Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rust! S1E3 - Octopus on the run

Context

A quarter of killer pleasure bioroids failed to escape the Maestro, a 7-storey tall space elevator car. The snag has drawn a lot of attention: Ceres Mutual is investigating the hardware failure leading to the catastrophic decompression. The martian triad is reeling from the monetary loss in the incident. Finally, the Free-Mars movement is more than curious about the meaning of all this. 
The previous session can be found here: knifefight in a phone booth.

Story 

Fredreich was awaken from hibernation when the data crunch process returned with a signal 0. The entire data dump from the Mastro had been parsed, mapped and sifted for plausible scenarios. The story kept on coming back to the astropus mechanic that had played dumb the last time that he attempted to interrogate it. 

While Fredreich as a sapiens-AI (SAI) was bound to honesty, Anatolye did not. Anatolye was a ghost: his mind had undergone destructive uploading shortly after the death of his original body during the purges. Anatolye was working as a lonely link in a chain for which there were no apparent end. Some days, Anatolye wasn't even sure that he was working for Free-Mars. His analysis of the Mastro's data dump turned out to be more successful than for the insurance underwriter. A bit of decryption on a set of exchange between New Shanghai and the astropus indicated that a famous Triad mobster, Haoxu Xe, has issued the order to evacuate the killer bioroids. Anatolye queried the file and found out that there was a sleeper agent working under Xe. He issued a wake-up order to dig dirt on the case and report back. 

Xinxin was a great sommelier. She had a real knack for reading people as if thoughts and emotions streamed from their minds. She knew her boss alright: a bit insecure yet successful. She has received the cryptic order to dig information about killer Eros series' bioroids from Haoxu. As she was showcasing new wines, she drifted into current affairs and clearly picked up on the fact that Haoxu has a strong personal interest in the escape pod crash, and a sharp feeling of monetary loss coming out of the incident. She reported back to Anatolye that Haoxu was clearly a cog into the bigger picture. 

Being a sommelier on Mars can be glamorous as this session report suggests.

Jumping ship

Horatio is an uplifted astropus: an octopus that can live in dry microgravity. He was an OK mechanics for as long as the low-sapien AI (LAI) in his virtual interface implant could operate the tools and schematics. His real specialty was ambush and execution: no on ever suspect the astropus because they are dumb. 

This being said, Horatio was no fool. He knew that the insurance underwriter was hot on his trail and that the police would be involved anytime soon. He decided to check out of the Mastro and seek a quiet and safe location in New Shanghai. His journey was more laborious this deep into the gravity well, where he cannot simply use his jet to propel forward. A pod, however, took him to a transient hotel near the low port where he checked in.

Behind Rust China's law enforcement firewall

Detective Yinfeng was trying to make the scan report of the severed head to sound interesting. The scan only revealed fragments of the mind. It comfirmed that the head of the bioroid named Rose was unusually skilled at computer operation and knife fighting. There was massive instance of team training in an artificial gravity room, probably somewhere in the belt. 

A massive data dump came from a faceless AI from Ceres Mutual. Yinfeng learned from the dump that the most important person of interest was that astropus mechanics. Unfortunately, Horatio checked-in to the hotel using a traceable public key. Yinfeng assembled a posse of street agents and headed to the hotel to nab the astropus. 

Surprised, Horatio put up a good fight but was overpowered by the Chinese police. Yinfeng had the astropus shoved into a sealed box and sent to jail to await interrogation. This successful arrest makes the rounds in the police station and get picked up by Anatolye's surveillance filters. Anatolye orders a kidnapping of the beast. 

During the interrogation, Horatio is sedated to inhibit his animal atavism. Out of ways out, and knowing that the Triad would probably make sushi out of him for being caught, he decided to cooperate with Yinfeng and the interrogator as much as he could. The cops are quite happy with the astropus' information. 

A box full of tentacles

On the way back to the cell, a pair of crooked cops working for Anatolye swipe the case containing Horatio and shove it into an unmanned pod. It lands in the lobby of a high end restaurant. A goon brings the case to Xinxin and instruct her to keep the box safe and out of the way for a while. 

Xinxin did hide the box in her office, but curiosity had the best of her and she opened to see what was writhing inside. Horation exploited the opportunity and squirted ink all over her face. In the confusion, Horatio made it to an air exchange inlet and disappeared in a slither. By the time Xinxin could see again, he was out of sight. 

Horatio asked his LAI to open a channel to his German "owners". He impressed to them that the contract with the Triad had gone south and that he needed a pickup. The Germans asked him to stay put and that someone would be nearby to pick him up within a few hours. 

Hours late, Xinxin got a chat request from Anatolye. She wove a tale on how she actually never got the content of the box and that the box had been empty from the start. Anatolye complely bought the explanation and ordered the crooked cops to be disciplined. 


Mission accomplished

As a payment for the data dump that Fredreich gave to the police, Yinfeng sent a transcript of the interview with Horatio. Fredreich figured out that he had enough evidence to conclude that the decompression wasn't a hardware failure, and more likely an act of terrorism. The good news: Ceres Mutual's policy doesn't cover terrorism. The gooder news: the Mastro clearly must be covered for it and some other company will be issuing a job for it shortly!

End State

  • Horatio has been rescued by the German colonists. 
  • Xinxin knows that Horatio is heading to the german colony.
  • Anatolye knows of Haoxu's involvement with the killer bioroids.
  • Fredreich has completed his job with Ceres Mutual

Character cast

  • Horatio -- an uplifted astropus officially working as a mechanics for Xiao Chu Corporation. On the side, a Martian Triad hitman. (Jason)
  • Anatolye -- the ghost of an Ares conspirator now turned Free Mars officer for the New Shanghai area. (Martin)
  • Fredreich -- A SAI working as freelance insurance underwriter for Ceres Mutual. (Dan) 
  • Xinxin -- A Zhenide-upgrade attached to the Free-Mars movement. Dayjob: sommelier for a mobster boss. (Zaahirah)
  • Yinfeng -- A detective on the cyber/VR department for the New Shanghai law enforcement. (Mike)

Campaign's memorial

  • LuxPo and Effix -- Three Eros series bioroids modified and trained for assassinations. (Zaahirah, Dan and Michael)
  • Rose -- A regular Eros series bioroid accidentally awaken with the others. (NPC)
  • Paz -- A valkyrie series bioroid pulling security on the Maestro and accidentally ejected in the same escape pod as the others. (Michelle)

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