Team, Syndell has asked me to pass this on to you. She is having a hard time with her Matrix connection where she is hiding out. It seems the local Matrix provider is messing around with updating the local router and she has intermittent service.
She says this came from combining the information from the two different commlinks.
If you’re reading this then something has gone wrong with my investigation. Also if you’re reading this, then hopefully you are some- one who can be trusted to use the information in this file wisely, or at least you can get it to someone who will. Forgive me if I ramble—I have a lot to cover, and very little time for organizing it. My name is Seth Dietrich, special agent, UCAS Federal Bureau of Investigation, Seattle Office. For the past nine months I’ve been conducting an off-the-books investigation into a man known only as “Bill.” I don’t know exactly who Bill is, but I know who he works for: Governor Kenneth Brackhaven of Seattle and Brackhaven Investments.
Over the course of my investigation, I have discovered that Governor Brackhaven is linked through Bill (his main covert or shadow operative) to various crimes such as conspiracy, murder, and domestic terrorism as part of a coordinated effort to undermine and/or cause the failure of Proposition 23 and Project Freedom. I have also found evidence that links Governor Brackhaven to various terrorist groups such as Alamos 20,000 and the Humanis Policlub. I also have evidence that specifically links Bill to the murder of FBI Agent Jennifer Kowalski, with whom this investigation originally began.
I took over from Agent Kowalski on March 25, 2074, when she requested my assistance. My previous case investigating Congress- man James Grey was terminated when the congressman died in an unexplained plane accident in the Carib League. I had not been assigned anything new, so I decided to help Agent Kowalski. When I was unable to find her at her apartment or through her commlink RFID system, I alerted my section chief at the Bureau. Two days later, Agent Kowalski’s body was found hung from a flagpole on Renr- aku Corporation property near Downtown Seattle. An official investigation was launched, but I was not assigned to it. When I returned to my office station, I found that an encrypted file had been left for me. The encryption was good, but my hacking skills were enough to break it. I discovered that Agent Kowalski had done the very thing I am doing now, leaving a trail for someone to follow should it become necessary.
I had considered informing my superiors, but I realized that they had no interest in finding Agent Kowalski’s killer. Other suspicious activity led me to believe that there was a cover-up underway. For details, see file #4455-Echo. On my spare time, I began looking through the files. The main focus of the investigation was a man known only as Bill. Different names were listed, but ultimately they were all dead-end aliases. The file also indicated that Bill was currently working as a covert operative for Brackhaven Investments, specifically for Karl and then Kenneth Brackhaven. Various clues and leads listed in the file suggested Bill was involved in several ongoing oper- ations. His current suspected identity was William James, supervising corporate liaison of the Seattle Public Works. These operations covered a multitude of federal crimes that included blackmail, theft, fraud, and murder. And while the files never indicated any direct link between him and Kenneth Brackhaven, there were recordings of several meetings between him and the governor. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for me start with.
The beginning of my investigation was an exercise in frustration. Despite my best efforts, both in the Matrix and on the streets, I could not find evidence of any solid connection between Brackhaven and Bill, other than they both work (in very different ways) for the city/state. I was about ready to give in and go to my supervisor when my suspicions were confirmed about a cover up in Agent Kowal- ski’s death. Her autopsy reports were altered to make her death look like a suicide, but the originals indicated carefully hidden trauma to the throat, consistent with a mono-garrote (see file #4459- Beta).
Complicating matters was my supervisor began to suspect I was looking into the case. I was promptly suspended on falsified charges and placed on administrative leave. With no further recourse, I was forced to enlist help from less-than-conventional means— shadowrunners. Using a previous undercover identity that the bureau did not know about, I began masquerading as a new-to-Seattle hacker looking for work. After participating in several low-key runs for a month to prove my skills and to enhance my reputation, I was able to make several contacts, including a young hacker going by the handle of Tauren. In a roundabout way, it was this association with Tauren (and, through him, Project Freedom) that gave me my first break in the case. Using Tauren to network with other hackers and others in the shadow community, I was able to locate a secret node in the Seattle Public Works server that Bill was using for his private files. My attempts to hack the file were largely successful, and I was able to secure several files written in code. This was not the normal code that a decryption program could deal with, it was an old-fashioned code that had to be de-cyphered with a key. Still, I put my best agents on the task in hoping I could get lucky. Two weeks later, I got a break.
