12JUN2072 – SUNDAY
The Runners are invited by their contacts to meet Mr. Johnson in the Irasshaimase! Sushi Bar at 2330 that night. According to the contacts, the job is a way for them to get into the Shadows (as Angelo tells Usagi), easy Nuyen (as Oilslick tells IronSight and Ravensight, or a means for Edwards to start establishing a reputation for Kill-Face. The runners make preparations for the late-night meeting.
At 2230, Hai-iro Usagi, arrives at the restaurant, and is greeted by a booming “IRASSHAIMASE!!” by Raijin, the Troll dishwasher and sometimes-bouncer. Angelo rolls his eyes and asks Raijin to “wash more dishes”. It’s a slow night, and Usagi orders Shioyaki (grilled salmon) from the “special menu”.
At 2315, a middle-aged male humman arrives, he is balding, with a light brown and grey mustache wearing a smartly-pressed suit and A/R Glasses. He doesn’t react when Raijin greets him with another enthusiastic shout of “IRASSHAIMASE!”. While Angelo rolls his eyes and curses softly in Japanese, the waitress Brandy greets the patron much more appropriately and takes him to a small booth. The man sits quietly, and sips tea.
At 2325, Kill-Face, IronSight, and Ravensight all arrive at the Light-Rail station just outside the restaurant. When they enter, Raijin’s enthusiastic greeting doesn’t phase them (Kill-Face has dealt with loud Trolls before, and keeps her Wired Reflexes in check). They tell Brandy that they’re with the Johnson Party, and are seated in the booth. Usagi, with silent encouragement from Angelo joins them.
Brandy pours Sake for the table, and Mister Johnson raises his glass, silently inviting the others to do so as well. He finishes his drink and gets right to business. Johnson lays a 5000¥ Certified Credstick on the table. Next to the Credstick he sets an Optical Chip.
“If you want the money, you’ll take the chip. I want to hire you for a job. It’s urgent and pays well. Time is of the essence, the faster the job is completed, the more you’ll be paid. Details are on the chip.”
Usagi slots the chip, looping the other runners into the LAN so they can all scan the data together. It contains a short bio of one Pavel Chernenko. The Dwarf is a Russian, born in St. Petersburg in 2011 and came to California to attend UC Berkeley as a Graduate Student studying Financial Engineering in 2034. He has no criminal record, but is a known associate of Gregori Volkov, the boss of the Black Tide Bratva (r.”Brotherhood”) in Oakland.
A second display opens with a new file; a Knight-Errant report on the Black Tide, it’s territories and operations. The Black Tide primarily operates in Western San Leandro, expanding into the Souther areas of South Oakland and all of San Lorenzo. They are involved with Gambling, Smuggling, Prostitution and Loansharking.
Pavel Chernenko is identified as the Black Tide’s Bookkeeper. His residence is listed as a large house in the “Caspian” community of Lake Merritt (a Rating A Zone). The objective is to confiscate and deliver to Mister Johnson all of Black Tide’s financial records, both digital AND hardcopy that Chernenko keeps. Payment upon delivery will be in the sum of 10,000¥ plus up to a 5000¥ bonus if the objective is completed before Midnight 16JUN2072. Once the objective is secured, the runners are to contact Mr. Johnson to arrange a time and place to make the exchange.
Usagi begins almost immediately, the Technomancer diving into the Matrix and searching for any local data that can be gleaned about the Black Tide Bratva. In the middle of his Datasearch, he attracts the unwanted attention of a Knight-Errant Matrix Specialist, but manages to Stealth by him before the cop can make an identification. Usagi doesn’t stop, and gathers more data, confident in his ability to keep the cop off his trail. The cop, however attracts his own attention from other unknown elements in the Matrix, resulting in a long train of icons circling each other, seeking to make a clear ID. IronSight entered the Matrix at the last minute and finished Usagi’s Black Tide queries, and both runners jacked out of the Matrix before being identified.
While Usagi analyzed the data, uncovering a network of Matrix Nodes used by the Black Tide for communication, commerce (both legal and illegal), and a “hub” in the form of a hidden node, IronSight contacted Brimstone, a friend of his and a Knight-Errant Matrix Cop. Brimstone forwarded the Black Tide Bratva file from the K-E Bay Metro Organized Crime Task Force. Both files allowed the Runners to identify the realspace location where the hidden “hub” node is most likely located. An apartment complex in the heart of San Leandro. However, the building is listed as “Condemned”. Still IronSight and Kill-Face decide to take a look at it for themselves during the day and report back to Ravensight and Usagi that evening.
