Digital Disparity (#Shadowrun)

This was the second of two runs I ran for the Spring Phantasm 2019.

The team is contacted by their fixer about a theft job that Mr. Johnson would like to have done.  The pay is respectable and the job is in the city at a downtown facility. If the runners are interested in hearing the details, their fixer will meet with them at Club Penumbra at 8PM.

Scene 1 – The Old Stomping Grounds

A favourite runner spot, Club Penumbra is only moderately busy and many of the patrons here are here for work, rather than to enjoy the club scene.  Only the runner wannabes and club regulars seem to be out tonight. What it lacks in activity is gained in terms of personal privacy.

The team’s fixer is found at his usual table in the back and greets them warmly as they arrive.  Once the team has gathered, the fixer offers to buy them a round (if they want anything) before getting down to business.

“All right, thanks for coming.  Mr. Johnson has approached me with a task that he feels should be simple, though I know that’s it’s rarely so straightforward.  What he’s asked for is an Evo facility here in the downtown area be broken into and a particular piece of tech stolen. The reason that he feels the job will be easy is that the facility has recently been sealed by the Corporate Court for failing a safety inspection.  None of my corporate sources know anything about this lockout though, so I’d advise caution. My concerns aside, Mr. Johnson is willing to pay each of you 8,000¥ for the retrieval. Interested?

The fixer’s concerns are genuine and he worries what he’s sending his team into.  Something about the lockout seems odd, but no one he’s spoken to knows anything about it.  As far as anyone in the Corporate side knows, all is well at Evo.

The fixer is willing to negotiate some, the max he will pay out being 10,000¥.  Once the runners are on board, he tells them the remainder. “Perfect. Mr. Johnson wants you to break into their R&D lab at 6th and Pike and gain access to their basement level clean room, where they’re working on navigational computers for interplanetary travel and steal unit XM-43928.  It should be roughly briefcase-sized. Once you have it, call me and I’ll set up the hand-off for you.”

They will try to answer any supplementary questions the runners might have, but doesn’t have a lot more information about the site in terms of expected resistance.

Evo R&D (6th and Pike)
Technological Construction Site
Possible Contacts:  Local Contacts, Corporate Contacts

3/5 – I don’t know anything about a lockdown… too many cars in the parking lot to say nobody’s home.

6/9 – Place has been awfully quiet of late.  Drones are still out on patrol, but I haven’t seen anyone come or go from the place in days.  Normally, that place is pretty busy.

8/11 – Rumour has it that they had been having some serious system issues that were hampering production and a few people did get hurt.  If the rumours have any truth to it, maybe they locked it down on the down low… which must have really stung with all the bad press around Evo these days.

Matrix:  The Emerald City grid is easily accessible from within the Penumbra.  If the runners go to jump into the Evo facility, they will need to hop into the Evo Grid first.

Scene 2 – Boots on the Ground

Only a half dozen blocks away from the famous Pike’s Place Farmer’s Market, the Evo complex is right in the thick of things in the Downtown area.  The area is busy at all times of day with businesses through the day and a busy night life after the sun goes down, which may complicate getting onto the grounds unseen.

The Evo building is an ergonomic-looking two storey building, drenched in AR and surrounded by a state-of-the-art transparent wall that broadcasts the latest from the corporation on all sides.  Drones busily sweep the perimeter and will aggressively pursue anything deemed suspicious.

Among the saturated AR, at the front door is an AR billboard that tells the visitor that the building is currently closed to all but Corporate Court executives, due to a violation of safety standards.  There are, however, several indications that not all is well.

  • The glass over the entire building is tinted as dark as it will go, which is not the night time practice (most buildings will show any non-core areas lit up to present an air of always being productive)
  • The glass on the doors appears to be cracked, as if someone had tried to smash their way out
  • The drones, while still running in a staggered rotation, show signs that maintenance hasn’t been occurring.  Some are showing issues in movement, others appear to have crashed on the grounds.
  • The security system is highly aggressive.  Even with a valid Evo set of credentials anyone entering the grounds will be fired upon.  There are no metahuman guards on patrol.

If the runners investigate the employees of the building, most have been sent home on paid leave while the lockout is in effect.  Those that aren’t home have been gone for days. Their homes are collecting dust and if they have spouses, they’ve been fed a line that their significant other had been selected to undertake a major project and would be sequestered until the project sees completion.  In one case, if the runners dig deep enough, the spouse died in a house fire from a “freak electrical accident” while they slept.

Matrix:  The runners have access to the Emerald City Grid but due to AR saturation and the prevalence of businesses at all hours, the area suffers a -2 Noise modifier.

Scene 3 – Atypical Response

Once the runners have found a way inside (likely by smashing in a window or a quick, impromptu hack) the inside of the building is a dissonant mess.  The employees have been cooped up in the building with minimal sleep, food and water and in some cases, highly medicated. The result is a mixed bag of unpredictable behaviour from the employees.  The two above-ground levels and the first basement level are full of highly medicated and slightly psychotic people.

Random Encounter table (2D6):

2 – A trigger-happy squad of security guards equal to the players in number

3 – A strung out scientist with a jury-rigged explosive.  GM decides if the bomb is even functional.

4 – A malfunctioning pop-down turret that fires at anything that moves

5 – A strung-out lab tech having an animated discussion with an inanimate object

6 – An exhausted employee, begging them for extraction.

7 – All clear.

