This is the final chapter of the Trojan Horse mini-campaign. It took a long time to get here, especially for something that was only six parts, but I hope that I can take away from this to put together other intertwined storylines and get away from the one-offs to some degree…
The runners are contacted by Mr. Johnson from the past several campaign events who asks the team to meet him at his usual spot at the Barn Burner in Auburn for 8PM.
Scene 1 – The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The Barn Burner is a Southwestern style restaurant that still insists on real meat in their dishes, despite the higher price point given the later hour, the restaurant isn’t as busy as it might usually be and Mr. Johnson has reserved a large portion of the restaurant, sectioning off the same table they met him at previously. Mr. Johnson shows up half an hour before the meet and he seems on edge. At a glance, it might seem nervous, but those skilled at reading social cues can see that he is excited, but potentially in a time crunch.
Once everyone has gathered, he allows the runners to order from the menu before they get down to business.
“All right… the end is in sight. Our man on the inside in Europe used his connections to track down the technomancer responsible for the development of this psychotropic IC. You guys destroyed the master copy, but without getting rid of the mind behind it, the project isn’t truly dead. The bad news is that his cover was blown in the process of learning the intelligence. While he is an expert in getting out of these sorts of situations, it means we no longer have an insight into Evo’s network. I can give you a geographic location, but the ultimate location will fall to you to track down. From what Daniel unearthed, the operation is fairly well entrenched, so they can’t simply pull up stakes and move on, so you probably have some time before they realize what we’ve discovered and pull out of the area. We need you to go to the location, track down this technomancer and end this, once and for all. We are offering 15,000¥ apiece for you to see this through.”
At this stage, the runners will hopefully accept the job just be rid of this IC program, but Mr. Johnson is willing to negotiate some in order to keep the team on board.
Once the runners have accepted the terms, Mr. Johnson tells them that the facility is in central Arkansas in the CAS, but an exact location is unknown. The location will be rural and intentionally low key. They will be flown into Little Rock where they can start their legwork. Since they are under a slight time crunch, Mr. Johnson is flying them out by private charter the moment they’re ready to go. Bringing personal gear (within reason) is an option.
He provides the team a commcode for them to reach him once they require an exit from the Confederation.
Mr. Johnson (Brad Smyth)
Thresholds: Matrix (1), Corporate (2), Shadow Community (2)
1 – Mr. Johnson is Brad Smyth, a ten year employee of Ares.
2 – Mr. Johnson has built up a very positive reputation in the shadows as a good man to work for. In one instance where a runner team was double crossed by Ares, Mr. J logged onto Jackpoint and explained why the team had screwed up and told the other runner teams in the area to avoid making the same mistakes.
3 – Never married or had kids. Has had several dates, but seems to go out of his way to avoid attachments. Leading rumours are that he wants to avoid having another person being used as leverage against him.
4 – Has survived three assassination attempts and Ares watches him closely, as he is a strong shadow asset for the UCAS branch.
Thresholds: Matrix (1), Corporate (2), Law Enforcement (2)
1 – Daniel is a veteran of Knight Errant, who has been in Intelligence for seven years.
2 – Efficient and studious, Daniel is known for his precision and sense of duty to Ares. Expert in reconnaissance and a solid fighter.
3 – Married to his career and seems to spend every third month in a new city, often studying a new target or on the occasional deep cover assignment.
4 – Was recently spotted in Western Europe, but suddenly disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. Rumours are circulating that he may either be on another undercover assignment or one of his marks caught up with him.
Scene 2 – Forgotten Titans
When the runners arrive in Arkansas, the weather is a pleasant change from Seattle, being milder and drier, but the area is not exactly known for its tolerance. Orks and trolls will not be looked on kindly and non Confederates will be looked at with suspicion (some more than others… if the character can be mistaken for Aztec, they may even be driven out of town). If characters are well versed in Etiquette, they can latch on to the insular nature of the area (especially in the areas outside Little Rock) and learn about new activity from corporate outsiders.
Rumours point north of the city to the area around Greenbriar and Damascus. The small communities are more judgmental to minorities, but at the same time, great centres of gossip. The farming communities talk about private buyers of local produce and meat in large quantities. All sales are large but handled privately to avoid a paper trail. Both towns are along highway 65, but the Damascus farmers always see the trucks head south, while Greenbriar sees the trucks head North. The main route in between is Route 25, a two-lane strip of black top that weaves through farmland. If the runners head down route 25, they reach Quitman, which tells a similar tale of trucks buying up all the fresh produce and heading west (which is the way they just came). Knowing that something is in the middle of the three towns, the runners can hammer down the area.
Searching the area on the Matrix, they can unearth a piece of history: there were several Titan missile silos in the area, built during the Cold War. While they’ve all been decommissioned long ago, it was too large a financial undertaking to dismantle the structure, so they were sealed up and buried. In the area the runners are searching, there were two silos, but the one along highway 65 is a frequented area with traffic and is labeled as a historic site. The other location, silo 374-8 was sealed and forgotten, the farmland it sits on falling into disrepair.
If the runners check it out, they find a farm field stripped bare of overgrowth and a worn road of tire ruts heading into the middle of the farm field. The silo is not so abandoned as initially thought.
Scene 3 – Buried Death
The Titan complex consists of three subterranean structures, connected by corridors. The main entrance enters the central hub by elevator (which has been returned to service with a few upgrades), but the other buildings also have surface access as well. The silo naturally has a hatch, but it has been welded closed from when the silo was decommissioned. North and South buildings both have air vents, but they are narrow and claustrophobic. Characters with Body over 3 simply cannot squeeze into the tiny opening, but small drones could navigate the tunnel system to gain access to the complex below.
