15th May 2070
Six, Ki-Rin, Sickle, Ono (Glyph), Ash.
The runners Slowly came round. Hands bound behind their backs, on the floor of a crumbling brick building. The Duke stood over them and asked them a few questions. He found out that Horizon had sent the runners to investigate the goings on of Perfect Shooter but little else. The duke didn’t care anyway, these runners were in way over their heads, he had arranged for them to die and then their bodies would be found in some flat, months from now.
He told the runners that his recruits were on an exercise to track and kill the runners, and then to hinder them further, he levelled his gun and shot Drifter.
Dropping the runners a knife to give them a sporting chance, he turned and left.
Drifter was mortally wounded, if he wasn’t evacuated soon, he would die from blood loss and shock.
The runners cut their bonds and fled into the forest, headed for what they thought was west, to where they hoped was some civilisation.
A decker called Lamb had approached sickle. She told him that a bunch of runners were in trouble, and these runners might know a bit more information about the run that she is currently involved in. She wanted Sickle to track them down and help them escape.
Stumbling across a small three-man patrol, the runners set up an ambush, armed with a knife, a metal bar, and half a house brick they leapt and panned the surprised young soldiers. Arming up with the dropped weapons, the runners now felt that they had a fighting chance.
The runners were Tracked and found by Sickle. After they exchanged a few words and they realised that he was here to help, he dropped the bombshell. The runners were in the Perfect Shooter mainframe. Only the ASIST overrides had been turned off, so death in the game resulted neural death for the meat body. Sickle also told the runners that his contact Lamb had programmed a back door out of the program, all they would have to do is get to the farm where the code was embedded and escape.
The runners made their way to the farm and found that it was the spawning point for the game players. Two hummers were parked outside with what appeared to be the game coordinator directing the dispersal of the soldiers.
The runner’s split up, with assault rifles trained on the CO, the rest stole round to the rear. They stumbled in two guards, and opened fire, this kicked off the fight and the sound of discharging weapons echoed around the computer simulation.
After a prolonged firelight the runners found the back door and went through. Coming round the runners found themselves in a slummy building near Seattle downtown. Drifter was out cold and had to be disconnected, as had Ono, only when the cables were pulled from Ono’s head did he convulse once, let out a gasp, and then was still.
Ono was dead.
The runners cleared out. They wanted to get back to San Fran, once they had spoken to the people who helped them escape. And they tracked them down to a Vory club in Seattle downtown.
Thanking Lamb, and the man who had come to their aid, Sickle, the runners met another. Called Glyph, she seemed to be fire support, drafted in by Lamb in case this meeting was less cordial. Glyph was a San Franciscan, out here for whatever reason.
Lamb explained that she was a runner, investigating the death of the Ares programmed AI, Thetis. This AI maintained the Ares satellite network (which includes military and civilian communications) but was destroyed by some line of code. Thetis transmitted two words before it was deleted. Eclipse, and Dreamseed.
Lamb discovered a few bits and pieces about Eclipse and Dreamseed, but not enough. She discovered that the runners were coded for termination and decided that if they were enemies of Cross Applied Technologies, then they may be of some use to her.
Eclipse was a strip of code salvaged from the first matrix crash. This code was modified and instigated the second crash of 2064. And now it appears it was involved with the destruction of Thetis. Dreamseed appears to be some program run by Cross Applied. Broken down into three parts. War, Malady and Trickery. Lamb had also found that there were two other people involved in the project. People outside Cross. A decker called Download, and someone known as Silk. She was going after the Download but wanted the runners to track Silk.
The runners wanted to head back to San Fran though. Six had taken Ono’s death badly, and they were all battered and tired. They left.
Ash was keen to wrap up the payment from Horizon and arranged a meet with Gage. But it seemed Horizon were not happy that the runners had got all of the info about Dreamseed. Six stormed out of the meeting, Ash had a shouting match with their contact but there was little he could do. Ki-Rin negotiated further funding, and agreed to continue with the job, Gage also got Glyph and Sickle onboard.
The runners had some down time. Six dedicated a piece of poetry to Ono’s memory, the others relaxed and healed up. Six needed some time to get over the passing of the man who had saved his life a few times. The others waited for the time to go.
Thursday 29th May 2070.
The runners got back together. Meeting outside Ki-Rin’s apartment. They briefly discussed what was to come, before jumping into the cars, and heading back to Seattle.