Saturday, September 3, 2011

My detailed notes on "Icarus Effect"

Chapter 1 part 1

Mason DeBeers, Geneva Switzerland. 

Large house on a nice day you can see the Summit of Mount Blank. Nice days are rare though, most days are grey and overcast. Nice days are memories. There’s acid rain, the house is old and very antique. 15th century. 

The unnamed person we’re following thinks he owns the world. He has a lot of nameless assistants. He drinks a lot of expensive coffee. He’s told that Dr. Roman will be arriving on time. The main character is old and he needs to keep his health up. He resents the doctor. The guy has a native southern accent. He has a video conference with 5 men and 2 women. He hides his face because they don’t need to see it. 

I discover the guy is Lucius DeBeers, the cold freezer guy in Morgan Everett’s house in Deus Ex. There are other clues about who the other people he’s talking to are. But yeah, he talks to them and that’s that.

Chapter 1 part 2
Logan Circle, Washington DC

Anna Kelso is Secret Service, a Senator Jane Skyler wants to go to lunch at Cooke’s Row on Georgetown for a meeting. Triads from California don’t like her.

They talk about a comm pool hub server all agents can access. 

President is named DeSilvio. 

Larker and another man “Security” are with the Senator. 

The guard is a private military contractor from Belltower. Biggest PMC group.

Skyler doesn’t like “Phil Mead” (Future president)

Anna has bionic eyes. 

Pro-science stance on tech smuggling has led to a crackdown on “harvester” crimes. People killed for their augmentations. Trading “recovered” cyberware is big money for the triad gangs. 

Garrett Dansky owns Caidin Global, made Anna’s eyes. 

Anna sees a car that’s “set low on the shocks” and calls for the alert, but she’s too late, four hulking figures bust out of the small car, and a grenade blows up the limo. She hears Ryan screaming for help inside her head.

Chapter 1 part 3.
 The Grey Range, Queensland Australia.

This starts with a soldier named Saxon flying somewhere in a veetol. 

I enjoyed reading this little bit even though not too much happens. It talks a lot about how he’s a soldier for Belltower, and that his contract is set to expire in a month. HE thinks it’s funny that they even give him the option of leaving, since he’s basically a living weapon. 

Pete Kano is his African friend on the mission with him. They’re on Strike team six. Like I said before I’m going bit by bit I don’t know what’s going to be important later, I could be rattling off insignificant people and locations and mission names, but oh well, maybe Strike team Six will be mentioned in the game or something?
Saxon is likely British, as he was recruited by them.  Saxon is proud to be a mercenary. 

More name dropping of weapons and equipment, I’m not mentioning the name of every gun just because it’s in the game, I know the author got a list of all the stuff then just plugged it into the story. Now if the game has like “Saxons Steiner-Bisley FR-27 custom” that’s different. Oh well though.

I suck at summarizing I guess, I provide too much info, but if you’re still watching this you care what happens in the book, if you don’t care you can jump ahead to part one of the game. 

His augs are his legs, one arm, the eyes, the feed forward system, reflex jack, “all of it”

He tells the soldiers in his group to “take their jabs now, so they don’t cough up blood or get the shakes in the middle of this” He takes a “cocktail” shot of things, including neuropozine.  Or “Nu-poz”. He says without it it can turn even the toughest cog head into a blubbering palsied wreck. 

Australia owns Antarctica, which has a huge ton of oil. 

Oh the exact words about leaving are “would he be defanged? A predator hobbled so he could fit in with the outside world?

He has no life outside of his unit and he looks at being offered the choice to stay or go as an insult. Jefe is probably his first name. 

Anyway they get attacked by drones and shot out of the sky, which is puzzling because he was specifically told there would be no drones. His friend gets blasted to bits by the drones, and his plane is going down when the scene ends.

Chapter 2 part 1

We begin cutting back to Anna in Washington. She’s understandable bruised up and woozy.

Her vision is blurry as her eyes are trying to reset themselves. She finally gets her vision back and reaches for her mustang auto pistol.  Her ears are trying to reconfigure too, she has bionic hearing as well. 

 To summarize, Chapter 2 part 1 boils down to the good guys getting their asses handed to them. Anna manages to shoot one of the 4 bad guys in the head, as he’s choking her, but the rest kill her whole team. 

They don’t however kill the senator, a gun is pointed at her then the guy just walks away. 

We learn that a “Nordic” guy with white blond hair killed her friend. Also Anna gets shot, and turns on her healing aug to help her out. She has a breathing aug that she was going to use if the smoke got any thicker, I liked the implication that she was conserving battery power, as that would be the only reason NOT to turn it on. So yes, she gets shot but she’s still alive, and the section ends with a fade out. 

All in all it was a nice little bit, there’s a lot of good detail I’m leaving out, I have to otherwise this would just be an audiobook and not a summery.

Chapter 2 part 2

Back with Saxon in Australia, he survived the impact. There was a safety foam that sprayed onto him, he got some in his mouth and nostrils. Aircraft was torn to shreds in the crash. Lots of description I’m streaming past. Descriptions of the wreck and such. Fire all around him. Sam Duarte is the only survivor. He was thrown from the plane and his legs were broken, but that saved him from burning up. Jefe is Saxons first name. More gun descriptions. Saxon thinks about how the mission was blown before it even started and ponders why what happened happened. 

Saxon finds a G-87 grenade launcher and then the drones come back. Saxon fires at the drone but misses, the drone kills Sam. That was fast, but oh well he was a load anyway. Saxon fires at the drone again 3 more times and misses, but comes close enough to knock it into a tree which totally destroys it. Clever. It got tangled in the branches, didn’t just bump into the trunk by the way. And Saxon did lure it to the dense trees. Then Saxon slips and falls down a steep hill. Sounds funny when I retell it but he wasn’t made for dexterity you have to remember.

