Dusty Nightmares

The team’s fixer contacts the team and asks them to meet him at the 6th Level of Dante’s Inferno (The Heretics) at 7PM.  The club is its usual busy place and there is a cover charge at the door (unless they drop the fixer’s name).  Going down to the sixth circle thins out the wannabes and the standard club-goer.  This far down, the runners are surrounded my other elite teams, high-level mafia and Yakuza bosses and corporate children looking to have a little more privacy than the upper level meat market.

One of the compartments of the sixth level is sectioned off for the fixer and they are already there, enjoying a drink as he scans a holo fairly intently.  As people arrive, he motions for them to sit and order anything they’d like from the bar.  Once everyone arrives, he reclines in his seat and connects his commlink to the holo-projector in the center of the nearby table.

“I got a lead on a sweet job.  High-end, decent pay… a good way to tell the shadows we’re back in biz.  Of course, a job like this isn’t gonna be easy by any stretch.  It may be high-risk, but the pay is listed at 50K apiece.  Interested so far?”

When the runners agree, the fixer continues.  “Unfortunately, part of that nice dollar figure is the ambiguity of the intel I’ve received from the client.  The job’s an extraction.  Willing target.  The problem is the only name I’ve got is the name Betty, no last name.  The other wrinkle is her address.  She lives on the 316th floor of the ACHE (Arcology Commercial and Housing Enclave).  Now, since the UCAS Army gave Renraku the boot, that place is kind of a question mark  in the upper reaches where she claims to live.  Whether she’s one of the residents who wants to lay low until she can slip away, or some unknown variable, I don’t know, but I’ve checked her financials and she’s got the cred.  She isn’t a standard ACHE dweller, that’s for sure.  With this new information, are you still interested?

Runners may actually opt out, if they know about the Arcology’s history or have encountered Deus before… it may be worthwhile to have an alternate job on standby, just in case.

If the runners take the job, the fixer nods.  “All right.  Betty authorized an advance of 15K each, so you can get whatever equipment you guys think you’ll need.  Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.”

The good news is that the runners really will get paid if they pull it off.  What they don’t know is that Betty is a fledgling AI housed within one of Deus’ old drones (a doll).  While her intelligence is still developing, once the runners learn where she came from she may wonder if she possesses the spark of digital insanity that surrounded Deus (she doesn’t (yet…GM Prerogative)…she just wants to see more of the world).

The ACHE has changed a lot in ten years (if the runners ran through Shutdown or Brainscan).  Instead of the shining technological beacon it once was, the Arcology has been converted over to public housing.  The main six floors are mall, as they were before (while no longer possessing that total Renraku slant).  All the floors above have all been retrograded away from their previously semi-posh to luxury conditions, to generic housing.  The upper floors are home to over 150,000 poor and downtrodden citizens who are no longer allowed to frequent the rest of Seattle more than a few days a year.  The residents for the most part begrudge the arrangement they made with the city, so reactions to the runner’s presence could be mixed, depending on what makes the person tick (anything from trying to arrange escape, to requesting outside goods, to calling security…)  The runners are allowed on the lower 5 levels.  Anything above that will garner attention.  The ACHE is heavily monitored for signs of incursion and they will be sealed off quickly if the military detects them.

Should the runners elude the soldiers and reach the upper bounds of the ACHE (around floor 290), the upper floors are sealed off (elevators had their panels replaced to only go up to 290, stairs have been walled off over 290).  Once the runners figure out a way up, they will find the upper floors without power (hope they brought flashlights…).  The stairs are the only way up or down from here.  The floors are eerily quiet, but Deus’ former minions are still functioning up here.  Some of the independent systems up here (food and hydroponics, which are of no use to the machines) had their power redirected and are siphoning power out of remote subsystems to keep machines running.

Of Deus’ former Drones, some stats for the Bumblebee, Dervish, Medusa, Spider and Doll have been provided.  The runners will likely be on edge and they should be attacked from the darkness every once and a while to keep them on their toes.  The Dervish and Medusa are likely the most dangerous adversaries they will face, so use them sparingly (maybe even having the Dervish by the final obstacle before finding Betty).

As they near Betty’s location, their commlink will spring to life with a simple message:  “Betty:  Hello?”

Should they respond, Betty will confirm that they are the fixer’s crew and then chat with them, enabling the runners to pinpoint her location.  Once they find her room, they will find a room with the skeleton of an otaku with cybereyes in a nearby bed and a doll on the floor beside the bed.  The bracelet on the doll says, “Betty”.

She will warn them of the volatile nature of her body (it will explode) and ask them if they can move her in some other way.  If the runners didn’t bring storage medium with them, they’ll have to offer up their commlink, giving the AI access to their data (whether she does anything with it is up to the GM).

If the runners can get out and deliver Betty to the fixer, they will get paid the remainder of the promised nuyen.

