After some assassins trashed the apartment Xue won in the competition, the group decided to go into the server and find out what was going on. Xue bowed out to follow his career.
Realising the server had a restricted interface, they inserted forks of themselves and found themselves in a dismal series of caverns designed to break down egos using psychological damage. Soon they fell through into a simulspace where thousands of egos were being trained in harsh military systems by limited AIs. They recognised that may of the protocols were similar to the Ultras. They also found that Francis’ ego was still in the simulation, however he had bypassed some of the controls and gained control over some of the simulation by having a higher “rank”.
The simulation was terminated after seven days, then the group found themselves dumped into new bodies in a darkened egocasting centre. The realised they were on earth and found a message from themselves about “doing something useful”, then encountered and earth survivor who had been sent to help them. Ezekiel, the survivor, was a little crazy and thought that Firewall were aliens but eventually they were driving a salvaged jeep over post-apocalypse Canada towards the gate location.
Passing lots of ruined scenery, they recovered a drop pod full of equipment sent by their “prime” versions, including a QE reservoir. After some travel they were warned about an unknown pod which dropped nearby and went to find it. The found a two-person pod with some strange damage and a bare skeleton with an oddly familiar smart vacsuit.
They realised something had attacked the pod just before a self-replicating disassembler swarm, forcing them to flee to a disused mine. In their rush they partly separated and fell into hidden caverns and were attacked by predator exhumans, Nara becoming quite badly injured. Finding their vehicle ruined by the swarm, they left on foot to find a survivor camp that Ezekiel knew nearby.
After reaching a junkyard, Ezekiel left to contact his friends while the PCs looked around. Both Nara and Alphonse found interesting stuff but then started having hallucinations – Nara about predators and Alphonse about a giant robot. They both ran off while Toby chased them and Randy searched, finding an underground entrance. Nara and Alphonse were caught and had a microwave placed on their head by the survivors, destroying the infovirus they had caught by frying their mesh inserts.
The survivors provided some medical assistance and the group managed to meet up, then they were tacked to see “the boss”. Find that the camp was fairly grim and seemed run fairly strictly, they were amazed to find the leader of the militant group was Francis Stevenson. Nara did the talking and managed not to let anything on, but Francis seemed suspicious. The session ended with the group agreeing to “do a favour” in return for the help they had been given so far.
Alphonse fell ill, so Toby agreed to perform the “entertainment”, and was dumped into the local arena for some one-on-one combat. The other combatant turned out to be a Claudia Amberlina clone who had come down in the pod after finding out that her organisation was being heavily influenced by Francis. Claudia and Toby talked while sparring and agreed to put on a show, with Toby taking a dive and getting off with a few bruises.
Claudia was released by Francis and conferred with the group, agreeing to help them in order to try to find out about Francis. They decided to leave as soon as possible to travel to the gate location, however Randy decided to ask Francis for supplied, which he was happy to provide. The journey was fairly uneventful except for the discovery that some of the supplies had tracers in them.
After hiking for a couple of days they came ot a partially collapsed entrance to what was obviously once a military base. After a bit of exploration and fighting TITAN bots, the crew decided to head for the bottom level and found an enormous hole leading straight down.