Runner Notes - 06 29 17 (2)
September 29th, 2075
“Al Al bo bal, banana fana fo fal, best pal around… listen, I got a favor. And you know me, I hardly ever ask for favors. But listen, it’s important to me. It’s about a girl, right? I mean, isn’t it always? She was an old friend – well, old flame, really but we never got in sync. Cassie Hill. Anyways, she woke up one day and got herself lost, yeah? And, well you see, she’s actually my old best friend’s kid sister. You keeping up chummer? Think you and the crew will be interested in getting her out of a tight spot for me?
Al agreed, and Dennis kept talking.
“Alright, alright, alright. That’s what I like to hear. So me and that old friend Lance Hill, the two of us scraped up enough to pay each of you at least 5k. For you, those three nerds you got, and that flamethrower. Especially the three nerds since your cover is tech support for KE.
“Oh, yeah. Lance Hill works for KE. But it’s a fragging cake walk, omae. A real milk run. You’re all nova hot right now anyways, not that they’ll know it’s you. But they just needed some tech support on a raid into the Tower. I mean, you’ve heard of The Ivory Tower? No? Just look around any ‘hub, I’m sure you’ll see someone mention it, it’s a bit of a joke. Anyways, they’re going to raid it. All you gotta do is keep your eyes out for Cassie and make sure you get her out.”
Dennis sends the address for the meet and the Ivory Tower, both in Redmond, and tells them 3 AM was when the meet was going down. He also sent them a portrait of a girl. When Al relays the information, Turbo and the others get spooked and think they have to get in and out before the imminent KE raid instead.
Turbo and CB dig up what they can, and find that the Tower is an old Marriott hotel, previously abandoned in the sprawl, and run by a gang calling themselves the Shut-Ins. They never leave, and instead lure people in with the promise of safe harbor as long as they pull their weight. This offer also extended to small time gangs facing pressure from other, bigger gangs.
The leader, known as The Lord to some, Slum Lord to others, is a bit of a mystery. The same can be said of his two lieutenants, Half-A-Chance and Lockjaw.
The only time the doors open is once a month, on a Sunday, when they have the Bizarre Bazaar. Tenants come out, sell whatever they were able to scavenge that The Lord didn’t want, and the profits or goods were tithed to The Lord for their rent.
The pair of deckers also looked into Cassie Hill. However, she was a ghost. They were able to find an old Mefeed page that hadn’t been active in 10 years. There was little information on it outside her involvement with different tech organizations from high school, showing she was a real rising star. There was also an old photo, the same one that Cool Dennis had given the team already.
Instead of making it to the meet by 3 AM, they think they need to get in and out by then. So as soon as the team groups up, they pile into Al’s van, and drive to Redmond. Between waiting for Turbo and Reznor to get to the firehouse, a checkpoint, and the traffic they hit on the way over to Redmond, it’s just after midnight by the time Al throws the van into park.
They can see the old hotel rising up into the night sky, a giant clock on the face of the Tower. All around the hotel, buildings had been leveled, small piles of rubble that hadn’t been bothered to be cleared. The windows were dark, and when Reznor flew a drone close he found them sealed, everything buttoned up high into the sky. Homeless men and women of all metatypes crowded around barrel fires or were slumped in doorways in various states of intoxication.
They ask some questions, and find that the no man’s land between the building and the rest of the neighborhood is perpetually empty. Turbo goes to a nearby corner store, buys a 40, pours most of it out, some of it on himself, and starts staggering down the street. He enters the empty space, and starts banging on the metal door.
The guard there pulls back a slide, revealing a slit in the metal door, and a pair of bloodshot eyes behind.
“Get the fuck out of here,” he said.
“I want some drugs!” Turbo responded.
“You want drek, you come during the bazaar.”
“It was today, next one is next month. Now frag off.”
Undeterred, Turbo pounded on the door some more, and people started to gather around to watch the spectacle. The rest of the team could hear the spectators muttering about his head being a ticket inside. Some pull makeshift weapons and charge forward, trying to beat each other to Turbo.
Al and Reznor intervene, with Reznor venting one, stopping a second in his tracks. The one still out in front swings his machete, and Turbo fakes a dive, triggering his murder armor. Al runs forward, intimidates the homeless man into standing down, and picks the orc up. When Al tries to barter his way in with Turbo’s body, the guard tells him to keep his head on ice until the next bazaar. Lacking direction, they call their fixer again.
“Hold on, I have to take this… what’s up chummers? You can’t be finished already,” Cool Dennis answers. They could hear music blaring in the background, the sounds of a typical Cool Dennis party. When they started asking him questions he cuts them off. “This is all stuff I already told you, or Lance should tell you when you get to the meet. I mean, come on omae, I’m busy. Your professionals, figure it out.” CB looked up Lance Hill quickly, and finds he works for KE, and the group realized the raid was their ticket in.