8 – Maintenance drone, stuck in an endless loop of mundane tasks.

9 – A cluster of bullet-riddled bodies and no sign on the shooter.

10 – A security detail under orders to flag unknown people.  Equal to half the number of players.

11 – Security doors activate and seal the runners into the space while Neuro-Stun is piped in.

12 – A swarm of drones descend on the runners with assorted weapons/tools.

Once the runners gain access to the lowest levels of the building, proceed to Scene 4 to cover the exploration of the labs.

Matrix:  The Evo Host still works fine on the surface, but probing beneath the surface shows that the contagion isn’t just among the people.  The front page, espousing the virtues of Evo and their research, works fine. Under the finely-crafted veneer, the system is full of holes.  Whole nodes appear to be offline and the system’s IC is spotty at best. It appears the system is in a state of transition. Even the iconography doesn’t match.

The original imagery of the node was a Martian landscape with Gagarin Base on the horizon.  With the AIs loose in the system, the imagery has been modified in ways that are jarring and uncomfortable for those immersed in the system.  The horizon seems to scroll wrong as the user moves through the landscape and whole elements of the environment sill simply disappear from certain perspective points.  The cool air of the Martian surface is cold enough to be uncomfortable and the dusty air smells of ozone and sulfur. Beneath the main system the changes are far more significant, with any consistency in iconography gone out the window.  Users once had skins that matched their role, but now the default icons are sometimes visible, or the icons appear to melt into a string of numbers. IC, once old movie Martians with rayguns now appear as lumps of amorphous code. The system’s rating has degraded due to the deconstruction of key systems, but the system is still pretty tough.

Host Rating 8

Configuration:  Attack 10, Sleaze 9, Data Processing 8, Firewall 11

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  Security spiders were some of the first things the AI’s dealt with, so anything appearing as security could be one of the AIs in the system.  

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Black IC, Probe, Sparky, Marker, Blaster, Killer, Acid, Track, Binder and Crash.  If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  Emphasis here is to make sure the intruder is killed off quickly.

Scene 4 – Psychosis Incarnate

The lowest levels of the facility are a series of high tech labs, used in the creation of all sorts of cutting edge technology used in Evo’s space-faring endeavours.  However, all of these labs are highly compromised thanks to the presence of two AIs that are vying for control of the facility and its resources. Dead staff dot the halls and the labs, either run to collapse or killed for disobedience.

One of the AIs is a Metasapient calling itself Magellan.  Magellan was born from an infected navigational computer gained sentience.  It has heard word through the Matrix about the Monad Exodus to Mars and seeks to be with his brethren.  Using the technology in the lab, he aims to build himself a capsule that he can load himself into after he tells Evo that they can have their people back once he has been sent on his way.

The second AI is a Xenosapient that Magellan has labeled Obscuros.  Obscuros seems to understand English well enough, but its goal is unknown and seems unwilling or incapable of explaining it to anyone.  Having employees harvesting seemingly unrelated parts from systems and constructing some form of mechanical monolith in the midst of the labs.

The technicians on this floor busily hurry back and forth completing the orders they’re being given by a seemingly psychotic system.  Some are given contradictory orders as the two AIs compete for the limited physical resources in the labs. The engineers won’t stop to talk, as the building’s defenses remain trained on them at all times.  If they stop working for too long, they get a warning before they are shot dead. They’re all exhausted, only able to stop and eat when told, but they will plead with the runners (while at a brisk pace) to help them.

If either AI feels the runners are impeding the worker’s progress, they will be shot by the gun emplacements dotting the floor or other defense systems (door locks and gas, drones, etc).  The runners will be given instructions just like the other workers, but if they prove to be incompetent in their task, they will be cleared out.

The monolith is a monstrosity that is rapidly outgrowing its space (one wall has already been knocked down) and it is drawing a lot of power.  If Obscuros perceives the runners as interfering, the whole structure powers up like a Tesla coil and will try to fry the offending person (10P Damage, Disorientation).  The room is already dotted with dead technicians.

The satellite lab is in the lowest level and is where technicians are doing Magellan’s work.  Harvesting pieces from Evo’s existing projects, Magellan’s capsule (named after the Portuguese explorer’s flagship, Trinidad) is being built to remain powered long enough to reach Mars and endure a planetary landing.  The project the runners are after is here, yet to be harvested. Once the runners try to take it, Magellan will take offense and order every person to stop the runners from escaping.

Obscuros will interfere in Magellan’s plans, but can’t be counted on as an ally.  While in the satellite lab, the runners have only Magellan to deal with. The runners will need to keep the payload safe as they flee the facility.  Some of the engineers may try to follow the runners out, but Magellan will try to kneecap them to keep the skilled labour inside.

>> Anyone hear anything about this supposed lockdown at the Evo R&D downtown?
>> Breach

>> Not a peep.  Talked to a news colleague of mine and he had never heard of such a thing.  Dispatched a few CU3’s to get their nose in and the drones were shot down by the security drones on patrol.  News drones were in public airspace when they got shot down too.  Security around the building is pretty aggressive, if nothing else.
>> Zeyda

>> Nothing from my corporate contacts either.  So something must have gone sideways at the facility to have locked the doors without sending out word first.  What do they do there?
>> Reaper

>> Typical Evo stuff:  space, genetics and nanotech.
>> Zeyda

>> Wait, nanotech?  Aw hell…
>> Reaper

~ by 1nsomniac on April 16, 2019.

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