Ninety Days Delinquent
|Ninety Days Delinquent|
|Part of Chromaggia|
|Evo, Red Star Clinics|
The runners were hired to 'eliminate' a Red Star clinic bioware repo man, Nathan Wallace. After learning more of his story, they faced a difficult choice what to do. They decided to fake his death and make sure he would never be seen again, nor use the evidence he had of clinic wrong-doing. The johnson would have his problem eliminated.
But they were taking a risk to find a solution the team could all live with. The consequences if they got caught would be severe.
With careful planning, they were able to fake Nathan's death, get him safely to San Francisco, and reduce the threat to community activist Charity Horace, who Nathan was trying to protect.
Evo's Red Star clinics are most popular in Asia, but have recently come to the Seattle area with clinics in Redmond, downtown Seattle, and Snohomish. These clinics support two distinct kinds of clients - wealthy corporate folks who need gene, bio, and cyber ware to do their jobs, and less affluent clients to whom they offer a debt and re-possession program. They have a legal right to re-possess ware if the client falls behind on payments. For their on-book clients, this is unpleasant, but not fatal. For their off-book clients (folks without SINs etc.), they kill them to re-possess the wares.
Nathan Wallace was a talented surgeon and cyber researcher. He brought Evo techniques to do the surgeries faster and more effectively, thinking they would use this information to lower their prices. They did not. Instead, he caught the eye of a man with no morals and a penchant for getting the best and brightest to do his bidding. Eric Fiengold, who would be the team's Johnson and the VP of finance for Red Star clinics, saw an opportunity to control Nathan, and force him into the role of a surgeon repo man by setting up an 'accident' whereby Nathan, who was trying to cure his sick wife and daughter, appeared to have killed his wife and put his daughter in a permanent coma.
He was broken by grief. Fiengold used this as leverage to get Wallace to become an employee for Red Star and moonlight as an implant repo man.
His now dead wife Myra had a best friend Charity Horace, who is an activist in the Redmonds area. Myra convinced Charity, at Nathan's recommendation, that it would be a good idea to take Red Star Clinic's offer and become an example of their charitable work, when Nathan had just started working for them. Myra was blind; Red Star was willing to give her very high end cyber eyes if she'd help promote the service with the community. Initially Charity helped promote the clinics and their offer. Over time, she realized that Red Star was dealing harshly with those who fell behind on payments. She just felt like she couldn't go on. She stopped paying and fell 90 days delinquent herself.
Fiengold, who wished to test Nathan's loyalty, asked him to handle the re-possession of Charity's eyes, including instruction to botch the surgery so she could never get cyber eyes again. He just couldn't do it to his wife's best friend, and the god-mother of his daughter, Hope. Finegold was angry with him because Wallace had set up a clinic of his own and offered to provide free ware surgery to the same community that Red Star wanted to prey on. He was also a risk to them, since he had evidence of their off-book practices. He had, himself, killed seven off-book clients during their 'ware re-possessions.
With Nathan refusing to do the job on Charity, Fiengold decided he was too much of a liability and hired the runners to eliminate him.
The suspected Johnson, Eric Fiengold, was protective of his identity. He first had the runners go to a drop point in Edgewater park and collect a data chip with a secure location. Spider and Moth were able to find the chip, Moth was able to palm it without drawing attention, and Spider was able to decrypt the data chip. Boom Poom was concerned that Ironclad had brought his dog to the park, and warned him that his presence tended to spook animals.
The chip led them to a warehouse where they finally met their johnson. He identified himself as Mr. Johnson. He was flanked by two guards. Boom Poom could tell one of the guards was awakened. The johnson made it clear that the job was to eliminate the repo man. Moth negotiated a higher price. Once the team accepted, he gave them the further information of the repo man's identity and the job he had fallen out of contact while assigned to perform. He didn't know where Nathan could be found. That was for the runners to figure out. They had one week before the johnson at least expected an update. The johnson made it clear that he wanted subtlety. He did not want it to look like the corp hired shadowrunners to get involved. He wanted any records found with Nathan, and proof of Nathan's death. Optionally, the runners could also complete the re-possession job on Charity.
The team went to Ironclad's house to plan. Spider quickly gathered the background information about Red Star, its clinic practices, Nathan's background, and the history with his wife and daughter, and with Charity. The more the runners learned, the more uneasy some became.