Minutes later, a call comes in from Lance Hill himself. He tells them Dennis sent him their comms, and asked if they were near since there was some commotion near the tower. CB tells him they were just setting up a distraction.
“What? You’re just coming in as tech support to help out…” His voice drops to a raspy whisper. “Didn’t Dennis tell you?”
“Easy chummer, it’s all good. Just a distraction if we need it. We’re on the way.” Reznor and CB head over to the meet, while Al and Turbo stay behind. The former pair are introduced to Lieutenant Bill Sanford, the one in charge of the operation. He gives the whole crew a quick briefing, information they essentially found on the ‘trix, and tells them the goal of the raid is to apprehend The Lord. Their plan is to sweep floor by floor while the gangers nurse their hangovers from the bazaar, and make their way to the top before they can muster any sort of defense.
“The higher up we travel, the higher the position they’ve got in the Tower. That’s where we’ll find The Lord. Any questions?”
When there was none, CB and Reznor took their seats while The Stürmwagon drove around the back of the tower. Lance introduced them to a KE officer named Bubbles who would be working with Lance and Team Quattro, but there was little time for anything in depth. The swat vehicle tore through a fence in back where the bazaar was held, and skidded to a stop in the middle of a courtyard. KE officers picked the lock quietly, and rushed in. They slammed the guy that Turbo had talked to onto the ground, and quickly put him and another guard in zip tie restraints while more flooded the grand staircase leading to the first floor. CB casually opened the front door, allowing Al and Turbo to come in.
“What the frag do you think you’re doing?” Lance said through clenched teeth.
“Told you, we set up a distraction,” CB said.
“If you frag this up for me, I swear… just hang back, and find Cassie.”
“Your welcome,” CB said to his back. Everyone noticed something disconcerting as the door closed behind them. Their matrix signal, which wasn’t the best to begin with due to the noise outside, was totally cut off from the outside. A closer inspection revealed walls made of a hodgepodge of different sorts of metal, twisted and fused to cover the walls like some industrial collage. All the windows were blocked off, and the only light was the dim, flickering overhead lights. The team found themselves in a makeshift faraday cage stretching 15 stories in the air.
Turbo and the others went to the restrained guards, one looking at them with glassy eyes, still not entirely sure what was happening, the other spooked. Both had patches of a keyhole with blood leaking out of it stitched to their clothing. The KE officer paid Team Quattro no notice as they showed the picture of Cassie to him.
“Do you know who this is?” He nodded languidly to Turbo’s question. “Is she in here?” He nodded again, dazed.
“Do you know what floor she’s on?” CB asked, and he bobbed his head up and down one more time, eyes drooping. “The fourth floor? The fifth floor? The 6th floor?” He nodded again. They left the guard to babysit them, and rushed to join up with the tail end of the K.E. raid. They swept through, tearing people from their rooms, binding them and grouping them together for one or two guards to watch. This happened from floor to floor, different symbols emblazoned on gear on different floors; the first, a hound breathing fire in front of a tower; the second, a saw at an angle; the third, an upside down KE badge with “To Bribe and Extort” written on it; the fourth, a ghastly, pink face. As they went floor to floor, Al got a good look at their movements and started noticing some sloppy movement. A cross up in communication here, a stumble there, and he realized all of them were rookies except for the ones in charge.
Also on the fourth floor was a strange sort of drone, obscured by a pile of garbage that had been left behind. The arms and legs were welded together, and a steady red light was on next to an old lens. A wire ran into the wall behind it, the cable coiled together behind it like some sort of tether. CB and Turbo looked it over closely, and Turbo even jacked into it to find a strange environment. It was distant, but he could still feel his body, could still hear what was happening around his body faintly, but saw himself in a dark room. A ticker was above a shut door, the word “Standby” running from the left side of the box to the left. He looked for a way to open it, but it was seamless, and the usual ‘trix tools weren’t readily available. It felt like some sort of purgatory between the matrix and meat space.
Frustrated, they pushed forward to the 5th floor, where KE was already throwing gangers to the ground and tossing rooms. By now the force KE had entered with had been thinned, leaving officers behind to move and organize their prisoners. Faintly Team Quattro could hear noise from behind them, like more rooms were being tossed. Then shouts. Then, finally, came gunshots.
As they stood on the landing at the top of the 5th flight of stairs, the heard the revving of a chainsaw. Over it, the booming voice of a man.
“*Hacksaw*’s gonna get what’s his!”