Emerald Rain

Session 0.1
Betrayal and Oportunity

The evening began simply enough, with a drink between colleagues. Sugita and Karl were enjoying beers at at Shorty’s in Helltown. It was disrupted by an emergency favor called in by Dr. Stein, Sugita’s street doc, cybernetics specialist. Dr. Stein believed that he had been betrayed by his assistant, Gregor. Gregor was supposed to do a routine pick up from his main source of medical supplies and something had gone wrong. The source was a contact at the Megacorp, Bio X, who placed the meds on an undocumented delivery van transporting classified materials. When Gregor failed to report back, Stein sent scouts to the pick up site who found evidence that the van has been attacked, including the dead bodies of the Bio X driver and guards. Both Gregor and the whole van were missing.

However, Dr. Stein, never one to be too trusting, had secretly implanted a GPS locator in Gregor while doing maintenance on his chip slot. It revealed the location of Gregor to be in The Spike, one of many buildings in Helltown now inhabited by criminal kingpins and warlords. Stein had no idea what else may have been on that van, but given that it was a secret shipment by one of the worlds most cutting edge pharmaceutical companies, it would be worth going after the whole thing and not just getting the the meds. That’s what Sugita and Karl were sent to do.

With the aid of a Netrunner who goes by the handle, numLok, the two mercenaries infiltrate the Spike and determine the location of the stolen van. Camera records showed the van being driven to the bottom level of the building’s underground parking garage, a section which was being used as a chop shop run by a man named Tarnish. As they near the prize, Gregor is shot dead with a bullet to the forehead, and there is a fight between Sugita and Karl and the van thieves. They were Goyas, a particularly violent gang into extreme body modifications and cybernetic weaponry. The duo is defeated the Goyas, killing two and taking one prisoner. The contents of the van had been already transferred to a different delivery truck. It turned out that the shop chop was hosting the operation only intending to get the high-end corporate van out of the deal. Sugita and Karl, let them keep the van and the drove away with the delivery truck with the as of yet to be identified contents from Bio X.

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Session 1.01
"Sounds like a six-man job."

Our story opened at the Carbon Sands bar in Helltown, a watering hole fusing elements of ancient Egypt with modern cybertech and a gathering place for all manner of shady characters. We met Neal McCauley, professional score-taker; Sarah Holden, a former corporate espionage specialist; Yamaha Kelly, the gender-ambiguous and totally mysterious figure; Tekato Hittori, a former syndicate enforcer and modern-day ninja; Lisa Lau, a docwagon medic moonlighting as a street surgeon; and NeonPerl, respected hacker and netrunner-for-hire.

Holden soon struck up a conversation with McCauley, and the two were tipped off to a potential job by the clown-tattooed waitress Coney. They were shown to the back room and took a meeting with “Tom,” an Indian PR and advertising executive with the Emerald Company, who offered them a lucrative job – a rival PR executive in the company, Robert Volen, was working on a secret project, and Tom wanted all the relevant data in advance of their department meeting next month. The payout would be $300k, 20% up front, and the operatives were expected to be totally discreet and work without supervision or assistance.

Back in the main room of the bar, Yamaha and Kato had come looking for a netrunner with ties to the Wo Shing Wo triad hunting each of them. Kato approached the green-mohawked bartender Ezzie, and after a somewhat awkward exchange, he was pointed to the purple-haired woman playing video games with an eccentric group of technonerds. NeonPerl had taken note of them from the moment they entered the bar, and after Kato made a not-so-subtle reference to the Wo Shing Wo in passing, she pulled him aside for an explanation and immediately found that Yamaha had crept up behind her. The three agreed to sit down and discuss their mutual enemy, and concluded they’d need funds if they were going to contemplate any action against the triads.

After McCauley and Holden left their meeting, Coney pointed them toward NeonPerl and her new associates, who agreed to take the job for a percentage. Knowing from experience that medical care could be essential on this kind of job, McCauley also approached Lau nursing a drink at a nearby table and offered her a place on the team, which was quickly accepted. The group then retired to a nearby loft owned by one of NeonPerl’s friends and began forming a plan.

Some internet research revealed that Volen was 41, married with no kids, 15 years with the Emerald Co., a man who rose to power following the Big Quake as a major proponent of the public-to-private security transition and the rise of the ECHO division. He maintained a penthouse suite in Broadway Heights while working out of Emerald HQ in South Lake. The team agreed to pursue three approaches – first, infiltrate Volen’s home and see what information might be stored in his personal records; second, set up Holden to take on a position as an Emerald Co. intern in order to give us access to the HQ campus; and, at Kato’s insistence, make preparations to threaten and/or blackmail Volen in case the first two avenues turned into dead ends. NeonPerl was able to create a digital persona for Holden to use, and the team parted for the evening to shop for supplies.

