Cee-Eff investigates the radioactive ruins of the bunker complex the Cell discovered. It appears that a small population of researchers in a sealed environment were conducting experiments on ‘disruptive technology’ > and that approximately 90 years ago (well after the supposed nuke date during the Polar War) an Atlas synthetic was repurposed form the Wild-Code frontlines to go and assault this complex. Very shortly afterwards, the site was nuked, slagging the intruders and the complex – hard to tell who or why the nuke was called in, but something must have gone seriously wrong for someone. Cee-Eff finds evidence of early corporate and oligarchic interests, evidence that their research produced technology well ahead of its time especially in the field of synthetic consciousness, and signs of a strange organic gel, fused in to a complex crystalline structure by the nuke. He detaches his arm that gets contaminated by the gel, but raw materials bleed from the wall, his body and the air itself to regrow a new arm – copying the function, if not the appearance, of the old one. Assuring himself that this is not a Wild-Code catastrophe, he collapses the entry into the complex, and leaves to meet the rest of the cell.
Cee-Eff’s arrival at the hold-out of the Select means a small delay in their departure, as NanoBozho will have to reconfigure internal chambers for his size. Rosen is very very dubious about Cee-Eff’s strange new arm and states simply that if he sees signs of WC on Cee-Eff, he will end him. Sadako, a LT in the Select, gives the Cell some basic info on Garden-A, and they depart with Gregor as a pilot. In the turgid Depths, they see some bio-luminesce that would give Cee-Eff (if he was prone to such things) the creeps.
Shade believes this is the best course of action is to arrive at the River District, the first and largest of Garden-A’s sub-levels. They are arriving under false-but-solid pretences (Ren Xiao, a Ghede family head) which need to be tested, and they can expect to have to prove themselves sooner or later.
On approach, Shade picks up the carrier-wave of an online Mindscape – looks like the Red Sun are piggy-backing their customised imposality on top of the Protectorate web – their instance is full of brutal scenes of soul-trading technological fetishism all wrapped up in a superstitious skein. He hops in to the Mindscape and does a sweep of the crazy docks area and the thousands of individuals, golgols and fetishes represented there. When he tries to stealth through to the Fetish Market node, he is scoped by the appointed guards just long enough for them to pull his Mindscape I.D. He safely blinks out of the Mindscape and updates the others on the lay of the land. Shae and Cee-Eff both determine there is a Protectorate force on the surface, at stand-off range, watching and not engaging with Red Sun activity.
Gregor has got ‘Bozho to change its external colouring, to look a little more Reaver-ish and consistent with Ren’s bird-skull totem. Rosen is going to pretend to be Ren, and spends a bit of time on the comms telling people to get the hell out of their way. To illustrate that they are serious folk, Gregor has the ‘Bozho rise and crush a small Red Sun skiff, Leviathan-style. They find a free space on the docks. On disembarking, they are quickly attacked, an opportunistic Ghede family of 30 zealots, looking for the weak. The Cell quickly dispatch them in an audience-pleasing gory fashion, get some job offers and salutes over comms, and loot the bodies. Shade quickly gathers the family’s bound-spirit’s from the Mindscape and adds them to his own Halo, for that authentic Eater-of-Souls look. The Cell determine where their attackers had been staying, head there, make a show of taking possession of all their worldly goods, and generally look like they are not to be messed with.
Along the way, Rosen sees the formidable security on the ’tube heading to the Bluewater district, and sees the old woman who previously had sought out Zero, in the company of an impressive-looking ’Sunner, heading within. Cee-Eff puts together a very good map of Ghede areas here in the Quarter. Shade has little to add to it, but decades before, had been down in Bluewater, and should be familiar with its basic layout.
They head across the river (aka The Styx) to the market. On the way they see a floating agri-farm, protected by Protectorate troops and worked by hundreds of Doa genotypes. They watch for a while, see a Family steal one worker away and subject it to cruel surgery, and come to the conclusion that these Doa-a-likes are deliberately retarded or blank-formatted in some way. The Cell also see some non-Sunner independents doing business, especially around the protected agri-areas. These people look tough and embattled.
The Cell his the Fetish market. Rosen and Shade do some trading, consistent with their cover identities. If they get out of here with their goods, it should sort out their resourcing problems. They see slavers in action, trading in the living and the dead – looks like Red Sun caravans are rounding up people from small settlements in the Badlands, and pilgrims in sanctuary at the Ark, near the First City of Takarin.
Gossip is that Zorak Nazon is here, that it is his Big Ju-Ju that keeps the Protectorate forces passive, that there is going to be some sort of important confab between the high-ups, and that this has something to do with the New Breed of Red Sun converts that have been appearing recently, ready and eager to die at command. The Cell see some of these Zealots fighting and dying at the arena, they have no concept of self-preservation and show all the signs of severe Mindscape pruning and domination. They also see there is a Right of Challenge between Ghede high-ups. At the market, Shade gets made by a group of opportunists who have his Mindscape I.D. – his cover still holds, these opportunists know there is a bounty on anyone making any attempts to get close to Nazon’s quarters and will eagerly nark him in. He buys them off with word of a valuable drug stash, hidden below in the Bluewater district – if they get their pay-off quick, they won’t turn the Cell in.
The Cell also believe that Pascal, their contact, has been taken below to the Bluewater district, and commit to trying to get down there, past security.