Proof of Concept

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Proof of Concept
Part of Two Steps Ahead
Date2081-11-11
GMSarcarian
LocationGasteiz, Euskal Herria
Status Threat Level: Medium
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Saeder-Krupp
KRIME
Aster
Berzerk
Gh0st
Zephyr
KRIME Marketing/R&D
KRIME Security Trogs
KRIME Spider


Summary

In which the runners are hired by Saeder-Krupp to steal a prototype nano-tech device from KRIME.

Background

Amrei Veidt, an S-K Prime operative, has been tasked by Herr Brackhaus with evaluating the talent available from several freelance shadow networks, including the Haven. She has put together a test run in Euskal Herria against KRIME to steal a device which is still in the proof of concept phase called the “adaptive nano-molecular personalized grip system” (the marketing team hasn’t come up with the final name yet) – essentially it’s a personalized grip that uses nanites to change shape so that a user can lend their gun to someone else and allow them to benefit from the bonus, as well as offering a cheep, economical solution to those with non-standard hand shapes like trog changlings. S-K has no real interest in investing the money required to develop the tech, but they want to keep KRIME from getting any ideas about branching too far outside of their core demographic.

The Meet

Frau Schmidt, going by the handle “G01d3nI”, has the team meet with her on the matrix, at a virtual nightclub on the AGS national grid – passkeys are provided, and everyone is told to show up precisely on time, not early or late. Everyone does just that, rezzing into the nightclub to find a golden ARO pointing them towards a popular available-for-purchase-from-SK drake persona that somewhat resembles Lofwyr, though it is unclear to everyone at first whether or not this is an S-K employee or just a dragon fan using a commonly-available persona.

Aster takes the lead in negotiations, showing off a bit of his German before switching to English for the benefit of the rest of the team. Their prospective employer gets right to business, explaining that she has an out-of-town job for them, that it’s against an unrated corporation, and that it’s in a reasonably public area – she offers 10k nuyen, non-negotiable, with travel expenses being taken care of, in exchange for stealing a prototype device as well as the code for it. She wants this done within 72 hours of arrival. She also tells them that she has a bonus offer for them - if they place a virus she has written up into the file containing the code (in addition to making a copy of it), she is willing to offer an extra 4k.

Aster tries to negotiate a bit on that last point and manages to get the name of the corporation they’re working against out of her – KRIME. Gh0st is confident he can deal with KRIME’s matrix security, and he doesn’t think that the bonus objective will be much of a problem. Nevertheless, Aster tries to push for a little bit of extra, since he senses that the drake has a bit of wiggle room on that front; she ties his roll, but offers a compromise – in addition to “alternative renumeration” (i.e. gear rewards for anything S-K manufactures, within reasonable limits – i.e. availability 12 and under), she gives them 5000 in S-K scrip that will cover their room and board, with enough left over to serve as spending money for a small vacation in the event that they get the job done before the 72 hour deadline.

The Plan

The team are all happy with the above terms and accept the job, so they receive tickets for a private flight from Sea-Tac to Gasteiz International Airport in Euskal Herria. Gh0st does a bit of legwork beforehand, crushing a T6 search to find what he can on the adaptive nano-molecular personalized grip system, as well as the data trails leading to the host where their quarry is secured (a R6 destination host for KRIME Arena, where KRIMECon is taking place – a quick peek inside confirms the presence of a nested R6 data host). Evidently the information he finds comes from a recent datasteal agaist KRIME Labs that was posted to the matrix by a black hat hacker: it would seem that KRIME is using KRIMECon – a consumer products show – to test out the nano-grip by having a wide variety of people try out the product. Aster correctly intuits that there will likely be an executive there supervising things, and sifting through the data he finds the person in charge of R&D for the project - Lopeko Coba, a rather handsome-looking ork gentleman. Aster begins studying the man’s mannerisms from videos of speeches he can find in order to get into character for Method Actor, in preparation to perform a body-snatch. He calls up Wild Goose to have him a burner Euskal Herrian SIN made in Mr. Coba’s name, and though the forger isn’t quite familiar with the national protocol she takes it as a personal challenge and accepts – it should be ready in 2 days, just in time for the last day of the job, which is perfect for his timeline.

The flight to Euskal Herria is rather uneventful – everyone takes a bit of time to brush up on the tourist literature that they found on the way, and they arrive to the sight of a huge S-K billboard, the dragon logo leering down at them with “One Step Ahead” emblazoned in bold 30-foot lettering. The AAA’s slogan proves true, as Amrei Veidt sends a watcher spirit to tail the team to their lodgings (Aster, a creature of comfort, goes to a high-class hotel near the KRIME Arena, while the others find lower-class accommodations near the beach) and successfully manages to mark Gh0st’s deck to monitor their calls. Zephyr spots the watcher on the astral and sees that it is of the draconic tradition, and wisely choses to simply acknowledge its presence without causing any fuss; Gh0st spots the golden claw-shaped mark an hour or so later and manages to erase it on his second try, scoffing at the audacity of it.

