Pinocchio Part 3 – Dissent

The runners are contacted by their fixer and told that they have been asked for directly for a job with a new employer.  The fixer tells them that they’ve had no dealings with this particular employer before and as a result, he has negotiated up the price margins on their behalf.  Mr. Johnson wishes to meet the team at Syberspace in the Downtown core.  The employer insists on a virtual meet and the facilities at the AR club suit his needs.

Syberspace is not as busy a nightspot as some other clubs in the metroplex, but what it lacks in clientele it makes up in atmosphere, so long as you go in with AR enabled.  The interior of the club is a fully rendered map of the Seattle grid in miniature and all of it’s patrons who have custom architecture can superimpose their icons over their bodies, so those who only know each other from online can recognize their friend’s artistry.

A back room has been set up for the meet and upon entering, there is an array of food that the waitstaff has laid out.  The food is high-quality soy and krill from their menu.  After the waitstaff take their leave, a holoprojector set into the ceiling  projects a life-sized hologram of a human into the center of the space.  The icon resembles a grandfatherly figure, of Italian descent with a bushy white mustache.  The man is garbed in an unmarked white labcoat and all other details of the icon are undetailed, obviously deemed less important.

The man looks around to all the runners, unless their commlinks are set to inactive, in which case he seems unable to perceive them in the space.  “Ah, yes.  Thank you for coming.  I, uh, wasn’t sure what to order, so I ordered an assortment from their menu.  Please, help yourself.  Let me know when you’re ready to proceed.”

Sophisticated audio sensors will pick up the voice of any who speak and the direction they speak from (Spatial Recognizer), so if anyone speaks who Gepetto can’t ‘see’, he will ask them to activate their commlink.

Once the runners indicate they are ready, he begins.  “Very good.  Normally, I wouldn’t handle this remotely like this, but since the matter I wish to discuss is rather sensitive, I felt it better to do this as anonymously as possible.  My employer has been working on projects of some high sensitivity and we’ve been falling prey to a lot of corporate espionage in our European holdings.  We fear that similar problems may begin here in North America.  We’re monitoring two such problems and we feel the need to move on them before they can progress any further.  Therefore, what I require from you is two-fold:  I have arranged for a wire-tap bridge to be transferred to you and you are to install this in the home of one Marcus Hale.  He has been a loyal company employee for a while now, but we fear he may be selling secrets to our rivals.  Secondly, late this evening a private corporate jet will be touching down in Seattle-Tacoma Airport carrying a woman named Allison Draeper.  She has stolen crucial information from our offices in California.  The fact that she has already actively stolen the data has sealed her fate and regretfully, I must order her death.  She must not arrive at her destination.  Will this be a problem?”

If runners balk at the wetwork, Gepetto will make it utterly clear that negotiation has been attempted and she has staunchly refused to stand down.  They are not to retrieve the data (if they were to access it, their deaths would also be called for) and she is not to be negotiated with.

Gepetto is lying about almost everything.  He is the AI that has been pulling Marcus Hale’s strings.  The Mr. Johnson finally had enough and told people within Horizon about the AI’s rise to sentience.  In order to stop the loss of control, Gepetto plans to kill Hale using an explosive charge in the wire-tap device the runners are to install.  Ms. Draeper is an investigator, who plans on searching the server for the rogue AI.  She is technomancer in Horizon’s employ and Gepetto wants her nowhere near his native system.

If the runners agree, Gepetto gives a warm smile.  “Great.  My company told me you were professionals… all right, your fixer did state that because I’m new to these parts, it warranted a bump in pay.  Plus the unfortunate assassination order… how does 12000¥ apiece sound?”

The runners still have some room to negotiate, but if they refuse to do the wetwork, the fee falls to 5000¥ apiece.

Once they agree, Gepetto sighs, as if he’d been holding his breath awaiting their answer.  “Fantastic.”  A terminal access port opens on the banquet table.  “On the drive accessible by that port, I have provided the location of the wire-tap hardware, Marcus Hale’s address and Ms. Draeper’s travel itinerary.  I’ve also provided a commcode you can reach me at when this business is concluded.”

