Mad World

Bullets In The Club
And the wet work truly begins

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Sent: Today, 2318 hrs
By: Smiley
To: Moses

Hoi, chummer! I got a hot tip on some cold shit, man. Horizon Wiretech sold you out. There’s a bounty posted on you by some Johnson over on the Jackpoint VPN. Word is a wet team of runners is already en route to your location. Let your old pal know your coordinates, and I’ll be your backup.


Nothing like an old friend sending a message like that in the middle of a mission to complicate matters. Moses dropped Smiley the coordinates and asked about how much time he had. Smiley dropped another message about the runners have some sort of trace on Moses and that they would be there in five to ten minutes.

Moses got on the comms and let Sp3xx and Annie know that another runner team was coming in hot to take them all out, so we need to make a bid on this or jack out. Annie chimed in with how perfect the situation was that another runner team was coming in so we could possibly make it look like they did it. However, we would need to take Nesmith out here, at the club, and do it ourselves just to be sure. She pressed Sp3xx to get back into the host and get her on the VIP directory so she could get into the VIP room, and Moses pressed Sp3xx to get back into the host and get control of the cameras. In the meantime, Moses dropped another message to Smiley giving him the layout and telling him to meet him in the loading dock.

So the new plan: Annie would get into the VIP room through the front door and get a lay of the land and let everyone know what was happening. Sp3xx would get control of the cameras and security so we could keep the situation as low-key as possible. Moses would swing around back through the back halls with a security tuxedo on and come in to the VIP room through the back door. Once everyone was in position, we’d wax Nesmith. When Smiley arrived, he could stick around outside and cover our escape in case the other team arrived.

Sp3xx was still running hot in the club’s host as the Cheshire Cat. Hacking on the fly, he combs his way through to the VIP directory file and proceeds to crack the file. With a few more keystrokes, he pulls up Annie’s SIN entry and upgrades her to VIP status. A golden clipboard in the host appears, spins around with the letters “VIP” glowing on it, and then vanishes again. Sp3xx announces that Annie has received an in-flight upgrade to first-class and she should proceed to her new seating immediately.

Annie and Moses get on the move. Annie picks up her covered trays of “food” and proceeds to enter the VIP room. She is stopped by the security in the room at the door. Meanwhile, Moses gets back to the locker room and finds a poorly-fitting tuxedo uniform with the name tag “Andrew Jackson”. He makes his way toward the loading dock doors after changing.

Smiley, of course, is on his way.

Annie attempts to talk her way around the guard. He insists she cannot enter into the VIP room with the covered trays. It is club policy that only a waiter or club employee bring food into the room. He would be glad to take the trays back to the kitchen.

Sp3xx turns his attention to taking control of the cameras and runs his brute forcer program to no avail. A pit boss suit notices something amiss and gets a mark on him. A golden handcuff appears on the Cheshire Cat.

Smiley arrives and, parking his truck in an alley off the street near the back of the club, rounds up his arsenal and jogs to the loading dock doors.

Moses arrives at the loading dock doors and proceeds to open them. As the doors get about halfway up, Moses notices a guard strolling in his direction. Instead of letting Smiley in, Moses puts a hand on him and pushes him out as Moses also steps out, closing the loading dock door behind them. Mentioning the guard, Moses and Smiley make a move around the corner and toward a different loading dock door to make an entry. Moses comms in to everyone he is on the move; Sp3xx needs to take over the cameras.

Annie cannot seem to get the guard to budge on his position about the trays, so she does the only sensible thing – she flips the tray, grabs both guns from the air, forces her way in and starts shooting!

Moses sneaking with Smiley attempting, using the employee maglock passkey, scans the key and gets through the second loading dock doors and into a different loading dock into the club. Fortunately, no one is currently in the loading dock as they enter. Hearing gunfire over the comms, they quickly assess the building layout and make for a door to the hallway running down the back of the VIP room.

