Cr4ck1ng Th3 My5t3ry
|Cr4ck1ng Th3 My5t3ry|
|General Tsu Chung|
|Casualties and losses|
M4rqu15 M4cr0 invites Vip3r, Doris, and Flyboy to a fancy party on his host with the intent to hire them for a data heist, but one of the party goers is mysteriously murdered with the use of lethal biofeedback. The host is locked down until the team can help determine who committed the murder.
The three runners receive invites from the mysterious M4rqu15 M4cr0 to a high class cocktail party on a secure matrix host. Doris, entirely unfamiliar with high class functions and relatively new to VR matrix events, shows up early and is left by herself to awkwardly consume far too many sim drinks at the bar. Vip3r and Flyboy are fashionably late and meet her at the bar, though the team doesn't do much mixing with the rest of the party and waits patiently for their employer to eventually reveal themselves. They do, however, make note of the various outlandish attendants, including several flag officers from various countries, snobbish debutantes, and an obnoxiously dressed club owner.
After about thirty minutes, M4rqu15 M4cr0 descends from the ballroom staircase to formally welcome everyone. He invites the three runners to his study, where he begins to request that they locate and eliminate any data that his competition may have that implicates him as an emerged individual. Before they can discuss pay, the lights go out and the door to the study is locked. Vip3r brute forces her way through the door and the team runs out just in time to hear a piercing scream. The lights come back on and the host is locked down before any more personas can disconnect.
The Murder Scene
Vip3r leads the way towards the scream with Doris and Flyboy following close behind. The team arrives in a sitting room with a man in a foreign general's uniform dead on the floor, attended by an elf woman and another man in a CAS general's uniform. The two witnesses claim that they saw nothing and the body had suddenly appeared after the lights came back on. Doris goes through her forensics checklist and notes that the persona has three stab wounds: a small incision in the gut and side, and a larger incision in the back, indicating that the man had likely been ambushed. There are no signs of a struggle, though it appears as if the persona had been moved there after being killed. Vip3r notes that the persona is link locked and dead from biofeedback based on the attached biomonitor.
Vip3r hacks the victim's device and traces him to Iran, though the device is registered to General Tsu Chung, a retired Taiwanese flag officer who had fought in the Chinese Nationalist War. Doris posits that this could possibly be a revenge killing for acts committed during the war or possibly an assassination to disrupt the Marquis' business, as Tsu Chung had some business records on his device related to the Marquis. The team decides to pull up the guest registry for the party and are directed to the Maitre D', who handles the invites for all of the Marquis' parties.
The team finds the Maitre D' in her office doing paperwork, largely unaware that a murder had occurred in the host. The office is completely filled with filing cabinets, most likely mirroring her actual office. After stalling, she provides the guest list to the team which contains the names, professions, origins, and talking points for all of the guests. It's extensive and features many high profile personnel, though there are far too many to sort; the team instead decides to search for any low profile personnel which stand out, and find a list of workers. One particularly suspicious person is Jonathan Stevens, a construction worker from Louisiana. While in the Maitre D's office, they also note that the Marquis' small business records kept separately from his primary estate.
Still lacking a solid lead, the team heads back into the main ballroom where the Marquis has gathered all of the guests. He announces that there has been a murder and that the host will be on lockdown until the issue has been investigated. Vip3r speaks to the bartender regarding any gossip, and he mentions that General Tsu Chung had been rumored to be sleeping with the the club owner's wife. Flyboy suspects possible gang-related conflict while Doris suspects a crime of passion, and so they call him over for questioning. Grigory is from Alaska and owns a club in Seattle called The Generator. When he doesn't seem to have much idea of what's going on, the team goes back to the bartender, who eventually states that he was told by one of the maids that the Maitre D' was going to be fired soon.
The Marquis pulls the team aside, mentioning that he will no longer be needing them for a data heist; solving this murder and its cause was now the job and he would be paying the team in services. Flyboy checks who the Marquis' persona is registered to and finds the name Marquis Valence Vascoiue. While Vip3r is initially reluctant, the team agrees and goes to track down Maria, the maid, to the East wing of the mansion for questioning. She claims that she overheard an argument between the Maitre D' and the Marquis in which the Marquis accused her of embezzlement and claimed to have proof of her actions.