We met up the next day, where Holden, Yamaha and Lau scouted out Volen’s building as the advance team. The infiltration team composed of McCauley, Hittori and NeonPerl arrived shortly thereafter; while Holden kept the lone front desk guard occupied, NeonPerl compromised the building’s electronic systems while McCauley bypassed the physical security, allowing us to get inside Volen’s penthouse. After Kato cleared the apartment and confirmed Volen’s wife was out, our hacker downloaded a copy of Volen’s hard drive while McCauley cracked his wall safe, where we discovered a three-ring binder full of scientific articles about behavioral psychology written by Drs. Osamu and Matthis, as well as leases for an entire floor of offices in a Business District building. Most exciting of all, we found a display case containing 24 diamonds of various cuts and colors! After carefully documenting everything and inserting a +9 back door into Volen’s systems to assist with future hacking efforts, we replaced the goods and agreed that a second job was definitely in order after fulfilling our current contract with Tom.

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Session 1.02
The Lost Perl

The investigation continued into the late afternoon. Sarah, in disguise and equipped with fake records that NeonPerl had helped create, went to her interview at the Emerald Co. as on Ms. Amber Shonda. She was interviewed by a mid-level manager in the advertising department named Janus Kantor. It seemed to go well but Mrs. Kantor still wanted to interview other applicants so “Amber” would have to wait to be contacted later to find out if she gets the job.

Meanwhile, Neal and Lisa further examine the contents of the binder found in Volan’s safe. Neal makes note that the lease of an entire building floor downtown is held by Redwood Holding. Lisa looks into the science articles and their authors. While failing to find any connection of note, one interesting detail that emerged was that since the publication of the papers they found, there was no more articles published by any of the authors since.

It was about 7pm when the team regrouped at Sarah’s home. Notably absent was NeonPerl, who had gone off on her own, hoping to find a contact to help sell the diamonds should they manage to get back in and steal them later. It was then that everyone got a strange notification on their devices. “BlackTiger99 invites you to play Skull Wars! See Attached message.” While Skull Wars is a popular online game, no one in the group was likely to get such an invite to play. When the attached message was opened it read…

This in NeonPerl. The Wo Shing Wo nabbed me. This is the account of the stupidest dreghead that’s in the group that has me. Check his GPS. Get me the fuck out of here.

With the invite, it was easy enough to ping the location of the account’s user. It was in Market Row, the sprawling black market that exists under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The team immediately suits up and gets ready for action before they pay the market a visit. A casual walk by of the location revealed a kiosk manned by a couple of shady looking Chinese gentlemen, one engaged in playing an online game, selling stollen medical supplies. A tent in back of the booth, connects it to the building behind it, right where there is a stairway leading to the building’s basement.

An initial plan was formed to distract the guys out front with a casually tossed flash bang grenade to enable the team to slash through the tent and sneak into the basement entrance. While the grenade was skillfully and stealthily thrown by Tekato, doing it’s job of distracting well, the plan was foiled by a lone guard at the door to the basement. He was promptly taken down by Tekato and his Ninja-To, but the men at the front were alerted and had to be disposed of as well. Sarah and Lisa engaged and the men met their fate by way of deadly explosive rounds from Sarah’s gun. Lisa missed with her tangler, shooting it’s web out into the marketplace already engulfed in panic and chaos. The team proceeded into the basement of the building, leaving the mob to loot the place. Neal grabbed the communicator of the guard by the door and tuned and at least temporarily convinced the leader that the noise was caused by fireworks. He then tuned the team’s communicators to receive signals on that frequency.

Inside they found a large room with tables full of white powder drugs being sorted and bagged by a dozen Chinese girls who where totally naked (to keep them from stealing the drugs, of course.) Tekato waved his bloody sword and commanded them to leave, sending them running and screaming into the market, adding even more to the chaos to say the least.

There, the team stood their ground as they fought off the rest of guards of the criminal operation and overpowered them with with their superior equipment and skill. This was apparently a small time operation for the dreaded Wo Shing Wo, but as the bloody fight raged on, it was heard over the communicators that enforcements where being called for by someone named Yan. Time was short.

One guard left alive with a crippled leg was intimidated into leading them to the locating of NeonPerl. It was Yamaha who found her precious cyberdeck. It was in an armory/vault protected with an electronic lock which he penetrated with his laser rifle. They found Perl tied up in a back room, a bit distressed but unharmed and happy to see her cyberdeck was retrieved. The operation’s leader, Yan, had escaped through a secret trap door that led up an elevator shaft. This was the same exit the team made use of to escape the scene.

