/destroyed in a future chapter...] The runners contacted TANJ and made sure Janitor Dan's access was also suspended, so it could not cause future security issues. The information about how this happened led TANJ to institute new security measures. The chat should be safer to use now. But it was compromised between 4/21, when Monica first got access, and 5/24, when Monica lost access.
At last the young man was awake enough for questioning. He revealed that he had first tried to join the Shadowhaven, wanting to be a runner, but was evaluated by fixer Mr. Bulldog Black, and told he wasn't ready. He was then contacted by a person named Clear, but his memory had been wiped of how and when he was contacted, and the nature of those contacts, using laes. Clear introduced him to Neo-Haven. He was put in some kind of probationary status, where he could work on runs, but did not have access to any of Neo-Haven's chat rooms or servers. He was told that his activities today were part of a run - a test of faith that might earn his greater initiation. The other two men in Z3K3's apartment were 862 and 864. The young man was 863. The Neo-Haven runners use coded numbers on their runs, rather than names. The numbers refer to roles. Mr. 860 is in a leadership role. 861 is always the cyberwared muscle. 862 is magic people (like the leader on the attack on Z3K3). 863 is the decker/techonomancer. 864 is the rigger (like the 3rd person in the apartment). 865 is physical adepts. 866 is summoners. Those are the ones he's worked with so far. There may be other numbers. He revealed that the number is tattood (an LED tattoo) somewhere on the runner's body. He had an 863 tattoo on his neck, hidden by his clothes. All of the runners are given magical 'physical masks' to disguise them. He is not sure if any of the faces he saw are real. However, he recognized Rapture, and confirmed he now has one cyber hand. That was very likely his hand in the box. He shared memories of 12 runners he had met. Some of them, he thinks, were recruited from Runner Bar 16. It appears to be standard procedure to use Laes to wipe the memories of new recruits (or at least the ones intended for disposable roles). Moth is working with her father King Midas to identify new Laes purchasers since Neo-Haven got set up, that might help track down their leadership. [This information could come up in a future chapter.]
The young man - 863 (Contact) - realized he had been manipulated for a role that was intended to get him killed. He wanted to quit Neo-Haven. The runners let him keep his 10,000 nuyen payment from Neo-Haven, and encouraged him to not return home, to help him survive. Setback and Hydro watched over him that night.
The runners have many leads to pursue in tracking down Neo-Haven, and getting revenge for the death of Z3K3.
8 Karma and 863 (Contact) at 1/2 with 1 chip
9 Karma 2 CDP
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Moth here. This was a really sad night. Z3K3 was my friend. I wanted to believe we would find him. Save him. But we couldn't. It was awful to see his dead body. And it's pretty upsetting to realize how long our chat has been compromised. They have my home address. Z3K3 told me at the pool party this week that he was suspicious of Janitor Dan. And while Janitor Dan was not involved, Z3K3 was right that something was wrong. That the haven had been infiltrated. Could I have done something that night to help investigate, or help point him towards Monica? I don't know. I hate to think we have to be much more suspicious of each other. Talk to each other less. I'm trying to remember what I said in front of Monica at the Daze, and what I've said in the chat since 4/21. I don't know that I am going to sleep at all tonight. We got a lot done. This was a good team of folks. But I mostly feel sad and nervous.
I wish people would stop being so obvious about giving away personal details, even to other runners. Meeting up is fine and all, but really only at safe, neutral, locations in our line of work. *Sighs.* It's going to be hard to protect everyone.
I didn't want to believe he was gone but... NeoHaven. I owe them for Dip, for Baby. I owe them for Z3k3. I owe them for thinking putting a cranial bomb in anyone is acceptable. Now I understand why people call me "kid." They feel the same about me as I do for that decker. Kid needs to retire now. Get out of the shadows. If you don't have enough sense to skip the cranial bomb surgery, you won't last long. I... I just... I'm gonna go lay down. Took too much fading and the chat won't just shutup when they only have half the pieces. Just... don't hit that host without me.