Dead Man Hacking

The runners are contacted through their regular channels in regards to a retrieval mission.  The mission is particularly time-sensitive and the team needs to show up ready to run.  The meet is at the New Wave Café in the Downtown Core two hours from the time they are contacted.

The New Wave is a Matrix Café and the meet is set up in a back room.  The runners that gather there will receive a call from outside about the stated time and when answered, a holographic projection of an attractive Hispanic business woman is projected onto the table’s center.

“Good day, ladies and gentlemen.  I am Ms. Johnson and I have need of your services.  A friend and colleague of mine, MacArthur Bowman recently went missing.  I will be up front with you and tell you that he was a hacker of some talent.  Unfortunately, he was killed yesterday during what was supposed to be a routine job.  However, his body was retrieved by DocWagon, as per the terms of his contract, but he never made it to the clinic.  People assaulted the ambulance and stole his body.  I need you to find out what MacArthur was investigating and discover who took his body.  His family deserves to know what happened and provide a proper burial.  For these services, I’m prepared to offer you 30000¥.  Are you interested?”

Ms. Johnson, aka Carmen Sandoval, has a vested interest in MacArthur’s whereabouts.  She and MacArthur were lovers in secret and she wants to ensure that secret is well hidden, as it could damage her reputation.  She is willing to negotiate to some degree, within reason.

If the runners take the job, she thanks them and electronically provides them with a third of the total payment as operating expenses and provides them with a commcode they can reach her at when they are ready to deliver the goods.

MacArthur Bowman has styled himself as a “Digital P.I.” and does shady hacking jobs for people with the coin to afford his fees.  His office and his home are one and the same.  His office front is actually a virtual landscape on the Matrix.  The runners can opt to break into his house and go through his records or try and break into his digital office.

His house is a small two-story home in Auburn.  The house looks barely lived in, with a few exceptions.  The kitchen has seen obvious recent use with dishes piled on the counter, a few fast food boxes and the dishwasher is pinging any node that will listen that the dishwasher’s cycle is complete and needs to be emptied.  The bedroom looks lived in and by the look of it, he’s been spending time with a lady friend, as there are some feminine touches in his space and there is a half-filled box of condoms on the nightstand.  The basement has been converted to a large office, with a kitchenette and bathroom.  The office space is a “controlled” disaster.  However, after wading through his stuff, there is a rhyme and reason to his obtuse filing system.  The job he was on last was a routine reconnaissance job, tracking a husband’s spending habits and movements for an untrusting wife.

Previous jobs in reverse chronological order:

Tracking stolen property
Pulling hospital patient records
Finding a wayward son and his misspent tuition money
Forgery Detection

Any runner that participated in the previous Emergence mission might take interest in the patient records job.  An anonymous party requested the hospital records of specific patients in Seattle General and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong.  The girl they pulled from the Ork Underground in the previous mission is among those whose records were pulled.  While the files are not on his home terminal, he did have some hand written notes left on his desk, noting that every one of the patients came to the public hospital systems from the Mitsuhama AIPS study program.

The digital office looks like an old 20th century P.I. office.  A smoky haze hovers near the ceiling, an old wooden desk and a tired looking wooden chair sits empty behind it.  A plaque on the desk reads “M. Bowman”, with a simple desk lamp providing the only illumination in the fake space.  The simsense smell of pipe smoke fills the nostrils of any hacker that visits and faint jazz music is heard in the background.  The iconography is integrated into the node.  To leave a message, the user can access the phone, or to check on your case’s progress you can access the wall calendar (with a username and password).  Both of these nodes can be hacked by a capable hacker (Firewall 5 and System 4) to get full access to everything stored there.  The messages are not noteworthy, unless the runners want to take on some side jobs.  The bulletin board shows the last several jobs completed, as well as several pending ones.  The hospital job is listed as complete, but “undelivered”.

A hidden node disguised as the name tag on the desk allows backdoor access to his home office.  It shows the access log for MacArthur’s commlink.  The last node he was logged into was a virtual chat space called “Seductions”.

The Seductions node consists of a vast lobby that appears as a generic bar.  The bouncer checks the user for credentials and if they don’t have any, they will be made to register (or Spoof some fake ones) before they can interact with the patrons.  Once inside, the bar serves as a meeting place for people looking for a digital tryst.  Running Hot is recommended to “get the most of the experience” and the tastes run from the tame to the depraved.  A series of doors exist at the back of the bar that lead to configurable rooms, from seedy motels to sex on the beach to a fully equipped dungeon, depending on the user’s tastes.  Asking patrons about anything other than catering to their fetishes will usually get the hacker “ignored”, but a few in the bar have a fetish for watching others.  Slipping them some cred can yield some results or hacking the server (Firewall 5, System 5) for the activity logs can work (though the system will shut down quickly if they discover they’ve been hacked).  The peeping toms will tell the runners that MacAurthur aka (StraightShooter42) was involved in a conversation with a black leather cube (VinylMinx72) and went into Motel69 and after only a short while the node that controls the room was taken offline by administration.

The activity log shows that VinylMinx72 hit StraightShooter42with a high level Black Hammer and crashed the user.  VinylMinx was scanned and it was learned that the credentials were faked.  The intruder launched a virus on the server and administration took the node offline to stop the spread of the virus.  The user was banned from the server.

VinylMinx was registered on a commlink that has since been destroyed and discarded, so a reverse trace won’t reveal anything relevant.

