Star Punk Dreams – Part 2

“Everybody’s looking for something, some of them want to use you; some of them want to get used by you…” – Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams.

Corporations, much like governments, tend to neglect their infrastructure.  Heating and air conditioning systems, power plants, shipping and receiving docks, and building maintenance were all such points that could be exploited.  Using bogus cleaning crews, fake deliveries and unscheduled repairmen were all ways to get inside of an arcology.  Low wage contractors and employees could be bribed.  Once inside, it was up to the skill of the net runners to by-pass security measures and locate the targets of interest.

The mercenary team known as the “Red Fist” had four net runners working on the raid of Ourodyne’s facilities – two on-site and two off-site, though one of the remote net runners was present only as back up.  The other remote assets included a communications officer and a drone pilot.  In addition to the two net-runners, the on-site team had two combat specialists and the team leader, Rolfe Turgenev.  And then there was Yin.  Yin had been correct in that Rolfe was not at all pleased to see her.

“Have you lost your mind, Feinberg?” asked Rolfe.  “What is she doing here?”

Margo replied, “You said I could hire someone to watch my back while I’m in the vault.”

“I meant you could hire someone professional, reliable – not street ganger scum” snorted Rolfe.

“I’m not a ganger” said Yin, “I’m zhanshi.”

Rolfe exploded, “Zhanshi?  A warrior?  Don’t go ultra-chink on me, stupid bitch.  You’re a wannabe if I ever saw one.”

“She may not be a ‘professional’ in your book, but I’m the one going into the vault and I trust her” said Margo.  “In fact, I won’t go in without her.”

“Comm, Talbot!  Have you been monitoring this?” growled Rolfe.

“Roger, team leader, HQ says it’s your call” replied the communications officer.

“Shit,” said Rolfe, “I’m not scrapping the mission, but Feinberg, if you or your ‘zhanshi’ fuck this up, I’m wasting both of you.”

There was very little small talk in the service van as it made its way toward its false service call.  Rolfe’s eyes held anger.  Yin didn’t think the anger was directed as much at her as it was the anger or dislike all leaders felt when blindsided.  Rolfe had good points and sound logic on his side.  She looked at Margo, who beamed a reassuring smile back at Yin.  “Did Margo really trust her, or was she thinking with her hormones?” Yin asked herself.

The Huitai arcology covered sixteen square blocks, an average size for most of the mega-corporations.  The tallest structures within the arcology were all over one hundred stories.  The immensity of its size began to make Yin uncomfortable.  To target a drive on a server located somewhere amid the offices of Huitai, its subsidiaries and most loyal contractors must have taken an almost immeasurable amount of surveillance and intelligence gathering.  Her tension grew, focused on one recurring thought, “what if the intelligence was wrong?”

One of the combat specialists, Charlene Mao, gave Yin a nudge.  “You look a little pale, first time?” she asked with a grin.

Yin blinked, now was not the time to play tough.  “Yeah, first time for anything this big.”

“All you got to do is stick to the plan and you’ll be ok – until things go tits up” said Charlene while handing Yin a stim patch.  “Slap that on – calms the nerves a bit” she added.

Yin peeled the backing from the patch and slapped it onto her neck, she immediately felt better.  “How will I know when things go ‘tits up’?”

Charlene laughed, “That’s easy – it’s when lead starts to fly.”

The van came to a halt in the sub-basement of a parking garage.  They quickly and quietly disembarked and moved to the level’s access door.  The door opened to a small hallway with stairs at one end and elevators at the other.  The other net runner, Janie Parsec, opened a panel and patched into the building security system.  The remote net runner took over from there to inactivate sensors and to loop video feeds.  Once completed, the team entered the service elevator for the twentieth floor, the heart of Ourodyne’s offices.

Unlike the others, Yin was stunned when she got off the elevator.  She had heard about them but had never seen one.  It was a “cube farm,” rows and rows of cubicles laid out in a grid pattern.  They were all the same – same color, same chair, work surface with two drawers, monitor – it was depressing in its sameness.  Yet, the people who worked here were better off in many ways than Yin.  It was an eerie place, completely empty this time of night.

Rolfe whispered, “Ok, Parsec and I will head for the personnel offices; Feinberg, to the vault room; Mao and Clarke sweep the area for any security patrols.”

