The next morning, Sebastian searches the Cortex to find information about Torval’s apartment. If she was going to hide a sourcebox, it stands to reason that would be the safest place to do so. Torval lived in apartment 1408 of Shiyin Towers. Their website claims that Shiyin Towers is a “safe and trendy” environment for young professionals. The pictures show a large apartment complex in the heart of Demeter’s entertainment district.
Since it has been 2-3 weeks since Torval disappeared, the question becomes whether or not her old apartment is empty …or if it has already been rented to another tenant. Sebastian hacks into Shiyin Towers’ computer system. He is able to find out that 1408 is listed as empty, but there is a notation for the Demeter police. Sebastian tries to dig deeper, but starts getting notification that his system is getting hit by viruses. Realizing he has probably tripped some sort of electronic defense system, Sebastian quickly disconnects.
The group starts to lay out plans for getting into Torval’s apartment. As they will be able to blend in the most easily, Colt and Chapman are the best candidates for the actual break-in. There will need to be some visual surveliance before concrete plans can be made. Exterior walk-bys will be a good idea. It is pointed out that there is also a nightclub inside the hotel, “Larry’s Club.” This may be another good opportunity for getting inside the building. Mad volunteers to go the the club and seduce a resident in order to get a look upstairs.
Colt and Chapman are assigned to check out the club from the street. Mad and Mo will go back to the marketplace to get parts to upgrade their earpieces (to increase the transmission distance) and to find a device that will allow Sebastian to remotely hack into coded panel on the apartment door. Mad also plans to get a new dress to impress “young professionals.” Sebastian will remain behind on the ship to try and locate schematics of the apartment building and try to find a good candidate on the 14th floor for Mad to “target.”
It doesn’t take Sebastian too long to hack back into Shiyin Towers, having established backdoors on his previous excursion. He finds the files that contain residental information and quickly copies the files for the 13th-15th floors. Sebastian also grabs the files that list the different contract workers employeed by Shiyin Towers, including housekeeping and maintenance.
Meanwhile, Colt and Chapman arrive at the address for the apartment building. They make several causual walk-bys, trying to get a sense of the exterior layout. They both also note the number of security cameras facing the street. Colt makes a point of taking note of routes of tactical advantage for escape should their plan goes south.
Mad and Mo make their way to the marketplace. Mo talks with Boris, who is able to obtain both the keypad hacking device as well as the parts needed to upgrade the earpieces. Mad also finds an appropriate dress for her part of the mission.
Back at Acorn, Sebastian is still hacking away. It takes a bit longer, but he manages to find and hack into Shiyin Tower’s security registry. He leaves himself a digital backdoor, but makes sure to secure it against other cyberhackers. Sebastian quickly locates and copies the system’s scan logs and floor schematics. Hacking his way a level deeper, Sebastian creates another backdoor into the apartment’s security cameras and door codes.
When the others make their way back to the ship, Sebastian prints out all of the copied information. As the group gathers in the galley for dinner, Colt, Chapman, and Mad each grab a stack of paper to go over. Mad takes the security scan logs, but has a hard time figuring out the document. Temporarily giving up, she decides to look at the residential information instead. Over the three floors, apartment 1408 is the only one that stands empty. Looking more closely at the residents of the 14th floor, it is obvious that these are all “young professionals.” There are also only a few single people with apartments specifically on that floor.
Colt and Chapman closely examine the building schematics, mapping each potential access point and discussing the different ways to disguise themelves. They notice that 20th floor of the building contains only four high-end apartments. These apartments are even on their own security zone. While there is a aircar pad on the roof of the Shiyin Tower, it seems best that no escape route go through that floor.
Mad goes over the scan logs again and finds that there is a full security system scan every morning at 1:00 a.m. She also notes three of the contracted companies on file: AAA Cleaning (crews clean the building every night and 3rd Saturday), McAnally’s (maintainance crews stop by every two weeks), and Calloways (the resident security force).
Sebastian connects into Shiyin Tower’s camera network so that everyone can observe the evening routine. As the crew watches, a company van with the logo for AAA Cleaning deposits a large group of men and women around 10:00. Over the next two hours, they observe the cleaning crew, noting the professional uniforms and the amount of time it takes them to move through the building.
As the hour grows close to 1:00 a.m., Sebastian disconnects from Shiyin Tower’s network. They crew stays up, talking about the different options of getting into apartment 1408. A plan starts to form.
The next day, last minute preparations take place. Mad heads to the marketplace to purchase men’s clothing that she modifies to look like AAA Cleaning uniforms. She also picks up a hand-held scanner that can read electrical power signals. Sebastian modifies the crew’s earpieces while the others go over the schematics and maps again. As darkness falls, Colt and Chapman take another walk by Shiyin Towers in order to get a sense of the streets at night. Mad also flies the Nut House through the neighborhoods around the apartment, mapping out the layout and trying to identify good places to land in case of an emergency. At the end of the day, there is nothing left to do but wait until it is time to put the plan into action.
