What? Not Butter!
|What? Not Butter!|
In which the team infiltrates the host of a Horizon-owned facility in order to gather information on their secret activities.
The runners respond to an open job post on the Haven by a figure called M_07, who provides them with MARKs on a private host for the meet. Everyone rezzes in and are met by a pixilated humanoid figure who lays out the details of the job for them. M_07 tells the team that he knows of a host which he admits is too much for him, but which a team of skilled hackers would have little trouble with - he wants the team to go inside and grab as many files as they can find. They are free to keep what they find as paydata, as long as they give him evidence of what's going on at the facility and give him the credit for the hit so that he can build a reputation in the hacker community. It becomes clear during the course of the conversation that M_07 once visited the place which the host belongs to - a Horizon facility charmingly called "Hotel California" - and that he has suffered from memory loss issues since then, so he wises to know what sorts of things are going on there. M_07 has a backdoor into the host set up through which he can provide the team with a MARK each, however it is via the Ares Global Grid, so they will begin accruing Overwatch Score immediately and thus have a limited time inside. With all of this in mind, the team accept the job with the promise of juicy paydata to sell and potential contacts to be made through M_07's network.
The team of nerds decide that they should find a Decker Den(TM) to hack from, so Oathbane calls up her contact/techno-teacher Night Claws, who hooks them up with a burnable safehouse in case they are traced in exchange for access to the paydata they find and a cut when they sell it through him (everyone is amicable to this arrangement). While on the way there Ca1yps0 calls up The Weekender, an ex-Dawkins Group fixer, in order to get a bit more information on Hotel California - in exchange for a money transfer, The Weekender discloses some details on the facility and the host (as well as some choice fish-based insults). Evidently it's a hotel that serves as a cover for a secret project where corporate citizens are sent in order to be mind probed, PAB'd and have their memories altered or erased in order to learn all their juicy secrets, meaning that there's plenty of information to find there, and that its matrix security is likely its biggest weak point.
Equipped with a safehouse and a way to jack eachother out of the matrix if one of them is link-locked or provide medical assistance if someone gets dumpshocked, the team plans out an infiltration strategy. They agree to split into two teams - Ca1yps0 and Sp4rks along with Oathbane and Scrabble - in order to watch eachother's backs, and try to stay hidden as long as possible in order to spot out the files they need. With the information from The Weekender, along with Ca1yps0's Horizon insider knowledge and some matrix security rolls, they are able to teamwork a T6 search on the facility in order to find out as much information on it as possible, finding out that the spider is relatively new (the veteran one having been recently killed in an accident) and that they work mostly during the off-hours of the facility, meaning that there's a window between 12pm and 4pm where there will be a pair of Agents monitoring the host instead.
After figuring out their plan of attack, the team take their various drugs to boost their brainpower, and the technomancers apply machine sprites to the deckers hardware in order to turn them into matrix gods via diagnostics. After relaxing in their VR chairs, they contact M_07 to give him the heads up on their timing and hop onto the grid in order to acquire marks and observe the host before slipping silently inside.
Inside the host, the two teams split up - they start searching around the host (a massive space-forest dotted with towering surrealistic creatures) and locate the files of interest dotted around, along with the pair of agents (hulking void-headed giants) and the bloodhound IC (slavering jawless monsters) ready to track them if they're spotted. Everyone remains hidden for the first pass, with Sp4rks and Ca1yps0 heading for the CPU (a storm-covered inland sea) while Scrabble and Oathbane begin searching through the files that dot the various treetops.
While Oathbane assists Scrabble with copying unsecured data on the facility patrons, Sp4rks and Ca1yps0 sneak through the CPU and look for things of interest - they spot a sort of void in the water like a tiny black hole (apparently a silent running persona, though efforts to perceive it to learn more about it prove fruitless), along with a mysterious secure portal in the bed of the ocean. Both manage to slip by the mysterious persona to reach the portal and begin disarming the massive data bomb on the entrance to its sub-folder, however the black hole rises out of the ocean as it spots out Oathbane (but not Scrabble) and begins moving towards her to investigate.