The files were incomplete but had enough information that indicated that Bill was indeed working as a handler and liaison between Brackhaven, Alamos 20,000, and Humanis. There were references to things such as Firefly and Stonewall, but at the time I had no clue what they really were. I wished that I had, because it may have saved several lives. Firefly referred to the operation by Alamos 20K that firebombed the Ork Underground. While Bill was not directly involved, he provided the logistical and intelligence support that had made the bombings possible. Had I only been better at my job, then perhaps those children would be alive today.
When I wasn’t helping Tauren with Project Freedom business, I kept myself sane (mostly) by focusing on what I could while also investigating possible persons of interest indicated in Jennifer’s file as either possible Brackhaven collaborators, potential allies, or pos- sible threats. See file #4462-Romeo for my notes.
As my investigations continued, I also found myself swept up into the various events surrounding Prop 23 in both the Underground and on the regular streets of Seattle. As the situation became more and more desperate for Project Freedom, I found myself becoming less and less objective and drifting away from my own investigation. Granted, if my investigation were to pan out, then it would benefit everyone. But still, I made the decision to temporarily break with Tauren and his crew and strike out on my own. I knew where I was going could backfire horribly and I didn’t want it to blowback on Project Freedom. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself. In reality, with everything going on, I didn’t quite know what I was doing.
To regain my focus, I went back to my legwork, chasing down anyone, any lead I had to try to find Bill. Ever since I found his original home node, I had hoped he wouldn’t realize that he had been compromised. But I was wrong again, and by the time I cracked his code, he was long gone and I was back to square one. While I was busy beating my head into a wall, my friends back at Project Freedom were facing their own troubles. Tauren’s father, another hacker named MacCallister, who went by the handle of Bull, had been doing his own investigation into Brackhaven, specifically in connection to his daughter’s murder. He had found a connection to Edmund Jefferies, Brackhaven’s press secretary, through a man named George Mathers. Mathers had secretly contracted the copycat killer that murdered MacCallister’s daughter, and now he was going after him. But someone was out to take care of MacCallister before that could happen. Another bomb ripped through the Underground and almost killed MacCallister.
When I heard about this, something clicked in my mind, and I went back to my notes and realized what Stonewall was—it was a reference to a plan to remove MacCallister from play. Again, I was figuring it out, but too late to do any good. Thankfully, MacCallister survived. I tried to go back to the Underground, to spill my guts and tell them everything hoping it would prevent more tragedies. Too bad I never made it there. MacCallister wasn’t the only one who had gotten someone’s attention. On my way to the Underground, my car was ambushed, and I was taken prisoner.
I don’t know how long I was out, but I woke up in an old meat locker in Tacoma. Of course I didn’t know that at the time, but it was a trivial detail compared to the beatings I received. For two days, a troll and an ork used me as their personal punching bag as they tried to get me and talk. I almost did—no one can take beatings like that forever. I honestly thought I was going to die, but on the third day, I arose … sort of. More like I was picked up by some runners hired by Tauren to find me.
During my convalescence, Tauren and I talked. I came clean about who I was. I expected him to be furious, but he just laughed and said I was “One crazy fucker.” Two weeks later, I was well enough to leave under my own power, albeit a little slower. I contacted the runners who had saved me, a street sam named Bingo, a rigger named Dice, and a shaman called Three-Feet (don’t ask—I wish I hadn’t). I had grown tired of playing defense and decided to go on offense. Two weeks of kicking down doors amid the chaos of the DA mur- ders got us some solid leads, which led us to a small warehouse in Renton. I don’t really recall those few days very well, mostly because I don’t want to. I was in a rage over what was happening in the Underground, and what happened to me. All of it. I did things I never thought I would do. I beat information out of people, just like it had been done to me. I lied, not the usual trickery law officers often use, but I lied and stabbed people in the back. I knew that I was slowly becoming that what I hated in order to get those who were hurting others. That didn’t bother me so much, as I was starting to like it.
