FIRESTORM: A History of the Fourth Corporate War
In late 2021, two rival aquatech companies, OTEC (Ocean Technology and Energy Corp) and CINO (Corporation Internationale Nauticale Et Océanique), came to fiscal-and then physical blows over the disposition of a defunct third corporation, IHAG (Internationale Handelsmarine Aktiengesellschaft). As the situation escalated, each side brought in heavy muscle to back their play: Militech in case of OTEC and Arasaka for CINO's corner. The Ocean War was on. During this phase of the conflict, players can take either side, running missions on behalf of CINO or OTEC. Each company is looking to acquire stock in IHAG, but they are too closely matched in buying power for one side to gain a clear edge. So, they decide to whittle down their opponents resources to gain leverage. During the Ocean War, a few notable things occur:
- The fight starts with combat netrunners making runs on stock holdings.
- NetWatch (Net Police who work for Internet) warn Arasaka and Militech to curtail their net activites with a 12 hour communications embargo.
- Morgan Blackhand signs on with Militech as Acting Director of OTEC Security Operations.
- Eurobank wants to increase profit by offering loans to both sides, both of which refuse. This forces EuroBank into the conflict, trying to hurt both sides enough to where each is looking for more assets to tip the scales. It doesn't happen.
- Eurobank finally steps in to negotiate between the two and get things calmed down. Peace accord signed in Paris.
As you'd expect when two giants step into a small ring, the war quickly stopped being about OTEC vs CINO and soon became about Militech vs Arasaka. By the time Eurobank stepped in to help the two aquatech corps finally cash in and come to terms over IHAG, their security firms were just getting warmed up. By early 2022, a violent and pervasive Shadow War was in full swing between the two armament companies. Edgerunners around the world were hired on for a breakneck series of vicious-but-covert-black operations and strikes. Notable events of the Shadow War:
- Arasaka completes research on Soulkiller 2.5, which they use to gain info on Militech projects and installations
- Desperate to protect themselves, Militech asks the best netrunner in the world, Rache Bartmoss for help. He refuses.
- Militech contacts Alt, who is willing to help them destroy Soulkiller - especially if it means taking a shot at Arasaka. Alt finally convinces Rache to help.
- Bartmoss takes control of Arasaka killer satellites (killsats) and uses them to destroy their own space factories.
- Arasaka puts out a huge contract on Rache Bartmoss.
- Bartmoss locates the Soulkiller master program.
- Bartmoss is killed, but not before deploying some unknown program.
Unfortunately, this giant chest-bumping contest between Arasaka and Militech with black ops strikes proved inconclusive, and it was only a matter of time before they decided to stop dancing around and take each other head on. In June of 2022, the Hot War began. The fighting gets taken to the streets and several cities (notably Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro) are reduced to rubble. Notable events of the Hot War:
- Large scale corruption in Net communications discovered. IT people start backing things up.
- Rache Bartmoss returns as a Net persona, hitting both Arasaka and Militech dataforts.
- Evidence of Net tampering appears. Attacks from both sides hit incorrect targets based on misinformation. Some stop routing data through the net.
- Killsat almost destroys the Crystal Palace (Orbital Space Colony)
- O'Neill Two Orbital Colony declares indpendence, acknowledged by US and Japan. They defend their independence with weapons acquired from an unknown source.
- SoCal declares that Militech and Arasaka holdings in LA are being nationalized. Texas and Japan soon follow.
- Militech aligns itself with the US Government.
- Arasaka loses the war. It's remaining forces amass in Night City, which is ringed by Militech and US Troops.
- Night City is under Martial Law for the duration of the crisis, but is very much under Arasaka control.
With this stage set, the players and major NPCs go on a final mission against Arasaka:
THE FINAL MISSION: The Guns...Silenced
Most of the major NPC's (Rogue, Shaitan, Spider Murphy, Thompson, Johnny Silverhand) are assigned to Strike Team Alpha, whose mission is to gain entrance to Arasaka Tower, get to the 120th floor where the Soulkiller labs are, destroy Soulkiller 3.0, rescue Alt (who was consumed by Soulkiller herself and has since become a digital personality construct) and destroy the lab with a firebomb. This is the primary mission.