While Scrabble starts disarming his own databombs and securing folders full of paydata (staying hidden all the while and managing not to get converged on as his OS stays low enough to avoid notice), Oathbane prepares for a fight, however the mysterious persona starts to talk to her instead and questions what she's doing there. No one on the team is quite sure what to make of it, however after Oathbane asks who they are and learning that their name is Rachael and that they work for Horizon as a host-sculptor it becomes clear to Ca1yps0 that they are an e-ghost.
As it turns out, Rachael is the creator of the host and cares only for her personal Eden, wanting Oathbane to leave immediately. She pretends to agree and heads towards the exit slowly while asking curious questions and pretending to be a wandering script kiddie instead of the criminal cyberterrorist that she is. With Rachael distracted, Scrabble stays under the radar of the bloodhound IC and secures the information M_07 needs along with the team's paydata as Sp4rks and Ca1yps0 uncover the entrance to the host's Foundation. The two contemplate a dive inside in order to plant anchors and put together a plan to try to learn the paradigm from Rachael through Oathbane, however the e-ghost sees through her con and grows suspicious of her intent (though she remains ignorant of the presence of the others).
Oathbane attempts to puppeteer Rachael, who responds with a gentle data spike to encourage her to leave at once - she does so, leaving her fault sprite behind to engage in cybercombat, however it biffs its own data spike and is promptly devoured by the black hole. The rest of the team slips silently out, planning to return later when Rachael cools off in order to try to learn more about her and take a dive into the Foundation.
With the information that M_07 was after in hand, along with a whole bunch of paydata for Night Claws to sell off and take his cut of, the team make copies of the data for their own archives before sending it along to their Johnson, who replies with his surprise at the quantity of the massive data dump and his thanks for a job well done. Scrabble looks up a bit more info on Rachael, correlating his search terms by Horizon citizens who died in the Crash, and finds an online memorial with a system administrator by that name, however all of the other identifying information seems to have been intentionally scrubbed from the matrix. Mysterious!
- 14,000 nuyen
- 2 karma
- 2 CDP
- Optional Contact: Night Claws(Contact) - C4/L1 Techno Teacher for 4 RVP or 8 CDP
- Optional Contact: Cabinet Man (Networked through M_07) - C2/L1 Arcade Ghost for 2 RVP or 4 CDP
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Nice to know this place has some real matrix talent - this who team were real pros, and a pleasure to work with. Sp4rks and Scrabble are quality console cowboys, and while Oathbane might be the greenest "decker" I've met so far she's got that spark - though she needs to learn to hide her talent better if she's going to stay in the closet. I've got to admit I was pretty anxious when I heard we were hitting a Horizon-owned host, especially once I found out what they do there, but I managed to stay hidden. Gotta say I did not expect to run into the host sculptor, let alone an e-ghost; I wish I could have talked to her a bit, but she was pretty mad after the confrontation. Hopefully we'll be able to go back later and find out more - Sp4rks seemed down to hop into the Foundation right there, but I think we need to get some information out of Rachael first, and to do that we need to know more about who she was. Busy busy busy, the new year is definitely starting off on an interesting note.
Oathbane:Definitely not one of the easiest jobs rather, it was communicating with an e-spirit long since pass and whatever records we managed discover about them seemed to be wiped clean always. Count on horizon to do something like that. I thought it would be a simple gather information but turned out to be dealing with something during the crash an well the entire thing which is something different overall. I'm still showing that i got a lot of learn
This run was interesting, i feel like i was more accompanying the other team members than anything, oathbane distracted the ... thing, Scrabble got all the data out like a boss, and Ca1ypso and i plunged down to the CPU, that we learnt soon after was the door to the foundation. At this point she asked me if i was ready to go in, and a was hesitant but wanted to try it and wasn't gonna leave her alone to do that. So i acquieced, looking down at that black expanse still sends chills down my spine, but the data we needed was in the archive. In the end, we made it another day.
I'm still mad about the backflip tho.