Interface Zero: Pattern of Entropy

January 3rd session
A man, a plan, a man-made island

Chimera called a meeting with the Pattern team to discuss the fallout from the attempted Subarashii extraction. Putting everything out on the table, Ravenlocke’s continued collaboration with the ACC and violent expeditions outside of their jurisdiction has worried the firms, and action is seen as necessary. An agreement is put in place: go down to the LaCroix compound in the Cayman Islands for the annual C7 conference, and disrupt the ACC’s attendance, preferably in front of everyone. The payoff? A set of dubs for the entire party, valued at a cool quarter-million credits each.

The elements are put in place. Urthwyte finds a smuggler friend who brings booze to the compound who is able to provide an escape route, in exchange for lending him a luxury yacht. Herbie leads the team to a potential mole in the electronic security team, and Sister Maria uses her religious contacts to find an original leader in LaCroix’s URF. Turns out Bradbury’s dalliances with Ravenlocke have not been known the LaCroix and the C7 administrators, and Sister Maria’s fact-finding call turns into a security flare-up of the highest order. Hoffmann informs the group of RFPs from Golden Promise and Belorussian Steel that crossed his desk, and his theories about the tension the team just inadvertently exposed. Looks like the group may have started the corporate war before even showing up on the island…

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January 17th session
Season finale: From out of nowhere

The team stepped off the VTOL on the LaCroix Cayman Complex, and got a quick sniff of something wrong almost immediately. Dummy spotted a man who looked suspiciously like William Bradbury boarding a VTOL to leave the island as they were disembarking, sending alarm throughout the team. Sister Maria, Glimmer and Hayate set off towards the conference center; the sister and Glimmer were looking for answers, Hayate was looking for a potential bomb. The other attendees were abuzz about rumors of a war in space, which seemed to involve the mysterious NFE. Sister Maria checked in with the security contact they had, Leonard, and then moved to make contact with Golden Promise, one of the other parties to the rumored space conflict.

Hayate and Glimmer headed to the hotel to make use of the security tracking Leonard had provided. While Bradbury appeared to be a fairly normal conference attendee, his attendance still left unanswered questions. Glimmer deftly broke into Bradbury’s hotel room, which fortunately had not been cleaned by housekeeping yet. The search for physical evidence turned up little except for a single black sock, but Hayate spied an indentation on the room’s notepad. A rubbing revealed a phone number and the words “NFE contact”. This information was transmitted to both Sister Maria and Leonard. Sister Maria had successfully made contact with an executive at Golden Promise, Lu-Wang Shen, who was aware of the space situation. While he was aware of NFE’s potential involvement, the ACC angle was new to him. Meanwhile, Hayate asked Leonard to run the phone number against the attendance database. The number belonged to an NFE VP, who had left the island two days ago. Leonard then confirmed Sister Maria’s suspicions: all of the NFE reps had left two days ago.

At this point, the group was in panic mode. Sister Maria alerted Mr. Shen, and tried to spread the word as quickly as possible. It was around this time that the group noticed that satellite communications had been interrupted, a very bad sign. Leonard left his post, and Urthwyte and Doc both tried to shepherd as many people onto their boat as possible. Sister Maria was ready to stay behind to save as many people as possible, but after the security staff unlocked a few of the unused yachts and began helping in the evacuation effort, the rest of the team was able to convince her to get on the boat. Dummy sped away from the island, and managed to make it nearly a half mile before the orbital strike hit. The tungsten penetrator destroyed all three of the artificial islands in the complex, and sent up a massive tidal wave. Dummy’s masterful boating saved the day. In the aftermath of the strike, there was an audio message transmitted via satellite, being played on repeat: “Six powerful corporations, two religious organizations. Guess I know who’s made my Top 8.” Though his identity had been shrouded in secrecy, it was now possible to confirm that the head of NFE was none other than Tom Anderson, founder of Myspace.

The team looked for survivors among the wreckage, but found little. The other boats appeared to have been sank, though one was found using the boat’s fishing radar. Mr. Shen and some other survivors were clinging to it, and they were brought aboard. Overloaded, Dummy began steering toward Grand Cayman.