Chapter 2 Part 3.
Washington Hospital Washington DC

Anna wakes up in a hospital bed. Ronald Temple and Hank Bradley are there at the hospital visiting. Ron is Agent in charge and Anna’s supervisor. They say that “they’re afraid they had to take Anna’s eyes” She reaches up and finds gauze and bandages covering her eye sockets. Bradley plugs in a cord and suddenly Anna can see again, but through his eyes, she looks at herself, because he’s looking at her. She thinks she looks like shit. 

It’s been four days since the attack. They got a subpoena on her optics because she’s the only one that got a clear look at the attacker’s face

We’ll get you replacements, good stuff, upgrades from Caidin or maybe Sarif, sorry you had to wake up blind”.

The corpses were all blown up, even the one that Anna killed. The car came from the Red Arrow Triad. 

Anna wonders why she and Skyler weren’t killed. Oh wait, Dansky was the guy the senator was meeting with, the head of Caidin, he was killed too. I didn’t notice earlier but they reiterated it. Interesting. 

They point out again the Dansky wasn’t just shot, he was executed. But insist he was just collateral. I don’t buy that…

They say they’re going to get the people responsible for this, and then Anna calls Jennifer Ryan, Matt’s widow. 

Chapter 2 Part 4 

Saxon also wakes up in a hospital, a field hospital just south of the redline. He remembers drowning, I guess he fell into some mud when he rolled down the hill. He remembers a hulking shadow saving him with voices he didn’t understand. Finds it hard to gauge the passage of time, but if it’s parallel with the other story I’d guess it’s been just under a week or so. Most of his augs are broken, shot up, or just plain manufacturing, and his human side is in just as bad shape. Wait, is his name Ben or Jefe? This is calling him Ben now. 

The guy that pulled him out of the water has augs, and says it would be a waste to let Saxon die, Saxon asks who he works for and the man says you don’t need to know. Saxon thinks “Deep Black, they’re so far off the books they didn’t exist on any official documents. 

The man says his name is Jordan Namir. He has an Israeli accent. Saxon guesses he’s former Mossad, and that he must have gotten out before the war with the United Arab Front. He’s trying to recruit Saxon because he survived against the overwhelming odds of the failed project Rainbird. Jordan says he’s field commander of the neutral Spec Ops group, the Tyrants. An elite, independent, self financing group dedicated to maintaining global stability through covert means.

He says in its original meaning a tyrant is someone who attains power through their own means, instead of being awarded it by birth or marriage or elective. That’s what we do, we take power from those that abuse it. Nice motto. I like it. Jordan says the offer is a onetime deal, and if you decline and then change your mind later and come looking for us there will be consequences, and also points out how incompetent belltower was that they got everyone killed, and that his contract is just about to expire anyway so they won’t really care.  Saxon says “I’m in” and that’s the end of chapter two.

Chapter 3 part 1.
Pier 86, New York City 

Back to Anna. She’s by the Hudson and very cold. She got her Sarif eyes so we know this is the future, not a flashback. She can see that the boat she’s watching is the Intrepid. There’s a basketball court on the ship, and people are playing, lit by trashcan fires. Yeah we know a bit about trashcan fires don’t we :p

Boat is a former warship. An old aircraft carrier from the 1970s or so. She paid bribes to get the password of the day so she could board the ship. More classic Deus Ex goodness, I love it.

Her cover name is “Kel” (for Kelso), Anna meets Denny, a dark skinned hacker in the aircraft carrier. He has mirrored Kusanagi optics for eyes. Another company, so there are three now. Sarif, Caidin, and now Kusanagi. Behind him is a thin woman with thumbless spider hands. 

Denny tells the woman, Widow that Anna wants intel, but Widow says she tastes blue, and is angry that Denny brought a cop onto the boat. A bit of back and forth words, and Widow says she’s Go-Five, meaning Gang of Five. Hacker guns for hire well known by the FBI cybercrime division. 

Anna convinces Widow to run a data spike with the guys face on it, saying she needs to know who he is. Anna pays the guy and hopes Widow can find out who it is.

Chapter 3 Part 2
Aerial Transit Corridor – Smolensk Oblast – Russian Federated States
Back to Saxon. He’s at an airport. He has new Augs.

A Special arm from Tai Yong Medical, One of if not THE biggest augmentation conglomerates on the planet. He has Hermes legs, The upgrades “Sampson” series arm, and a few other implants Namir called his “welcome bonus”. 

The veetol crash was 6 months ago. His arm has been a little sluggish in the past on the trigger, so he decided to up his neropizine intake, just in case. 

Saxon also has the high fall aug. Saxon meets a guy called Lawrence Barrett, a big ugly guy with a brass bullring in his nose. He’s ugly hmm? That must mean he’s evil right? We’ll see. His face is a bit scarred from a bomb blast.  

Saxon has done a few jobs, in Bucharest and Glassgow. I think they’re on a plane now. Maybe they always were. Saxon is paid well but he’s not allowed to ask where his funding comes from. 

He’s seen some other operatives here and there, but this is the first time everyone’s gathered together at once for a mission. On the plane he meets some interesting people, firstly, our old friend Gunther Hermann! He’s getting his custom made, reenforced arm fixed up, and is currently without a hand. He hopes to enhance the rest of himself in similar fashion. Of course he’s carefully sipping on a delicious orange soda. He’s the youngest of the group, He was part of Germany’s GSG-9 Police, counter terrorism unit until the Tyrants had recruited him. Could the Tyrants be early UNATCO, or did Gunther leave to join UNATCO later? Ponderous, but interesting. 

We learn that Saxon is the replacement for a man named Joe Wexler, who was Ex-CIA. Also Ex CIA is Scott Hardesty, who is the team sniper, and he’s thin just like his guns. Hardesty doesn’t like or trust Saxon. As you would expect for a sniper, Hardesty has extremely high quality eyes, a kind Saxon has never seen before. 

