Home is where the Nuyen is

Episode 1: The Library Job
Stake out!

Riding the bus is always a drag, but it gives him time to think.

Epoch was thinking about how he’d been put in touch with Blackout a few years back, and how this was the first time in while he’d gotten the call from him that there was money on the table.

The 903 Detroit Special pulled up out the front of a dingy single story frontage, titled “Yemen’s Investigations”. The squad was already inside. A small japanese ex-pat was giving everyone the brief – to break into a secure UCAS information repository and steal some medical records of a guy named Corey Wilson. The bottom nuyen was 30k¥.

Epoch went straight home to dig up what he could – the UCAS facility used to be a library, and reopened 6 years ago as a public information repository, owned and operated by the government. Security on the staff and details about security are pretty tight and hard to come by. About all Epoch got was the names of the regular staff and her assistants – not even the security detail or the contractors who must have retrofitted the building for it’s current purpose.

Whilst Epoch was sifting through matrix files, Blackout was canvassing the good people of suburbian detroit. He had a conversation with an older man, but wasn’t able to turn up much of a lead – that security is considered to be good – but what would some washed up old dude know? Having a SIN your whole life makes you ignorant.

Nova and Kickpuncher went into the building to check it out. They fleshed out out blueprint – there’s security cameras, terminals, VR headsets, and a station desk all where we thought they would be. Nova managed to slip the mag-card from one of the staff and copy it – which will hopefully help us get some access.

The front doors appear to have some security gate, but there’s a side door which requires a security pass to get in to, and a few potential locations where there might be physical files kept securely.

Nova and Kickpuncher leave the scene and night begins to fall – and Tuner starts his night watch – hopefully getting all the information we can about their night patrols and any extra measures that might get in our way.

Meanwhile, there’s quite a bit of work ahead of us to set this op up, so that it goes off without a hitch.

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Episode 2: Steakout

Heading back to where he had parked his hog, KickPuncher tried to remind himself of the plan which the group agreed would have the best chance of success, with the least chance it could be traced back to the team or that weird guy who gave them the contract in the first place. Boiled down, it came to “Sneak in, get the files, sneak out”

No explosives. No helicopters. No impersonation of federal officers. No kicking or punching required…if everything went well.

Really, no fun.

Tuner and Blackout had opted to take the even-less-fun job of overnight the stakeouts, and Blackout was pretty confident he had a hookup who could get them some “just in case supplies” the following day. Epoch was going to try and turn up some more information, and Nova needed to take that security pass scan she had oh-so-smoothly made earlier in the day into an actual working keycard.

KickPuncher was going to have a SoyBeer. Maybe two.


Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Something smashed in KickPuncher’s apartment.

Ding! Ding!

Realising he had forgot to silence his commlink when he got home last night, and judging by the light creeping around the curtains he’d clearly slept through-

Ding! DingDingDing!

“Oh for fuck’s sake!” came from some clearly pissed off voice. As he sat up in his bed, trying to stop the-

Ding! DingDing!—

“How do I mute this bloody thing…finally”

Slowly moving through his apartment, KickPuncher brought up the “Operation <tbd>” thread and starting trying to catch up on what whatever-it-was that was so important to wake him from his sleep.

The first dozen or so notices were from Tuner, including a whole raft of images taken from his drones both outside and inside the building. There was some funky image that looked straight off a hippie’s T-shirt which apparently meant there was just a table inside the vault, and the secondary vault looks to be full of nothing important – or valuable.

More discussion reconfirming what gear we would really need now that Blackout has had a chance to check his contacts…apparently “nerve gas is too hard to find this time of year” or something. A sour taste joined the disgusting array of flavours of his dry tongue.

The conversation was still going when he finally caught up. Blackout mentioned he spied another shift change at midnight, and another at 8am.

“Did you put a tracker on the car when it left?” Nova asked

Seen by Tuner. Seen by Blackout. Silence. Epoch posted something about “I told them how to do a stakeout” – but all KickPuncher wanted to do by this point was eat breakfast. Walking to the kitchen still half-reading the flurry of excuses from Tuner and Blackout, shards of a SoyWeiser bottle stuck painfully in his foot brought back recent memories a smashing noise.

“Today is going to be a good day” became a mantra whilst KickPucnher picked brown glass out of his foot, his face clearly not conveying the same message as his lips.


