Barnabus stretched out on his leather sofa watching his favorite On Demand SteamPunk Trid is interrupted by his commlink chirping in his ear and his vision. The chirp tells him it is a unknown/blocked number coming in through his shadow comm id line. He hits the receive button on his commlink, and an AR popup of a large ork with a single gold tusk fills his vision. His guttural voice bellows out, “Oy chummer." As if they had been friends forever, he goes on. "The boss needs some muscle and brains. They were busy, so you’ze been tapped. Aight?” He briefly chuckled at his own joke, then continues… “Don’t be keeping the boss waiting, and have an appetite, I’ll meet you at Marcel’s at 4 PM. Go to the kitchen entrance. Don Casquilho, well he’s got a … special relationship with this place.” His AR shows it’s just after two. He calls his Hatchet, his fixer, for a quick memory check and gets the low down that he shouldn’t fear Marcel or Don Casquilho for Hatchet doesn’t think they have any history and that he should enjoy the visuals at Marcel’s while he is there. Barnabus agrees to pick him up some nice Italian wine while he is there.
Meanwhile Slider gets a similar call a few minutes later. After getting the run around with the ork with the golden tusk he agrees to the meet and offers to save the ork some time and put together a team for him. Slider reaches out to his newly established associates SSR, Dragonfly, Mr. Smiley, and Kid Mercury and they after discussing first meet etiquette agree to meet at Marcel’s 15 minutes before the meet time.
SSR and Slider leave SSR’s condo and bump into a rather nicely dressed figure who they bump into again oddly enough at the meet. Slider does a quick astral recon (standard operating procedure for things like this) and discovers a warded private room at the back of the restaurant along with many oddities among the staff.
Marcel’s located at 9235 Brighton Rd. in the Sioux Sector appears to be a hopping joint with a line of customers outside waiting. They all are peering through the windows, oblivious to you or your party. You cut down the side alley and see light gleaming off of an ork’s gold plated tusk, revealing the face of Miguel. When everyone arrives, Miguel adjusts his ‘one-size-fits- none’ grey suit. The seams stretch at the shoulders. He motions you inside as he unlocks the backdoor.
Moving through a very busy kitchen full of a regiment of chefs in wildly patterned uniforms, concentrate on pushing pots and trays of food out another door into the restaurant. Yet Miguel leads the runners through another door to a small dining area with a table and a few chairs. On one wall, one-way glass reveals the main restaurant. At the moment a waitress in a short skirt with a tail wagging from behind can be seen with a tray of drinks moving past. In the distance waiters and waitress serve the restaurant wearing various states of undress, to show off their mods, tattoos, or blessings from the comet. The only matching thing about them is suspenders and their AR overlays showing the specials and even further augmenting their uniqueness.
The Don calls the runners in with a hand gesture and a verbal invitation. The only other people in the room appear to be a rather large Rastafarian standing behind the don and constantly giving the runners “the look” and a skinny latino who seems to be spending more time looking out the window than protecting the don.
After the party sits down, the food arrives. It’s a deep-dish pizza, spicy fries and beer. None of it seems to be synthetic or soy based. The distractions continue out in the restaurant. A man all dressed up appears to be practicing before the mirror as it it was his bride to be complete with a ring. As the meal continues the don wait for everyone to have eaten a bit and continues to discuss small talk and keeping the mood light and makes the runners think of their own grandfathers or what they wished their grandfather would have been like.
As the meal comes to and end the Don’s mood slowly settles and grows darker and he finally gets around to telling the runners why he called for them. He says with a faint spanish accent that grows only a fraction thicker when his mood darkens further, “One of my lieutenant, Dean, was arrested yesterday accused of criminal hacking and murder.” The Don confesses that he considers this lieutenant to be like a grandson, and he can’t believe that he would have murdered his girlfriend, Alice, and a security guard. Losing some of his voice for a second he slides a scream sheet over to Slider who up to this point had done most of the talking.
