Cabinet Man (Run)
|Cabinet Man (Run)|
"Dandy" Dale Hardin|
Night Claws - John Holis
|Casualties and losses|
|Queen almost died.||Cabinet man was injured.|
The matrix legend researcher c1ph3r has found what he believes to be the truth behind the legend of Polybius 2, and he wants a team to investigate.
c1ph3r met with the team on the Emerald City grid. He explained the context of Polybius and Polybius 2, how it was a matrix game developed by the UCAS government in the early days of full-dive VR as part of MKULTRA, which didn't actually end in the 1970s but continued in secret. He had discovered a derelict building in Redmond, a place where drone traffic had been going in and out, but there were no signs of anyone ever leaving. The place had once been flooded with radio frequency waves, but it was now silent. The team was made an offer of 10,000¥ apiece, with an extra 2,000¥ if they found particularly compelling information.
Matrix searches revealed the derelict building was an abandoned arcade owned by a shell company that was eventually traced to Ares Macrotechnology. The company hadn't done anything in years, seeming to have forgotten about this property entirely. Sensor sweeps didn't reveal anything outside the building. Kani picked her way in, at which point the team's wireless signals cut out - they were in a Faraday cage. Queen picked up a few ultrasound signatures that were moving around, which Dandy discovered to be a couple of Aztechnology Crawlers with motion sensors. As soon as he picked one up, it made a screeching sound, and the arcade lit up. The front door was barricaded by a thick shutter, and there was a small army of drones inside, including a squad of Steel Lynxes with machine guns. A booming voice came over the speakers, demanding to know who everyone was. The team identified themselves, and Night Claws negotiated for the voice to tell them everything if they played his game, Polybius 2. The team accepted these terms and entered the machine, which was an offline host.
The team found themselves inside a UV node. It seemed hyper-real. Cabinet Man told them to choose their weapons and proceed onto the battlefield, but he warned them not to cheat. They were armored in black suits with circuitry patterns and allowed to choose from an arsenal of virtual weaponry. They loaded themselves down with grenades and rockets and made their way onto level 1, a labyrinthine landscape full of obstacles and wireframe humanoid enemies. The team snuck up on this squad and obliterated them with the help of Queen's PI-TAC before they could put up much of a resistance. They proceeded to the exit, at which point Cabinet Man congratulated them and told them the first level is easy.
After making a few arsenal adjustments, the team proceeded to level 2, a gauntlet full of acid pits and swinging axes. Night Claws got the idea to edit files to eliminate level elements, at which point Queen realized they were inside a host. She gave in to her dissonance and began trying to edit every file in sight. Cabinet Man caught her and descended into the gauntlet to take her out. A battle ensued, and with a horrendous data spike, Queen suffered a massive biofeedback stroke. She was knocked out of the game, at which point Cabinet Man disengaged and warned the rest of the team this would happen to them if they cheated. They estimated Queen only had a couple minutes left before she succumbed to her stroke, so they raced against the clock to complete the game. Night Claws was able to guide the team through the traps, the wind from the axes swinging in their faces and the toxic gases of the bubbling acid pits below hot on their simsense modules. They made it to the other side and proceeded immediately to level 3.
Level 3 was a vehicle course. Night Claws took the wheel of a personnel carrier, while Kani took the mounted machine gun and Dandy took the cannon. Working together, they were able to destroy elements of the field to create driving hazards for a convoy of enemy vehicles. Night Claws outmaneuvered them and drove away as Kani laid down suppressing fire and Dandy created the environmental hazards. Finally, they crossed the finish line. Cabinet Man informed them they won level 3 and had completed the trial version of the game. They declined to buy the full version for the moment.
The front door shutter opened, and Dandy ran to his truck to retrieve a medkit to stabilize Queen. It did so, and she was saved. The team spent time talking to Cabinet Man about what the game was. He told them it was created by the new UCAS government as part of a secretive program he hadn't fully been informed about. They noticed that the housing on the machine was unusually large for what it should contain, however, and with his permission, they unbolted the screen, revealing a life support system keeping alive what looked to be a set of various human remains that included a nervous system, most of a skeleton, certain internal organs, and chunks of muscle. Cabinet Man explained that he was killed by an explosion in the Ghost Dance War, and he was kept on life support this way by the government and Ares Macrotechnology. He hadn't been able to learn anything new about the world since he was put in the arcade cabinet in 2033, and he hadn't seen anyone come inside in decades. The team took pity on him and established a matrix relay he could use to connect to the outside world. They discussed renovating the arcade to raise money for an augmented healing treatment.
The evidence was passed on to c1ph3r, who was satisfied and gave the team a 2,000¥ bonus. Cabinet Man was given connection to the wireless matrix, and he is now bewildered at how the world has changed. What will become of him and his medical condition will have to be covered in a future run.
- 4 Karma
- New Contact: Cabinet Man (Connection 2, Loyalty 3)
- Kani - This was one of those thinks I wish I hadn't seen... We went in and found somebody who'd gotten blown mostly to smithereens in the Ghost Dance War, not a whole lot of him left. Apparently he'd been in a VR video game system since then, running this arcade for the better part of half a century... Must have gotten shut down shortly after the first Crash, and he's been using drones to go out and pick up everything he needed to keep living. If... you can call it that.