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, Zacharus Rama (played by Ze) is a young up-and-coming police officer in the Night City Police Department, who volunteers to assist with MAXTAC callouts. The other players for this game, Michelle and Luke, play cyberpsycho gangers named Karmen (Netrunner) and Wildeye (Exec), who Rama must go up against.
As the scene opens, Rama is travelling in an armoured van, marked with MAXTAC on the side. They are en route to a corporate office building with reports of cyber-enhanced gangers taking hostages. As they approach, the squad commander Kobeck asks Rama why he signed up. Rama indicates he’s been on the beat for a while, and lost someone close to him because of it, and wanted to take it to the next level. The technical operator of the squad, Leon, tells Rama about a prototype EMP they’ve been given for the job called the “Freakshow Football”, which is intended to knock out a cyberpsycho’s cyberware. He spends time during the drive to examine it, and agrees to keep it nearby should the event arise. The van stops, and they arrive at an office of Continental Brands. In the time of the Red, Continental Brands is a large-scale manufacturer of common food products including Kibble, the most prevalent “food” on the market. The squad approaches local police officers who have cordoned off the area to get a situation update. Rama enquires from the Sergeant on duty what’s happened, but the officer can’t report much, and believes the gangers that stormed the building are completely insane. From the office workers that were able to leave the building, it’s believed that a number of employees are still inside and being held as hostages. The sergeant refers Rama to a female office worker, Rebecca to get further information on the situation. He confirms the number of office workers in the building, and how many gangers are believed to be inside in. Rebecca indicates that a side door near the warehouse might be a suitable entry point as the gangers barricaded the front doors.
Meanwhile, above on the fourth floor of the Continental Brands office building, Karmen and Wildeye have begun enjoying the amenities of the CEO’s office. As one of the gangers notice MAXTAC arriving, dissent begins to grow amongst the group. Karmen and Wildeye reinforce to “stick to the plan” and to trust them, and to keep pressure on the cops, so that they can all eat some good Kibble. Karmen monitors the building camera network, accessed thanks to her hacking skills, while Wildeye directs his underlings to take defensive positions near the elevators, doors, and windows.
Rama spends a few minutes briefing the team, and recommends the team proceed through the side door near the warehouse. They grab the rest of their gear out of the van and approach the door. They find it locked, and after some trouble manage to break it open. Rama throws a flash bang grenade and begins to clear the room. The warehouse looks empty, so they move forward and secure it. Wildeye repositions the crew, heading down to the third floor which houses a data centre. Rama and his team move forward, ending up in the main reception lobby. On the lobby computers, Karmen takes control over the monitors, piping in a looping video feed of people eating Kibble. Rama pulls the power plugs, turning them off. Rama scans the building schematics, confirming the layout:
- First floor: Reception, Warehouse, Offices
- Second floor: Main Office Floor
- Third floor: Data centre
- Fourth floor: Executive offices
He decides to use the fire escape ladder shafts to traverse the floors. A ganger keeping lookout alerts Wildeye and Karmen that MAXTAC is on the move. Karmen calls up the elevators up, and two gangers move to jump onto the top of the cabins to be able to re-position quickly. The first ganger lands gracefully, while the other, Cindy, misses (critically) and plummets down the elevator shaft, landing near Rama at the bottom. Kobeck begins climbing up the ladder, with Rama and Leon covering. Wildeye sends another ganger to move onto an elevator, while Karmen flicks the lights in the shaft on and off, before turning them off completely. The MAXTAC team finish moving to the second floor, sweeping but finding no hostiles. Karmen triggers a computer override to the computer terminals, resulting in crackling devices. Rama notifies the police outside that the first floors appear to be clear, and reinforcements begin moving in downstairs. Not finding the hostages, they agree to move up to the next floor.
As the MAXTAC team begin their ascent, Wildeye gives the go-ahead to start shooting. As the encounter begins, Rama lands a critical hit with his incendiary ammunition against one of the gangers. Wildeye returns fire with his heavy pistol, also landing a critical, hitting Rama for some damage. One of the gangers who had caught on fire, spends their turn putting out the flames. Karmen repositions the elevators to bring in reinforcements from above. Leon moves to shoot one of the gangers, but misses. Now injured, Rama’s second rifle barrage misses. Fennec’s shot fails, and the previously burned ganger spends their turn attending to their wounds. At this point, everybody is missing their shots, so the gangers retreat back upstairs.
As they arrive at the data centre floor, Leon stabilises Rama’s wounds from the fight. As he recovers, he coordinates with Kobeck and Leon to sweep the area in search for the hostages. After a few minutes, Kobeck shouts that he has found something. They find a collection of deceased near one of the corners. Rama moves to hold the group’s rear, while Kobeck and Leon inspect the bodies. As they approach, Karmen receives a proximity sensor notification, and activates an explosive that was left embedded in the remains. The blast catches Kobeck and Leon, who are flown back. Rama does what he can to stabilise them both, before notifying the police downstairs that there are no remaining hostages and that he is going after the psychos.
Wildeye directs one of the injured gangers to the kitchen, to have their wounds treated. He then positions defensively. Rama cracks open an elevator maintenance panel and manages to switch one of them to a mechanical override. As the elevator arrives, he gets in, pops the maintenance hatch and climbs on-top of the cabin. As the elevator moves to the fourth floor, one of the gangers moves towards the doors. She investigates, finding the elevator cabin empty. Rama drops a flash bang grenade which hits. Karmen switches from her NETrunner socket arm, to a different arm with a pop-up baseball bat.
Rama, shooting from above the cabin, lands two shots against the blinded ganger. Wildeye provides an inspirational speech, before moving towards the elevator to fight off Rama. Mindy, one of the remaining gangers, runs downstairs under the assumption of looking for Kibble. The blinded ganger shoots, somehow lands a blow, but it doesn’t pierce Rama’s armour. Karmen moves to inspect the injured ganger, being treated in the kitchen. She convinces the medically-trained ganger to leave them, as they are practically dead.
Rama throws an incendiary grenade, aiming to limit the ganger’s mobility. A ganger catches it, with it blowing up in their hands. Wildeye directs the remaining gangers to head downstairs, leaving only Wildeye and Karmen to take on Rama. Karmen activates her pop-up baseball bat, which she then wields to move closer to Rama. Wildeye closes in the distance to the elevator, so Rama throws a frag grenade as part of his readied action. The grenade encompasses Wildeye, who is able to most of it off thanks to his pain inhibitor cybernetics. Wildeye continues his stride, shooting at Rama from close range and landing the shot. Rama arms the “Freakshow Football”, and rolls it on the ground. It activates, with Wildeye being in the radius, along with Rama himself. Both of their cybernetics lock up, leading to Wildeye losing his pain inhibitors and his cyber eye. As a second wind, Wildeye lands a critical hit against Rama with his pistol.
Rama throws another incendiary grenade, then closes the elevator doors to shield from the blast. Without sub-dermal armour, Wildeye takes the full brunt of the blast. Karmen attempts to create a makeshift barricade to hold off the police reinforcements, but they quickly break through. With assistance Rama finalises his attacks against the cyberpsychos, landing a final, killing blow against Wildeye. He finds the injured ganger, left in the kitchen, and takes a single shot, hitting the ganger in the head. The officers begin to clear the floor, with Rama being directed to the ground floor to be assessed. Kobeck and Leon, having been treated by Paramedics, meet up with Rama to debrief on the mission.