As the Christmas holiday crept ever closer for our team, the ash gray snow fell from the sky while Pharaoh’s commlink chimed an incoming call in a particularly non-holiday tone. Turns out his Fixer had a lead on a possible job and offered the details to the team. Thinking they’re credit accounts could use some cheer, they accepted and got the meet information. A Corper Bar located downtown. A fancy place, not quite as opulent as the Prism from the previous run, but a place where mid-level corporate drones could let their hair down and dress in styles not allowed due to company policy. The team found their contact in a booth with two women who certainly couldn’t dress like they were even in the most open minded corporation. The Johnson was dressed well in a good looking suit, and he sent the two companions away and invited the team to sit down.
“I’m looking for people who can acquire some blue prints from a local nanofabrication plant from a relatively small company in Tacoma.” Since the team had no objects up front, he continued. “The company is Mesatronics, you may know them as one of the premier developers of mini and small drones in the UCAS. They’re latest creation, an aerial reconnaissance drone, named the ‘Brisa’, is listing as being head and shoulders above anything else on the market. Nearly 100 kilometer per hours higher top speed than anything short of a full jet engine. So, needless to say we’re interested to know if this is just Marketing being wrong, or some newly developed technology that should be placed in better hands; which is where you come in. If you are able to acquire a set of the nanofabber blueprints for this new drone, we’re willing to offer you 20,000 nuyen. A bonus of 10,000 on that price if you can get us a physical copy of the drone, with an additional 15,000 nuyen if the team can finish the job with no sign of industrial espionage.” The Johnson did have some information about the site itself that he was more than willing to share with the team, but the price for the information was that the payment was non-negotiable. Deciding that the info could be more valuable than a couple thousand additional nuyen, they accepted the terms and found that they were looking at a very security paranoid company. Each of the buildings were surrounded by Mage Ivy, preventing any astral travelers from snooping around inside. The grounds were barren, offering no hiding places aside from the occasional piece of shrubbery. The shipping gate at the rear of the compound had a weight sensor for shipments entering and exiting the building. The VP’s of the site’s son was a registered Hermetic Mage, so they were told to expect wards and barriers, if not spirits guarding the location as well as patrolling drones. Finally, none of the buildings seemed to leak any sort of wireless signals, indicating high quality wireless inhibiting paint, or possibly complete Faraday cages inside each of the buildings.
Thus, faced with a difficult task, the team started to brainstorm possible paths inside the buildings, but were nervous about going into the buildings themselves without having greater information. Finally deciding on trying to appeal to some employees greed, but not with an overt bribe. Taking a commlink that the team had previously acquired, Pharaoh decided to scrub all traces of information from it and set it up with a complete set of Evo’s latest demo software. Then, proceeded to set the commlink’s hardware to automatically start recording with the camera and all data that passed through it once it lost signal to public nodes outside of Mesatronic’s site. Then, a stake out in front of the main gate of the building gave the team a decent sampling of people who may accept the higher quality commlink. Finally, creating a semi-spam email with a site for the recipients to check for their new ‘Prize’ added another level to support the scam. Finally, they sent off the E-mails from an anonymous mailer, and were then forced to wait. Two days later, they had someone bite, and forwarded the team a shipping address for their free commlink (Including annoying pop up User Feedback surveys) to a corporate housing project in Tacoma. Sending the commlink off, the team sat down to wait once more.
The social engineering of the staff paid dividends. The commlink’s new owner, Nancy, wasn’t that technically savvy. Loading her profile and information into the commlink, she brought it on site to the compound and walked into a building which was labeled Maintenance/Backup Equipment from their Johnson’s information actually turned out to be the IT department as well as the Research labs. Taking her new commlink to IT, the staff loaded the programs to be able to view the proprietary network, then Nancy herself loaded her IDs and Passwords before heading to her own cubicle and started to work. As Nancy wasn’t involved with design, nor construction of the drones, she didn’t have access to the blue print. However, Pharaoh was able to identify that each node in any of the buildings had a connection to a large node that was shaped in AR to appear as a Big Top circus. Nancy never went near there at any time. Finishing her day, Nancy headed back and the team sat down to think of more options. Realizing that many of their troubles could be resolved if they could connect to the trojan commlink once it was inside the building, they started to pour over details that they could see. Pondering using the team’s monofiliment chainsaw to cut a hole in the roof, they later decided to poke a hole in the HVAC equipment resting on the roof of each building, and feeding an antenna down through the ducts as far as they could go to see if they could get signal out that way. Heading to the local Home Despot, they picked up some tools and equipment to fulfill the job, while Tazer placed a Levitate spell in her new sustaining focus, before enshrouding herself in a powerfully cast Improved Invisibility to avoid any drones. Once prepped, she floated over the wall and to the top of the three buildings, each in turn drilling a small hole in the duct work and feeding the antenna down with the assistance of myomeric rope. In the two buildings that Nancy had entered, they found that they had signal inside each building. The third building she never entered, they had signal, but weren’t sure if the nodes listed where inside the building or not. Finishing her job, Tazer floated back out and the team headed back. Instead of starting to hack immediately, Pharaoh waited until Nancy returned in the morning, and used her Limited User access to gently probe the system for defenses.