After a few bashed-in heads, we got a solid lead to Bill’s location. The source had it on good authority that it was one of Bill’s safe house/staging areas. There was no guarantee that Bill would be there, but I had nothing else at this point. So my team and I (yeah, I was a real shadowrunner now) did what all runners do. We scouted the place, did our legwork, and then blew open the front door. After a quick little firefight with a few gangers hired to watch the place, we hit paydata. Located in a vault in the back of the safe house were several data chips with not only detailed plans about the fire bombings and the attempt on MacCallister, but about an upcoming oper- ation labeled Daybreak (see#4471-Charlie).
What I read among the files made me sick. This was an order for wholesale murder and wanton destruction. Also contained on the chips were several correspondences between Brackhaven’s chief of staff and Bill. Most of them were direct orders from Brackhaven to begin various stages of the plan as soon as Bill was ready. Also included were account numbers for funds, preferred targets both living and locations. It was all laid out. But I also learned something else, Daybreak was a plan that would never happen.
According to the various letters, Brackhaven was pissed. Thanks to meddling and operations behind his back by his own staff, Day- break was scrubbed and new objectives were ordered. These objectives corresponded with several of the incidents that had already occurred in the underground. It was all there, ready to go. There was only one problem: While I knew who Bill was talking to, there was no way for me to prove it. These files could easily be forged. I needed to find a witness, I needed to find someone to verify these files were real. I needed someone to testify.
As my grandfather use to say, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Two days before the vote, I received a comm message from Ed- mund Jefferies. He didn’t come out and say it, likely for fear someone was listening in, but he indicated that he would be willing to testify against Brackhaven in exchange for protection and immunity. I am now on my way to the meet to speak with Jefferies. I’m taking along backup, my “crew,” and we’re going to see if we can convince Mr. Jefferies the benefits of doing the right thing. I don’t know how this will end, and in case this goes badly or this is a set up, I am sending this out in the hopes that it will find the right hands.
/Open/file:4462-Romeo/execute OPERATION DAYBREAK Purpose:
1.To prevent the passing of Proposition 23 by highlighting the dangers of Ork Underground.This will be achieved by hiring operatives to commit random and various crimes and plant evidence that they are from the Underground/Project Freedom.
2. To prevent the truth from coming out by eliminating members of Project Freedom.
3.To increase the public level of fear and hatred against Project Freedom and the Ork Underground.
4.To increase the level of public admiration of the Seattle government by allowing them to successfully deal with the ork menace.
Step one: Hire various deniable assets using funds from emergency accounts.
Step two: Leak specific information to various media outlets in exchange for favorable press and public support. Bonus if
opportunity is presented to government to kill Prop 23 on grounds of public safety.
Step three: Begin elimination of key figures in Project Freedom.
Step four: Using Knight Errant and/or Metroplex Guard, assault and/or seal up Ork Underground.
Step five: Create siege of Underground, cut off all power and food supplies and starve them.
Step six: Send in various forces to take control of the Underground.
Notes: Steps one and two should begin no later than 02/01/74 and be completed by 04/01/74. If unsuccessful, proceed directly
to step three and then four. Key leaders of Project Freedom should be eliminated by no later than 06/01/74. Total completion expected on or about 09/01/74. If vote for Proposition 23 goes forward, and is passed, adjust plan/timetable as necessary but keep overall mission parameters.
Still alive. Last thing I remember is Dice’s blood, all over me, slippery on my hands. Trying to kick out the window of our Rover as it plummeted into the sound. Sucking wind and blood through a bullet hole in my lung, watching the pressure of the deepening waters crack the glass. I was sure I was done for. Then I woke up here.
Some safe house in First Nations territory, under the watchful eye of a Shaman named Glass Child. Guy’s no child, must be nearly a hundred years old, brown, leathery skin like a wrinkled paper bag, ceremonial headdress, buckskin ghost shirt. He says the spirits walk with me, walk through me. That’s not a good enough explanation. No idea how I got here, how I survived. No idea where Jeffries is. Public tridnews says it’s been nearly a month since the last thing I can remember. That can’t be right. At first I thought it was some elaborate con, a scenario set up by Brackhaven’s thugs to get me to talk. But Glass Child let me walk right outside. It’s Seattle, all right, and I seem to have my freedom.