Sp3xx is scanning fast through the system, looking for a way to get a mark on the cameras, but the encryption key keeps changing before he can get it dialed in. The Rock ‘em Sock ’em robots have taken notice of his activities and mark him. A second golden handcuff appears on the Cheshire Cat. Before he has time to react, though, all of Sp3xx’s work has drawn the attention of the GODs, who decided to forcibly eject Sp3xx from the host.

Bursting in to the VIP room, guns blazing, Annie spies Nesmith with Candy and Sandy on a couch in the lounge. Seeing her guns, the security guards react, shooting gel rounds in her direction. Shooting starts and Annie tags a guard with a round while also getting shot with a gel round. Gunplay rouses the assembled patrons, who begin to scream and flee for cover as the alarm goes up.

Moses and Smiley can hear the gunfire over the comms and yell for Sp3xx to get back into the host and get control of the cameras. Also, pulling up the floor plan for the club, Moses and Smiley map out a route through the loading dock in the far corner of the club they are about to enter to the VIP lounge. There is a hallway that runs directly from the dock to the employee rear entrance to the lounge that they will enter through. All they have to do is avoid a single security camera/sentry gun.

Groggy and running cold, Sp3xx got back into the club’s host. Once again, the golden lights of the casino dazzle him. Finding a seat at the far end of the bar, he gives the wink and the nod to a cocktail waitress before getting back to the scheduled… program. Dialing up the schematic he saved, he started poking and prodding for a way back into the system. Launching a dictionary attack on what looked like a chandelier but was actually an array of sensors and cameras, he tried unsuccessfully to take control of the system. Not running silent due to time pressure, he knew his actions were going to attract attention, and they did. Tuxedoed pit bosses and Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots started scanning the crowd.

Meanwhile, gunfire blazed away in the VIP room. The orc escorts pulled guns and started firing on Annie, clipping her. Nesmith stumbled and crawled toward the nearest piece of furniture looking for cover.

Stepping into the hallway, Smiley launched a small grenade from his under-barrel grenade launcher right past the panicked guests streaming into the hallway and into the sentry gun at the end of it, blowing a hole wide open to the street outside. The screams from the guests that followed were punctuated with more gunfire as Smiley unleashed a hail of bullets down the hallway, dropping two security guards who had come from the VIP room and were making their way toward him. Moses bolted from behind Smiley and sprinted down the hall toward the VIP room in an effort to both head Nesmith off before he got away and to help out Annie. Coming through the door, Predator drawn, Moses drills Nesmith center mass with a single APDS round. Nesmith fell back, gasping for mercy, saying, “I can help you! I’m an important man! I know things!”

Security guards fell back to the stage in the VIP room, taking shots at the runners and missing. Candy and Sandy retreated to the stage as well with other patrons, leaving Nesmith in favor of self-preservation.

Sp3xx downed a virtual martini. He could hear over the comm from Moses to either get control over the camera system or at least wipe the tape. Continuing to apply pressure on the camera system, Sp3xx attempted to gain full control and failed. Feeling a tap on his shoulder, a pit boss latched a golden cuff over his wrist, gaining a mark on Sp3xx.

Annie found some cover, dropped to one knee, and fired a single shot into Nesmith, ending his life. Gel rounds from the security glanced off her cover, but we got what we came for.

Moses caught the falling body of Nesmith and started dragging him from the VIP room toward the new exit Smiley created. Smiley decided to gun down the other camera at the end of the hall before making his way out. Annie soon got around to following Moses and Smiley out. They all made for Annie’s car in the parking garage, blending in with the screaming masses streaming from the club. With the runners taking off, security decided a live firefight was beyond their paygrade and fell back.

Sp3xx darted to a new position in the virtual casino and launched yet another dictionary attack on the host’s camera system. However, the encryption key proved elusive, and he once again failed to get a mark on the system. However, the pit bosses had definitely taken notice of Sp3xx and ran their own attack program on him. Sp3xx diverted his attention from the camera system long enough to avoid a second mark. Circulating around the club, Sp3xx got call over the comm from Moses. “I’m a little busy right now, Pops. It’s not like I’m typing a spreadsheet here.” Moses explained that everyone was making for the car and that he had to wipe the feed, and if Sp3xx couldn’t wipe the feed, then we’d all be getting our next job at MacDuffy’s after a long stint behind bars. Sp3xx got back to hacking on the fly, acquiring a mark on the camera system and gaining access to the video feed. In the virtual world of the host, a waitress came by and dropped a stack of cash beside him. Continuing with the hack, Sp3xx was able to pull the video feed up and wipe it. In the host, Sp3xx set the stack of cash on fire. With that, a Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robot dropped a second golden manacle on him. It was with the second manacle that Sp3xx ejected himself from the host, sustaining the shock of the ejection and reviving in the car as the others arrived.