Message from a hidden speaker says that they’ll be landing in 10 minutes, prep your gear and be ready, we’re on the clock for this one so mission brief starts the moment the wheels stop. I hope Gunther can reattach his hand in ten minutes!

Chapter 3 part 3

We’re back on the boat with Anna, she’s frustrated that Widow can’t find anything on her guy. Widow says “You know, a lack of info tells us a lot, someone went to a lot of trouble to erase this guy” Denny adds “He’s got to be high military or corporate”

After some more witty back and forth banter, Widow says she CAN pull up something, and starts digging in. “You paid for the gold package so I’m giving you the gold package”. They look on the Konspiracy Krew spelled with K’s website, and look around on the message boards. Anna dismisses the boards credibility immediately. 

Widow asks Anna if she’s ever heard of the Tyrants, and Anna says “I quit listening to top 40 when I stopped wearing a training bra.” Widow says they’re Black Ops Cartel. They’re richer than shit and hardcore like you wouldn’t believe, stone killers through and through”. Class Curtain says they’re linked to all sorts of things like Regime change, Political murder, Intimidation, and Corporate Assassination. 

The last one catches Anna’s attention, thinking back to Dansky. Everything seems to come together. She says she wants Widow to find out everything she can about the Tyrants. “That’ll cost extra”. 

That instant the NYPD does a raid, says the place is under lockdown and all rights have been suspended. Widow thinks Anna brought the cops here. Everyone runs and Widow destroys all the evidence. Anna wonders if she DID bring the cops here. Anna gets taken down with everyone else by a sonic screamer, and gets all webbed up.

Chapter 3 part 4. 

Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow Russian Federation States.

The plane parks in a secret hanger. They give us info about the plane, it can change the way it’s painted at will to blend in anywhere. 

Everyone is gathered in the meeting room. We meet the sixth member for the first time, Yelena Federova. She has a triangular armor jacket on whatever that means. She doesn’t talk much, Saxon wonders if she’s even capable of speech. Ok so the team is Saxon, Namir, Gunther, Yelena, and The Sniper Scott. Scotts a dick. Anyway, South Park Jokes aside, Saxon wonders if Yelena is just measuring him like everyone else is. It goes on to describe her. She’s a female and it says she has nice looking augmented legs, so I’ll assume she’s the agile one of the group. Wait that was only five people, I thought there were six, hmm, oh well. Maybe I was including the dead guy or am forgetting someone or something. 

Namir says they found a high value target in the hotel Novoe Rostov in Zubovskaya Square. They pull up the mark, a fat balding guy names Mikhail Kontarsky, minister of the Russian Federal assembly, and senior administrator of the RFS committee on human augmentation policy. Saxon raised an eyebrow at that. Namir continues saying he’s corrupt to the core, and he’s working with an organization called Juggernaut. He says Juggernaut is a decentralized terror group. That uses information warfare to farther the anti-globalization agenda.   Wheew that’s a lot to spit out. 

So yeah they have to kill him, first step in eradicating the dangerous militants and it’ll deny them conduit into Russian federation states. 

Saxon recognizes the name Juggernaut, from his days at Belltower. Tai Yong Medical was one of their targets. Apparently Saxons name is now Ben, I don’t know why he was called Jefe all through the beginning of the book.

Saxon doesn’t like the idea and wants to know where Namir’s orders come from, Namir overhears him and says that Juggernaut is bad and the target needs to die because he’s a bad guy. 

Namir says that Juggernaut are info warriors, and they’re responsible for Saxon’s team dying out there in the desert. “Is that reason enough for you? He asks gently”

Chapter 4 part 1
NYPD 10th precinct , New York City

Anna is drinking awful coffee in the police station in an uncomfortable metal chair. She sits there for a while then the man she least wanted to see, Ron Temple comes in to see her. Temple sits down in the empty chair as the door closes and locks. He places a silver briefcase onto the table. 

“What the fuck are you doing Kelso” Temple asks. Do you have any idea what kind of shit you’re in? Anna says she had her reasons but Temple doesn’t particularly care. He says that it’s all covered up but he had to call in favors. The agency had concluded that the Red Arrow was responsible for the deaths, but Anna didn’t buy it. The case was closed. 

Temple opens the case and pulls out stems “How long have you been using again?” he asks, Anna says she hasn’t, she just needs to stay on top of things. Apparently she used to use 3 years ago and Ryan got her her job back. 

Anna shouts “The attack on Senator Skyler was a false flag operation, the target was Dansky all along! We just got caught in the cross fire” Temple says he read the report but there’s nothing to back that up. He reiterates that the case is closed and the killers are all dead. 

“I don’t’ believe that, division turned down my request to reopen the case so I looked into it myself, Dansky wasn’t the only one, there are other important people, scientists and corporate execs other politicians, even UN ambassadors all of them targeted by assassins with a similar MO…

You can’t know that!

The same men who killed Matt are running free! I’ve been trying to find something, anything, a name…” That’s why I came here to the intrepid, they could get me the names. Tyrants, she said like it was a curse, they’re the killers. If I could track them and find out who they’re working for…” 

That’s Enough shouts Temple. “Those hackers you were caught with, half of them were known associates of a global cyberterrorist cell, a group called Juggernaut. Hmm where have we heard THAT name before. They’re on the most wanted list! Your request was denied because you have nothing but paper thin garbage you called evidence and whacko conspiracy theories! 

There’s a new pitbull sniffing around the agency, and his name is Phillip Riley Mead, the Florida Governor. Mead is trying to make DeSilvio look bad by shining light on every mistake he can find. Yeah we know he’s the future president, moving on. 

Her badge and ID have already been de-authorized, and the gun has already been taken. As of now she’s on medical leave. In a month when all this has been forgotten, a closed session review of your conduct will be held, and you will be discharged from the service, forfeiting pension and privileges” Go home and let this go”
Ouch, things didn’t go too well for her did they? Moving on. 

Chapter 4 Part 2
Zubov Square, Moscow. 