Satellite access came back as the group left the area, and Rich Truehart got back in contact with his employees. First, it appeared that NFE had used their access to earth-orbiting satellites to obscure their weapons platform, as well as disguise the incident as freak weather. Second, Bradbury had taken “emergency control” of the ACC as his superiors were all dead or missing. Third, NFE had publicly announced support for the United Colonies space separatist group, an action that was essentially a declaration of war in space. And fourth, reconnaissance had indicated that the NFE arcology in Australia was getting ready for a series of space launches, possibly leaving the planet.

Sister Maria made arrangements to keep the other survivors on the boat safe; they were the only witnesses to the real version of events and as such they were at risk. The rest of the group had two big opponents they needed to tackle: NFE and a new Bradbury-run ACC. With NFE’s escape to space coming soon, they asked Truehart to get them transport to Australia.

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April 24th post
We're so forked, you guys

After the rod attack and communications breakdown, Grand Cayman was in chaos. Sister Maria had taken steps to get statements from the eyewitnesses, and secure them in hard copy. Iggy was with Subarashii on the island, but before he returned to the Pattern team he received an airmailed letter from Japan. It was Iwahara-san, who had left a note apologizing for his betrayal, and indicating that the group’s rewards had been lost. Iggy took this note to the Pattern team, and it was immediately clear the reward in question was the group’s dubs. An unannounced escort to the airport was about to reinforce this view.

James Hoffmann had secreted off to Grand Cayman after discovering security footage from one of his clients, Empire Pharmaceuticals. It was of the Pattern team being decanted in clone form in Boston. He also discovered that he had also been cloned, using a dub from back during his Ravenlocke days. While he went over potential tactical options, Sister Maria butted in. “Why don’t we just talk to them? My clone should be as reasonable as I am.” Sister Maria called the Cardinal of Boston, only to discover that the Cardinal was in a meeting with…her. After the initial confusion, the Cardinal agreed to get the team out through the airport and figure out what the hell was going on.

The meeting produced more questions than answers. The clones had been told Chimera and Subarashii had begun fighting, but there was no evidence to this fact. At the same time, what the time saw in the Caymans regarding NFE was suspicious no matter whose story you believed. After some discussion, a plan was formed: the clones would go to space where TAP tracking was less well-enforced and no police group would try to de-fork them, and the originals would stay on the ground. Thanks to Sister Maria’s connections with Mr. Shen of Golden Promise, the necessary arrangements could be made for space travel. The ground plan? Australia to find info on NFE, Japan to find info on what happened to Iwahara-san and their dubs.

There was one loose end. No one had made contact with their boss, Rich Truehart. Sister Maria called Rich, who confirmed he had met Hoffmann and they were going to Chicago. Hoffmann, of course, was still in Boston. Rich had been kidnapped by Hoffmann’s clone. Dummy got a car squared away and the group left immediately, Hoffmann Prime in tow.

The drive through the Great Lakes Union was uneventful. Glimmer distracted the border guard with her unique skills; she also had the only set of valid paperwork, which gave her a lot more to work with. Once in the city, Sister Maria called Leonard to run a trace on Hoffmann. He had apparently checked into the front desk at Nortec Tower, the corporate HQ of Ravenlocke’s parent company, and then checked out a little later. Hoffmann Prime speculated that he would have headed to Club Vortex after work, so off the team went.

Glimmer worked her magic again to get Hoffman Clone outside, where Hayate ambushed him with shock gloves. There it became clear: even if Hoffmann was a corporate, he was originally a Ravenlocke operative. The clone shot Hayate in the chest, choke-slammed Glimmer to the ground and took Iggy’s monowire whip without so much as wincing. The only cure to Hoffmann was Hoffmann, who shot his clone in the chest with a borrowed assault rifle.

After getting everyone stabilized, Sister Maria interrogated Hoffmann’s clone. He was able to give a room number and other details about where Truehart was being kept, but he didn’t know much. Still, they had Hoffmann Prime’s biometrics, and knew they had to free Rich from Nortec Tower…

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