Piling in Annie’s vehicle, Smiley had us take him around back to his truck, so we pulled around into the alley away from the chaos of the front. Given that we hadn’t seen this other runner team yet, we asked Sp3xx if he could scan the car and the area for any tracers or tags. Sure enough, through his scan, Sp3xx picked up a tracer tag on the shotgun microphone we picked up originally from the Johnson. Using an eraser, we burned it out. While we were sitting there for a few seconds waiting to see who might exit the club in case we needed to prepare for more security guards, a large van pulled up and a small crew with some serious hardware exited, running into the club. They didn’t look like Knight Errant, and we knew some Knight Errant guys were on their way in addition to the other runner team. However, they did leave a nice van parked outside, and we needed a place to put Nesmith’s body, or at least something to put his body in and then drop off in the orc neighborhood and make it look like an “accident”….

Fools Rush In
Well, more like carefully infiltrate....

With Nesmith entering the Silver Fools, we are left with either waiting to take him in transit again, as per the original plan, or trying to take him in the club. Obviously, we know why he is there. However, there is no reason he should be there, really. It is unlikely that his finances add up to not one but two busty orc escorts in a high-class night club in the ritzy part of town. We decide we need to get eyes on this situation. Given that we do not have a lot of time with this mission anyhow, it could be this is more than just a meeting for some pleasurable company.

We park in the parking garage and have Sp3xx jack in to the grid to find out any intel on the building layout, get control of the cameras, and find out where Nesmith is hanging out. Sp3xx makes short work of the host, gaining the building layout and camera layout rather handily, which he transmits to both Moses’s and Annie’s comms. However, gaining access to the cameras was much more difficult. Sp3xx had to change personas several times throughout the course of gaining access to the cameras, all the while arousing the attention of the IC. He was eventually able to hide for a time as the Monopoly Man before having to drop out from the host to avoid getting marked too many times. Cameras were a no-go.

With the building layout in our possession, Annie decided she was going in to scout the floor and see what she could see. If the decker couldn’t help tracking Nesmith through the complex, then we could still, at least, put real eyes on him. As part of her plan, Annie stealthily guns down a woman using her silenced gun in the parking garage, nearly killing her. Taking her armored evening gown and credstick, she changes into her new disguise and gets into the club with 250 credits paid. (The body of the unconscious woman was left under a blanket in the parking garage with a slap patch over the wound.) Annie checked her gun at the door and proceeded to the main club floor in search of Nesmith. Over the comm she requested Moses bring in some of her other guns from the car. Sp3xx was going to remain in the vehicle down low in the backseat and get back into the Matrix hot this time. We need those cameras, and Sp3xx was the only one who could gain access to them. With Sp3xx in the back, Moses took off around the back to the loading dock to gain entry to the complex.

With Annie in the front and Sp3xx in the Matrix host, Moses made his way through the weak maglock at the loading dock and sneaked into the locker room with Annie’s additional weaponry. Acquiring a waiter uniform, Moses passed the security room, noting two armed tuxedoed guards and three deckers monitoring the cameras and alarms. Lifting a couple covered dishes from the kitchen nearby, Moses slipped Annie’s guns under the covers and carried them out to her. Dropping them at her table, he circled back to the locker room to change clothes again, lifting a few credsticks and maglock passkeys for the complex.

From Annie scanning around, it was obvious Nesmith was no where on the main floor, which only left the VIP room. Dialing up Sp3xx over the comm, his next move was to be getting Annie on the VIP directory to get her access to the VIP room so she could scout it out for Nesmith. Also, he needed to get control of the cameras! Popping back in to the Matrix host as with a Cheshire Cat persona, Sp3xx got to work.