But what happened to the last month? It’s just gone, like a black hole. Not quite, I can see, reflections, in the deepest, blackest waters of the pit where my memories should be. Other people’s lives, like dreams, memories. Incredibly vivid, something vague that I’m not seeing, something more like a feeling. No idea what to do next. Don’t know who to trust. Someone sold me out. I don’t know who—my contacts still in the bureau, Tauren, MacCallister? Don’t want to think about any of them betraying me to Brackhaven. Brackhaven. Bas- tard. Son of a bitch must think I’m deader than Ness.
At least I’m not the only one after him. Looks like Seattle’s district attorney got a hold of my case files, and that finally put a bug up her ass. She empaneled a grand jury to go after Brackhaven, and she’s indicted Jefferies in absentia. More power to her, but I’m not sure how far she’ll get without more evidence. The evidence that I was so close to when everything changed. Shattered.
Glass Child says I need to go, says that I am not welcome with the First Nations, only the spirit that walks with me. The gangbanger kids around here might laugh at Glass Child behind his back, but deep down, they respect him. They want me gone too; after I came to, some of them tried to talk to me in Sioux, made inside jokes with me, things they expected me to get. Like they thought I was someone else. Wish I could consult my own mage, because this shit is spooky. Reminds me of the shedim, but from what I’ve read, you need to be dead first and you never wake up. Anyway, they want me out. Just as well. Need to hit the streets, need to build up my resources, figure out what to do. If Brackhaven thinks I’m dead, at least I have the element of surprise, if nothing else. Still got a few credits in my pockets, even if I don’t remember ever buying these clothes—they’re not exactly my style. I think I still know where I can pick up a nanopaste disguise kit at the Crime Mall.
Happy new year to me. More lost time. Happened again, last week. Woke up in a warehouse down at the Tacoma docks. Surround- ed in shamanic paraphanalia. Dog collar, dog tags, a paperweight, kneeling in a magic circle. There was a piece of mirrored glass next to me; I was wearing a synthleather duster and mirror shades I’d never seen before. A crumpled piece of paper in my pocket had this written, in handwriting that was almost, but not quite, my own: “Who are you and what do you want from me?”
The blackouts are getting longer, and more frequent. I don’t know how to continue the Brackhaven investigation like this. I’ve faced down death dozens of times in the field, but this is different. I’m scared, my dreams are haunted with memories that aren’t mine. What the hell is happening to me?
Came to in the Redmond Barrens, having an argument over the price of zen with this piece of shit ork dealer named Oxycode. He was really freaked out, he said my accent changed and everything, that a minute ago, I’d been talking with a Scottish brogue. But now I was me again, and I had no interest in the wares he was peddling. He got pissed off, told me never to come back. I’m happy to oblige. Forget all of that, even if I am going insane—and it’s not like I can seek out any kind of treatment with Brackhaven still gunning for me— even if I lose who I am forever, lose control of this body to whatever the hell is happening to me, at least I can take Brackhaven down with me. I’ve got it, I’ve got the missing piece, I’ve got everything I need to see him fry. Jeffries is dead or underground, but I managed to get to “Bill,” William Greene, Brackhaven’s corrupt, bigoted weasel of an energy secretary. It took every bit of pull I had left in this town, and it’s a miracle I kept this cobbled-together cyberdeck from shorting out before the hack was done. But I managed to get one of Greene’s agents to relay a message.
Greene is willing to deal, willing to spill the goods on Brackhaven if he can get a pass. The district attorney doesn’t want to let Greene walk, because she never believes she’ll have damning enough evidence to nail Brackhaven to the wall. But I can make promises I don’t have to keep. Greene confessed to me that the governor’s chief of staff Emile Corrigan has an “insurance” policy on Brackhaven that even the governor doesn’t know about. A drek list a mile long, financial records, recorded conversations, enough evidence to bury Brackhaven six feet under. Corrigan has it stashed on a secure server at the Brackhaven Investments headquarters that even the gover- nor doesn’t know about, on the mainframe on server room #8 on the 10th floor. Now, if I can only get it out of there, if I can only keep it together long enough …
Captain’s Log Stardate 779123-Alpha
What the blazes is this doohickey?