Dateline: Three days after close of last session. Time: 13.00 local time.
The team have been laying low at Candyman’s base, while Able heals up. They’ve heard from Wormwood and Yaffle, who had a package dropped off yesterday by one of Candy’s minions. The building itself is impressive enough – a hi-rise former prison on the edge of the Gray district – but inside the place is homey and comfortably cluttered, with the occasional piece of expensive electronics poking out among the “found” furniture and thrift-store decor. Everyone is now gathered in Candyman’s private living area with drinks and munchies to hand for a planning session.
“You bunch of moochers ,” Candy says in a jovial tone:. “You’re welcome to my food and drink – but when are we going to get this show on the road? Though it still burns my ass,” Candy turns towards his office briefly and mutters in a lower tone, “that Yaffle would so overstep himself. A man’s home is his castle – that was a clear breech. Either way.” Candy turns back, smile back on his face, “I’ve got some idea’s after seeing Yaffle’s apology gift.” Pitbull shrugs, “Maybe. But coming in by air is a death wish in neon lights. We’ll have to keep it on the ground,” to which Garrion replies, ""Their forces are spread pretty thin through the park itself. Getting into the TRC will prove much more troublesome though. I certainly hope we don’t have any unwanted visitors like we did at the condo." Able looks over Garrion’s shoulder at the map he’s playing with on a flexible screen. “Those ‘unwanted visitors’ might prove a blessing in disguise, if we could pinpoint who they were and what their plan is. If they’re after the ghost, we could feed them false intelligence. Get them to attack the facility – but the wrong part of the facility.” Able pauses for a second, then continues, “Or have them steal the ghost for us, and then steal it from them.”
Garrion sucks in a breath, doubtful. “I would be hesitant to let them steal it. Once in their hands it may move rapidly and may be harder to pinpoint. At least we know where it is right now. I like the misdirection idea better.” “Yes. But how would we go about that?” Pitbull grates pensively. “I’m up for capturing one like I suggested before,” Garrion replies. “We can do some interrogation and leak a little info and then accidentally let them escape.” Candyman, coming back in from his office in time to hear that last exchange, chops the air with one hand emphatically. “Trying to infiltrate a Megacorp like Dream Corp – while also planning to take on another group of runners with such a high skillset…I dare say that’s spreading ourselves out overmuch. We need a concrete plan for Dream Corp – this time my distraction on the ground should outnumber anything they can bring. The Toes, they deal pretty heavily in drugs, if they show up I’ve got them outgunned four to one.”
Garrion stands up, leaving his pad on the sofa, and begins pacing. “True enough that we don’t want to spread ourselves out too thin, but knowing their plans could help prevent a lot of trouble. Do you think you could get one of your spies in there to learn their plans?” “I doubt it,” Candyman tells him that the rumor is the Toes have corp backing, “they probably have some kind of screening. Any corp would spend a few resource to make sure it ran smoothly. Not that it could not be done, just I think it would require jacking a member, learn to imitate him, then one of us could go in and second a pledge from my gang. That’s not something that will happen overnight.” Garrion reluctantly agrees, “Yeah, we don’t want to delay that much. If it can’t be done quickly then it is secondary to our main objective.”
As Pitbull grabs Garrion’s pad and begins sketching fields of possible fire and routes, muttering under his breath something about “inviting defeat in detail”, Garrion and Candyman continue brainstorming new approaches to the problem. “So what kind of distraction did you have in mind this time C-man?” Garrion asks. “If it can outdo a bunch of explosive-loving drug-heads, I’m curious what you have up your sleeve.” Candyman smiles slyly, “Well, after getting Yaffle’s present ,” he sits down in his chair and slowly spins to face the group, "I figured I would take a page from our enemies on the last mission. The security cleared out right fast to deal with trouble on the ground level when the Toes showed up – but that lacks finesse. I’ve had the boys looking into the zoners and I’ve got a few real bible bangers picked out for a riot – met some and got them real riled up over the Dream Corp “agenda” so we have a riot ready at my command. Nothing violent, till we want it to be, so it will keep the security busy without causing them to call in any Whirlwind kuts or bought cops. It will be an in-house problem."
As Garrion stops pacing and sits down again, Able nods, “That could certainly be useful. We’d still want to make sure the Toenails don’t interfere, though. I still think feeding them false intelligence might be the best idea, at least to get them out of the way.” Pitbull, still not looking up from the schematic, adds his two cents. “Yes. Some misdirection can at least keep them off the property. I’m still leaning towards getting them to attack a different part of the facility. Spread their already thin personnel.” “Well,” Candy clear his throat and put on an innocent look, "if we could get some more funds for this mission, the target is worth 75 million, I could stage a big deal with the Toes that would take most of their attention. They sell arms as well – so I could buy those up with some monetary assistance to make it worth my while. Or, there are changes to the plan that could get me to make use of my own limited wealth. “Two birds…” Candy throws back a glass of amber rum, “one stone.” Able, impelled by the chip in his head that makes him loyal to his owners and any mission they hand him, ignores Candy’s play. He continues to address Pitbull, agreeing, "They’re going to attack anyways. It’d be better to control the when and where than to have it strike at random. " Then, to Candyman, “And if they notice your planned distraction, they might very well choose that as being an excellent time to attack.”