After each of the runners has a chance to read it and he has composed himself he continues. He tells the runners that both the hacking and the murder happened in the course of a hacking incident at a company called LuCom where Alice worked. The Don is sure that Dean did not commit this crime, and he wants revenge against whoever set him up. He also passes on the fact that his suspicion is with the Triads as they’ve had more incidents with them in recent months. This is mostly due to “competition in overlapping business markets.” He wants the team to find the guilty parties and leave them the distinct impression not to mess with the Casquilho family.
After some discussion and stiff negotiations the Don agrees to front the runners 2,000 and to pay them 5,000 more if he is satisfied that his message has been received and the guilty parties our outed. He also acknowledges that the family would be indebted to the runners if they can prove Dean’s innocence. After the runners agree to the run the skinny latino comes over and makes the financial transfer of funds and gives the group the apartment key and two fake SINs to get them into see Dean as members of his attorney team.
Leaving Marcel’s the group piles into automobiles and heads off to Dean’s apartment. Dean appears to living the good life. Dean’s apartment is a high-rise condominium in the Hub. It’s a very nice place. You wouldn’t expect something this nice and tidy from a hacker. There are no uber-geek toys lying around or computer game magazines. It’s a very contemporary place. Nothing seems to be in disarray. There are signs of a woman’s touch. The bedroom and bathroom have “His & Her” stuff. There is also his and her closets in the bedroom. Kid Mercury reports the place is pretty odd, as the whole apartment is a node. Without another thought Kid Mercury plops himself down on the couch and goes VR and starts working his way into the node While Barnabus complains briefly about Forensic evidence and tampering with the scene as he stars at Kid Mercury.
Meanwhile everyone else starts looking around in small groups going about everything in great detail. SSR and Slider using their astral perception to get look about and the emotion feel of the apartment while Barnabus, Mr. Smiley, and Dragonfly take on the more physical aspects of the apartment. They all report back nothing of any key note with the exception of the fact that the emotional feel of the apartment seems to be one of intense sadness and lose overlapping older emotions of great joy and love.
Kid Mercury sits up on the couch as strange things start to happen in the apartment. It turns out that every wireless device in Dean’s apartment can be driven from his node. He’s even put motors and RFIDs on the non-tech devices. At this discovery Kid Mercury looks like a little kid in a toy store. Chairs from the office start moving out into the living room and start bumping into people as if to make them sit down. The living room furniture starts moving out of the way of all the incoming chairs. Kid Mercury playfully picks up a drinking glasses and everyone watches as the coaster scoot itself around to “catch” its glass as it is being set down.
As they come together again in the living room to compare notes and discuss what they will do next they hear a popping sound and a few seconds later the sound of liquid pouring from the kitchen. Dragonfly is the first to react as everyone moves to the kitchen. The coffeepot has turned on and there is no pot to collect the coffee as it pours out. The smell of soycaf slowly fills the kitchen and the apartment. Dragonfly finds the pot in the sink and puts it under the coffeepot while everyone else tries to sort out what is happening.
Kid Mercury seems a bit startled as he comes to the kitchen and starts talking about a squirrel in the coffeepot which makes everyone else wonder if he has stolen some of Mr. Smiley’s drugs from their last run. Realizing that no one else can see it he does some quick hacking magic and suddenly everyone’s commlink is registered as part of the apartment node and everyone can see a half invisible virtual squirrel leaping across the digital kitchen counter top towards a digital window. A large acorn secured in its mouth. As it leaps out the window Kid Mercury starts frantically moving his hands around as if he is interacting with a keyboard and screens that no one else can see. “Oh no you don’t.” He says. Dragonfly finds a comfy spot and goes into VR to see if she can help and decides instead to attempt to figure out what data nugget the squirrel squired away.
Moments later Kid Mercury and Dragonfly report back that a) she knows what was taken from the node. b) Kid Mercury has a lock on the physical location of where the squirrel agent was going to. A few beers and a masterpiece of a sandwich later the group decides to head to the location of the squirrel immediately before the lead goes cold….