Colt and Chapman, dressed as AAA cleaning staff, make their way into the building through a side entrance. As Colt and Chapman move through Shiyin Towers, Sebastian is always one step ahead of them, turning off the recording function of each security camera they pass. When they get ready to step off onto the 14th floor, Sebastian shuts down the power to multiple security zones. The two men quickly make their way down the hallway. Once they are safely inside Torval’s apartment, Sebastian returns the power. In the meantime, Mad flies the Nut House around the downtown area in case a quick get-away vehicle is needed.
Colt and Chapman quickly search the apartment, Colt going over every surface with the hand-held scanner, hoping to detect the sourcebox’s power source. Chapman finds a secret compartment in the headboard of Torval’s bed. Inside is a box that at one time held a small handgun, but now lies empty. A bit of paper catches Chapman’s eye and he pulls out a small business card that got wedged in a back corner of the compartment. It is for a place called Club Exodus. There was some sort of nanotech script on the business card, but appears burned out.
The two men search a little while longer, but it is apparent that there is nothing more to find there. They alert Sebastian before moving into the hallway who turns off the power once again until they are off the 14th floor. Colt and Chapman quickly exit the building, with no one the wiser.
Everyone meets safely back at Acorn. Passing the business card around, the crew tries to determine what it means. The parts of nanotech that are burnt out don’t make sense with the rest of the card. Probably one string of nanotech burned out, which then took out another one. A quick Cortex search reveals that Club Exodus is located fairly close to Torval’s apartment. The exterior of the building looks like a crashed spaceship. The interior features a lot of neon and newtech. The crew decides to check out the club in person. The plan is for Mad to try and draw attention to herself while Colt and Chapman observe from a distance. Anyone connected to Torval most likely will recognize Acorn’s crew, and Mad is very noticeable even without trying. Colt and Chapman will try to watch for people who react to Mad’s presence in the club.
That night, the three head for the club. When they arrive, there is already a long line of brightly dressed people waiting to get in. Bypassing the line, Mad attempts to seduce the bouncers as Colt hands over a wad of bills, allowing the three to be permitted into the club. Amid the thrumming music and strobing lights, Mad heads straight for the dance floor. For the next few hours, Mad dances and flirts with the other clientele, collecting several calling cards from people who are interested in meeting up later.
Suddenly, as Colt is completing yet another scan of the club, he notices a familiar figure in the crowd. The man is not moving and staring straight at Mad. It’s Xi Wang Black. Black turns and starts to leave the club. Colt immediately goes into action. Over their earpieces, Colt points out Black to Chapman and tells him that’s their man. Chapman quickly moves after Black. Colt tries to follow, but has a harder time moving through the crowd. Mad starts to leave the dance floor, following Colt’s instructions to go after the mule.
Colt emerges from Club Exodus just in time to see Chapman mere steps away from Black. Chapman quickly grabs the other man and draws him into a nearby alley. When Colt arrives at the alley entrance, he finds Chapman and Black in a fierce and skilled martial art battle. Both men seem fairly evenly matched. Colt pulls his gun on Black and tells him to stand down. Black disengages from the fight and slowly raises his hands. Colt directs Mad to their alley and the two men “escort” Black onto the mule. Mad heads directly back for Acorn.
Upon arriving at ship, Black is stripped of all clothing and weapons and thrown into the brig. It is noted that his Alliance ID card indicates that he is a “prisoner on furlough.”
In the course of interrogation, the crew promise Black that they will let him go free if they help them get to Rejovic. Black seems extremely bitter about his association with the man and they convince him that he will be safer if he gives them information so they can take care of their mutual problem.
Black admits that Rejovic got him out of prison after the last year of being locked up at Di Yu. Rejovic didn’t tell him much, just what he wants Black to do. When notified, Black picks up deliveries for Club Exodus at a mailbox. When asked about the mysterious business card, Black tells the crew that if you rub the edges in the correct sequence, a message will appear.
He hasn’t seen his contact, Torval, for a while now. He also hasn’t gotten a business card to deliver since January (the same month that the crew went to confront Biggby about the Rio job). Black also clarifies that he officially got out of prison through the “Second Chance Program,” a program run by the Rosen Group.
Mad gets a sense that Black is holding some information back and she presses him to tell them more. Black eventually caves. He tells the crew that they “don’t want to go looking for” Dante/Rejovic, not on his front doorstep. When Black was released from prison, he was secretly escorted to Rejovic’s lair. While Black was kept isolated for most of the trip, he does know that Rejovic was hiding in an asteroid field. The base is extremely well armed and Rejovic is surrounded by mercenaries-for-hire.
Black is pushed to say more by Chapman and admits that he overheard some one of Rejovic’s men say something about preparing for Rejovic’s “constitutional.” Every so often, Rejovic leaves the safety of his lair to go to the Skyplex for rest and relaxation.
The best chance to overtake Rejovic is to catch him en route.
Black is released from the brig and given his belongings back, minus the weapons he was carrying. Sebastian heads to his quarters and brings back Black’s hat. Black is given Acorn’s wave frequency in case he needs to get in touch.
The crew then decides to follow Chapman’s original plan of finding a sourcebox on the wreckage of Ellandri’s Dagger in order to try and tap into Rejovic’s communications to catch him en route to Adelai Niska’s Skyplex.