Garrion snatches his pad from Pitbull’s hands and studies it, then suddenly slaps his forehead and leans forward to key the datapad function on the smart-table they’ve all been sitting around. The tabletop lights up – it’s a clear plastic computer screen itself, with the chips and memory concealed in the frame – and Garrion swiftly pulls up a map of Night City. He marks the location of the Toenail Gang’s hideout in The Shambles and the location of Dreamland Park, then draws a line between there and the Shambles – almost exactly running South-East. Able glances at the line Garrion drew, nodding in realization., “The security chief may be running the Toenail Gang.” Candy does a double-take at this, then leans over the table too. He pulls up his recording of the original Gomi briefing from his personal computer and slaps the pictures of the three Dream Corps execs on Garrion’s map. Styleman at the TRC, Shaina Chacon at the Shambles and Deitner at his Tower. He uses a finger to draw three red arrows from one to the next to the last, then stops and stares. Pitbull drawls, “Very bad. I can take most of them on, but I can’t get them all on my own.”
Able, by now, is deep in thought, rapidly putting hints and clues together in his head then checking his logic on his specialized Rossum computer implant. “I think I might know what’s going on,” he ruminates aloud. “Deitner thought that Styleman was trying to arrange a leveraged headhunt on himself; that’s why he was moved to the live-in suites at the TRC. Deitner may have been on to something; what if Styleman hired Chacon to arrange the headhunt, and Chacon has arranged for the Toenails to do the work?” He looks around at his companions. “They may not be after the Ghost at all.” Candyman sucks in his breath, “Humm,” he tilts his head and thinks over Yaffle’s info again – “I think Chacon was after dirt on Deitner. He has not made a stink about the double break in – something to hide. I have a feeling she is on to it and trying to do her job before he fucks the corp.” Garrion nods at that, “Getting our hands on her could help fill in the blanks, provided she will talk. There is a lot of speculation here other than the fact she flew toward their lair.”
Able shrugs a bit, “Perhaps, but then why does she fly towards the Toenail gang’s hideout after work every day?” Then he shakes his head, “I’m not sure this is relevant, but another thing I got off of the hard drive – Deitner has a thing for a VR game. Age of Myth. He’s a bit of an addict.”
Pitbull smirks at that. “Heh. Nerd,” he rumbles. “I don’t need to imagine bashing someone or gutting them. I could do that myself. But in any event, when did he start playing?” Candyman muses, “Ehh, be a good place to double deal honestly, none of the corp security is going to follow him around on there. Could be a cover for something else.”
Able answers Pitbull first, “He started playing five weeks ago; a trickle at first, but now he’s playing nightly.” Then, in answer to a query from Garrion: “We have his login information, yes. Not sure what good impersonating him would do.”
For a few minutes Garrion and Able kick around the idea of either impersonating Deitner online or of following him in-game to see who he might be meeting, while Pitbull interjects a gravel-voiced “nerds” occasionally. Candyman, meanwhile, has been doing his own version of what Able has. He clears his throat.
“I think,” his tone does not speak to uncertainty, “Deitner’s trying to sell the Ghost to someone and Chacon must be on to it. Possibly Deitner even trying to set up Styleman too – I think we need to get our hands on those logs. Might have something about a trade. Trade chats come up all the time in those games, be hard for someone to spot it along with all the bs.”
Able nods, “You may be right. If so, we don’t have much time.” He stops for a moment as if listening, then waves a hand for attention. An image springs to life on the smart-table – Deitner in his study, live feed from the nanobugs Able planted during the raid. He’s drinking heavily and on the computer. He turns up the volume on the bug to see if he can make out what Deitner is mumbling about as Candyman observes, “someone looks troubled” Candy drinks deeply from his own glass, “There’re eyes on him, ours the least of his worries.”
Deitner is obviously distressed and drunk, his face flushed and sweating. he’s mumbling to himself, badly sub-vocalizing to someone. Suddenly he stands up, swaying, and shouts, “Yes, I can still get your precious sword back! The Witch can’t know everything yet and I’ve no idea who the other adventurers are! if they want to delve the dungeon too they’ll be too late. I’ll get it the day after tomorrow, just be sure your people are ready to take it off me!” he yanks the jack out of his neck and storms off, shouting for another bottle of whiskey.
Everyone stares at the screen with intent, then Pitbull bursts out laughing. “Nerd!”
Garrion snorts a little himself, “Ah, the sword and the witch. Sounds like an interesting story.” Able nods, “Well. The Witch is the security chief. We’re the ‘other adventurers’ and the sword is the ghost. Looks like he’s selling it to the British government.” Candyman agrees, “Rather transparent when you have the script,” as Able finishes with “And the transaction occurs the day after tomorrow.”