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Session 1.03
That Daily Grind

After rescuing NeonPerl and heading back to Sarah’s apartment, the team conducted some additional research into Volen’s project. His company Redwood Holdings had rented out the 17th floor of Wake Tower, a low-rise office building in the Business District, which has a regular contract with Blue Mountain Hotel Services. We also checked out our copy of Volen’s hard drive and found he keeps his personal and professional lives rather separate, though one exciting piece of information was that the 24 diamonds he keeps in his safe were appraised at an average of $250k each! After that news, Neal was barely able to stop himself from heading back to Volen’s penthouse immediately.

The next morning, NeonPerl shook her head at Neal’s so-yesterday internet research skills, and we ran down some additional leads on the omniweb. We learned that Profs. Matthis and Osamu (who had written many of the scientific articles we found in Volen’s binder) had mysteriously resigned their tenures at their respective universities and come to Seattle about 9 months ago, we can only assume to come work for Redwood Holdings. Sarah called Matthis’ former university in Germany and found he left no forwarding information; Kato also called the university in Japan and was able to leave a message with Shun Osamu, the professor’s sister and also an employee of the college.

Employing all her netrunning skills to crack some formidable black ICE, our hacker was able to gain access to Redwood Holdings’ secret node on the omniweb. We learned that the company had requisitioned living quarters for up to 12 medical/science staff, 8 security officers and 6 “test subjects,” a fully equipped lab, a very impressive fish tank and a high-capacity mainframe that controls all security functions on the 17th floor, totally isolated from the omniweb. It appears that we’ll need to gain physical access to the computer in order to obtain all the necessary data … NeonPerl then built in a +4 back door into Redwood Holdings’ systems before logging off.

Sarah later received a call from the Emerald Co. – after fucking killing it in the interview, she had been selected as their newest intern, and would start the next morning. Meanwhile, Neal, Kelly and Lisa decided to scout out Wake Tower. While many of the businesses including Redwood Holdings were not listed on the directory, the team was able to simply walk past the lone concierge in the lobby and gain access to the 18th floor, where the accounting firm Torbin & Cussman kept their offices. Kelly was able to make an introduction as a savvy business(person?) and arrange a potential future meeting with one of their accountants; xie also inserted a fiber optic device into the wall of the ladies’ room should we need to put eyes on the 17th floor below. They lastly talked to Wake Tower property management rep., Mr. Mark Roland, and planted the seed for possibly renting out an office space on the 16th floor, though the other tenants may demand some due diligence beforehand.

The next day Sarah arrived at Emerald Co. HQ and, after surviving orientation at least physically unscathed, was assigned to work for a focus group executive named Ms. Cantor. While attending to the busy work, Sarah attempted to access a few restricted sites within the company extranet, and ran up against no obvious security protocols. She also spent some time familiarizing herself with the layout of the floor where she worked and, after finding Volen’s office, tried eavesdropping on a few employees’ conversations – it seems that Volen’s team is highly efficient, and his employees spend little time in the office after hours socializing.

After discussing how best to go about accessing the mainframe inside Redwood Holdings’ office, we determined that, short of cutting a hole in the floor and making off with the entire computer, we would need a SQUID. Lisa Lau put her street smarts to good use and located a black market electronics dealer named Onyx down near the harbor. There was a tense moment when some of his gangbanger muscle attempted to surround us, but Kato was able to back them off. NeonPerl found the goods up to standards, but the transaction did not go exactly as expected, and we ended up paying $2k over market for the device, largely with funds generously loaned by Kelly.

We decided to case Blue Mountain Hotel Services on our way back to Sarah’s apartment. NeonPerl ran a quick analyze and found she’d have no trouble compromising their security, and we started formulating a plan to place a fake requisition inside Redwood Holdings’ logs and “borrow” a Blue Mountain van and some uniforms to get us onto the 17th floor. Kelly decided to rent a motel room down the street from their motor pool in order to observe and determine which type of van we’d need.

Sarah arrived coffee in hand and ready to brown-nose on her second day of work. In between handling her assigned tasks, in the break room she met Robert Volen’s personal assistant Wayne, an effeminate black fellow with a critical eye for women’s fashion. While her attempts at ingratiating herself with her new coworkers were a bit heavy-handed, she did learn that he frequents a night club called Platinimium, and Sarah expressed her hope that he’d meet her up for a fun night out that evening.