The Tyrants arrive in a super cool black helicopter. Hardesty hops out ant plays sniper, popping a few guards  through the heart like a pro. Then the rest of the team hops down, using their longfall augs. Saxon thinks it’s pretty trippy to just be able to jump out without worrying about a cord or anything. Federova jumps after and lands with grace, she’s defiantly the catwoman/Spaniard of the group.  The rest come down too after they’ve confirmed everyone that needs to be dead is dead. Saxon uses his head computer to scan a dead body and says “This guy was a mob hitter” Namir says “They all are, keep up”

They find an air conditioning vent and Gunther yanks it open. After that’s open Saxon asks where “Red” aka Federova is, and Barrett chuckles and says “She’s around”. Oh They all have code colors, Federova is red, Gunther is green… I’m sure this doesn’t matter but yeah. Barrett is Blue. 

So Gunther activates a disk to block their communications, then they enter the air vent, the plan is for the 3 big guys to go 3 different ways, with Barrett in the back covering them. Saxon toggles his eyes to low light mode so he can see all the elevators in shades of green and white. Kontarsky and his people are on floor 13. Saxon ends up on the roof of an elevator, and sees the guy inside adjusting his eyes, he sees the bluish glitter and knows the guy just activated his “see through the walls” aug, a terahertz lens. 

All hell breaks loose after this, the guy freaks out and sends the elevator plunging down towards the lobby. They all try to get their guys out, but they’re assault rifles and the elevator is too small, making them hard to use. He does the only think he can do, presses a button on his wrist that causes uh… something… to happen and that caves in the elevator roof. He falls crashing down. There wasn’t enough room for the 3 guys, and now there’s an extra huge one and a lot of debris. Saxon takes the guards out but gets bashed in the face, cracking his eye shields, whatever THEY are. Oh I guess the guards are back up again and all beating him 3 on 1, hitting him with their guns. Saxon decides to kill them, and then does in interesting ways. 

Well by the time he finishes with the last guy, the elevator doors open and there are a bunch of guards who are NOT having trouble aiming their big guns at him, and they tell him to get on his knees, he does so, then in a very cool seen, Fedorova arrives cloaked. He goes over the details of the cloak aug, and concludes that it’s expensive, rare, and to use it well you need to have a near pathological force of will. She cuts the first guys throat, and takes out the next with her machine pistol. She looked at Saxon and smiled. Everyone but the Sniper arrives and kicks some more ass, Gunther punches his fist through a guards skull. 

They get to the 13th floor and observe that things don’t look like they should, they’re told to proceed and stay alert by Namir. Four thugs pop out and surprise them. Barrett reacts quickly by transforming his arm into a triple head barrel machine gun. Just like the OTHER Barrett. That’s pretty clever. Barrett with a machine gun arm :) Barrett blasts the suckers away. They get to the room they’re heading to and.. it’s completely empty. “Why would six men guard nothing? Namir asks. So nice to see the team leader just as confused as the rest of the team. 

We learn the sniper’s color is white, and Namir is probably Silver. White tells Namir that according to his scan they’re in the room with them” Namir grabs some wires and yanks them, then Hardesty gasps and says all the other targets just vanished, clever. They were never there, it was just decoys the whole time. And guards guarding the decoys. 

They wander around for a bit, then Saxon says there must be some place he’s hiding. He finds a hidden elevator but he can’t activate it.  Federova slices off a guys hand and uses it to call the elevator. Saxon gets on with Federova, and goes on up to floor ten. The elevator opened to security cubes staring right at him, when they notice they don’t recognize him, they begin to unfold. The robots try to decide which target to attack, Saxon pulls out his gun and Federova runs around fast. Saxon shoots one and Federova kicks the other.
Saxon radios that they’re on floor ten, then he and Federova split up, Federova giving him a curt nod. We learn that Saxon’s color is Grey. So is that all of them? Saxon Grey, Federova Red, Gunther Green, Barrett Blue, Sniper White, and Namir Silver. Good. I’m sure that’s really important :p

Saxon encounters another robot that warns him to leave, sees his gun and immediately releases a blast wave that nocks him down. Saxon tosses a grenade at it and blows it up, good thing the thing didn’t push the grenade back to him. He continues into a soft room, with a big data farm in it, computer servers everywhere. A guy comes out of the closet with a shotgun, but Saxon gets him first. 

Saxon finally turns the corner and sees Kontarsky at his computer chair, he’s crying and begs “You must not stop me”. A computer face on the screen says “He’s here to kill you Mikhale”, a data tag calls it Janus. Kontarsky begs again for Saxon to let him finish, saying to Janus “you said I would have more time”. Saxon takes a warning step forward telling him “Don’t touch that keyboard”. The video masked figure says “This is bigger than you, we need that data on the killing floor,  you must complete the upload” Saxon shoots the monitor and grabs the man Kontarsky by the collar dragging him away, and dosens of screans jump to life saying “no, not yet.” The voice says he’s not a criminal you can’t judge him, Kontarsky says he only wanted to do what was right. 

Saxon yells “You’re part of a global terror network! You’re part of Juggernaut! And the people you sold out to are responsible for the deaths of my men!” Saxon throws him down and says “I’m taking you alive so you can answer for what you’ve done!” 

Saxon turns to the screen and says “And I’m coming for you next!” The screen answers “Do you know what you’re doing mercenary? Do you know what master you serve?” the question made Saxon hesitate as he looked at Kontarsky, who’s scared out of his mind. “I don’t know anything about your men, you must believe me! And for a moment Saxon did. He was a good judge of liars. Saxon hears “Green light!” in his ears, and a bullet flys through the window and splatters Kontarskys brains all over the room. Then the computers all go dark.

Wheew intense chapter eh?    