Spider felt strongly that she would not be part of killing the repo man who was clearly a victim of the corp. Moth did not like unnecessary violence on jobs, but was comfortable with a paid hit. She was very concerned that if they double-crossed the johnson, after accepting the job, it would reflect poorly on them and their fixers. Her first loyalty was to her fixer (her father). Boom Poom hated Evo passionately. He was glad to screw the corp in any way that harmed them, but also cautious of the consequences of getting caught. Ironclad and Vichnozeleny were most comfortable with sticking to the job, and killing the repo man.
After some debate, the runners agreed that the exact instructions from the johnson were to eliminate Nathan. That could be done by faking his death, and getting him out of the city, and to a place far from Evo, particularly if he agreed to never bring any trouble to Evo again. Evo (and their johnson) must never find out he is still alive. Normally, the risk of trying to fake a death with a corp as medically savvy as Evo was just too great. But they potentially had access to one of Evo's best surgeons and medical researchers. Nathan himself might be able to help them fake his death in a way that would pass scrutiny.
With this plan, it was important that Charity not know about it. She would be in danger if she ever gave the impression she thought Nathan was alive, or that runners had been involved in any way. They couldn't predict Nathan's behavior. There was only one way to find out what he was willing to do, and if he was going to fight them rather than work together. They'd have to make contact with him.
The runners deduced that Nathan must be in a very secure safehouse if Red Star and Evo couldn't find him. There were a limited number of safe houses available for rent with full matrix and magical security - complete black boxes. The team could work down the list, looking for financial ties to Nathan or Charity, and eliminating any place they could determine was in use by an unrelated customer.
Likewise, they agreed that it was in Charity's interest to complete the re-possession because it would cause Red Star Clinics to lose interest in her, and stop sending repo men after her. The runners could make sure the surgery was done cleanly, and could supply her with replacement cyber eyes so she didn't lose her vision.
Between Spider's hacking, Moth's knowledge of safehouses and gangs, and the fact that there was a safehouse on their short list rented by 'The Hope Foundation', the team was sure they had found the right one. They went to the site, and confirmed the layout. Boom Poom could confirm with assensing that it was a black box. A faraday cage, and 'living wallpaper' of anti-magic bacteria that any spirit would have to push through. The 'living wallpaper' was also on the floor, suggesting an escape tunnel. They tracked that exit to a manhole cover. There was one door, no windows, a skylight on the roof, and the manhole exit.
Ironclad took a surveillance position on the roof by the skylight, hidden from view by an RPC cloak. He was able to see that the room was set up like a clinic, with a medical vat and other equipment.
Moth and Boom Poom went to the front door, while Spider monitored remotely. Moth drafted a note to slip under the door, explaining that they knew who he was, were there to help and he should open the door. He sent back a note stating that he won't kill his wife's best friend. Moth replied that they weren't expecting him to do that, and that he should open the door so they could talk. She was able to persuade him. He let them in. Boom Poom made sure the door stayed slightly ajar, breaking the faraday cage, so the team could all remain in contact, receiving the feed from Moth's microcamera. After some conversation, Moth and Boom Poom were able to confirm that Nathan was willing to leave town. He wouldn't leave North America, but that left plenty of options. He had realize that his daughter was never going to wake up. He could cut off all contact. He had the skill to take a body of his approximate size (a 6' 6" human man) and make it absolutely appear to be him to biomedical scans. If the runners could provide the body.
During the several days it would take Nathan to ready the body, Vichnozeleny kept overwatch of the exits. Making sure nothing went wrong, and no one attacked the target.
Moth and Ironclad went to see Charity. Ironclad was a surgeon. He could safely remove her cyber eyes, and give her new ones, if she was willing. Moth disguised them, and took the role of a journalist, while Ironclad was a surgeon contact of hers. She explained to Charity that she had learned of her situation through investigative reporting, and wanted to help her get new eyes so she was safe from the corp, and could *potentially* tell her story. All she'd have to agree is to not tell the story to anyone else. If it was safe to take the information to the press, the reporter would let her know. And if she didn't hear back, she'd have her new eyes and know she should stay quiet to be safe. Charity consulted with her boyfriend, who turned out to be Mr. J, the head of a hooder gang in Redmond, smuggling diapers and medical supplies to the poor. He assessed the situation and left the decision to her, but could tell the disguised runners were trying to protect Charity. Charity agreed to the surgery, and Ironclad successfully removed and replaced her cybereyes without incident. Moth had been able to obtain the replacement cyber eyes from her contacts, with help from contact Dr. Isabel Wirth.