After getting situated, the team goes to the KRIME Arena for a bit of recon – Zephyr projects there and scopes out the astral, drawing a lot of attention from the security spirits thanks to his Astral Beacon, but he stays away from the rest of the group and doesn’t cause any trouble. Everyone else goes in the meat and enjoys themselves observing the various tech demonstrations taking place – Berzerk and Gh0st each buy several gratuitous pieces of inordinately cheep KRIME gear as souvenirs, including the KRIME Brick (a literal brick meant to smash electronics which shouts “KRIME” when thrown, with which they are both delighted).

Aster, ever the smooth operator, uses his directional microphone to covertly scope out two-way glass behind which KRIME executives and R&D may be observing the demonstrations, while Berzerk and Gh0st line up for the test of the nano-grip system. The face isn’t very good with his spy tech, but his decker backup manages to filter through all the noise with ewar to locate the hidden observation room. While he does so, the mage on the astral assenses around for potential threats (besides all of the obvious hulking trogs wielding heavy weaponry, and the rail drones and spirits everywhere), and Zephyr scores enough hits to notice that the troll demonstrating the nano-grip system is in fact a technomancer – right after Gh0st shakes her hand; the decker paranoia kicks in as he reboots his gear really quickly.

The nano-grip system would seem to work as advertised, though there are clearly still some bugs to be worked out with it. While observing the test firings (using a KRIME Boom, naturally), they notice one of the R&D team come out with some fresh nanites to top it off, and Aster begins devising his strategy. Meanwhile Gh0st, having had his fill of KRIME, takes his souvenirs out to the car and gets ready to hack.

The Run

While the hack is taking place and Berzerk is testing the nano-grip system, the two concoct a ruse to lead their target out into the open. Aster (playing the part of a corporate middle manager type) complements his “bodyguard’s” shooting, praising the tech but raising concerns over some of KRIME’s branding efforts – considering that Berzerk was shooting at an elf-shaped target spray-painted with “dandelion licker go home”, his concerns seem somewhat valid. Right on cue, Lopeko Coba emerges to sooth his concerns, and Aster sells a con about representing a distribution firm which is interested in some of KRIME’s products. He endears himself to Mr. Coba, who expresses interest in meeting privately to continue the discussion – Aster gets his commlink info and says that his secretary will set up a lunch. He also shakes hands with him and copies his prints with his dynamic handprints; thankfully Mr. Coba is not a monad, and he doesn’t contract CFD from the old NeoNET nanites that KRIME bought up on the cheep to develop this new tech.

The initial plan is to do a bit of recon inside the nested host and locate the file in order to come back and get it later, but it turns into a full-on host dive after Gh0st lives up to his moniker; KRIME has naturally invested heavily in the attack ratings of their hosts, leaving a bit to be desired in the sleaze and data processing departments. He hops into the destination host, a KRIME patrol IC following him around offering assistance, and locates the entrance to the nested data host – a blaring neon sign covered in explosive warnings proclaiming “KRIME LABZ, DANGER, DO NOT ENTER!” – and is quick enough to get his mark and slip inside before the IC can report him.

Inside the mad-science-filled nested host, Gh0st spots the security spider as well as the patrolling IC – he manages to stay hidden from both while searching for his quarry, finding another file in the process which triggers his Curiosity Kills the Cat (though miraculously he makes his composure check on that). Putting a plan together, Gh0st decides to try to bootstrap the spider, successfully getting his three marks through liberal use of edge before pulling off the format device action and booting his opponent from the host. The dumpshocked spider assumes his deck is faulty, and does not summon backup in time to catch the decker, who is alone in the host and out within a minute.

Gh0st, now basically in charge of the host, stays hidden from the patrol IC while checking his baby monitor quickly – finding he’s at 28 overwatch, he hurries things along, cracking the encrypted file he spotted earlier and putting the host on alert. Probe IC is launched, but it proves just as ineffective at locating him as the patrol was, and he grabs the juicy data (some specs on one of KRIME’s many zany projects in development) before quickly and efficiently disarming the data bomb on his objective. The host launches Tar Baby IC, making Gh0st sweat a bit, so he cracks the encryption and scores high enough on his edit file action that he’s able to make a copy and insert the virus all in one go. (Note: the virus is designed to be taken back up into the Foundation at the next software update after the data from KRIMECon is tabulated – it will not corrupt the already-extant nanites that the team plans to steal).

With the data in hand, Gh0st quickly jacks out before the Tar Baby IC is goes to town on him, his OS sitting at 36. Breathing a sigh of relief (since he’s about 30m from the arena, well within RPG range), he informs the others that 3/4 of their job is completed – KRIME will know that the data was taken, but Aster is clever and thinks of a way to incorporate that into his ruse. Everyone heads back to their accommodations, and the team spend the next day enjoying the sights as they all sample various restaurants to find one appropriate to their needs – i.e. loud, with private rooms available if possible.

The team find several promising candidates, but the best one is the local Big Rhino franchise (I’m just assuming Bull franchised the place out by this point, if not call it a clone made by an enthusiastic fan) which Berzerk enjoys his time at immensely; setting up a reservation for the following day in the private room, everyone makes their preparations to pull off the swap and spends some of the S-K cred they got enjoying themselves in a foreign land.

