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Entry 18: 02.07.70>
So yesterday I gets a call from a Johnson and with some trepidation I take the team down to Silicon Valley for a quick meet. Ash and I are particularly cautious. Johnson + Silicon Valley = Corporate and that combination hasn’t exactly left us smelling of roses up to now.
Nothing ventured and nothing gained though right? After some debate an offer is on the table of 75k and the job gives Ash and I a chance to thumb our noses at Cross one last time but also tickles Glyph’s fancy because it will stymie Ares for a nanosecond or two. Cross are in freefall, their business shut down and their resources in liquidation. I like to think we played a part in that. One of their departments goes by the name of Fleche Armaments and Johnson says they were working out of a small facility in Silicon Valley, researching a way of tapping off energy from the body to use as power. I’m imaging it’ll mean cybernetics and internal PANs and what have you can be installed without the need for a bulky power pack because as long as you’re alive you’re charging your gear. It’s kinda neat if you think about it. Well it seems the facility, like all Cross resources, has been sealed up by the courts and the rights to the contents have been bought by Ares. Johnson wants us to slip inside and lift the prototype before Ares get their grubby mitts on it. It’s called CORE and it’s a small marble-sized and shaped piece of kit so easily transportable. Secondary objective is to destroy any hard copy records – just the hard copy because Johnson has a team of specialised Deckers taking care of the virtual paperwork.
Now we’re not dumb. We’ve gotten street savvy the hard way but we do have a little smarts these days. We know it isn’t going to be as easy as Johnson makes out but we quiz him pretty good and satisfy ourselves that at the very least he will pay up if we perform. I use the Fly Spy to check out the facility while Ash liaises with Daisy to see what she can clean from the Matrix. Glyph starts scouring forums and message boards for disgruntled employees made redundant and bitter by CAT’s crash who’ll spill the beans for a little green.
It’s now that we find out Knight Errant are on the job and making sure that no one violates the lockdown on Cross resources until the new owners move in. We also learn that the facility is sealed up pretty tight – by design, it seems the front door is the only way in or out. Glyph hits paydirt though and a Wage Slave with a grudge sings like a canary. He tells us there are three floors above ground, six below and lets us know what’s where. File store is on floor -4 or -5 with the high security research lab way down on -6. He’s never heard of CORE but reckons -6 is the Emerald City and common sense means we concur.
Now the size of the building’s footprint is giving us cause for concern.
Presuming the worst, that Knight Errant will be on our tail, it’s fairly clear we won’t have time to search a file store that occupies an entire floor to find the hardcopy CORE files. Glyph has a little expertise with plastique though so makes up some detonation charges. We’ll search for the files if time permits but carry enough charges to level a couple of floors in case a quick exit becomes necessary. Boy, did that decision prove to be a saving grace!
I’m ramped. Snow has delivered my Ares Antioch so I’m tricked out with a grenade launcher on my ride. I figure I’ve now got sufficient firepower to hold off Knight Errant for at least a little while so we tool up and swing down – that was maybe 2am this morning and Glyph’s going to play stranded woman driver to allay Knight Errant suspicions until we can jump them…
Now that’s just about where it starts to go wrong. Our theatrics are wasted – Knight Errant haven’t left anyone watching the street so we move on the main entrance while Glyph leaves a little booby trap for any trooper returning to the car. The grenade and the patrol car blow up almost instantly and we only just get out of the way. A second or two earlier and we’d have been pate…
Now there’s a nice burning beacon on the Fleche lawn to let everyone for miles around know we’re hitting the joint. Clock’s ticking. Time to move fast. We’re through the door and systematically quartering, checking and clearing the rooms in short order. As we head down we begin to hear gunfire and figuring maybe someone else has had the same idea we double time it only to come face to face with a group of Knight Errant pouring shot after shot into one corner of a cube farm. We join the fight and Glyph’s grenade curse keeps its end of the excitement up. As she tosses a High Explosive into the room we all see it bounce back towards us. I take cover behind a wall and still feel the concussive force as bits of plaster and ceiling ran down on me. The fight is short and brutal, Glyph and Ash heading into the cube farm like some sort of strutting Wild West heroes. Best believe that gets them shot up some for their arrogance! Glyph discovers Knight Errant have been drilling a young girl. She’s still alive but as Glyph goes in to administer first aid the little bitch comes around and goes for Glyph’s throat. I scrabble for my Stick Shock rounds but Ash is faster and puts her down. We tie her up before she can come around again and we’re stunned to see her healing in front of our eyes. She’s got a mouthful of fangs and a silver circlet with a marble shaped and sized depression in it that starts to make us think there might have been more to Cross’ research here than meets the eye.
A few floors below we get our confirmation. As we raid the file store for the CORE paperwork we’re jumped by another couple of these Vamps and have to put bullets through their spinal cords to make sure they quit. One floor down from there we find a lab with three huge freezers holding countless complete prototypes of the CORE marble. That’s about where we get grateful for the charges, Glyph made. After giving Johnson some feedback and getting clarification from him on acceptable mission parameters, we set a charge in each freezer to make sure that once we leave, the CORE marble we give to Johnson is the only one left.
We’ve got the CORE prototype and the paperwork but there are unexplored floors and we just can’t walk away and run the risk of leaving the job half done. I check my Fly Spy and car-cams to check we’ve still got time to proceed and head down to the Restricted Access lab on -6. Five empty Medical Bays tell us that we’re missing two Vamps and as we explore, the Granddaddy of the whole stinking cabal puts in an appearance. He’s toting a CORE marble, neatly slotted into the depression in the palm of his hand and uses it to fill the air with bolts of bio-electricity. None of us fancy being electrocuted so we fight fire with fire, well lightning with lead at least and with us all keeping up a barrage of shots in his direction we soon put him down and make sure he stays down. Glyph leaves one of the ready made charges in his lap to destroy him and the CORE marble he’s tooled up with and we vamos.
We eliminate the Vamp we left tied up but realise that leaves us minus one critter. The upper floors are all sealed so it’s hard to imagine he’s up there. We play it safe and rig up a tight network of charges to blow the top floors. We make sure all the documentary evidence is going to go up in that blast too.
Back in the cars, Glyph hits the detonation and we listen to the satisfying crump of the explosions. That will have taken out the upper floors, the paperwork, the CORE prototypes and the Vamps bodies. It feels professional – a job well done but conscious Vamp 5 might have left the building before us, we don’t hang around. We head straight to a meet with Johnson, hand off the goods and collect our pay. It feels like the first time a Corporate job has gone right for us from start to finish and that feels good.
Mood: Fulfilled. Job Done.