Ghost Cartels

Episode 15 - Dirty Pretty Money

Week commencing 4th May 2071:

The team were approached by the Ms. Johnson who hired you for Stranger In Our House to take on another job for her. Following an e-vite to Tickler’s strip club Downtown, Ms. Johnson explained that her associates needed help persuading a financial consultant to work for them. Once the runners agreed in principle, including a price of 3,500¥ each with a 2,500¥ bonus per person if the job was completed within 24 hours, Ms. Johnson explained the situation. Evan Goldman works as a hedge fund manager for Brackhaven Investments and the job is to gather or create blackmail information on Goldman, and then serve as intermediaries for the operation itself.

Investigating Goldman revealed nothing obvious to blackmail him with at all; a workaholic seeking help from a psychologist and a family therapist, Evan’s only real passion aside from his job was his family, including his wife (an artist/homemaker) and three children, but his relationship with all of them was strained by his ridiculous work schedule. Evan has a sleep regulator and datajack, and works many hours at home as well as the time he spends in his office Downtown. Brahms’ attempt to hack the Central Home Node was successful, but he triggered an alert when hacking into Goldman’s personal commlink which led to the entire commlink being shut down.

Lacking any real material worth blackmailing, the team set about creating some instead. Procuring the services of a male oni 1 prostitute named Michel, and with Chase magically disguised as Goldman, the team filmed an extremely compromising sex tape featuring the two men engaging in lewd behaviour with the household’s Renraku Manservant-3 drone (hereafter known as “Fisto”). Slightly disturbed, but entirely impressed, by the depravity of the blackmail material, Ms. Johnson had the team deliver Goldman to a warehouse in the Verge (an area previously visited in both Episode 07 – Stranger In Our House and Episode 12 – Body Snatchers). Surveilling their private discussion using Stars’ Fly-Spy drone, the team discovered that Goldman was being tasked to launder a credstick containing 100,000¥ within 48 hours or else the video would be released to his family, relatives and work colleagues. Ms. Johnson offered the team another 3,500¥ each to return the sobbing hedge fund manager to his home and watch him for the next two days, which the team were easily able to achieve with the microphones and cameras they had already installed in the main social area, master bedroom and office in his home.

Stars bowed out at this point, due to other commitments, but the rest of the team watched Goldman’s daily routine, which was profoundly dull and normal for the first day. Brahms had set up an agent in Goldman’s commlink to forward any and all outgoing communications, which he got in place around lunchtime that first day. It revealed nothing particularly exciting except that he was very good at his job.

The next morning, however, Goldman was woken early and replied to the following message:

To: Evan Goldman
From: Capt. Jefferson Mackenzie, FBI Organised Crime Task Force (Seattle)

Mr. Goldman

Local Lone Star have forwarded your message to this office. We will be handling your case.

Please come to the FBI’s Seattle field office in the Federal Building Downtown at 1pm today so that we can discuss matters.

Capt. Mackenzie

The team immediately called Ms. Johnson with this news. She was obviously unhappy and had expected the team to report this sort of thing sooner, but seemed satisfied with the explanation that it had only just come to light. Ms. Johnson explained that the job had now changed, so that she either wanted Goldman and the credstick returned to her, or him killed and all the evidence eliminated – but that she realised that the team were squeamish about wetwork.

Acting swiftly, Surge and Leto broke into the Goldman residence whilst Evan was eating an early breakfast. Surge’s first taser dart didn’t put Goldman down, so Leto grabbed him whilst Surge put a second taser dart into him. He dropped to the ground, twitching and out cold, but the noise drew the attention of the rest of the family. Surge dragged Goldman outside, whilst Leto searched the home-office for the credstick to no avail.

Surge searched Goldman for the credstick, and then the two women rendezvoused in the garage whilst Chase lured Mrs. Goldman into the basement by impersonating her husband’s voice through one of Fisto’s external speakers. Surge, Leto and Goldman fled in Goldman’s car, whilst Chase drove off on Leto’s new motorbike – leaving Surge’s behind, near the house. Searching the car didn’t reveal the credstick either, but the team did notice Goldman’s clammy skin and flashing DocWagon band and correctly deduced that he was dead.

Chase and Leto headed back to the house on Leto’s motorbike, whilst Surge stayed in the car and contacted Kaz Yakamura (from Episode 12 – Body Snatchers). He offered to have his ghoul allies in the Verge dispose of Goldman’s body in exchange for a favour at some future point, to which Surge agreed on the team’s behalf. Leto snuck into the house whilst Lone Star officers were there taking statements from the family and she recovered the recording equipment, as well as searching the master bedroom for the first time (and the home-office for a second time) for the credstick, to no avail.

Ms. Johnson was surprised and impressed that you had killed Goldman (not realising that it was accidental) but disappointed that you had been unable to recover the credstick. After some hard negotiating by Chase, she agreed to pay a total of 12,000¥ (which the four people involved in this part of the mission split equally between them). Wanting to avoid direct association with the team so soon after a killing, she left the credstick with Piotr at a Tacoma café which Chase suggested.

1: the native ork metavariant of the Japanese archipelago, boasting bright red, blue, or orange skin colours, slightly protuberant eyes, enlarged pointed ears, curving horns, and the large build characteristic of ork metavariants.

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