When Aster’s fake SIN is ready and go-time comes, he and Berzerk go to the Big Rhino while Gh0st and Zephyr provide remote support – the latter over-summons a F12 fire spirit just for fun, who hangs around nearby until it’s time to put the hurt on whatever astral support is present. At the restaurant Berzerk somehow manages not to stand out as an obvious criminal by scoring a whopping 1 hit on his etiquette, while Aster obviously draws a huge amount of stares but is quite used to such things by this point in his long life. They find that Mr. Coba has brought a bodyguard as well, but Aster convinces him to leave him outside with Berzerk by saying he wishes to discuss things in private, intimating that he has illicit shipping routes into the UCAS that KRIME could exploit to avoid import taxes.

Meanwhile, Gh0st spots a familiar persona eating at the restaurant – the troll technomancer from KRIMECon who was demonstrating the nano-grip system. Rather than immediately data-spike her into oblivion, he risks sending a message to ask if she’s currently on the job providing matrix security, getting a confused and somewhat scared response in reply – satisfied that she’s simply there to enjoy the food, he relegates himself to squelching Coba’s commlink. Zephyr meanwhile spots the F6 Spirit of Man playing astral bodyguard for Coba, and gets ready to sick his fire spirt on it on Aster’s command.

While Berzerk distracts the bodyguard by having him show off the half-dozen different KRIME-branded weapons he has on him, Aster leads the target into their private room. Right on cue, the team launches their ambush, crushing the surprise check - Zephyr’s spirit absolutely obliterates the spirit of man before demanding release, which the summoner provides. Aster goes into action with his narcojet stinger against the helpless Coba, who failed his surprise check and is unable to dodge – Gh0st squelches his comms, and the ork goes down in a crumpled heap moments later.

Aster does his thing, copying Coba’s appearance with his false face before using his disguise kit to tusk up and match skin tones, popping in the polychromatic lenses and setting his smart wig before swapping suits to complete the illusion. Leaving a pair of restraints and messaging Berzerk to enter after he leaves and deal with the unconscious Coba, he exits and tells the bodyguard that it didn’t work out, absolutely nailing his impersonation check after days of method acting to get into character. The two head out while Berzerk goes to handle Coba – he pours some Hurlg over him before throwing him over his shoulders and stumbling towards the back exit, thankfully managing to avoid attracting attention to himself as he tosses him into a dumpster and cuffs him to a pipe (someone will find the poor guy in a few hours none the worse for wear). Zephyr summons up a replacement spirit of man to accompany Aster just so nobody notices anything off - he doesn't know how to mask his aura, but he uses his corporate security knowledge to intuit that whatever security awares see the spirit likely won't be familiar with that particular summoner's aura anyway.

Now flying a SIN matching Coba’s and looking exactly like him, Aster cons the bodyguard by telling him there’s been a security breach and they need to go secure the prototype immediately – the lie is made easier by the fact that there actually was a security breach, which the spider quickly confirms, and Aster sells the urgency with the power of edge. When the arrive at KRIME Arena, he ditches the bodyguard by telling him to assemble a full security team to escort him to another facility while he secures the prototype – lying to the R&D nerds turns out to be rather easy, since none of them have a very high social limit, and with one last impersonation and con roll Aster is able to get his hands on the nanites. Securing them in a Faraday pocket, he bluffs the scientists into thinking that no one must know he took the nanites, and that the hackers must think that it is still present; with that he manages to stealth/etiquette his way out of the convention without being intercepted by KRIME security.

Aftermath

On the way to the handoff, Zephyr notices a familiar watcher spirit tailing them, and Gh0st’s cyberears pick up the shrill buzz of a fly-spy nearby. He manages to spot it out, but is unable to successfully hack it, so the team briefly consider putting their new KRIME bricks to use before settling on a directional jammer to disable it; the drone performs a factory reset immediately upon going offline, but the team recover it and determine that it is S-K branded. Having now spotted 3 attempts to spy on them, the team contemplates keeping it as a little bonus before deciding to return it with the nanites just to flex.

Arriving at a dockside pier late at night, the team find a lone woman waiting for them (with a F8 spirit of man watching her back on the astral and an S-K drone equipped with a sniper rifle hovering 500ft up). She congratulates them on their excellent performance and says that it was “above expectations” – everyone remains calm and collected and professional as can be as they hand off the nanites, the datachip holding the code, and the spy drone, and Frau Schmidt just nods before pocketing all three. Handing everyone gold credsticks, she once again praises their good work and offers to remain in contact with each of them.

Rewards

  • 14,000 nuyen
  • 1,250 in S-K scrip, minus ancillary expenses for room and board
  • 2 CDP
  • +3 Saeder-Krupp rep
  • KRIMECon Souvenirs!
  • Optional Gear Rewards: Any equipment S-K manufactures, availability <12
  • Optional Contact: Amrei Veidt, C6/L1 S-K Prime Operative (6 RVP/12 CDP)

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Gh0st: That was a pretty fun job aside from the Johnson repeatedly trying to hack me, even walked out with a troll sized...minigun... and I'm a dwarf... huh and no refunds drek.