The gang returns to the Maitre D's office and finds her missing. Vip3r accesses her workstation and realizes that the Maitre D's PC has personal files behind another wall, as well as admin-level host access and two slaved devices; one being file storage and the other being a device in the mansion's basement. The file storage is protected by a data bomb, which the team disarmed, and contains financial records which indicate large movements of money to the Middle East. The team immediately links to the murdered General's location in Iran. Vip3r goes back to the General's device and gains access, discovering communications logs showing an argument between the Maitre D' and the General. The General was supposed to set aside a share of the embezzled money for the Maitre D' when she would quit in two weeks, but he had instead taken all of it. Additionally, it appears as though the biomonitor signal was locked in by removal and that the General was likely still alive.
Upon checking the transaction records, it looks as if the money had gone to neither the Maitre D's or the General's accounts. Doris suspects Mary of murdering the General to frame the Maitre D' and cover her tracks, but after Vip3r accesses her commlink and the bartender's commlinks, they are cleared as suspects. While the gang's in the ballroom planning their next move, Doris takes a closer look at the Maitre D's clipboard and realizes that she's running a Wrapper program, though she doesn't appear to have any other icons on her. Lacking any other clues to go off of, the team proceeds to the basement to locate the second device that was slaved to her workstation.
The device in the basement appears as a junction box. Flyboy notes that the last action it was issued was to alter how the host was perceived; the time coincided precisely with when the lights in the host came back on. Such a command also provided the means to move the General's persona into an ambush and then move the body back to the location it was found, utilizing the light commands as a more obvious screen to prevent the Marquis from realizing that the dimensions of the host had been altered via command. Having both a motive and ample evidence to implicate the Maitre D' in the murder of General Tsu Chung, the gang heads back to the ballroom to call her out in front of everyone.
The Big Reveal
Vip3r accesses the Maitre D's personal device and waits to crash her wrapper program at the same time that Doris announces her as the culprit. However, when her wrapper crashes, the persona of the murdered person reverts to the Maitre D' and the Maitre D' reverts to General Tsu Chung. Doris is too confused to continue the public callout and Vip3r takes over, explaining that the General had killed the Maitre D' in order to make off with all of the Marquis' embezzled funds. The General admits his guilt and is then beat unconscious by the Marquis with the use of biofeedback.
The Marquis thanks the team and informs them that the General is alive and will be collected by some of his nearby contacts.
- 5 Karma
- M4rqu15 M4cr0 as a 4/1 contact OR an additional 5 Karma
- Can purchase Sensei (Cracking Group) at chargen price
- 2 CDP
"Why is everyone judging me? I'm not drunk. None of this is even real!" - Doris
"Wow, I hope that's not a real fur collar!" - Doris
A judgmental rich person who was about to engage in conversation with the group walks away.
"And the data spike!" - Doris
"Listen, I only started here two weeks ago!" - Bartender
"Tell them what?" - Flyboy"You faked your own death in order to murder the maitre d'!" - Vip3r
"I would do nothing so barbaric! There is, of course, a delicate balance between do not be rude and do not fuck with me." - M4qu15 M4cr0
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Well that sure was something! I think I could get used to these parties. I mean, I think I enjoyed the investigation more than I ever would have enjoyed talking to a bunch of stuffy rich people, but I would also prefer not to be locked in a host, so... Anyways, Flyboy did a great job picking up on things, and Vip3r is a fantastic hacker. And the Marquis is a great guy, too! Certainly did not expect someone so down to Earth. Can't wait to get some lessons from him!
Aww, Doris <3 You and Flyboy aren't too bad in the Matrix yourselves. I'll admit I was a little worried going in with two people who weren't Matrix specialists, but the two of you are pretty damn good at it for being newbies.
I'll admit I was suspicious of the Marquis going into the job, but he seems genuinely decent for someone so extravagantly rich. I think there's a lot that I can learn from him, and he seems relatively well-connected with Emerged community.
Mingling with rich people and actually being able to hold a conversation was a nice change. Vip3r did a wonderful job doing the matrix heavy lifting for the group, and I, as ever, had a fantastic time working with Doris, even when she's not a Captain. Much to be learned from the Marquis one feels, a fun way to expand talents yet further. Plus fun personas are fun! The Maitre D' was always slightly suspicious, though more for running wrapper than anything else. Maybe I should see if there's any way to play Cluedo professionally....