Following the series of events shows Bowman being dumped after being slammed with Black Hammer and his DocWagon bracelet immediately kicking in.  DocWagon responded to his home and moved him into an ambulance.  Ambulance 4521 was on its way to a clinic when a hacker severed GridGuide power just as a team of assailants attacked the ambulance and killed the staff.  They successfully moved Bowman out of the ambulance to their own vehicle before a DocWagon HTR Team arrived and chased them away before they could destroy the ambulance.  The attack on the ambulance was caught on several traffic cameras, but the attackers made a point of concealing their appearance quite effectively.  Random cameras were scrambled along their travel path to slow down any attempt to use the traffic camera system to track their movements.

Contacts within DocWagon can grant the runners access to the ambulance or hacking in can check the patient records and reveal that MacArthur was successfully revived by the paramedics before the assault.

However the runners track down the attack team, they are found holed up in an old warehouse with a sorry-looking Bowman, as they’ve been interrogating him as to whether he has backups of the data he pulled on another system.  He has told them that he has no backups (neglecting to mention his hand-written notes in his office) but they won’t accept that answer, assuming he is the traditional paranoid hacker type and backs up everything.

There are six members of the other team.  Half of them are in the building with MacArthur (face, two cyber types).  The other three are in the vehicle block away, monitoring things remotely (Rigger, Hacker and Mage).  The mage is astrally projecting and the rigger has airborne drones on patrol as well as microdrones hiding away in corners, looking for movement.  If the runners don’t silence the remote half of the team quickly, the other half inside will be ready for when the runners enter.

If the other team is caught unprepared, they will be in the middle of interrogating MacArthur again when the runners bust in.  If they are prepared, they will find MacArthur hanging from the ceiling by his wrists.  Anyone who steps across the threshold will be attacked by one of the team, wielding an acid coated blade.  The face is on the catwalk, keeping his sniper rifle pointed toward where the runners are entering.  The other muscle type is receiving tactical data from a tactical network from the rigger’s drones.  He has an LMG with APDS ammo loaded into it and will fire through the outer wall of the warehouse at anyone he thinks he can hit.  The mage will summon spirits and the hacker will wreak havoc in any way he can.  The airborne drones can provide fire support if needed.

Make the fight interesting, but if the runners manage to subdue the team, going through their belongings will reveal Mitsuhama IDs, showing them as black ops soldiers.  MacArthur’s commlink has been destroyed, but his data can be pulled from a Mitsuhama deck if the team wants it (without out knowing who requested the data).

Ms. Johnson will be happy that the runners completed the task, but even moreso that MacArthur is alive.  Given that the team delivered extra on top of what was expected, they can try to negotiate a bonus.


Ms. Johnson
Threshold – 3 (2 if a Corporate Contact)
0 – No idea, but do you have her phone number?  She’s pretty hot…
1 – Yeah, I’ve seen her before.  She’s not typically a black ops person though…some kind of Sales Exec, I think.
2 – Her name is Carmen Sandoval and she’s a senior manager in the Seattle Branch of Horizon.
3 – This is her first contract and I don’t think it’s a Horizon sanctioned job…

MacArthur Bowman
Threshold – 2
0 – No clue, omae.
1 – Sure, I’ve heard of Bowman, he’s a fairly successful P.I. … specializes in Matrix ops, from what I hear.
2 – He does jobs that Lone Star won’t and his success rate has the Star a little miffed.  He’s willing to straddle the line of illegality to make his clients happy.
3 – He’s lowered his case level recently.  Maybe he’s getting tired in his old age…
4 – Rumour has it that he has a regular woman in his life these days and he’s putting something ahead of his job for a change.
5 – He’s been seen with Carmen Sandoval of Horizon lately.  They like to keep it low profile, probably to protect Carmen’s standing within her company.  Being hot and single does a lot for her rep score, and I’m sure and hearing she was in a steady relationship might slow her rise in the ranks.

Carmen Sandoval
Threshold – 3 (2 for corp contacts)
0 – She that new simstar in Carnage in Cancun?
1 – A new executive in Horizon.  She did some did some TV in Spain back in the day.
2 – Her international stardom gave her a leg up when she went to work as an executive in Horizon.  Despite her head start, she’s proved she has a good head for business.
3 – She works in Horizon’s Advertising division, specializing in Matrix spam, or something.
4 – She was recently investigated by MacArthur Bowman when a coworker thought she was sleeping her way to the top.  The allegations proved false and the hiring party lost rep big time.
5 – Shortly after the investigations wrapped up, Carmen has been seen with Bowman at nightclubs and restaurants, but the post-investigation meetings have thus far not come to the attentions of Horizon’s management.

>> Jesus…Bowman’s dead?  He was one of the good ones.  Didn’t care about who got in his way, he always got the info he needed.  Wasn’t afraid to work with runners either.  I guess I’d better find another contact on the other side of the law…
>> BitBasher

>> Body theft from DocWagon?  What could he have been carrying that someone gambled with taking on a DocWagon HTR Team?
>> Gargoyle

>> The guy was snooping around the AIPS ward at the local hospital.  You think he found one of those virtuakinetic people?
>> Watcher

>> I think they prefer the term technomancer nowadays.  If he did find one, that might coax a corp to snatch his intel from him, dead or alive.
>> Koan

~ by 1nsomniac on August 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Dead Man Hacking”

  1. This is excellent~
    I like the links to pre-existing runs, and especially like the level of detail in the legwork.

  2. […] Bowman – If the runners have completed ‘Dead Man Hacking’ they know Macarthur already and provided they didn’t burn that bridge, they can go and talk […]

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