Vichnozeleny took the lead on making sure the faked death looked exactly right. She knew exactly what to do. She made sure they put partially digested food in the stomach, and took transfused blood from Nathan, with Ironclad's help, to pump the live blood - that was truly Nathan's - through the dead body, so splatter patterns and tissue would look right. Vic shot the body cleanly between the eyes, leaving the bullet in the skull to show a clear cause of death. Boom Poom used his physical skills to land punches and bruises on the blood pumping body, to show signs of an actual fight, and used his magic to set the body briefly on fire - a low force fire ball - to muddy investigation of identity and cause of death while leaving it very possible to still see all the work that Nathan had done to make the body biologically identical. Everyone lent their skill in medicine and forensics to the effort.
When the body was ready, and Nathan was on his way to his new home, Moth called the johnson for the handoff.
Nathan had turned over all his data and records; that was everything the Johnson could want of that kind. They had the body in a body bag, in the smuggling compartment in Moth's car. They had the re-possessed cyber eyes from Charity. She took the lead in confirming that they had taken care of the job and eliminated the target. The Johnson believed her. One of his men scanned the body, and confirmed that the biomarkers showed it to be Nathan.
They had gotten away with it!
The johnson offered to pay them the agreed upon nuyen, or even more value in gene, bio, or cyber ware. No strings attached. Boom Poom refused anything of the kind. He wanted the nuyen only. The others looked at the brochure, and made plans.
Nathan Wallace is now operating in the shadows in San Francisco, safe from Evo.
Charity Horace is safe from Red Star Clinics, and can still see with the new cyber eyes provided by the runners. Moth helped arranged media coverage for the charity work that she is doing, along with Mr. J, to help them get more donations, and do more good.
Hope Wallace is still in an endless coma. It is possible Evo will now take her off life support, with Nathan 'dead', but that is what Nathan would want for her. He knew she could not be revived.
The runners are considering ways to put Red Star clinics out of business. (A future chapter!)
All runners receive Nathan Wallace as a 4/1 contact
Each runner should choose one of the two options below:
Option 1: 60,000 nuyen of Used/Standard/Alpha/Betaware Bioware/Geneware. If you don't take the full amount in gear, take the difference between what you spent and what was awarded, divide by 2, and take as nuyen. If you want more than that, pay the difference via GMP or nuyen. Contact GM if anything is 20+R.
Option 2: Karma/Nuyen 22,000 nuyen 4 karma
Moth considers the challenge. "I could put you in a wheelchair to hide it under you."
Boom Poom: "That's funny considering who my boyfriend is." (It's Tupelo!)
Moth: "I didn't even think of that! I was thinking of ways to hide your ass!"
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Moth here. This was my 35th run! What a complex and sad situation. I really felt sorry for Nathan. At first, I really thought we were just going to have to kill him. We took the job. I have to be a good runner. Everything I do reflects on my papa, who is my fixer. He puts his name on the line every time I go on a job. I can't have him hearing that I betrayed a Johnson! Certainly not one who did nothing unprofessional to us. It would ruin my reputation with all fixers, and would shame my father. But, all that said, I am glad Spider stood up for what was right. It was possible to make the Johnson happy, and not kill Wallace. Everything the Johnson wanted is done. In spirit. Nathan is eliminated from the picture. He won't ever cause trouble for Evo or Red Star clinics. He's good as dead. That's enough. Right? Hard as the decisions were, I couldn't have asked for a better team to face them. These are good folks. Lots of good ideas and skillsets. Everyone worked together. Everyone did their part.
That was.... a strange one. I was happy enough to end him, from what I gleamed he was a right bastard to those "off the books" patients. But all is well, we got away with the payment and some peace of mind for those who needed and or wanted it.
I did not expect to have to employ my experience as a murderer and a hunter here. While for the most part I provided overwatch, double-crossing our employer came as a surprise. Still, I understood the situation and could guess as to what the moral terrain was. As a result, I agreed so as to not harm group harmony. These locals have it easier -- they have the option to avoid most violence when it suits them. Better this way; the anarchy of the Zone is not meant to be a humane environment. I provided my knowledge and the plan went off without a hitch. This provided me with additional payment, which is what I desired.
I'm glad we were able to help him escape. Fraggin' corps...