Strike Team Beta, which is the players team, is assigned to provide an important distraction: Get in and head deep underground where the Soulkiller database is at and destroy it with a small nuke. They need to use a nuke because the bunker is built to withstand a nuclear strike. This won't cause major damage to the city itself, but should destablize the tower. Before the database is destroyed, they need to make a copy of it and bring it back with them. What the players don't know is that they actually have the primary mission. The NPC's are the distraction: The Arasaka database has info that can topple governments, shatter alliances and change the world of 2024. Additionally - since the database is kept offline, it hasn't been affected by the corruption making its way through the Net, which higher ups now know is a much greater problem than initially thought. Such a pristine database could be the most powerful weapon of all.
So... with a lot of planning and complications, the players somehow get in and prepare to set off the nuke, while trying to get access to the database. While doing so, they find the engram of Yorinobu Arasaka, whose mind has been copied by Soulkiller. They have a choice to make: They have enough memory on their portable storage device to backup the database OR Yorinobu. Yorinobu Arasaka could be very important. He is a rogue son of Arasaka who formed the Steel Dragons bike gang and was always trying to expose the corporation. Getting him out would widely be regarded as a good thing. In any case, the database does not make it out. Meanwhile, on the 120th floor, Strike Team Alpha is in for trouble:
Kei Arasaka realizes that hostile forces have entered the tower and tries to send a backup of Soulkiller to a remote location. This forces Morgan's hand, who orders in an aerial strike to destroy the uplink. Once this occurrs, it verifies that Soulkiller is the target and tips their hand - allowing Kei to send forces to those locations in the tower - which puts added pressure on each team. Alpha Team is successful, and Spider Murphy downloads Alt to a storage unit. Unfortunately, they are ambushed by Adam Smasher and a ton of Arasaka troops before they can get out. In desperation, Spider uploads Alt into the Net, to hopefully be retrieved one day if she's lucky enough to survive.
Johnny Silverhand leaps from cover to provide an opening, and is gunned down by Adam Smasher. Shaitan jumps on Adam to buy an escape for Rogue, Spider, and Thompson - the last of which is critically injured. Adam, in pursuit, runs into his arch-rival: Morgan Blackhand - the Solo's Solo. Widely regarded as the greatest edgerunner on the planet, the two face off, each intent on ending the other.
In a hail of bullets and explosions as the two legends battle it out, the nuke goes off. The tower lurches. Both Adam and Morgan fall. Their fate is unknown, but both are presumed dead. Arasaka Tower collapses, obliterating everything in its path: Mashalls's Department Store, a night club, 10th Street Center. The East Tower crushes the Night City Stock Exchange, some abandoned Militech facilities, and West Plaza Executive Tower. Debris causes severe damage to the US Federal Building and Japanese Consulate. Microtech and World News Service towers are both heavily damaged.
Shaitan, grievously injured by Adam, makes it out, as does Thompson, Rogue, and Spider Murphy. Unfortunately, Kei Arasaka escapes - but not for long. He is later caught by Spider, Shaitan, and Rogue and forced to commit seppuku at gunpoint by plugging into a drive containing the last copy of Soulkiller, which Spider presents him with. His engram goes to a prison set up by Rache Bartmoss for Kei's father, Saburo Arasaka. Spider then destroys the last copy of Soulkiller.
- Did Yorinobu get saved?
- Did Morgan Blackhand and Adam Smasher survive their fall?
- Is Alt still out there in the Net?
- What happened to the corruption of the Net? Has it affected Alt in some way?
- Where did the engrams of the victims of Soulkiller 3.0 go since weren't in the Arasaka Tower database?
- What happened to Saburo Arasaka since his clans collapse?
- Where is Kei's engram being held and what is planned for it?
- Where did O'Neill Two get the resources and weapons to fight and win their independence?