Good work team, have another +3 character points.

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Session 1.04
Project Maple

Sarah, dressed in her finest club attire, headed over to Platinimium on Friday night to meet Wayne. After hacking the club’s VIP list, Kelly, Kato and NeonPerl came along separately as backup, while Neal and Lisa posted up in a car out back behind the club. Wayne seemed to attract no shortage of fine women and Sarah was not at all out of place amid the driving bass and flashing lights of the dance floor; over the course of the evening, she was able to glean from her mark that his relationship with Mr. Volen seemed more than just professional. At one point Wayne was approached by Jase, a senior “greenface” hacker employed by the Emerald Company, and shortly afterward NeonPerl was able to impress him with her obvious technical expertise into an invite for her and Kato to their group’s private area. While mingling, the two overheard some of the hackers discussing a rumor that NeonPerl had recently been found by the Wo Shing Wo. Kelly meanwhile hired a professional escort to keep xie company while they retired to a separate private balcony in order to maintain overwatch on the scene.

Wayne then received a message and informed his companions that he’d be leaving. As Sarah and Kato made their exit behind him, NeonPerl observed Jase paying especially close attention to Sarah. Wayne entered a cab and Sarah and Kato hired another to follow him, while NeonPerl slipped into Neal’s car out back and hacked Wayne’s ISP, allowing the group to track him to the upscale First Hill Hotel. Kato discreetly followed Wayne into the elevator and watched him enter Room 506, and NeonPerl was able to determine that the room had been booked by Volen. After Kelly caught up with the team, he secured Room 508 next door, then raced back to Sarah’s apartment to grab her spy kit and run it back to the hotel. Our ninja performed an acrobatic leap over to the balcony of 506 hoping to secretly observe the occupants, but the clattering of the railing alerted Wayne, and Kato was forced to nimbly jump back to the adjoining balcony and pretend to be merely taking the air. Ultimately Kelly and Neal were able to bore a hole into the wall and insert a fiber optic device, and to no one’s surprise, we recorded a secret tryst between Wayne and Volen.

The next day, Kelly and Kato, disguised as takeout delivery men, arrived at Wayne’s condo and banged loudly on the door claiming to be dropping off an order. After he opened the door in confusion, the pair barged in and then presented Wayne with a short clip of what had transpired the night before. In feigned broken English, Kelly convinced Wayne that they were with the Wo Shing Wo and demanded an exorbitant fee for their silence; when he balked, they then intimidated Wayne into securing access to Redwood Holding’s offices on the 17th floor of Wake Tower. Keeping him under close observation, we followed our mark to the Emerald Company’s HQ campus, where Sarah was waiting for him. Through tearful sobs she told Wayne that some Asian men had attempted to coerce her as well, and Wayne promised he’d do what he could to help.

On Sunday, Kelly and Kato secured an access card from Wayne, who begged the pair to tell their boss not to harm Sarah. NeonPerl then slipped back into Redwood Holdings’ systems and entered a fake work order for a Blue Mountain cleaning crew that night. Our next stop that evening was the cleaning company where, after disabling their electronic security and inserting a corroborating work order from Redwood Holdings, we borrowed a van, some cleaning equipment and uniforms.

The moment of truth was at hand. Around 1:00 AM, the team rolled up to Wake Tower in the cleaning van and entered the parking garage. Taking the freight elevator up to the 17th floor, we were greeted by three guards, one of whom sported a pair of nunchaku in his belt. Despite their suspicions about such a large cleaning crew, they allowed us to enter and we fanned out. NeonPerl, Neal and Lisa ultimately made their way back toward the lab and test subject area, convinced the scientists to evacuate and in short order located the server room. Our hacker set the SQUID in place, donned her chameleon cloak and then got to work. NeonPerl had nearly finished the download process when her intrusion was discovered by an automated analyze program, and then all hell broke loose.

Amid blaring alarms, security came pouring out of their quarters where several of our team members were waiting for them. Kato wrapped his kusarigama around one guard, then deftly deflected a nunchuck strike from the leader and started going to work with his mono-edged ninja-to. Sarah was confronted by a female guard brandishing a pair of monowire whips, and after suffering an initial slash, she was able to close with her foe long enough to allow Kelly to engage with his PDW and the pair worked in tandem to put her down. Meanwhile, while jacked into cyberspace NeonPerl barely resisted a trap intended to stun her, and then her avatar was confronted inside the virtual server by a rival hacker. Countering his attempts to crack her ICE, she responded with a brutally effective breach of her own and then sent back a feedback loop to fry his soft pink brain, causing the hacker to recoil in pain and jack out. She snapped back to reality in time to assist Neal and Lisa in repelling an incursion into the server room by an additional pair of guards, and then discovered that she’d completed the necessary downloads just as the remaining guards received orders to stand down and await reinforcements.