Marcus Hale lives in a corporate enclave owned and policed by Horizon.  Gaining access and entering the man’s home will take some effort, but once inside, installation of the wire-tap gear will hopefully prove simple for the runners.  The equipment is larger than likely expected, about the size of an outlet box, so it may require the runners to creatively attach it somewhere close to the phone where it won’t likely be noticed.

If, by chance, they go to Hale’s home while he’s present, or they rummage through his personal effects, they will quickly recognize him as their former Mr. Johnson from the earlier adventures in the series.  If they never learned his name before, they can research him now.  After their job is done, they may hear on the news later about his death from an explosive charge set up in his home.  If the runners weren’t careful to not leave any presence, this could come back to haunt them.

The runners could take any number of approaches in dealing with Allison Draeper.  They could go as far as to try and take down her jet, or deal with her once she reaches the ground.  She has a corporate guard compliment, which includes magical and spiritual protection, as well as a decent armed compliment.  The vehicles they use are armored and will attempt to evade quickly.  At the first sign of hostility, they will call for backup and depending on their location, Knight Errant may arrive at the first indication of violence.

If the runners complete their respective tasks and contact Gepetto, he is very happy (unless the runners have spoken with Ms. Draeper or gone into her briefcase, in which case he doesn’t answer) and wires them the agreed upon sum.

If the runners defied Gepetto and are now researching the old Italian puppeteer, they will find other runner teams attacking them at inconvenient times for the next while until they ultimately deal with the rogue AI.

Legwork

Mr. Johnson/Gepetto
Threshold:  Matrix – 4
0 – Doesn’t ring a bell…
1 – That icon’s been roaming the Seattle grid lately, just observing
2 – Real high-res icon.  Hacker calls himself Gepetto, after the old fairy tale Pinocchio.  Says he’s new to Seattle, but he’s originally from the South.
4 – Something really strange about his icon… I’m thinking he’s more than just a hacker.  Maybe one of those technomancer freaks…

Marcus Hale
Threshold:  Corporate – 2, Matrix – 3
0 – I have no idea…
1 – He’s a mid-level HR exec with Horizon.
2 – He’s one of Horizon’s cheery axe-men.  His job is to lay off the people who no longer fit Horizon’s vision, while maintaining a positive disposition.
3 – He’s been seen running several black bag operations that haven’t been sanctioned by Horizon.  The company is investigating him to see whose agenda he’s been following.
5 – He is on sick leave presently.  He’s been suffering from extreme anxiety and it was adversely affecting his health.  Word has it he spoke to a couple senior managers just before he went on leave.

Allison Draeper
Threshold:  Corporate – 2, Matrix – 3
0 – Can’t help you.
1 – She’s some big mover and shaker from down L.A. Ways.  Working for Cline, I think.
2 – Word has it she’s some kind of technological specialist and consultant for Horizon.  She’s into the real cutting edge stuff too.  Worked on tech most of us low-lifes could only dream of.
3 – She had some claim to fame being one of those who’s worked hand in hand with Pulsar.
5 – Her time with Pulsar was to help her recognize that spark of life that signifies an AI.  She is a technomancer and is typically dispatched to see whether a program has gained awareness.

>> So anyone know anything about the targets on this one?
>> Kali

>> Bigwigs of some sort in Horizon, but I don’t think either has anything to do with the other.  The connection here isn’t clear.
>> Eclipse

>> Draeper was one of the first publicly acknowledged technomancers within Horizon and she doesn’t get a lot of field assignments, since she became Pulsar’s pet project.  Something major must be up to warrant her attention.
>> 404

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~ by 1nsomniac on April 25, 2012.

2 Responses to “Pinocchio Part 3 – Dissent”

  1. >> That was messed up ! Look, I can’t give a lot of details or stay here long, but do NOT accept jobs from that Johnson. Ever.
    .. on a side note, anyone knows a good and discreet hideout in the UCAS ?
    >> Sweeper

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