Chapter 5 Part 1
Silver Springs, Maryland - USA

Anna Kelso arrives in a driverless auto cab to her apartment. The cost of the cab drained the rest of the money from the credit chit that she was given. She wonders if it was all worth it walking to her place. She arrives and looks around, wondering if the place has been searched while she was in jail. She wondered why she was the only one that could see the truth. As she enters the domicile, her TV clicks on to Picus News channel automatically. They’re talking about a Science conference that’s been getting a lot of heat from the Pro-human, Anti-Aug lobby. She walks to her computer and before she can do anything it scans her now deactivated ID badge, and refuses to let her log on. “Access Denied, Clearance Revoked.” She sighs looking around her apartment to see if she could find evidence that it had been searched. 

She suddenly remembers her safe, and Runs to her closet pushing her clothes aside. She opens it ans finds what little jewelry she has, some cash and papers, a Zenith 10mm Automatic with 2 full clips, and a small flash drive. I wonder if there’s anything too this “two clips” thing. This isn’t the first time that the book has gone out of its way to point out that specific number. Ponderous. Indeed. 

On the flash drive was encrypted data of everything she had worked on up to the moment. She thinks about all the work and sacrifice she went through to acquire all the data on the drive, and asks herself again if it was worth it.  She receives a call on her vu-phone, whatever that is, and it says it’s from Matt Ryan. She answers and predictably asks “who is this?” 

Conversation goes as follows, voice says “you and I need to have a talk”. Anna listens hard trying to figure out who it is. Anna says he’s not Matt Ryan so she’s hanging up, the voice said he just sent that name so she would pick up, and that hanging up would be a mistake. Voice says “I know you’re not in the mood to talk to anyone after what happened at the pier” Anna says “What pier” and the voice says “Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid”

The voice says to call him D-Bar, and that he wants to talk to Anna in person, and when he says “he” he really means “we”. D-Bar could be a female though I don’t know the gender. Anyway D-Bar says they’re the Juggernaut collective, and that they’re kind of a big deal”. D-Bar says that Widow could have never given her what she needed, but they can. Anna plays dumb YET AGAIN, and D-Bar continues “The Tyrants, Do you want to know who they are or not?” She’s told to meet them in downtown Washington DC, and to come alone. Anna splashes water on her face, changes clothes and bolts out the door in a rush. She was very tired, and didn’t want to miss anything and show up fatigued, so she grabs another stem pack from the medicine cabinet before leaving.

Chapter 5 Part 2
Knightsbridge London Great Britain   

Saxon is staying at a townhouse that used to be a hotel. Saxon is on the fourth of 5 floors. All 6 members of his team are there in their civilian clothes, although they all still looked like soldiers even without their uniforms or weapons. On his way up, on the third floor, Saxon was startled to see a picture of Namir with his family, a wife and two kids. He found it strange seeing him like that. He doesn’t think it’s fair. 

At the meeting Saxon feels like they’re just going through the motions for the benefit of an unseen observer. Saxon says that he could have brought Kontarski alive. “That wasn’t the mission! He didn’t know anything of value, and he was a cancer, killing him sends a good message that no one in Juggernaut is safe. We’re not in the business of taking prisoners, you know that. Namir says. They suggest that Saxon was talking to two people, and he answers that Kontarsky was the only one in the room. 

Saxon again thinks about what Janus had said, Do you know what master you serve?” 

Namir restates that there are reasons for every order, every one. Saxon realizes that he’ll never know who’s actually giving these orders, or what the reasons are, and asks himself if he can live with that. 

Saxon thinks about the luxury lifestyle he’s lived since he joined the team, and that he actually DOES like his team members, well except for maybe Hardesty, and the work. 

Skipping past a lot of stuff about him thinking, weighing his options and what he knows. Then just decides to stick where he is and worry about what Janus said later. Namir opens a secret door to the study by whispering something to a painting. Namir whispers “Yelena?” and with blurring speed she whips out a tazer and shoots Gunther in the neck. 

Saxon can barely get out “what?” before he’s shot as well. He had barely registered the bite of the needle before the stun charges lashed at him knocking him out.

Chapter 5 Part 3
The Omaha Center, Washington DC

Following her instructions brings Anna to the conference center. Kelso is alert, the fatigue beaten back, but she knows she’ll pay for it later. The Human Front is holding a presentation of “No Better- The myth of Human Augmentation, By William Taggart. Taggart founded his organization to disabuse society that human augmentation technology was a positive development. Anna doesn’t buy that, and feels that her Augmentations have done nothing but improve her, and didn’t make her feel any less human.
Some really good stuff about disaugmentation I’m skipping past. Here’s a bit about how Purity First twisted Taggarts Message toward aggressive ends. We already know about those guys, don’t we truth seekers? There are a lot of poor people who just can’t afford augmentations even if they wanted them, doubt they could afford a ticket either. 

I’m really not doing this section justice there’s a lot of interesting stuff I’m skimming past in the interest of time, although I assume these things will be reiterated in the game. A message only she can see says “Kelso Upper tier section G Box 3.” So she heads off. She has her hand on her Zenith handgun when she enters the skybox. The box is seemingly empty and the door closes behind her. Just as she arrives the lights in the box go out and the lights on the stage go on, and William Taggart steps onto the stage. 

She clicks on her low light vision aug and is startled to find she isn’t alone in the booth after all. “Let me guess, D-Bar?” D bar couldn’t have been older than 19, and comments on how much of a looker Anna is. Anna says she’s not in the mood for games. She asks where the “we” he talked about were, and he points to his hat and say’s they’re watching, and if you try to kill me they’ll send the pics all over. 

They list some deeds Juggernaut has done, then Anna says “maybe I should arrest you, I could really use a win now. D-Bar says “No you don’t want to do that, we’re the good guys”

D-Bar says that they HAVE to break the law because the lawmakers are corrupt and the heartless mega-corps want to turn the world into their own personal chum-bucket. D-Bar says that she should join up because they’ve been tracking the shadowy group that’s been systematically using an info war and assassination to target midlevel corporates. He insists that Juggernaut doesn’t kill people. He says the bad guys are taking people down with black mail, extortion, entrapment and absorption. Anna asks why she should care, and he says that the Tyrants are their attack dogs. He tells her they’re already on the same team, she just doesn’t know it yet.