“Huh? Where did you pick up the Brits in all that?” asks Garrion. It’s Pitbull who answers, as he tries to stop laughing, ""I-I-ha-figured that had to have been code. The first ahem sentence. It’s the very first thing he shouts. He can ‘get it back’." Abruptly his laughter stops as he realizes, “And they ain’t gonna send amateurs. They will drop some trained killers for that pick up.” Garrion is unfazed, “So we intercept him before the meeting, then we don’t have to deal with them.”
Candyman takes charge of the conversation. “So what’s the plan now? We still have no idea where they are meeting up – and no doubt this place of meeting will be under heavy guard. Just follow Deitner till he slips up,” he makes a little grab at the air, “and jump him?”
The rest agree that it sounds like a plan, provided they can get to Deitner ahead of any British agents, which would mean chasing Deitner’s AV. They’d need something even faster than his luxury model and they fall to discussing the best way to obtain one – hire it, steal it, hijack one, ask the Gomi people to provide one? then Garrion sends them off on a new tangent – “Don’t discount that Chacon may be all over this too. We may still have to deal with her and her hired goons.”
Able snaps his fingers and grins, “How about we steal the security chief’s AV while she’s visiting the Toenails?” Candyman shows his ‘street’ side in a rare flash: "If I get some manpower from Emir or our contacts – I could muscle them bitches with my gang. Go kiss the Emir’s ring and take the territory as a landed knight. Good cover too – make it just look like gang-banger turf war rather than these “dangerous” edgerunners fucking things up."
Now it’s Garrion’s turn to take charge. “Well let’s vote on it guys. We have several ideas on the board. What has the largest success to threat ratio? Several sound good but are riddled with lots of conditions that have to be met. Others are dangerous as hell.” Candyman, in reply, ticks off points on his fingers as Garrion nods along, “Well, messing with a Corp is messing with endless resources – no way to tell how much they will pull in. The Toes, we know their resources, and getting the plane and flipping it could bring us more bank than this whole mission. Further, the Toes have other bonus’ to add. Territory, guns I can flip myself and give you all a cut, and whatever gear they have. I, for one, like messing with someone that won’t call in the cops or get us on the news in any capacity.”
Pitbull, who has been drinking wine and thinking as deeply as he can, interrupts. “I think I have an idea how to disable the VTR. Anyone want to hear me out?” At the return nods and gestures to continue, he does, “Armatech makes a grenade launcher munition that is used in riot control. Tangler grenade Launcher. 25 Mil, though. The effect of the grenade hitting the engine would gum them to the point of the need of an emergency landing. Take out one, so they must land on the others.”
“I’ve got a couple of those,“ Candyman throws a thumb behind him, “in the back.”
Asked if he can make the shot, Pitbull laughs, “I’ve had actions like it. This will be pretty new. I am sure I can do it though.” Candyman sums up. “So, launch a raid on the Toes – our angel takes off and we clip her wings and catch her ,“ he looks down at his empty glass with a frown, “that about the full of it?” Pitbull “I’d nods. “I’d like to have a cyber-upgrade to include grenades on my targeting system, but that sounds close to all of it.” Able agrees, “I think we have the outlines of a plan."
Pitbull downs the rest of his wine, and pours himself another glass. He starts rifling through his jacket for his smokes. After having no success, he sits back resignedly and downs the rest of his wine, attempting to cheer himself up with the idea of gunning down gangers in a combat zone. “You wouldn’t happen to have any cigarettes, Candy? I could really go for one right now, if you would be so kind.” Going to a box on a side cabinet, Candyman extracts a cigar and hands it to Pitbull, who, after noticing it’s a genuine and now very rare two-decade old Cuban preserved in a climate-controlled humidor for all this time, perks up considerably. After lighting it and taking a puff, he leans back in his seat, smiling as he sighs “Damn…”
Meanwhile, Garrion is still taking care of business. “These guys are going to be armored and packing, though perhaps not as much in the safety of their base. We will want to have a full load-out if you can supply us C-man. What other toys you got from Armatech there?” Candyman replies that his operation is still small and that he therefore doesn’t hold on to a lot of the expensive merchandise as yet. However, he has cheaper wares in stock – “stealth ponchos, AP rounds, standard armor” – as well as a small library of tactical software and a couple of top-of-the-line goodies. “That, and roughly 50 souls I can bring in as back-up, all equipped for a battle. Still, my kids are not bruisers and I don’t want to smash them against the walls of my enemy. If we can breach it – they can do the heavy lifting from there. We should have them out gunned and out manned, I know the Toes, they mostly use civilian armored clothing and cheap printed guns. They are shit in a fight – but our Corp girl might bear some planning for – she’s security too."
Garrion rises to his feet and stretches, “Well the clock is ticking. We need to get into their zone, time the raid with Chacon paying a visit, and get back before Deitner makes his move."
With that, the team hunch over the smart-table again, laying out plans for an hour, then head for Candyman’s warehouse and range to test some of his stock. Next stop, The Shambles.