Mon, 23 Oct, 2070 – 6:00 PM
The Verge, Redmond Barrens (Seattle Metroplex, UCAS)
A light acid rain falls on 142nd Street as squatters warm themselves by a burning barrel and red-jacketed gangers swagger down the sidewalk. Dwarven technomancer Malachi Constant is in his decrepit squatter apartment when he receives a message from Mr Johnson. The potential employer says he’s heard of Mal via a fixer called Baraka, and offers a Matrix meet on the hidden node “Dark Emerald” at 9:30. Mal traces the origin of the message to a Stuffer Shack in Everett. Hacking into the Shack, Mal tries to spot Johnson with the security cameras, but the Shack is packed due to the Seahawks game. While he’s in the node, Mal cracks into the deep fryers and puts them on the fritz. While trying to get administrative access, he’s intercepted by an IC program, which he handily defeats in cybercombat. After diverting a curry delivery to his apartment, Mal eases his senses out of the Matrix.
About this time, Big Ben comes into Mal’s apartment unbidden. BB is an ork and a member of Crimson Crush, the gang whose turf Mal lives on (across the street from their hangout dive bar, The Scumpit). The Crushers have been fighting the First Nations for control of The Verge, but just now Big Ben is there for the monthly “rent” (protection money.) Mal holds off payment until the next day. He also asks if Mal will be watching the game at Aces (“The Scumpit”) tonight, and is surprised when the dwarf declines to bet on its outcome. Ben is even more surprised when Mal goes on to say that he has a job. Mal gains Big Ben as a Loyalty 1/Connection 2 ganger contact.
After eating his stolen curry, Malachi searches the Matrix for Dark Emerald. This turns out to be ShadowSea, the premier forum and data dump for Seattle shadowrunners. The site prompts him for a username and password, as well as a reference to ensure that he actually is a ’runner. He names Baraka, a local fixer. A few weeks ago, Mal did a ’run for one of his friends, and Baraka vouches for him: after more than a year of ’running in the ’plex, Mal has made a real break into the shadow scene (and he gains ShadowSea as a virtual contact.) At 9:29 he quits lurking and chats with Mr Johnson. Johnson is a spider (a security hacker/rigger) who works for an Aztechnology subsidiary at a small warehouse facility in the Barrens. He wants to hire Mal as a penetration tester, hacking through his defenses and downloading a datapacket called “Rosebud” before 4:00 AM. Obviously a large advance payment is out of the question since Mal could simply steal everything he sees, but the dwarf manages to get a 10% (¥500) advance. If Mal does anything that would make the spider look bad, the deal is off. Mal accepts the contract.
Bargain Basement, Redmond Barrens – 10:15 PM
Forgoing any legwork, Mal calls an AutoTaxi, which he hacks into to avoid payment. This conveys him to the Aztechnology logistics center, where he sets up in the parking lot by 10:15. After three hours of cracking, Mal makes it into the system and spoofs the chief of security’s commlink. While he and his crack sprite try to find hidden nodes, Mal gets a text from Johnson: the security chief is in the same room as him and there needs to be a physical distraction. Mal and his attack sprite overwhelm the other rigger on staff, and then use his crane to break through a warehouse wall with a container (that appears to have been filled with coffin-like boxes.) A dozen armed security guards scour the grounds as Mal continues to hack. Finally he finds a hidden node, and notes that it has two files: the blank “Rosebud” and an encrypted file. Mal copies both files and covers his trail. Meanwhile security has begun to sweep the parking lot. Mal hacks into the lights, blacking out the lot as his borrowed AutoTaxi takes him away. Only one of the three nearest guards lands a pistol shot on the escaping car.
Mal has the AutoTaxi drop him off near 142nd Street and orders it back to its garage. He sends Mr Johnson the “Rosebud” packet, and at 4:45 AM gets a reply that he will find a certified credstick for ¥4,500 in a PO Box in Redmond’s nearby Touristville neighborhood. Meanwhile Mal decrypts the second file he swiped. After several hours, he has a file mostly in Spanish with English sections and a bit of Japanese thrown in (all of which he can read.) Its gist is that somewhere in Seattle is a secret Aztechnology facility devoted to abducting and experimenting on budding technomancers, for use in some kind of drone research. Vengeance in his heart, Mal tucks this knowledge away for later use. After waking up, Mal goes to retrieve his nuyen and pays Big Ben the “rent.” Later he gets a message from the fixer Baraka, who comments on his rising street cred and says that he’s putting a crew together that could use a Matrix specialist…
Malachi Constant gains Contact: Big Ben (Loyalty 1/Connection 2 sprawl ganger [Crimson Crush]), Virtual Contact: ShadowSea, 2 Karma, 1 Street Cred, ¥5,000, and an encrypted file revealing Aztechnology experimentation on technomancers.