The grounds on the surface are designed to retain that feeling of desertion. Aside from the fresh tire tracks and the occasional presence of a truck, the area looks derelict. A sensor network has been installed in the area to observe people who near the facility (there are tourist plaques in regards to the Titan project, that house sensor packages that look, scan and listen to anyone nearby). The local bird population are biodrones that do flyovers to observe the perimeter. The Elevator won’t come to the surface without an Evo bioscan (the call button is a thumb print scanner, disguised to look like the old button) and the stairwell hatch is locked with a maglock. The runners may be hard pressed to gain access undetected. If they alert Evo to their attempt to gain entrance, they will be met with a security team bunkered in ready to fire. The entire complex was designed to withstand missile strikes, so the building is insulated from the outside Matrix and gaining access to the internal Matrix is not easily accomplished from the outside (hotwiring any of the devices that are on the outside will see the external security node severed from the network).
The original blueprint for a Titan missile silo
The central building is likely to be the point of entry the runners are forced to take. The main portion of the complex is designed to weather the wash from launching rockets and dissipate the damaging effects. The cableway that connects the silo to the central building is now the primary access point to the silo, now that the silo hatch has been sealed. With the old 20th century hardware removed and modern equipment installed, the amount of room required for cables was greatly diminished and made the cableway into a traversable conduit. At the bottom of the stairs/shaft is a doorway that leads into the western part of the building, which is sealed by a heavy iron door.
The area beyond used to be a radioactive ward and to serve as a buffer for any blast that still managed to move this far into the complex. The area has been repurposed into a medical center, cafeteria and holding cell (the old decontamination showers are now a glorified gas chamber). Evo security maintains minimal security in the area, but the back-and-forth flow of security helps improve coverage.
The southern building, which used to be a residence complex for the crew managing the missiles, is now Evo Security. The armory, barracks and most of the garrison station here reside in this building. Resistance will be heavy is the runners choose to breach the building, but the option of using the blast doors to lock security away is a viable one for a time, until the manual overrides are engaged.
This building also serves as a observation station for everything that goes on in the silo. If the runners access the silo first, security will seal the exits and move to contain and execute the intruders. If security ever loses control of their Matrix security they will quickly move to shut down the system and resort to the manual lockdowns the old Cold War architecture provides. Security typically carries SMGs due to the tight quarters. If an alarm is raised, they will use APDS ammo, unless the runners are in a sensitive area, in which case they use Frangible rounds (Run & Gun).
The silo is a strange mix of urban decay and impressive reclamation. The old components of the silo pertaining to launching rockets have decayed, but the core structural elements have been reinforced and improved with current age electronics. The center of the silo, where the Titan rocket used to stand is a vast open hollow. All the areas below level 4 have full of stagnant water after years of seepage from above. The stairs that ring the northern circumference grant access down from levels 1 through 4, where the stairs further down are submerged. The landing of level 5 have been walled off and have been converted to a holding tank, where the water is purified so it is drinkable for the personnel stationed here.
The old components that used to form the digital spine of the silo have been removed and replaced with modern manufactory hardware. Level 2 and 3 have been converted to assemble common household and personal appliances. Each of these are being assembled with the intention to install the psychotropic IC into it before hitting the market. The employees in this area are not trained combatants, but will run for help if they see the runners moving through the area.
Level 4 is where the IC will ultimately be implanted, but for now, is a quality assurance department, where the assembled drones and appliances are tested to ensure they function within standard parameters. On the south side of level 4 is the abandoned elevator shaft that went down to level 9. The shaft has been pumped out and a freight elevator installed. The shaft goes down to level 9 at which point the user requires a retinal scan to gain access to the basement level.
The room beyond the elevator is a large manufacturing floor, with robotic equipment and no personnel. The room is cut off digitally from everything above. As the runners enter all the equipment freezes and seems to wait for their next move. As the runners cross the room, lights overhead flood the room in bright light. The ceiling in the space is thick glass and the lights shine down through the ceiling from the water above. Shooting out the lights is impossible without rupturing the glass ceiling. The room activates four Duelist drones who engage the runners, powered each by a Machine Sprite.
If the runners get past the Duelists and the machinery which will attempt to thwart their advance, they can get into the chamber beyond, which is a large medical room, full of computers designed to keep someone alive, despite nature’s efforts to the contrary. In the center of the room is a thin man, strapped to a gurney. He is pumped full of stimulants, his skull is open so his brain is constantly being analyzed and an IV full of nutrients keeps him from starvation and dehydration. When the runners draw close, he looks them but lacks the strength to speak. Instead, he breaches their commcode and sends them a simple message: “Kill me”.
The runners have little choice… whether they kill him directly or disconnect him from his medical rigging, he will die. Upon leaving the room, the robotics floor is quiet until they hear a thump from overhead. A depth charge has been thrown into the water and once it settles onto the ceiling of the lab, it detonates. The glass cracks and water begins filling the room. After a short time the pressure on the cracked glass gives way and the water begins flooding the room. The runners will need to escape before the room fills with water and they drown.
Soldiers await at the top of the elevator shaft for any survivors to emerge. The runners will need to get out past the security guards and escape the silo to call for an evacuation. The runners will likely wish to renegotiate the price tag… but the job is at last over.
>> Hoo boy, we’re going to the heart of the Confederation. I’m sure they’d welcome me… with pitch forks, no doubt…
>> Maybe if you learn some people skills, they’d show you some Southern hospitality. I’ve never had any issues.
>> Yeah, because you’re a good looking woman with the right accent. You may be a halfer, but you don’t scare the kids.
>> Wow, did Burn just give a compliment? Just keep in mind folks that there’s a lot of Cold War stuff buried in that neck of the woods. The Army says it was all cleaned up, but I wouldn’t put it past any of the locals to do a little bit of salvaging before the clean up crews arrived…