 Chapter 5 Part 4.
Knightsbridge London. 

Saxon awakens laying on concrete, still dizzy from the effects of the stun dart. He hears a womans voice, distant, but light and playful. He sees Hardesty, Barrett and as it says “The Russian Woman”. Hermann is nearby just waking up himself. Gunther tries to stand but Barrett tells him to stay right there, son. Saxon saw the woman at the end of the hallway talking to Namir and recognized her to be his wife. Namir tells Scott, who is, as we remember, a dick, to leave. 

Saxon asks Namir what’s going on. Namir is emptying all but one bullet from the gun, and putting the rest into his pocket. 

Namir says “One of you is a disloyal, I know which, and the other needs to prove himself, so two birds, one stone.”

Gunther gives Saxon a fierce look, shouting “I am no traitor!” Saxon asks “Disloyal how exactly?”
Namir tosses the loaded pistol into the middle of them, and says he’ll explain in 5 minutes if you’re still around. Saxon keeps yapping but Gunther goes right for the attack. Saxon imagined Gunther taking him down then stripping his corpse of augs and bolting them on. Gunther punches Saxon hard in the ribs, and Saxon see’s Gunther smile for the first time. Gunther continues to beat the shit out of Saxon, but goes for the gun too soon and Saxon takes advantage. Saxon gets Gunther in the throat and takes the gun. Barrett asks him if he’s going to do it. 

No. Answers Saxon. I’m not going to do it because there isn’t any bloody traitor. He then turns and gives the guy to Namir. The Tyrant commander took it with a nod. The right call ben, if you had pulled the trigger I would have shot you myself” Hermann got up slowly. “Then we would both be dead”
Barrett says the bullets were blanks.  We’ve done this before, we ain’t stupid. You did good there, you got steel, I’m impressed. 

Saxon frowns, “A test?”

Namir answers, In a way… By the way we’re going to America tomorrow, prep and make the most of your down time. 

That’s it? Saxon asks, You’ve got nothing else to say?

What do you want a membership card? You passed, you both proved yourselves, you’re part of the Tyrants, until death. 

And that’s the end but uh, how did Gunther pass? He absolutely would have killed Saxon if he had gotten the chance AND he lost the fight and could have been killed. That seems like a double fail for him. Oh well, they both passed. Whatever. I’m overthinking this.

Chapter 6 Part 1

Back to Anna, still up in the skybox talking to D-Bar. Dbar lockpicks the minibar and steals an energy drink, which he drinks in a big gulp. Anna asks him what he knows, and D-Bar answers by explaining what the Icarus Effect is. Sweet, I’m sure we’ve all been wondering this. 

“You know the story of Icarus, guy and his dad build a set of wings, guy gets too bold and flies too close to the sun, guy gets dead. Same idea, it’s a sociological thing. A normative process created unconsciously by a society in order to maintain the status quo, keep itself stable. Whenever someone does something that will threaten to upset the balance, like flying too high, the Icarus effect kicks in. Society reacts, cuts them down, stability returns. That’s what the tyrants do, they enforce the effect for their masters, only they don’t wait for it to happen naturally. They choose whose wings are going to get clipped. These creeps are all about power, anyone who threatens them or makes waves gets dealt with. 

Anna asks. “Threatens them how exactly? D-Bar answers “You know what they say, if you want to make enemies, try to change something. People invested in keeping things the same don’t like it when you try and make waves. He shows her some pictures of victims and flashes back again to the assassination. And there are a lot more we don’t know about, the ones who were leaned on instead of getting roughed up or murdered. The ones who buckles, took the bribes, did what they were told to do. 

Anna asks, how could the tyrants be doing that, they would need a global reach, unparalleled access to secured information…

That we do know something about, the group, the guys with the leash on the dogs, they’ve penetrated 100’s of agencies. They have a spy network that spans the world. They talk about how Skyler’s maid was falsely accused of spying for the Red Arrow triad, plead innocent, and then was eventually killed in jail.  He says that the Tyrants had a source inside the United States Secret Service itself. Anna instinctively denies it, then rethinks the claim. D-Bar says they can’t prove it, but you can Agent Kelso. Anna responds Even if I wanted to help, I can’t do anything I’m suspended. D-Bar says he’ll help her get back inside, and Anna agrees to the job.

Chapter 6 Part 2.
Knightsbridge London

Namir gave Saxon the room at the top of the house, the fifth floor. He stripped off his clothes so he could survey the effects of the beating that Gunther gave him. Ugly bruises, shallow cuts and minor contusions, no broken or chipped bones though. His cyber arm feels slightly sluggish again. He takes a fresh shot of neuropozyne, and asks himself that the hell just happened? 

“Were the pistol rounds really blanks? If I had taken the shot would I have ended Gunther’s life? If I had done that what would they have done? Would they really have killed me for it?” It chilled him to consider a different truth from the one Namir had laid down when he took the gun from him. Why doesn’t is sit right with me? He wondered almost aloud. I passed the test, right? I should be happy, right?

He looked out his window, at the advertisement on the side of the floating blimp. A woman selling some product or other seemed to be looking right at him, the words on the ad said “What master do you serve?” This startled him, he stared until the words transformed into numerals, matching an international sat-comm code. Before he was even aware of it (I guess he has a lot on his mind) He pulled out his phone and was dialing the number, he placed the phone to his ear, and heard the click of his door.  He immediately hung up the phone and tossed it down, turning to see that Yelena Federova was sneaking into his room, looking like some sort of Shadow Wrath. 