Without much else to do, KickPuncher headed to the Dough Joes Gym and Boxing House to get in a solid workout. Maybe it’s because Orc multi-tasking is not the greatest, or that the hangover from his evening escapade was especially awful, but he was thoroughly confused as to what the fuck tear gas grenades had to do with Soyanara Pasta Sauce Substitute. It was a “Good deal” according to Blackout, but it sounded as though the rest of the team were not convinced. Or at least would not be accepting any of Blackouts offers to come around for dinner any time soon.

Epoch dropped a link of the latest OKAI-mart ad…those things always got on KickPuncher’s nerves. “Maybe a bit of equipment maintenance will sort out my head” he thought as he headed home.


His rifle and pistol had been broken down, oiled and re-assembled. Gloves and vest were charged and ready. The last thing left to do was sharpen the edge of his combat knife, when Blackout sent a message to the group

“We’re going tonight. Meet here at sundown. Time for the old Sleeky Sneak.”

Finally a message that made perfect sense, and brought a smile to Kickpuncher’s face.

“Today is going to be a good day” became a mantra whilst KickPuncher packed the gear he’d need into his sports bag, grinning ear to ear.

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Episode 3: ...go!

The sun had gone down and the plan was clear. Nova, clad in her chameleon suit used one of the three swipe keys she had made from the cunningly-obtained imprint of the helpful librarian’s security pass against the little box just outside the library’s service entrance.

A red light stared back at her.

KickPuncher, dressed in an armoured vest and wearing some funky gloves, tried his key. This time, the light blinked green. With a quick nod, KickPuncher swung the door open slowly, holding it just long enough for Nova and Blackout (clad in dark fatigues and carrying some delicious-smelling grenades) to scamper inside before swinging it closed again, closing it as quietly as possible.

Epoch, clearly uncomfortable working in what felt like such an exposed position relative to his preferred location of “home” began to jimmy the security card reader away from the wall, and started creating a wired hack into the library’s systems. The vast bulk of KickPuncher looming over him gave him some mild form of comfort, as he went about carefully stripping wires.

“The drone is in position, last shift is still heading back to base – all looks good over here” Tuner advised over the group CommLink. At the same time, everyone was given a live stream of the drone tactically positioned to watch the guards sitting at their fold-out card table. Whilst they were armed – it was hard to miss the giant shotgun sitting against the far wall – they appeared to be enjoying the cushy night shift in the middle of the ‘burbs, guarding whatever was in this old drek-hole.

Blackout and Nova moved silently towards the well-lit main desk, which was directly in front of the guards. Steeling herself, and with a re-assuring nod from Blackout, Nova smoothly and quietly slinked around the desk all the while trusting – hoping – her suit masked her movements…or that the guards were too busy with their game to notice.

Movement.

One of the guards stood up, grabs the shotgun and saunters towards Nova’s position behind the main desk. Blackout, not wanting to abandon Nova, but also not wanting to be seen as the guard moved by, retreated a few paces into a side room, filled with artefacts of pre-Awakening materials…but nothing which seemed of any value.

The guard’s footsteps turn down the hallway where Blackout and Nova entered, sauntering casually towards Blackout’s new hiding space. Before he enters the room gun blazing, he turns again. That’s right, the men’s room is down this hallway…guy just needed to give a shit, and not about his job.

During the next ten minutes, no one moves. Epoch is not moving as he is fully immersed in the Matrix, probing for a weakness in the ancient security system running this bloody installation. Ah, here we go…seems as though creating user accounts can be done on-site, without any sort of strange permissions! Looks like “DefLegitUser1” now works here…now, let’s find out what is happening with these cameras…

Finally, the guard, seemingly without washing his hands, strolls back to his comrades, who
have also been doing nothing this whole time as it was bloody Jimmy’s turn. The gun is set aside, the guard gets comfortable back in his chair and there’s a near-communal sigh of relief as the runners feel back on track.

Nova deftly moves to the entrance door to the librarian’s office, and uses the last keycard to attempt to open the door. After a second the light goes green, and she slowly opens the door.

CRRRREEAK!

Through the drone’s eyes, everyone can see the not-so-alert guards suddenly start paying more attention to their surroundings. Ohshitohshitohshit floods everyone’s minds as it seems the plan is making great headway to being thrown out the window. The team however remain relatively calm, and wait to see what the guards do in response.

After what feels like a thousand years all four guards slowly rise from the table and two start making a cautious path towards the sound of the noise, taking the shotgun for another venture. Blackout lets the team know a distraction may be needed as he once again retreats to his side room. KickPuncher leaves Epoch in the doorway and moves around towards the rear of the library, scooping up a handful of stones as he walks on by. Just before the guards get to the hallway where Nova is still crouching beside a barely-opened door, Blackout pushes the distraction button.

