Avalon Jones (The Tech) is contacted by Ms. Scofield, a employee of Exaltech, the manufacturer of cutting edge custom cyberware. An employee of her company has stolen research information from her company is they are willing to hire outside help to retrieve it an him. She hopes that Avalon, who has worked for Exaltech in the past, knows of some reliable people. They arrange a meeting at the Go-Go Club the following night.
Avalon contacts Francis (The Killer), Mad Hat (The Hacker), and Spectre Zero (The Thief) – all people he has worked with or against in the past. Each one a skilled professional that will be needed for the job.
The Go-Go club is a neo-modern 70s dance club where disco has never died. Ms. Scofield arrives dressed to the nines as a flower-child. She greets Avalon and tells him she has arranged for a private room in the back. When his team has arrived she gets right to the point.
Roscoe Quince is a bio-geneticist that has worked for Exaltech for nearly five years on a new drug to decrease the rejection of neural implants. He had made a major breakthrough and was preparing a presentation before him and his research disappeared. Their own internal investigation turned up evidence that Eilodion might have been involved. She gives them a data chip with the results of their investigation along with a small dossier on Mr. Quince.
While she is talking Mad Hat logs in and does some checking on Ms. Scofield. She is a pretty low-ranking property security guard for Exaltech. Her sole accomplishment of note seems to be a mugging she stopped last year. She seems far too low-ranking to be involved in this type of operation. The rest of the negotiation goes well – a simple job with decent pay, but something seems just a bit off.
After Ms. Scofield leaves the team begins to plan how they are going to tackle this job. The data chip has very little useful information as Mad Hat suspected she does not have the information they need.
Spectre notices a small fiber tap in the room. It is very short range so Mad Hat does his best intimidation before Spectre destroys the device. Francis opens the door to catch the peep, but only sees some commotion near the door. Instantly a news feed from Action 9 has a “Hot or Not” couple shot of Mad Hat and Spectre.
With work to be done before Mr. Quince can be drug out of whatever he is hiding the team separate to maximize their coverage. Mad Hat sets up a secure chat room for future communication.
After some deeper digging of Mr. Quince they discover he has been operating with a very large research budget, with almost no oversight. Money was spent but everything was done off-books. For a simple research project this smells far too much like a dark skunk-works operation. The only other note of record is that Ms. Scofield had three written notes that he brought in an “unauthorized electronic device.” Each notation has a bin number and signature showing it was picked up at the end of the day.
A security report written by Daniel Allsouth, Ms. Scofield’s boss, lists his housing as Exaltech Drywash Housing Campus. Notes indicated 24/7 security with a Rapid Response team on call. State-of-the-Art monitors, electronics, and furnishings come with each unit. Roscoe had one of the smaller units, but it was still very large for just himself. Pictures Daniel took of the apartment show no obvious signs that he intended to leave.
Mr. Quince’s personnel jacket show that he was transferred in from Topeka PS 108, one of the government run student creches. He was one of the “golden children” that did not just survive public schools, but in fact showed enough promise that he was selected early for the student-learning program of Universal Organics (UO).
Avalon contacts Mama Jelata, who oversees the agricultural creche that he grew up in to see if she knows anything about Topeka. She knows that PS 108 is the only remaining creche left in Topeka. It is completely run by Universal Organics as drudge labor for their factory farms. She looks into the data and finds that someone named Roscoe Quince was a student, but he died eight years ago, two years into his intern with UO.
Spectre runs down Maximo Zero. The Zeroes pride themselves on living “outside, but inside, the system.” Most have heavily customized TAPs so that they are difficult for the system to track them online. He did not do up the fake TAP for Roscoe Quince, but he recalls that one of them put it together about five years ago for a well-heeled client. Even among the Zs information costs and Spectre negotiates hard for even the small data dump that she can acquire. He also takes the opportunity to brag about his 3 rotating IDs in his TAP chip, he offers a discount, but Spectre declines.
The person who created the new “Roscoe Quince” TAP was Hanna Zero. A quick chat with some friends uncovers that “Roscoe’s” original name was Marcus Spear, but nothing else on his turns up. The work was pro-bono, but anything more and she will have to find out what rock Hannah is hiding under currently. Hannah does really black work and so cannot stay in any one place too long.
She also does not know who did the body sculpt work for Marcus. It had to be pretty extensive to achieve the bio-metric pattern of Roscoe Quince.
Mad Hat takes some time out to visit his daughter Bianca at school and sees a news van parked outside with Action News emblazoned across the side. He approaches and gets into conversation with a tech running the boards. The team is doing a story on white/gray hackers – the tech clearly recognizes Mad Hat, but elects not to raise a fuss about things as long as Mad Hat stays calm as well.
Mad Hat jumps their data feed and searches through their newest files. He sees several chats starting yesterday that mention his name along with Spectre, Francis, and Avalon; however his name is very prominently featured. The story is being run by Action 9, but he sees the fingerprints of Amber Media all over the story. Some companies just don’t learn to leave someone alone.
A way too beautiful woman comes out of school escorted by one of their administrators. Everyone is all smiles until the woman spots Mad Hat near the van. She launches a pair of camera drones and immediately runs over towards him. She is an aggressive reporter and quickly backs Mad Hat into a corner. Mad Hat does his best to stare her down, but she is not willing to dance to his tune. When he tries to get more forceful the board tech draws a concealed gun and lets Mad Hat know he has crossed the line.
Mad Hat tries to claim that he is simply working for DayStar Engineering as a field tech, but this reporter knows far too much to be led off the trail. She hopes that he enjoys the in-depth piece on his daughter, she had some very interesting things to say about her father. Action 9 is only a small fry guerrilla news outlet that sells their content to Amber Meda. Mad Hat decides his next target will be Action 9 and they will be a smoking crater when he is done with them.
Francis is on the hunt hitting the streets about the latest dirt from Exaltech. He comes Deuce Micronics who is doing cutting edge work in bio-engineering. Their company might be very interesting in Roscoe’s work. He stops by one of their store fronts under the cover of looking to upgrade his tech. It is clear that the price and equipment is far outside his funds; although the saleswoman makes polite conversation.
It turns out that her conversation was too polite and a bit forced. Out of the corner of his eye he sees someone mess with his custom bike. After thanking the woman he sits carefully on its seat and make a cursory “check” of things before starting the engine. The object is a tracer and it was pretty amateurishly placed.
He leads this on a merry chase until he comes to a area he knows well enough to confront them. He pulls up in front of an abandoned house and goes inside to wait. Soon a van pulls up and three kids jump out. The first with two pistols shoots up the building while the other two ready Molotov Cocktails. Francis leans out of the first floor window and guns down all three of them before even a single bottle is thrown.
When he goes outside to question them he is hit in the leg from a hidden sniper. Bleeding he rushes towards one of the kids and uses his body to shield his retreat into the building. He believes there is a single “sniper” covering the front of the building. Upon questioning the kid he discovers this team is from Blackstar Consulting. They are a pretty well-known PR firm that specializes in scrubbing information.
While Francis is hiding from the sniper someone else in the van throws a satchel of explosives into the building. Francis barely finds cover before the explosion brings down the building. After Blackstar clears out Francis calls for help, eventually digging his way out of rubble.
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