13JUN2072 – MONDAY
1330 hours. IronSight and Kill-Face head to the Black Tide’s condemned Apartment Building. Going through the worst parts of San Leandro, they end up deep in the territory of the San Leandro Raiderz Sprawlgang. They get to a vantage point that provides them a view of the building and discover that it’s very sturdy indeed. Almost a Fortress in and of itself. The building sits on a lot between the abandoned Union Pacific railroad tracks, and the Cal-Free High Speed Rail. All around there is nothing but empty, dirt covered lots for a block on all sides. Next to the building, in one of the abandoned lots, a collection of cars are parked. Most are mid-range, serviceable vehicles, but some are very expensive sports and luxury models. High end Lexus and BMWs, even a Mitsubishi Nightsky. The pair of runners look for and find a squatter sleeping in a nearby abandoned building, and Kill-Face “interrogates” him at the end of her shotgun barrel. The terrified squatter tells her that there is activity in the Apartment building at all hours of the night and day, but it slacks off a bit a couple of hours before dawn.
While Kill-Face and IronSight do legwork in San Leandro, Usagi does his own investigation, tracking down the owner of the property the Apartment is located on. it is held in Trust to Roman Volkov, the 12 year old son of Gregori and Natasha Volkov. Furthermore the property was purchased from the Trust account in 2050, 9 years before Roman was born. The history of the building reveals that it was condemned in 2050, and stood vacant ever since. A cross-reference reveals that the building had regular visits from Law Enforcement (unsurprising, since abandoned buildings are regularly the scenes of crime, trespassing and vagrancy.) from 2050 through 2059. After 2060 however, there have been no reports of any Law Enforcement units dispatched to the site.
1600 hours. The runners return to Ravensight’s flat where she lives with her mother and siblings to discuss what they’ve uncovered. At first, they considered returning to the Apartment Complex for further reconnaissance, but instead chose to rent a car using Kill-Face’s Fake SIN and some of the advance Nuyen to pay a visit to Chernenko’s home in Lake Merritt. The runners wait until night, then head into the A rated zone to scope out Chernenko’s home, and hopefully catch him there.
2200 hours. The runners, in their rented Mercury Comet, drive through Lake Merritt looking for the “Caspian” community (a planned gated residential community for those who can afford it). Usagi does some Matrix reconnaissance and finds the standard security procedures for entering the community. He compiles a Sprite and gives it the task of intercepting the check-in call from the guard station to the Chernenko residence and rerouting it to his personal node (since he’s a Technomancer, he will be able to communicate with the intercepted comm without actually speaking). But Kill-Face proves to be up to the task of conning the security guard, and the Mercury Comet is allowed through the gate.
2215 hours. The runners find Chernenko’s house, and note that both vehicles registered to Chernenko are present in the driveway. One is a Lexus Model G1200 Luxury SUV, and the other is a Mistubishi Nightsky (which Kill-Face and IronSight believe to be the same Nightsky they saw in San Leandro). A third car, a Ford Pride (the same model sedan as the Mercury Comet) is parked across the street. A quick check of the license plate shows that it’s registered to a company “Bay Metro Foreign Imports” as a fleet vehicle. The Runners park behind the Ford, and Ravensight Astrally Projected to take a look inside the house.
Ravensight’s plan fell apart almost from the beginning. She let her concentration slip when attempting to decipher the foreign-language printed newspaper the bodyguard in the front room was reading, and passed through his aura with her Astral Form. The guard, alerted to something being “not right” checked the front door and spotted the Runner’s rented car. The alarm is sounded and the guards immediately start ushering Chernenko and his wife to the garage. The Runners in the car hear the oncoming sirens of the Caspian Private Security, and Ravensight returns to her body. Usagi retasks his spirit to place a Watermark on the vehicle’s onboard GPS, and the Runners take off to avoid the security guards converging on them.
It quickly becomes apparent that the security guards are tracking the Runner’s car through the network of cameras stationed all over the community. Usagi quickly shuts down the cameras, and Kill-Face loses the pursuing security guards for a moment. She drives the car to the front of the community to discover the gate is closed off, trapping them. With some encouragement from her team, Kill-Face chooses to use the blunt-force option in their escape plan. Mashing the accelerator to the floor, she aims the rented Mercury Comet towards the gate and achieves ramming speed. The gate gives, then falls with a shriek of tortured metal as the sedan thunders through like it’s namesake. Kill-Face steers the twisted wreck out onto the street and, through sheer determination and momentum slides the wrecked car into an alley, where the Runners ditch it. IronSight provides a finishing touch, lighting the car on fire as they leave, and continue pursuit of Chernenko.
Through some good luck, a fast BART train to San Leandro, and a heavy bribe to a willing cabbie, the Runners have managed to beat Chernenko to the Apartment Complex by about two minutes (learned from a quick read of the Nightsky’s GPS). The Runners are now in among the parked cars outside of the complex, and their next move is ready to be made..