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.