Ghost Cartels

Week commencing 13th April 2071

Stars and Leto received a call from Running Fox (Ted’s friend from Episode 02 – First Run), inviting the team to a meeting with his boss about a job. Agreeing, Stars met with Running Fox to get the RFID tags necessary to get into 77, the exclusive club in Renton.

The Johnson was a thin troll called Kaz Yakamura (second-in-command of the Komun’go), who Stars and Leto recognised from Episode 07 – Stranger In Our House. He introduced himself to everyone and thanked the team for the jobs they’d done for him before. He explained that he had a job he wanted you to do, for which he was offering 20,000¥ – the job was recovering the corpse of a journalist called Jania Shields and delivering it to some Tamanous ghouls in the Verge, Redmond, as well as deleting all copies of the autopsy data. Kaz also offered an additional 10,000¥ for copies of Jania’s research notes. Once the team accepted the terms, Kaz gave them Jania’s DocWagon RFID ident and a credstick for the ghouls.

Brahms was able to locate the RFID tag at the DocWagon clinic on the western end of the Tacoma docks. Some Matrix browsing revealed that Jania’s mother was a committed Jehovah’s Witness and had filed for an injunction against the Metroplex and Lone Star to prevent an insurance-mandated autopsy from happening. Surge researched who the courier firms that usually serviced the clinic were, and acquired a jumpsuit in their livery (while Brahms created a file to achieve much the same for Leto’s Chameleon Suit), and also got a copy of the layout of the clinic.

Brahms’ micro-tapper bug (under Stars’ direction) nipped into one of the cameras, allowing him to hack in. Immediately before using the exploit he found, he gave a command to his botnet to place a series of emergency calls within the hospital’s catchment area, causing three of the four High Threat Response teams on site to scramble to deal with these issues. Using that opportunity, Brahms and Stars took out the three security spiders and Stars used her control over the security system to open various doors as Surge and Leto snuck in. Both infiltrators were under the influence of tempo, thus noticing the two goose-spirits patrolling the perimeter.

Down in the basement morgue, Surge rapidly incapacitated the coroner with her taser, while Leto gathered up Jania Shields’ personal effects. The autopsy was just about to begin, so the two women got the corpse into a body bag and onto a gurney for transport, leaving the coroner on the slab and an optical tap into one of the nearby datalines. As they exited the lift on the ground floor, alarms started sounding as another spider arrived in the security node. Stars started ejecting clips from the drone defences and keeping the one remaining HTR team locked in the dock, before allowing them into the basement lift and using the built-in neurostun delivery system to incapacitate them. Brahms quickly banned the fourth spider from the node, whilst Surge punched a doctor in the face who was trying to get her and Leto to obey the lockdown.

Out in the parking lot, Surge and Leto encountered the goose-spirits who materialised to stop them escaping with the body. Leto concentrated on dodging and escaping, while Surge fought back and Stars used one of the on-rails drones’ LMGs to (eventually) neutralise the threat by disrupting the two spirits. Jania’s body was rapidly loaded into Stars’ van, and the team headed to the Verge in Redmond to deliver it to the Tamanous organleggers, whilst Brahms focused on hacking Jania’s commlink.

In the Verge, the ghouls claimed that the credstick contained only half the money they were owed, but soon gave up when the team threatened to call the Komun’go to verify, and so Surge and Leto just made a very hasty exit from the vile creatures. Brahms found out that Jania’s data on the investigation was at “Sinn’s place” and some more hacking located Sinn back on the Tacoma docks, in Ragers turf. Just as everyone was heading home, Brahms read one of Sinn’s messages in which someone warned him that the Ragers were on their way to mess him up, so the team high-tailed it over there.

As the team arrived, a bunch of Ragers piled out of two cars and towards Sinn’s building. Surge threw down some suppressing fire with her assault rifle, forcing most of them to ground but wounding one who wasn’t quick enough. Leto ran up the side of the building and onto Sinn’s floor, while Stars’ rotodrone provided overwatch. Brahms called Sinn from Jania’s commlink to get him to co-operate with Leto, which mostly just terrified him, so Leto grabbed him and his duffel bag and jumped out of the window to the ground four metres below – neither Leto nor Sinn were injured!

The Ragers started firing back at Surge, so she started targeting them, and between her and Stars’ drone neutralised all of them bar one, who surrendered. On the way away from the scene, Sinn revealed that he was a tempo dealer and sold all his stash to Leto and Surge – he had been buying from the Ragers, who had turned on him for some reason. It turned out that Jania’s investigation was into someone she called the Ash Killer, a serial killer focused on killing tempo users and burning their remains to ash. The team dropped Sinn in Chulos turf in Puyallup and called Kaz to let him know they succeeded.

They met him that evening at 77 and handed over all the data, getting paid in full. Kaz was very clear that he was impressed by their work and looked forward to hiring them again.

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