How will we escape? Did we get the data we need? Take +3 character points and find out next time!

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Helene - Journal - 04/12/2035

…| Helene/******** <<<
<<< initiate secure encryption 512 isoware terra… >>>
<<< personal journal loading… >>>
<<< welcome Helene. The system is ready and secure. >>>
…| journal entry <<<
…| date? | 04/12/2035 <<<
…| date accepted. <<<

I like this little box I picked up. It’s simple, secure and no one would likely hack it looking for a journal. I transferred my other journals here. If some archaeologist in 2150 finds this, you won’t have to dig very far to learn everything about me. I have been keeping a journal every night since I was 8. No matter where I was or what was happening I figured out some way to make an entry. There is some seriously embarrassing shit in here, so please wait until I’m long gone before you read it.

That job I was so excited about yesterday? Turned out to be lame. Jessica Tares needed someone to infiltrate her husband’s office, spy on him, and figure out who he was sleeping with. I get to engineer a job position, get into a secure building, work my way up to the boss, seduce him, plant bugs, and spy my little heart out. It sounded so exciting!

First, I check the local job boards and behold! Mr. Tares (aka ShitBag) is looking for a new assistant. I guess the last one couldn’t cut the “other duties as assigned”. I totally get her. So I enter my resume. I get a response in three minutes from the man himself. He seems a tad disheveled, but handsome enough. He asks how soon I can come in for an interview. I tell him right now of course. Within the hour I’m standing in front of my mark IN his office interviewing for a personal assistant job. His eyes are ripping my clothes off and tossing me on the floor. Which is perfect. Except the parts where I get to do spy stuff. Ugh.

So, the interview goes well (duh) and he hires me on the spot and asks if I can start right away. I say yes. An hour or so of forms, a short video and I’m setting up my desk outside his office. Across from Sheila. Sheila is his “executive secretary”. She was just promoted. I was brought in to assist her with her heavy workload. Now that I think about it Sheila seemed a tad disheveled herself. What a cunt.

So, there’s not much left to the day. I read over some schedules, adjust an itinerary, order some meds, other boring shit when Sheila’s phone lights up with a “Sheila, I need you” in slightly digitized version of ShitBag’s voice. She hops right too, and disappears behind the shiny aluminum doors. 20 minutes into their “meeting” I pop a DLX44 on my label of my blouse, link it to my wearable, and count to 10. I have ten seconds to come up with an excuse to break into ShitBag’s office.

Just then, MY phone lights up with the same ShitBag voice. “New girl, get in here, I need you too…” he fades off with a heavy sigh. Really? Is this a fucking joke?

I walk confidently into the office, closing the door quietly behind me. The first thing I see is Sheila’s naked breasts. Her mostly naked body perched high atop ShitBag’s lap with his fat ass suffocating the poor desk beneath him. She has a bead of sweat running down her cheek. The back of his head is a wet mess of thinning hair, gooey product and misogyny.

“Look, when Sheila here get’s promoted to Vice President, I’m gonna need a new executive secretary. Get out of your Shop Mart rags and join us! Start working on your future.” The words dribble out his mouth like the bag sprung a leak. As he was talking, I was slowly moving around and closer, keeping the camera on him. The auto-focus, auto-stabilization will make a whopper of a nice vid for sure.

I smile at him, he hardly slows down for my arrival, and I say something pedantic like “I don’t usually share” and smile pretending to be shocked and embarrassed. He soaks it in. I ask “Mr. Henry Taras, do you often fuck your assistants here at the office?” He replies confidently “Absolutely! As often as I can!”. He smiles widely with a grin that would trigger any clown-phobic passerby with wanton disregard for decency.

“Thanks.” I say curtly. And I left.

Jessica Tares had the video an hour later and I was back in my little “hide out” in my comfy pants and $5000 in my account.

8 hours. I made $5000 in 8 hours. I didn’t have to suit up, I didn’t have to plant a bug, I didn’t have to seduce anyone (really), I didn’t have to kick anyone’s ass. I just replied to a job posting, took a job, filled out some forms, twiddled my thumbs and took a video.

What a fucking world we live in. huh? Well, that’s my sad entry for today. Maybe tomorrow’s entry will be more exciting. Or maybe I’ll just take the week off and catch up on NCIS Seattle. Tet Harmon is so hot and looks almost exactly like his grandpa!

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