Episode 614: Heart's Gambit

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Air date: 18 Oct 2011
Present: Andy, Kim, Maer, and Terri

Monday, 15 Feb 2523
Nouveau Lyon, Beaumonde
Kalidasa (Xuan Wu) system
Later the same night …

Nika, Kiera, and Beglan are told to contact Rina to come in with the databook. They are given a comms to try to get hold of her. So far, no go. In the previous game, she yanked the battery out of her comm to go silent running on the grid.

Speaking of whom ….

She’s with Raven and Raven will help her get her friends free of BS HQ if she first gets him the databook locked in Equinox’s safe. She agrees. They drive over in his limo, sees the ship berth crawling with Blue Sun technicians. Rina bails out to sneak aboard the ship and Raven agrees to drive off and start a diversion at her signal. She climbs into one of the loading cranes and when she’s got it hotwired, she signals Raven for the distraction. He plays bumper cars with the stuff in and around the berth, scattering the BS techs, while Rina moves the crane arm over the topside hatch on Equinox’s hull. She slides down the crane’s cable, burning her hands a bit, and gets in.

Once inside, she goes straight to the safe and starts punching in numbers on the key pad, hoping to crack it. After five tries, she hears a door alert on the bridge—the BS techs have opened the cargo bay door. She runs to grab her tools out of the machine shop to weld/jam the passenger stairs door shut, stumbles, and losing time, has to make do with a simple hand tool. She jams that door just in time, hammering a screwdriver home into the door seal. She hammers another one in for good measure and beats a fast retreat up the stairs back to the crew deck. She steps into the portside corridor and startles a coveralled BS tech with a rifle standing at the access hatch in front of Nika’s door. She ducks into the med bay and grabs the fire extinguisher off the wall. He lobs a non-frag grenade into the bay and she dives out before it explodes. Only now she’s on the floor at his feet, his rifle pointed at her head.

She swings at the rifle barrel with the extinguisher and disarms him. It’s not sufficient to disable him, however, and they grapple—she with the extinguisher for a couple more blows, he with some well placed kicks into her body. She eventually gains the upper hand and knocks him unconscious. She gets a long metal bar—like an IV pole—from med bay to jam the wheel lock on the access hatch. Then she gets back to work on the safe and gets that sucker open. She takes the databook and knowing there’s no way to lock the safe up again, she takes the money we’ve got in there with her in her pockets.

She shimmies out the top hatch and down the crane and comms Raven to pick her up. She rejoins them and he drives back to his penthouse at the parking garage. He opens the databook up and unlocks the biolock on it, opens the files and starts copying them. It’ll take an hour, he says. She’s got him his databook, she says, help her get her crew free. He can’t do much, but he can lend her his car and he gives her three plastic bags of what looks like sand in three different colors. Alone, they’re harmless, he explains. Together and subjected to percussive force, they’re explosive. She pours off a little from each bag into the barrels of three pens she’s got on her and seals up the remainder and stashes everything in separate pockets. They get back in his limo and he drives for the factory headquarters where her crew is being held.

She has Raven stop a few blocks away and she turns on her comm so she can talk to him while she goes in. She sees she’s got a text message.


While Nika is getting grilled and shown a comm by a Blue Sun agent in the interrogation room, Joshua is watching some doctors shaving Arden’s head and prepping him for surgery in his makeshift cell. When the door opens to wheel Arden out, Joshua glimpses a woman standing in the hallway. In her 50s or 60s, with dark hair sporting a white streak at the temple, she startles when their eyes meet. The door closes and Joshua’s left alone again. He sings to relieve the boredom. A few minutes later, the woman walks in.

Dr. Guan, her name is, and she reveals that she’s Joshua’s mother.

Wow. Not how Joshua envisioned meeting his mom. She feels his face, probing it, and she tells him a little bit about what happened to him. Or rather, the circumstances leading up to it. She believes that the Verse will go to people like Joshua and Arden, and that the Verse would no longer have a place for mundanes like her. That was what the program she’s given Joshua to was all about, about making transhumans. Joshua’s shocked, thrilled, amazed, and intrigued by what she tells him. Joshua still tries to arrange for the release of his crew, knowing that Rina is still at large.


Nika, confronted with the ultimatum—call your lone crewman in or we’ll start killing crew—calls out to Rina’s comm channel and when she gets no answer, she sends a text explaining the situation: held hostage, come in with databook or people start dying.


In the limo, Rina reads the text message and immediately calls Nika back. Nika tells her indirectly that Joshua and Arden are being held elsewhere in the facility and that Beglan’s beat up and Kiera is with her. Come in with the databook and swap the crew for it. Rina says she understands and cuts the channel. Of course, Raven hands her a different databook and biolocks it to her biometrics. That way they won’t get into it without her inside and able to get her friends out.


Meanwhile, Nika negotiates a hostage exchange for the databook: Beglan and Kiera are set free. They make their way quickly away from the factory into the night and Kiera starts calling Rina’s comm channel. Rina answers and she picks them up. Raven pulls a fade and Kiera drives. Rina tells her the plan and they go back to the factory. Rina bails out with the databook and her usual suspects—totally forgetting to give her gun to Kiera, despite Kiera’s prompt. So of course, when Rina is let in the gate and frisked, her usual suspects are taken from her, down to the pens she’d loaded with the sand. The sand in the baggies are left in her pockets and she goes to meet the woman described to her as her contact—it’s Guan.

Guan pulls her aside and says that Joshua’s alive and she can choose to save him or save her crew, but she can’t do both. The best she can do is take her to the interrogation room and after the guard leaves with the databook, she suggests that Rina knock her out and make the escape with Joshua. Rina agrees to take the databook up to the interrogation room and once it’s unlocked and the ruse is discovered, the guard is sent downstairs with the fake databook and Guan tells Rina to hit her. Rina does, but pulls her punches too far, and it takes three hits to render Guan unconscious.

Nika and Rina team up and devise a way to get to Joshua and Arden.

Upshot, they’re trapped in the factory headquarters building. Arden’s unconscious, a survivor of brain surgery—but only just. Kiera’s captured by guards on the 4th floor, and the building’s surrounded by all the Blue Sun cops in Nouveau Lyon. Raven is whereabouts unknown somewhere inside the building and we have no way to contact him.

Game ends with the noose tightening around our necks late on the evening of the 16th.

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