Origins: Fennec

This is a one-shot episode, which takes place before the Brace the Badlands campaign. This means you don’t need to have listened to the main series, but there might be characters or events referenced which this origin story ties into.

In this episode, Fennec, the crew’s Nomad, is on a routine mission for his nomad family, flying down the Pacific Corridor (between San Francisco – Night City – LA), along with his brother Gallen, both flying modified CH-53 Sikorsky helicopters, filled with cargo. Fennec receives a call from the Inyokern airbase, with the operator asking if they can divert via Night City to pick up a few contacts from the dotHASH group. The operator confirms the group are heading to a helipad somewhere in the hot zone and will await their pickup.

Meanwhile, Sarang (a Media, played by Michelle), and Koban (a Solo, played be Ze), are running up a flight of stairs in an old Zetatech building, nestled right in the hot zone of Night City. They make their way to the helipad, along with several crates of Zetatech-branded secret files. As the pilots get closer, they connect to Sarang and Koban’s comms and introduce themselves. Gallen indicates they are still a few minutes away, getting them to ‘sit tight’, while they approach and fend off approaching members of the Locusts gang. Sarang moves forward, taking a few shot towards the Locusts, but misses, shattering the glass doors near the stairwell. A Locust tries to shoot at Koban with an SMG, but misses. Koban closes the distance with the Locusts, drawing his pop-up machete cyberware weapon, and swings, landing a strike. A second Locust approaches, taking a shot, but misses. The fight continues, with Koban keeping pressure on the Locusts with his machete and Sarang reinforcing with suppressive pistol shots. The two CH-53 Sikorsky aircraft arrive a short time later, with Fennec assisting the dotHASH members to load their equipment into Gallen’s vehicle. Sarang and Koban fit into Fennec’s aircraft and they begin to take off.

A fight begins over the streets of Night City.

After a few minutes in flight and still over the skies of Night City, Fennec’s sensors pick up that two Zeta-tech manufactured Aerodyne’s (AV-4s) are in hot pursuit, and closing the distance. The AV’s immediately shoot off some missiles towards both Fennec and Gallen. Fennec dodges the blow, while Gallen takes a direct hit. Sarang takes control of the rear-mounted machine gun, aims and fires, but staggers from the recoil, which fails to land against the AV. Fennec prepares his helicopter to evade the next missile barrage. Koban clicks to his under-barrel grenade launcher, and shoots towards the nearest AV. It misses, with the grenade exploding in midair, shaking the enemy aircraft but not dealing any significant damage. The enemy aircraft both spend time reloading, to fire another missile on their next turn. Gallen launches his helicopter’s unguided dumb missile at the target behind him, which misses due to the damage he’s already sustained. Sarang, feeling more confident with the machine gun, lands a successful hit against one of the AVs, spraying them with bullets. Fennec launches a missile, but the launch controls lock up, dropping the dud out of the sky towards the city below. Koban clicks back to his assault rifle, landing a barrage against of the AVs, hitting a critical piece of machinery. Both of the enemy AVs fire again, but both miss, resulting in more missiles falling onto the outskirts of the city. Fennec activates his flare defences, but the system jams. Meanwhile, Sarang and Koban keep up the pressure using their small arms. Fennec activates his small neural-linked control gun, which lands a shot against one of the AVs. Blood spatters in their console and the AV plummets to the ground. The remaining AV shoots another missile, aimed towards Gallen, which lands a direct hit. Gallen attempts to keep the helicopter stabilised, but calls to Fennec over the comms that he is going to have to bring the CH-53 down, and begins to glide to prepare for an emergency landing. Fennec begins to loop the aircraft around, aiming towards the crash site where Gallen landed.

Arriving at the crash site, they find that Gallen brought his helicopter down on a pile of tyres, next to a gas station out towards the outer stretches of Night City. Gallen is alive, but injured. The station owner, a man named Gaff, greets them. Fennec moves to check on his brother, with Koban providing first aid. Sarang begins to go through the wreckage, searching for the files they took from Zetatech, but finds they are gone, with marks pointing to a car having left recently in a rush. The old man indicates a few cars were scavenging through the wreck, look to have found something, then left eastbound in a hurry. Gallen and Fennec debate on how to proceed, with Fennec pressing to chase after the Locusts. Gaff indicates he has some cars in the back of his lot, which Fennec asks if they could borrow to pursue the drivers. Fennec offers to leave his helicopter as leverage while they borrow one of Gaff’s cars.

