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.