After finishing their discussion with Nabo, the team regrouped. However, while they’d been talking, Kit / King Jack had been left in the car on his own, and someone had crept in while he was occupied rigging the drone and stolen his commlink. Even though his commlink is low-grade (since Kit / King Jack is a Technomancer), it’s also his only data storage, and now contained the data extracted from Nabo’s commlink, so they needed to recover it. After remembering the tramp, they entered the factory and heard someone moving up above. Mouse located him in an attic room in astral space, and scared the life out of him with a physical manifestation. Once [[:lightning] and Faceman had climbed up, they subdued the tramp and retrieved the commlink.
The team headed back to Lightning‘s place for some rest. On the way, Kit / King Jack found the email from the person selling the disk in Nabo’s deleted data, along with a bunch of other data including some contact numbers for famous stars. The email appears to have been anonymised, but Kit / King Jack traced it back via a number of relays fairly easily (it wasn’t the most professional job) to a the account of a hacker going by the name of Zipper. A bit more research indicated that Zipper was a regular at a place called The Cathode Glow, a geek bar downtown.
While he researched, the others went out to try to steal a new car. They were keen to get a van, but in downtown there weren’t very many. They eventually found one and broke in, only to find it was a delivery van designed for drones, so it had no seats and only a backup manual control system (joystick). So they stole another sedan a little way away afterwards instead.
Arriving at The Cathode Glow, they proceeded to the basement-level bar. on opening the second door at the bottom, they saw that the bar was bristling with ancient technology, on the walls, ceiling and even under glass in the floor – terminals, old disk drives, teletype machines, obscure game consoles, you name it, it’s here. In AR, each of these had a pair of bug-eyes on it, and sometimes arms. Anyone scanning the networks in the room realised that the whole place was crammed with nodes, many of them very high tech among the ancient tech.
There were a number of tables scattered around with comfy leather chairs next to them, with an assortment of geeks doing all sorts from tinkering with hardware to playing AR games. As they came in several people received automated messages about security vulnerabilities in their commlinks with helpful links to how they could address them.
The bar had no obvious serving area, until a panel in the wall opened and a red R2-unit trundled out, only to stop in front of them an make the typical beep-bloop noises. Helpfully, in AR subtitles appeared, indicating this was how you ordered your drinks, which they did. After sifting through the hundreds of nodes in the room, Kit / King Jack located Zipper’s profile at the back of the room.
Zipper turned out to be a spiky-haired young female dwarf, sharing a table with a female friend and playing some kind of AR word game. She looked wary as the team approached. Faceman did most of the talking, only briefly interrupted by Kit / King Jack pointing out the word puzzle solution. After Zipper initially avoided their questions, with a little bit of subtle intimidation Faceman managed to get her to talk. It seems she arranged the mailings for a friend who was afraid of them being traced back to him. She was adamant that her friend, Kerwin Loomis wasn’t selling stolen goods, and that he inherited what he was selling from his Dad, although she doesn’t know exactly what it is. The team notice that while she’s talking she looks momentarily distracted, which means she probably did something in AR. Kit / King Jack manages to catch the tail end of a transmission to warn Kerwin that someone is going to be looking for him. She revealed that Kerwin is a bit of a coward and owns a bar called Coda near the docks, and that he’s likely to be there because that’s where he feels safest, among friends who protect him. She asks them not to hurt him, and she’s sure he didn’t do anything wrong.
The team headed straight down to Coda, which is as crappy as its reputation suggested it would be. The neon sign is missing the ‘o’, all the windows are barred, there are BTL chip-heads in the porch, vomit on the floor, and 6 rough-looking gang members (mixture of ork and human) playing pool in the main room. As they go to approach the bar, the gang members block their way; a large ork with a cyberarm and a machine pistol at his hip does the talking, saying they’re Kerwin’s security. Faceman convinces him that they’re here to buy and have money (he’s dressed well enough that the ork buys this), and he radios Kerwin. However, seconds later Kerwin radios back, clearly panicking and asking for help. The ork looks surprised and runs out the back, followed by his gang and the team.
Out the back of Coda is a large scrapyard, full of walls of stacked cars like giant supermarket aisles (although a few of the stacks have fallen over, making it more of a maze). It’s surrounded by a 3m high fence topped with razor wire, but a section of the fence has been peeled back, large enough for a person to squeeze through. The ork heads straight for that – Kerwin was obviously hiding in the scrapyard somewhere. As they’re climbing through the hole after the gang, Lightning notices the brief sweep of a laser sight beam in between the stacks – the origin and target aren’t visible from here but clearly, something’s going on.