Out on the highway, they approach a car travelling at significant speed, which looks to be more Locusts. Fennec matches their speed, and Sarang and Koban prepare to fire at the car. Koban switches to his under barrel launcher, launching a sleep grenade right into the back window of the car. A scuffle occurs, with the Locusts attempting to pick it up. Many of the Locusts fail to endure the sleep gas, and collapse. One of the passengers in the car moves in to take over the driver’s seat and continues to keep the car on the road. As Fennec brings the car closer, Sarang shots at one of the tyres, which begins to deflate. The driver continues to struggle, eventually braking and crashing outside what appears to be a secret base in a cavern. The driver grabs a few of the Zetatech files, and runs into the base.

As the team arrive, they debate on how to proceed, Gallen suggests he sneaks in from another entrance while they approach from the front and try to find the remaining Locust that fled. Fennec, Sarang and Koban briefly search the crashed car, with the knocked out Locusts still asleep. Some of the containers are found in the car, but they determine some files are still missing. For now, they decide to zip-tie the Locusts to be dealt with later. They agree on a stealthy approach to the entrance of the cavern system, with everyone preparing their equipment.

Working their way through the caverns, they find embedded into some of the walls and pillars are sets of plastic explosives, dug into the rock. The explosives are wired and flashing a red light, so they agree to be cautious with their approach. Rounding a corner, they find the Locust who fled from the car, catching his breath. The Locust begins to scream and run, as everyone enters initiative.

The Locust continues to run away, while Fennec repositions. Koban detects footfalls from more Locusts approaching from another cavern, and moves to hold the Locust down. Sarang also moves to cover, awaiting the Locust backup. The Locust remains stuck under Koban’s boot. Fennec hears reinforcements approaching, so hides behind a pillar to not alert them. Sarang checks through the remaining files the Locust brought in, finding a datashard which she pockets. Reinforcements begin to arrive from several neighbouring caverns, and don’t notice Fennec in hiding. Koban fires a teargas grenade from his under barrel, which lands and engulfs part of the cavern. A new Locust takes a few pistol shots, which (thankfully) miss, as they reposition. Fennec, still hidden, draws his pistol and shoots at one of the Locusts which has just approached. He misses the first shot, but succeeds with the second, landing a powerful hit on one of the Locusts in their body. Koban fires an incendiary round from his rifle, which sets alight one of the Locusts in the cavern. Another Locust shoots at Fennec, but misses. Sarang shoots at the Locust currently on fire, landing a shot directly into their lungs, causing them to collapse to the ground.

As another Locust approaches from a different cavern, Koban and Sarang notice that the Locust is holding a detonator device in his hand, with a dead man’s switch activated. With the device bleeping, Gallen appears and begins struggling with the man, keeping the Locust’s hand closed to not activate the switch. As Koban and Sarang confirm they’ve collected what they needed, Gallen yells at them to start moving out of the cavern systems. Many of the other Locusts start to flee as the explosives in the pillar start blinking faster. Fennec directs Koban and Sarang to run, and moves to check on his brother. Gallen reinforces for them to leave, so they run. As they near the exit, Fennec’s phone connects, and they can hear the struggle continuing between the Locust ganger and Gallen. A voice is heard shouting “No do-” before a series of explosions ring out throughout the cavern, blasting debris. Fennec begins to dig through the rockfall, but it is too difficult.

As they assess the situation, Sarang plugs in her datashard and begins to broadcast the data they’ve collected via a satellite feed. The data contains black book files, agendas and secret military contracts which she sends wide throughout multiple CitiNETs.

Over several days and weeks, Fennec leads a recovery effort with his nomad family to sort through the debris. Surprisingly, not a single trace of Gallen’s body, or that of the deceased Locusts, is found. Without closure, Fennec continues to hold onto hope that his brother is alive, somehow, and intends to track him down…