Part 1. Childhood’s End
After working on a long-haul freighter to get back to the inner system, the PCs took a break in the Lunar city of Nectar.
While relaxing, Xue received a message from a contact about soe intel. He finds video of a man entering Nectar customs about a week prior. Two things attract Xue’s attention – the man is in a Futura morph, and he appears to use a psychic power on the customs official to deflect suspicion.
The team track the man, “Daniel Phong” to a hotel in Nectar, where Xue confronted him. Although giving Xue his real name “Lian Fang”, the man seemed distant and questioned whether Xue was truly a member of the lost generation. After Lian became a little hostile and expressed his desire to recover “what was taken from him”, Xue decided to leave.
The next day the team received a message from Firewall asking them to investigate a murder. The victim, a man name “Sol Trejo”, was killed by police after a sudden psychopathic episode and was discovered to have an inert exurgent virus in his brain. The PCs were tasked with tracking down the source of the infection and ensuring it did not spread.
Xue began by breaking into Trejo’s apartment to look around, finding some hidden XP chips including a pink sparkly model which appeared to be vintage pre-fall. The chip turned out to be from a children’s birthday party in Tokyo, while the others were taken from neotenic morph which appeared to be used for children in a child-care centre somewhere on Luna.
Deciding that the XP chips were their best clue, the gang hit the streets and found a black market dealer named “Bolo Lime” who ran a nightclub. Nara set up a meeting through contacts and they went in through the front door, except for Xue who assumed his built-in weapons would be a problem. While Xue tried unsuccessfully to sneak in through a service entrance, Nara chatted with Bolo and discovered that one of his dealers had sold the pink chip without his knowledge. The dealer mentioned “The Toymaker” as a source of the neotenic XP chips.
The next day the group voted and decide to talk to the police. After some tricky negotiating, they convinced Julia Bryce – the detective in charge – that they could help and became deputised. Xue secretly tested the inactive exurgent strain found on Trejo’s body and found it was a Watts-McCleod strain, confirming his suspicions that Daniel Phong was the source of the problem. They concluded that altering the brains of the victims and draining some of their cerebral fluid was causing them to turn violently psychotic a short while afterwards.
While using police resources to search for Phong, the PCs used clues from the videolink footage of the dealer to trace her to a park in the same section of the city. After tracking her back to a cheap apartment, Xue broke in by sneaking behind her in a camouflage cloak and uncovered a list of clients. At that point another victim was found – a woman named Susan Paavli who had committed suicide that morning. While Randy went to ask some questions at Paavli’s apartment, the others found out that one person on the client list was an undercover police officer.
Justin Griffin had been investigating black marker operations, including Bolo Lime. The PCs broke into his apartment and found him missing, but tracked clues that indicated he had met Phong the previous night. They uncovered data that Griffin had caught on to the XP trade and the toymaker, but didn’t have enough information to make a case. He had tracked a flying courier to the industrial district, presumably carrying Bolo’s XPs.
On the way to the industrial area the police cameras IDed Phone heading in the same direction, however there were few camera in the district itself. Spreading out to look around, Randy further analysed the XP chips and camera-less areas to narrow the search down to a few units that could hold the child-care centre. Breaking in to one the group found a man tied up in a ego storage room and another darkened room full of frightened children. Phong was in the “lunch room” preparing to steal the memories of a mesmerised child. Xue confronted him but Phong refused to repent – “This is nothing compared to what they did to us.”
Xue shot Phong in the head and was surprised when the other Async simply mouthed “thank you” before the trigger was pulled. Phong’s stack as cut out and hidden in Toby’s secret compartment before the police arrived – case closed!
The man, when untied, explained that he ran the center so that fall orphans stuck as infomorphs could experience bodies, the XPs were a way to help finance the operation. He later told the PCs information about a boy recently escaped from earth who had been taken to Venus by pirates.