Tuner attempts to do a burnout in the carpark across the road from the library, and Kickpuncher tosses the gravel he picked up at the window closest to the two guards at the table. Having successfully gotten their attention, and realising the guards probably can’t see him because of the deep shadows outside, he turns his vocals up to 11 with a hearty “UCAS sucks, your mums are fat and eat troll dick for something warm in their bellies!”

Well, that seems to have done it. The guards with the shotgun make towards the service entrance – where a slightly dazed Epoch is hurriedly putting the security card scanner back on the wall and running out of sight…and not a moment too soon, as the guards coming bursting through the door and start scanning the darkness for this “lone troublemaker”

Click

One of the guards has turned on a small flashlight, which looks strong enough to reveal KickPuncher’s new position. Before they have a chance to spot him flat-footed though, he turns and runs as loudly (most of the noise provided by further profanities) and as fastly as he can, in the opposite direction to Epoch, who is hearing this all unfold from mere meters away from the clearly pissed off guards. They are not so pissed as to go chasing some random soy-fucker through the night however, and shortly retreat back inside – allowing Epoch to examine the damage done to his cabling due to his hasty hiding job. “At least it was good enough to get the job done” he thought as he set about fixing the mess.

Luckily, this was exactly what Nova needed to slip fully into the room and get started working on the vault. Whilst it’s nothing overly fancy, in fact it’s rather rudimentary, Nova gets to work, plugging in her MagLock safe cracker and getting it started on cracking the code to the room supposedly holding this important medical file. A few seconds pass, a code flashes on the cracker’s screen and the locks silently disengage from the safe door, which is thankfully on well-oiled hinges. Inside were two filing cabinets, and after a short rummage she’s able to find the file they are looking for. Having a cursory glance at some of the other docs and not seeing anything that looked like it would be worthwhile to try fencing, for the risk of carrying it out of here at least, she pocketed the goods, re-arranged everything as neat as possible and sealed the safe up once again. Now, how to deal with
the squeaky door…

Tuner breaks the recent radio silence, letting everyone know the previous shift change have been stopped for a few minutes, and are now coming back towards the library. ETA 11 minutes. Tensions rise.

Epoch, however, is more concerned with other pressing matters…like the fact the security cameras stream offsite to what appears to be a manned UCAS facility. Manned by someone who does not want Epoch poking his head around in a secure government facility. The guy’s not too bad – he’s already countered a databomb, and is now bringing an offsider online to help nail Epoch’s location, identity and connection down. Epoch feels pretty good though, realising that all they can see for the moment is that the library is the one attacking them. He knows his luck wont hold out forever, and out-manned there’s not a lot of room for error.

Data streams flying past at the literal speed of thought, Epoch finds a way in to the facility, and starts wiping absolutely everything he can. “And the rest of the team have no idea what is going on” he muses to himself, as he sends a simple reboot script across to the facility.

“Hard to reboot without system32, ya jackass”

Nova as scoured the office, and turned up a small bottle of sewing machine oil rolling around up the back of one of the desk drawers. Thanking her lucky stars, a quick dabble here and there on the squeaky hinge means it should be good to go. Holding her breath, she twists the door handle and pulls the door towards herself smoothly, relishing in the whisper-quietness of the action. A quick check of the drone on the roof lets her know the guards have returned to their usual position, allowing her to sneak her way back out, moving through the shadows to meet up with Blackout and make for a smooth exit out the building.

“Five minutes until backup arrives,” Tuner reminds the team, whilst calmly driving the FishTank towards the egress point, “Epoch everyone’s out, pulling the drone, in position in 15 seconds”

A quick text, “30 seconds” comes from Epoch as he is going through the camera records stored on site, removing any evidence that he or the team were there. Finally, despite the dedicated and loyal service of DefLegitUser1, even the account had to go. Definitely keeping that one for next time though.

Jumping in the back of the van, which seemed to be taken up by equal shares of drone and person, Epoch pulled the doors close, which was signal enough for Tuner to start making a calm getaway.

Blackout, starting to relax, realised that the group of ragtag scoundrels, living in the shadows of the corporate giants and corrupt governments, might actually make it big if they can keep their cool like this in future. Not often the theft of important documents (important enough to someone at least) is covered up by what is likely passed off as some drunken Orc with nothing better to do than throw rocks and cusses at poor night shift employees.

Yeah, with these guys might he just make it.

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