Betty’s Stats (350 BP Build from Runner Companion ruleset):
C: 5, I: 4, L: 4, W:4, Edge: 4, Init: 9, IP: 3, Response: 5, System: 4
Rating 5 AI
Codebase:
Analyze 5 (Int) + Ergonomic, Optimized
Browse 5 (Log) + Ergonomic, Optimized
Scan 5 (Int) + Ergonomic, Optimized
Reality Filter 5 (Will) + Ergonomic, Optimized
ECCM 5 (Will) + Ergonomic, Optimized
Edit 5 (Int) + Mute
Command 5 (Cha) + Mute
Spoof 5 (Cha) + Crashguard, Mute
Sniffer 5 (Int) + Crashguard, Mute
Stealth 5 (Int) + Crashguard, Mute
Biofeedback Filter 5 + Viral Resistance 5
Qualities:
Piloting Origin
Media Junkie (Moderate)
Contacts:
Fixer – C: 3, L:1
Skills:
Electronics 3, Cracking 2, Negotiations 3, Etiquette 3
Psychology 5, Account 5, Mathematics 5, Renraku Arcology 4, English N, Japanese 5
Gear:
Low Lifestyle – Doll Drone – 2000¥ / month upkeep
Firewall 4, Signal 4
News Subscription Services – 1600¥ (ACHE filtered trid feeds)

Betty formed from the operating system of one of Deus’ former recruiting agents; a doll drone, used to scout out otaku before the Crash.  Since the birth of the wireless Matrix, the death of her creator and the handing over of the Arcology to the UCAS, her programming became more and more elaborate in order to fulfill her role.  Instead of otaku, she linked into the wireless Matrix that trickled in from the ACHE.  As she assimilated more and more information, she became self-aware and has been trying to learn more about the world.

Because her vessel is immobile, she learned all she could from her static location in the upper reaches of the Arcology.  The ACHE news feeds are heavily filtered, so her exposure to the outside world has been mitigated.  However, thanks to some of Deus’ old records about some former employees of their fixer’s, she was able to track down the old fixer and is now looking to escape the only world she’s ever known.  Centered on reconnaissance, she is unable to defend herself in the Matrix and may be in for a rude awakening when she gets out of the relative safety of the building she’s a prisoner of.

Deus’ Drones:

Spider (SR4):
Handling: 0, Accel: 5/15, Speed: 15, Pilot: 2, Body: 3, Armor: 2, Sensor: 3
Features:  Mechanical Arms, Special Equipment (Construction Tools), Walker, Blades Activesoft 3, Cybertechnology Activesoft 3, Industrial Mechanic Activesoft 3, Hardware Activesoft 3

Bumblebee (SR4):
Handling: 0, Accel: 3/15, Speed: 25, Pilot: 3, Body: 1, Armor: 1, Sensor: 1
Features:  Improved Take Off and Landing, Clearsight 3, Blades Activesoft 2, Special Equipment (Injector System).  The Bumble carries a prototype version of Surtr, a weaponized nanite system (Augmentation pg 117).  It is Injection instead of a Contact vector, but the damage is still 10P, resisted by unaugmented Body.

Medusa (SR4):
Handling: +1, Accel: 10/25, Speed: 60, Pilot: 4, Body: 3, Armor: 8, Sensor: 5
Features:  Walker, 2 Mechanical Arms (Prehensile Tails), Clearsight Autosoft 5, Blades Activesoft 4, Advanced Sensor Package, Special Equipment (Injector System), Anti-Theft System, Reach +1.  Damage from claw attack is 5P.  The shock ability is reflected by the anti-theft item (6S(e) Damage), but the ability of this shock to focus on cybernetic systems is similar to the Intruder Nanites.  Treat any shock attack from a Medusa to also inject Gremlin Nanites into a randomly selected implant (Augmentation, pg 116)

Dervish (SR4):
Handling: -1, Accel: 10/25, Speed: 100, Pilot: 4, Body: 4, Armor: 6, Sensor: 3
Features:  Drive-By-Wire, Clearsight Autosoft 3, Targeting Autosoft 4, Special Equipment (Needle Shotgun System).  If a runner is hit by the spray of needles fired off by the Dervish, for each net hit, their Agility falls by 1.  If it hits 0 they are paralyzed.  They regain a point of Agility every ten minutes

Images of the above drones and their role under Deus’ reign is explained in the Renaraku Arcology Shutdown sourcebook.

>> Wow, that’s a serious paycheck.  Of course, getting in and out of the ACHE can be a bit tricky…
>> Whisper

>> That’s fine and all, but there isn’t enough nuyen in the world to make me enter that Arcology again.
>> Wraith

>> Agreed.  Some memories should remain buried.
>> Tenmou

>> What are you talking about?  Deus’ old puppets have been flushed out by now, haven’t they?
>> Frantick

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~ by 1nsomniac on October 12, 2010.

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