Machines lose contact with one of their couriers who was known to be carrying a case with very important items. Agent Gray sends operatives to investigate in the Kedemoth district, and they are confronted by numerous furies gang members, Agent Gray’s prime suspects. The operatives make their way to the furies base, and the furies leader points them to Argon, an exile mob boss who is likely to know what happened. The operatives go to Argon’s club, Club Duality [inside]. Argon says he heard about the case disappearing but that he was not involved, and that Kalt (owner of Kalt Chemicals) is responsible for the creation of the contents. Agent Gray tells the operatives that Machines already knew this to be true, and now can no longer avoid involving Kalt in the investigation.
Even though Kalt prefers to be left alone, Agent Gray and his investigation team proceed to speak with Kalt at an office building owned by Kalt Chemicals. She tells them that she doesn’t know the identity of the thieves but says an advanced signal jamming device was found at the scene, a device only an exile researching program named Silver could create. The team proceeds to the address given by Kalt, a shabby apartment in Camon Heights. Silver acts as if he expected them, and Slasher gang members storm the room but are put down pretty easily. Silver is disappointed by his programs’ lack of effectiveness and thanks the operatives for helping with his research. He says the Demons army gang of Tabor Park approached him to make a jamming device that interferes with Machine scans, and the gang even supplied one of the main components to the device (he doesn’t know how they got it). They go to Tabor Park, and Agent Gray gives the unusual order to destroy all Demons Army exiles on sight until something is found. One data disk is found and uploaded to Gray for analysis.
The Demons Army data disk is decrypted, but analysis of it makes no sense since it is just meaningless words and phrasing. Believing street gangs could interpret it, Grey dispatches the investigation team to the Demons Army’s rival gang, the Crossbones, in order to offer a trade of the decrypted data for the location of the Demons Army leader. After dealing with attacking Crossbones who believe them to be Demons Army spies, they confront Hatchet (Crossbones leader), and he agrees to the deal as long as it could cause harm to the Demons Army. He orders two of his men to help the Machine team find the Demons Army leader Mammon.
Gray’s team rushes to storm the Demons Army base, and they find no guards present and are able to directly confront Mammon. He apparently knew of their arrival all along thanks to his spies. Mammon says that a contact named “Cacophony” provided him with the jammer component but never met him in person. Mammon then arrogantly summons a hoard of guards into the room. The Machine team fights them off and escapes to safety, but the Demons Army assistants don’t make it. Scanning of Machine databases begins for information on Cacophony.
The Machine’s search for Cacophony draws no conclusions and leaves Gray at a dead end. Gray decides to follow through with a meeting planned a long time ago with a new contact, and he sends the team to meet the contact’s bodyguard and give him the investigation data disk as a sign of good will. The operatives are met by Seraph, guardian of the Oracle, and he allows them to see the Oracle after they give him the data disk. The Oracle says that Cacophony doesn’t like peace and quiet and believe he can control things and make things turn out the way he wants them to if he makes enough noise. It is the General. Despite Gray’s dislike of the Oracle, the investigation can now continue.
The Machines are willing to get their case back at all costs, even if it means negotiating with the General. Machines scan for commandos and meet some nearby, proposing a meeting. Their request is “passed up the chain”. The meeting is soon arranged by the General. The investigation proceeds to the agreed location and find the meeting already underway with a pair of agents and several commando squads. The agents tell the operatives that the commandos stubbornly demand sanctioned control over certain areas of the city, which is obviously unacceptable. The agents feel redpills might be better at negotiating with them and allow the machine operatives to take over. However, the commando representative, Waite, feels insulted to be talking to a “lackey”, seeing this as the final straw. He concludes the Machines must be plotting something and has the commandos open fire. With the help of agents, the attackers are easily dealt with. Peaceful negotiations between Machines and the General are out of the question.
After sweeping through several commando bases without finding the cases, Gray becomes frustrated. Gray is then contacted in an encrypted commando message. The General wishes to speak to the Machine’s operatives via a simulacrum recording, and left with no other options, Gray sends the team to the given location. The General says he does not have the case the Machines are after nor any information regarding it, and all attacks against commandos are futile. The message is suspiciously short and to the point and conflicts with information they already have. Gray admits they can no longer count on getting the case and must now focus on damage control and contingency plans. He says a certain level of “instability” is likely, probably referring to the case falling into the wrong hands.
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