Coming to the conclusion that the Circus node was a Nexus that probably ran the complex, Pharaoh began a careful hack, looking for an exploit that would grant him Admin level access. Several hours crawled by until suddenly his connection to the site suddenly became very poor. Expecting the worst, the explanation was far more simple. Nancy had left the site for the day, and rather than continue without the additional layer of security of hiding on a legitimate user’s commlink, he decided to wait and start again the next day. The second day, the entry was easier with most of the work from the previous night still being in place. Logging into the circus node, Pharaoh found that there was two different IC running on the node, but they didn’t seem to be bothered by his presence. He was able to quickly find that two full sized nanofabbers were slaved to the Nexus, and all build orders for the site was routed through this very node. Which was when Spanky asked the 64,000 nuyen question of the night.
“Why don’t we fake an order and have them ship a drone to us?”
Pharaoh hopped on the idea, editting up a fake work order while hiding the actual cargo with something that would be of equal weight from the catalog of several drones the site could build. Spanky set up a delivery site in the storage warehouse they half destroyed in the Community Cleanup adventure, and then began to hide all traces of his entry. Purging the log files of his presence and requests, before getting an approximate delivery time of tomorrow afternoon, while Tazer went back in the night to remove all of the antennas and seal up the holes with duct tape. That wait was the longest yet. Twelve o’clock, One, Two, and Three all passed with no notification from the warehouse of delivery. Finally, at seven at night, the notice came that there had been a delivery at their storage site. Jumping into the SUV and loaded for war (In case it was a trap), the team arrived and had a drone forklift load the large crate onto the boat trailer that Corn had converted to a makeshift flatbed. Deciding on double checking, the team contacted Pharaoh’s fixer and asked for a place where they could stay out of sight for about an hour. Pharaoh crawled over the crate with a fine toothed comb looking for any sort of RFID tags that might be tracking their location, and burning them out where he could. Corn spent his time looking for any additional explosive surprises that might have been added due to the prolonged delay. After Pharaoh had finished his work and Corn didn’t find anything, they opened the crate and found a new looking drone staring back at them. Sealing it back up, Corn and Pharaoh guarded the crate while Tazer and Spanky headed to a nearby Home Despot for copper mesh and a large tarp to wrap the crate in. At that point, Pharaoh sent a message to Mr. Johnson saying that the job was complete. Giving them a location to meet him at in about an hour and a half.
The location, however, was a busy Ares warehouse. The Ares Corporate guards gave the team a solid stink-eye, but when giving the information on who they were to meet they were grudgingly let inside. A large warehouse held several more security, as well as some technicians and Mr. Johnson looking rather pleased. Admitting his surprise that the team would have been able to acquire the drone itself, as he hoped to come in significantly under budget with the lower payout. As good as his offer, he paid the team the 30,000 nuyen, but asked for their patience for the additional 15,000 in case Mesatronics was able to find signs of espionage. The team was willing to wait, and headed home without delay. Five days later, they had found that the offered credit account held not just 15,000, but an additional 2,500 nuyen as Mesatronics was able to find that one of their prototypes was shipped out by accident, they couldn’t find proof that it was done by espionage action. Counting their blessings and cash, the team settled in for a Merry Christmas holiday.
KSEA Channel 428 SPECIAL REPORT
“Good evening Seattle, I’m Jocelyn Meyers for Channel 428 News. After several years of negotiations, an agreement has finally been reached between the United Canadian American States and the Renraku Computer Systems on what was to happen to Renraku’s Self-Contained Industrial/Residential Enviroment, known locally as the Renraku Arcology. After the Arcology had been liberated by our fine military under President Angela Colleton’s command nearly seven years ago, the Arcology is to become UCAS property in exchange for the hefty financial cost of securing it and reclaiming it from the rogue A.I. Deus after it trapped nearly 100,000 people inside of it during the Christmas season of 2059. Governor Brackhaven had this to say.”
“This is a fine day for our great city. For too long some of society’s forgotten children have been hungry, left to the cold of our brutal winters in our streets with nowhere to go will now have safe haven inside the Arcology. Food, warmth and shelter will be provided for those unfortunate souls who need them as well as the first five of the twelve floors will be re-opened as a commercial center for any who wish to do business in these walls. The new year will be full of new opportunities for our brothers and sisters of Seattle.”
“The official hand-off from Renraku to the UCAS military will happen at 10 AM Seattle Time on New Years Day, who will enter the structure and remove any violent squatters or criminals who have taken up residence in the building before the rebuilding of this structure. Some people oppose the additional cost that refitting the structure for habitation will impose on the city’s finances, not to mention re-opening the scene of Deus’ horrific experiments could cause problems to anyone sensitive to Astral echoes. Doctor Edward Many-Paws of the Living World Foundation had the following to say…”