Surveillance Says!
Where we dial in Nesmith's particulars

The plan: with a week to complete the work or become targets ourselves, we decide the best course of action to take him in transit would be to work out the transit route while, at the same time, stake out the end points and get to know his pattern a bit. Annie takes off in her car en route to Nesmith’s abode. In the meantime, Moses heads off to pick up his new uniform so that he can report for his “new job” tomorrow at Horizon Wiretech as part of their first-shift security detail.

Annie, following the address we received from the Johnson, stakes out the house. Parking her car at a nearby 24-hour diner, she walked over to his nondescript, ranch-style house, and started sneaking around the bushes and peeking in to the windows. From what she saw, he was the typical bachelor: half-drunk beers, messy, pornographic “Tusk ‘n’ Titties” sim-synth strewn about. Unfortunately, she didn’t notice until after-the-fact the camera mounted on the soffit of the house.

As a Knight Errant patrol car drove by, shining its spotlight around the property, Annie attempted to hide in the bushes. When discovered, she played the whole thing off like she had just woke up in the bush, just having come-to after a killer party. Her line was good enough that the officer bought it, even offering her a ride home if she wanted. She declined and went back to her vehicle. From what she could see, there didn’t appear to be anything of merit from what she could find at Nesmith’s house that we might be able to use as leverage.

The next morning, Moses reported to the Horizon Wiretech security desk and clocked in for his first, and only, day of work. Figuring out the layout and his route, he made sure to walk by Nesmith’s desk and drop a subvocal mic near his desk to listen him drone on and boast about, mostly, nothing important to anyone but Nesmith. He didn’t appear to be contributing much, if anything, of value. His claptrap made for great sleep-inducing music. However, not willing to ride out the whole day and not be able to follow him afterwards, Moses looked into getting a Horizon Wiretech official tracer tag for Nesmith’s car, so Moses spoke to his supervisor about getting a tag. The supervisor said it needs the approval of a higher-level manager. Moses gave the supervisor the name of the Johnson who was smart enough to provide us his actual phone number. The supervisor approved it and handed it over with directions to Nesmith’s vehicle and the make and model of the vehicle. Moses placed the tag in the wheel well of the driver-side front tire, activated the tag, and then took down the tag ID before serving out the rest of the day as fake security.

Dialing up Annie, Moses explained that he tagged Nesmith’s car, but he can’t track it himself as he doesn’t have the ability to crack the encryption on the tag to access its signal. Annie suggested that we hire a decker. A solid idea, so Moses dialed up his fixer Ray Bones. Bones knew a guy he could get us in touch with, so we set the meet to be early evening at a MacDuffy’s near the Horizon Wiretech HQ so we can keep an eye on Nesmith.

On the second floor of MacDuffy’s open to the street, Annie and Moses sat waiting for their newest team member to arrive. When he arrived, Sp3xx introduced himself as the man for the job. Giving him the tracer tag ID, Sp3xx acquired the signal and patched it over into Annie’s and Moses’s commlinks. Proof enough for everyone, and he was willing to work for cheap until we got paid; we had no choice but to hire him. Piling into Annie’s car, we followed Nesmith’s car once it left his corps’s parking lot.

Sp3xx proved more than useful: as we tailed Nesmith from his work, Sp3xx was able to hack into Nesmith’s car radio and eavesdrop on his conversation with some escorts. Nesmith was apparently driving to Bellevue to meet a couple of orc escorts named Candy and Sandy at the Silver Fools night club. This slightly complicates our plan in that, if he isn’t going home, it might be hard to take Nesmith in transit. However, we decide to keep tailing him.

The drive would have been uneventful had it not been for some sprawl gangers on motorcycles terrorizing the drivers on I-5. They came up on us quickly, and we fired back on them. Annie put the car into autopilot while she plugged one of them, who backed off. Sp3xx took over a motorcycle and drove it over the side of the overpass. The other ganger decided he didn’t want to take on us alone and took off.