Rolfe didn’t mention Yin, he didn’t have to, she was Margo’s asset.  She and Margo moved quickly through the massive cube farm to a set of doors.  Just as they reached the doors, a light on an access panel turned green, Yin heard a click and then a single word, “clear,” from the remote net runner.  The vault room had a half dozen of the same cubicles and then row upon row of networked storage servers.  In the back was a single cubicle, the target server, a device not connected to any net.  Margo studied the device for a moment and then pulled out a small cable – one end she plugged into the server and then plugged the other jack into the port at the base of her skull.

As Margo dove into the bowels of the machine, Yin planted herself between Margo and the vault’s door.  She studied the room and discovered small bits of individuality breaking up the depressing sameness of the cubicles.  It appeared each cubicle had one or two items to remind or convince the person who worked there that she or he was an individual and not a drone.  There were photos, flowers and other trinkets, not many, just one or two here and there in the cubicles.  One sign caught her attention and made her grin, it read “Working here is like working in a brothel – the better you perform, the more you get screwed.”

“You’re not going to believe this,” said Margo, “it’s a massage chair!”

“What?” asked Yin. “I thought you were just supposed to grab the drive and go.”

“Yeah, but we’ve got a few minutes, won’t hurt to peek at what we’re stealing” replied Margo.  “Oh my god, it even has attachments for sex toys.  Wish you could see this – the drive’s avatar is the chair itself and each component is a folder full of files.”

“Look, Margo,” said Yin, “I’m glad you’re having a giggle, but come on – we’ve got to get out of here or we’re going to get caught.”

Margo pretended to be wounded and said “Fine, just let me peek behind the cushions and then we’ll go.  Hello, what’s this?  Shit! The chair is a ruse.  This folder behind the cushions – Yin, you have storage space, right?”

“Yeah,” Yin replied, “I’ve thought I’d get into the courier biz someday and had them section off a portion of my brai – why do you ask?”

“What’s in this folder is worth millions, maybe billions.  We take this for ourselves and we’ll never have to work again.  Come here and let me slot you in.”  Margo saw apprehension on Yin’s face.  “Don’t worry, Yinnie, they’ll never know it’s missing.  Now, come here, I know what I’m doing,”

Yin felt a little dizzy after Margo unplugged the jack.  Her ear bugs crackled, “Feinberg, this is Comms, aren’t you finished yet?  A security patrol is moving toward your floor.  Join the team and evacuate.”

“Roger, Comms, we’re on our way” said Margo.

They ran through the cube farm’s maze to the service elevator.  The rest of the team was already there.  “Jeez, Feinberg, it’s good to have you join us” said Rolfe.  He looked at Yin as though it was somehow her fault.

“Knock it off, Rolfe” Margo said.  “We’re still within mission parameters, so punch the button and let’s get out of here.”

Before Rolfe could turn to the elevator, there was a “ding” and the down arrow lit up.  Yin’s eyes grew wide.  “We just went tits up” muttered Charlene.

The Game

If you are an avid gamer, then you know I haven’t gotten to the “meat” of the encounter.  For me the marvelous thing about playing any role playing game (RPG) or immersive game such as the 5150 No Limits series of games (especially The Cool Coolie), is the story that emerges from the game.  The story so far only took the voices in my head a few seconds to compose.  Unfortunately, my command of English and story telling skills are such that it takes me a while to put it onto paper.

In the campaign rule section your character has at least one involuntary encounter each month with the option of a second voluntary encounter during that same month.  My first involuntary encounter was a Job Offer.  If your character accepts the Job Offer, then the job becomes your voluntary encounter for the month.  In this case, Yin escorts Margo on a raid.

2nd Encounter – Escort

Placing the Escort Encounter inside of a Raid Encounter really wasn’t hard to do and it makes the Escort Encounter more interesting, with a larger group. there are more characters to interact with.  The object of the Escort Encounter is to escape the encounter with the NPC (Margo Feinberg) unharmed.  The objective of the Raid Encounter is to drive off the enemy and capture a server drive.

As always, and I really mean this, your comments, suggestions, criticisms and support are always welcome.  You can even throw money at me, but not too hard – quarters hurt when they’re thrown hard and the Floozy bruises easy.

2 comments

  1. Story is unfolding nicely and how you take “encounters” and make the story real places this firmly in the RPG lite area I am fond of. Keep up the good work.

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