She stalked silently towards him, her black and steel legs catching the glow from the light outside his window. Her eyes were hooded so he couldn’t read her intent in them. A slow forming predatory smile appeared on her lips as she crept to him. Saxon was immediately reminded of the way she looked while slicing up the soldiers in the tower. 

Saxon knew in an instant that he had failed the test. She was coming to kill him, discretely and quietly. Sparing Gunther’s life had marked him as weak, and he was going to be cut from the pack in favor of someone stronger, more ruthless. Who would follow orders without hesitation, unquestioningly.

She halted a few steps from him, then with care pulled at the tabs holding the ballistic cloth blouse closed over her chest. She let it fall free to the floor, beneath it she wore nothing, and Saxons gaze were drawn to the rise of her breasts. A small ebon cross hanging in the valley between them. She removed the rest of her clothes and made her way to him. Saxon let her move in, then they kissed, and well, you can imagine the rest.
What an unexpected plot twist eh? That’s one way to encourage his loyalty. 

Chapter 6, Part 3
The US Secret Service HQ, Washington DC. 

Being the evening, the building is sparsely populated, but far from empty. More than enough lingered to make sure Anna’s job would not be easy. She knew that everyone that’d recognize her would be alerted to her medical suspension by now, and doubtfully would treat her as friendly as they did last time she saw them.
She entered the building treating it like an undercover agent, her new identity was as an agent that had a right to be there. She walked through the front door and immediately the person at the front desk recognized her. 

“Agent Kelso, I thought you were taking some medical leave?” He asked, presumably innocently. She smiles at him “That’s right but I’ve got to drop some paperwork off for the guys picking up my caseload” I’ll need you to sign in”  he offered her a touchpad and she ran a stylus over it in a quick scrawl. Anna couldn’t help but glance over her shoulder to her car, in the parking lot. She seriously thought about running.
She had passed through the security arch before it dawned on her that she had been allowed in without question. Whatever D-Bar had done to her badge had worked. 

The elevator took her to the seventh floor and on the way up she fought the twitchy sensation, folding her arms then unfolding them, shifting her weight from foot to foot nervously. Her stem pack was wearing off, she could feel it. Her phone vibrated and she answered “I ghosted you via the entry subnet, blinked the sign in as soon as you were through, can’t go any farther without your help though. “Working on it, now shut up and let me concentrate. 

She arrives and the doors open. Her instinct immediately pointed her to her old office, she could see a box with all her things in the distance, pictures and all her other stuff, she resisted the irrational urge to go and try to salvage some trivial mementos though. 

Some former co-workers walk by talking about football, and she jumps to hide in a storage room. After holding her breath for entirely too long they pass. After hacking her way into the security room with her magical ID badge, She took out the special data rod D-Bar had given her. She found the correct input socket, and slid the rod home, much like Saxon was currently doing with Federova. 

We find that she had handcuffed D-Bar to the car so he couldn’t just take the info and run, leaving her screwed. As a result he has to type with one hand. They banter back and forth, for a bit, and Anna uploads Juggernaut’s special data worm. It will grab anything of value and upload it to a saved file. After the worm is uploaded Anna takes D-Bars rod and drops it into a pot of coffee. “I’m not about to give you unrestricted access to the Secret Service files” she explains, replacing the rod with her own. All the data gets saved onto hers. 

She found all sorts of data, in file format her agency didn’t use. Then stuff from Homeland Security, the FBI, Diplomatic Corps. Some pages not even in English. Whoever the leak was had been tunneling through the Department of Justice. Then off beyond to the global law enforcement community.
She took a deep breath and typed in “Skyler”. She found every bit of supposedly secure transport records, from which vehicles would be used to their maintenance records. Everything an assassin would need to prepare a flawless attack. 

The files had a code attached to them, attached to the agent who copied all the files. It was a code she knew very well. Ron Temple. “You son of a bitch” was all she could say as she sat and stared. She trusted him and served with him, and she was looking at proof that he was a traitor. He had sold them out to whoever it was controlling the Tyrants. She gets a bit emotional thinking about all the people who died, and back to the betrayal. “Why… how could he have done it? For money? Out of fear? No explanation she could come up with sounded good enough.  Her anger faded and she heard D-Bar yelling into her ear. The screen was flashing red and telling her to wait for security. 

(Oh shit)

She yanks out her flash drive and shoves it into her pocket, moving across the room to the door. She can hear voices. She composed herself and walked slowly toward the elevators, every instinct told her to run, but she knew if she did she would be identified by the very cool device that identifies unusual body kinetics. If she ran they would see it.  She smothered the urge and slowed her pace. She was almost there.
Behind her she hears a voice call out. She recognized it as Drake. She was so close to the elevators, just around the corner. “Hey, Stop, stop right now!” She hears him pulling out his gun “I won’t tell you again!” he shouts. 

She fled, it wasn’t a conscious choice on her part, but instinctive. She couldn’t think straight, due to her aforementioned stim crash. She had some adrenalin though, so she could run. 

She rounded the corner and came face to face with Agent Tyler, just coming off of his break, stirring a coffee. “Kelso?” he asked confused. “Stop her! Drake shouted again. That was enough to snap Tyler into action, dropping his drink and going for his gun as well. She dove for the open elevator, and pressed the button, the doors almost shut when Tyler grabbed her by the collar and kicked the back of her knee, pulling hard on her. She laid on the ground, half in and half out of the elevator car. “You’re under arrest” Tyler told her, pressing his gun into her back.   

Uh oh for her eh?

Chapter 6 Part 4
Romeo Airport, Michigan USA  

We’re at an airport and we learn pilots have special headsets that make the landing zones seem like day time so they don’t need lights. Interesting detail. Airport is close to Detroit. Scott smoked, Saxon exercised his legs, Federova was going through the equipment picking out which grenades she wanted. Saxon thought she reminded him of someone at the market buying fruit. 