When we arrived at the Silver Fools, we decided it would be best to park in the parking garage across from the club and figure out our way in to follow Nesmith.

Easy Money
Amateur hour starts... now

Connecting Jackpoint VPN
… Matrix Access ID Spoofed.
… Encryption Keys Generated.
… Connected to Terracotta Routers.
> Login
> Enter Passcode
… Address <<UNKNOWN>> Confirmed.
Connected to <<ERROR: NODE UNKNOWN>>

Posted: Today, 0248 hrs
By: Mr. Johnson
Subject: Easy Money

Hoi! Listen up, vatjobs! My R&D section has some trash that needs a cleaner to take out. He is a square peg that doesn’t fit the round hole. Nice work if you can get it. Try outs are in two days with address to follow.

After placing some calls to our respective contacts, both Annie and Moses decide to go after this easy money job. Both of us show up, individually, to the dilapidated Horizon Wiretech warehouse in a sketchier part of Seattle. As we are checking out the place, we notice a guy on the top of the building with a shotgun microphone, and we really notice him when he drops said shotgun microphone near us. We notice the guy, then we notice each other, then we both decide to grab the mic and pursue the guy, climbing to the top of the building to chase after him. We chase him back to the ground floor of the building to where we meet the Johnson who posted the ad. Mr. Johnson used his personal comm to post the ad, so we note that for later in case we ever need to get in touch with him.. personally.

Mr. Johnson wastes no time in gunning down his sidekick right in front of us before telling us the job, which is Horizon Wiretech wants us to take an annoying engineer who isn’t working out and doesn’t “fit the mold” and kidnap him. Make it look like another corp rival did it. Take him to a location that they specified or makes sense and eliminate him. Most importantly, though, is to make it look like someone else did it or make it look like an accident.

Herbert Nesmith is the mark. He works for Horizon Wiretech as an engineer. Horizon Wiretech located in Renton. Nesmith fancies himself an inventor. He has a lot of skills but no follow-through. Nesmith needs to evaporate within a week.

Annie and Moses think it might be best to take this guy during his transit from work to home. However, we need more intel on the whole situation and what this guy does, his patterns, the whole nine yards. We decide to setup a two-prong approach where Annie will stake out the guy’s house while Moses will stake out the guy’s work.

Mose’s corporate security contractor contact is an orc named Jim Falstaff. He was able to get Moses into Horizon as part of his contract staff. He pulled one of his guys off to slot Moses in. Just one thing: no blood. Moses needs to pick up a uniform and get over there in the morning. Annie will drive herself over to Nesmith’s house using the details we have on him from the Johnson to see if he has any weaknesses and/or where would the best place to be to take him.

Mad World.

Mad World.

It’s getting bad out there, chummer. It’s always been bad, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s getting worse. At least it feels that way, ya know? People are still dying by the minute. That hasn’t been a problem to people for years, of course. But, it seems like less people are even trying to stop it. I don’t know why it feels like that, it just does.

I even hear Doc Wagon has been looking to “review their expense profiles.” Which means they’ll be responding slower, with less ammo, and less of the good stuff that keeps your clock borrowing time. Of course their motto is still something to the effect of, “Someone made you holey? We’ll keep you human,” or something like that. They’ll still be standing by your contract. That’s the only way to keep your business. But, well… A contract’s only as good as the living meatbag still paying the premium on it. They’ve been pushing the limit on who doesn’t make it, “despite severe and immediate response.” All I’m saying is, if you’re not platinum to them, well… Watch your back, chummers. And kneecaps, cranium, and every other spillage reducing piece of flesh you have.

Yeah, mates, it’s getting pretty bad. You don’t have to take my word for it; you’ll watch a few of your own go down as well, I’d wager. But, keep your wired reflexes synced up, and your chambers cleaned and oiled. Keep your spirits bound, and your commlinks overclocked, or whatever keeps your pants out of the fire. And old Jack will keep bringing you the good word. Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and well… who knows, maybe it’s time to start cutting deals with dragons. It’s all going to hell anyway, right?

- Jack Trades, signing off for now, but coming back at’cha soon.

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