Saxon didn’t know what was going to happen next, even as they were having their wild sex, he was just waiting for her to plunge a knife into his back or snap his neck, but that didn’t happen. After they were both spent, she left him alone up in the room. He couldn’t help but wonder if Hermann had gotten the same treatment. Federova treated him no differently than before. Saxon tried to just write the night off as a one time thing, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

Namir called him over to a map of Detroit, which Gunther and Barrett were already looking at. Unlike federova, Gunther was treating him differently, he tried to guess why, maybe respect, maybe, jealousy.
Namir discussed the plan. Detroit was home to Sarif Industries HQ. They specialized in superior tech out of most peoples price range. According to Namir, Sarif was forcibly holding a team of scientists, forcing them to do R&D, and that they were going to go in and free them. Saxon wondered how much, if any of it was true. They were planning a rooftop assault and their timing had to be perfect. “Some of the staff are heading out to Washington, we have a small window of opportunity, which they’ll have to wait for, when they get the go ahead, they launch. 

Saxon asks about opposition, and Barrett says it’ll just be a bunch of rent a cops. He says he could do the whole mission on his own without breaking a sweat. Namir says he’s still gathering data but the whole team is going because why not. Namir shows Saxon another file “This guy we should keep an eye out for, he’s a former SWAT guy, head of security at Sarif. 

Scott, the dick, says that he’s just a broke ass ex-cop who is out of his league, no threat to us. Saxon says not to underestimate him. He may not go down that easy. He can tell the difference between someone who’s a professional, and someone who pretends to be one. Scott taking the insult in stride says “Useful trick, you’ll have to teach me to do that sometime limey. Namir says to get your shit together and be ready to deploy at a moments notice. 

Chapter 6 Part 5

Part 5 eh? Ok then. Back to Anna. She’s in the basement, in the holding area. It didn’t get much use so it was clean, but a cell was a cell. They took all her gear, including her doctored badge, flash drive, and car keys. She wondered how long it would take someone to go out and look at her car, she hoped D-Bar was quick thinking enough, and able to hotwire her car and get out of there. Under normal circumstances she would plan, but she was on the crash so she just fell asleep. She was awakened by Tyler and dragged to the interview room. Ron Temple was in the room, his arms folded, and expression of fear and anger on his face. Anna shouted “You fucking bastard!” the instant she saw him. Tyler caught her and put her into and armlock, insisting that she calm down. “She yelled at him too, and she was sat down at the table, her cuffs locked to an electromagnet inducer coil. 

Before Temple could speak again she shouted “O know what you did, you sold us all out, you got Matt killed… “

Temple silenced her with a slap to the face. Shut up you stupid stupid bitch. I warned you to stay away. You couldn’t let it go could you? You dosed up and came right back.”I know you’re part of the tyrants" she said

That name doesn’t mean anything to me. You don’t understand anything, was his reply. 

She finally gets to him and he says “You don’t know, they have people everywhere, it’s not like there was a choice Kelso! It was my life, the life of my family, my kids!” That’s the way things work and you’re going to pay for it because I will not take the fall”

Who are THEY Anna asked. The government? Corporates?

He gave a harsh laugh, too small, it’s more than just flags or dollars. These people are so big you don’t even see them. He took out the flash drive “You’ve given me everything I need, you’re going to disappear. Everything about you will be destroyed. It will be like you never existed.

You can’t hide this! She shouted.

“They already have”, he said without looking at her.

And that’s the end of chapter six. She seems sort of screwed eh? We’ll see what happens next time. 

Chapter 7 Part 1
North Springfield, Virginia US

An unmarked van is heading west on I-495. Anna Kelso is in the van. (Wow first 5 parts to a chapter and now two Anna bits in a row? This book does love throwing its curveballs. She wore orange prison jumpsuit. 

Her wrists and ankles are chained. Craig Tyler sat in the back with her. He pretended not to care, but Anna knew he didn’t like doing this job.  Drake was driving. At first Anna, like all of us, thought they were just taking her far enough away to put a bullet into her head, but it didn’t seem like that was the case.

All she could gather was that she was being taken to the “contractors”. She was being taken to an off the map prison. A place that didn’t exist and she would no longer exist there. They could interrogate her in any manner they saw fit, with no rules whatsoever. Then when they have enough, she’ll be executed. “That isn’t right Craig and you know it!”

He answered “What I know is you’re a terrorist sympathizer Anna, You’ve been classified as an enemy combatant.”

“Bullshit, you know what I was doing wasn’t about terrorism, it was about Matt Ryan-“

“Maybe so… Maybe that’s what you think you’re doing, but you’re in bed with international criminals! 

You’re working with Juggernaut! They’re wanted by Interpol, the NSA, FBI…”

“It’s not what you think!”

Tyler reached into his pocket to pull out a data slate “D-Bar, your friend, you know who he is right? Patrick Couture, D-Bar, from the French word meaning “to unlock”. He read off D-Bar’s crimes” This isn’t some kid hacker, he’s a criminal and now so are you.

She considered Tyler’s accusations, maybe he was right, maybe she was being played by Juggernaut. But Juggernaut couldn’t have manipulated the files on the agencies computer. “No! it’s Temple, He’s the traitor, he’s been using the Department of Justice network to pass classified data!

“To who?” Tyler demanded.

I.. I don’t know! She said angrily. All I know is that he is solely responsible for the deaths of half a dozen Secret Service agents, men you and I worked with. Tyler tells her she’s going to a therapist to get some help. If Juggernaut was just using you…”

Anna says not to talk to her like she’s delusional, she knows what she saw. She struggles with her chains and Tyler threatens to knock her out if she doesn’t stop it.

Rushing through the next bit, D-Bar sends a remote control trick to take out her van. Sends her a warning so she’s ready when it goes over. Neither guy is killed, D-Bar unlocks her and she hops out, changes clothes in front of him, tosses away her orange jumpsuit, and steals his sports car, saying she still doesn’t trust him. She heads off back to Washington to confront Temple and make him give her the name of his contact.

Chapter 7 Part 2

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