Never Fade Away is a mini adventure featured in both Cyberpunk 2013 and Cyberpunk 2020. It is the opening of what is considered the Cyberpunk story and revolves around the kidnapping of Alt Cunningham by Arasaka.
A Cyberpunk Adventure
Famed Rockerboy, Johnny Silverhand, plays a show at the Hammer nightclub in Night City whilst accompanied by his girlfriend Alt Cunningham. After the show they slip out the back entrance to avoid the crowds and are spotted by a group of punks in the alleyway ahead. They don the colors of the Icebrothers gang, and invite Johnny for a post-gig drink. Sensing danger, Johnny graciously forgoes the celebrations and positions Alt out of danger and behind the side without his cyber-enhanced namesake arm. Johnny readies his weapon but he is too slow; the trio of punks jump him and he is knocked out in seconds before Alt is kidnapped. Slipping in and out of consciousnesses, Johnny vows revenge
A Media by the name of Thompson observes the scene from a distance. His being there is no coincidence and he waits until the violence is over, knowing the odds are against him. He approaches Johnny and calls in the Trauma Team using his personal card.
The AV picks up the pair and is quickly transported to the Trauma Ward. The doctor working on Johnny is a familiar face, one he has seen from the operating table time and time before and had previously installed Johnny' iconic namesake Silver hand. The Doctor treats Johnny like a son, especially since his actual son, and Johnny's best friend, was killed several years previously. Among the work carried out, Johnny receives several feet of synthetic intestine, none of which will be seen thanks to the work of modern medical technology. Whilst he works, the Doctor chastises Johnny, rhetorically asking when is he going to give this type of life up.
The Naming of Names
Thompson introduces himself as Johnny gears up for a fight with the unknown enemy. He reveals that his attackers were not simple punks, but rather professionals, hired by the Arasaka Corporation; however they weren't there for Johnny, but rather for Alt. Thompson explains that by killing Johnny, the job would look like a typical street hit and divert the attention from Alt's kidnapping. He then informs an oblivious Johnny of Alt's involvement in developing Soulkiller; an unimaginable piece of software that can quite literally remove the mind of a netrunner and imprison them in the digital world. Johnny, aware of the software, is shocked by the revelation that his girlfriend created the piece of software described as the closest thing to hell on earth. It is revealed that Arasaka are developing their own version and it was only a matter of time before the recruited Alt, though in this instance obviously not willingly. Thompson reveals his own grudges with the megacorp and the pair agree to team up to rescue alt.
The duo head to the Atlantis, a run down Night City bar bustling with the contacts looking for work. Johnny is after the solo Rogue, his former lover and part of the Rogue/Santiago duo; a highly recommended solo team reportedly earning up to 5000eb a night. Initially hesitant at the request, Santiago bargains for 30000eb and the deal is made, turning the duo into a team of four. Before further details can be discussed the party is interrupted by a corporate goon, looking to finish Johnny off, though he is no match for Rogue who swiftly takes him out. Rogue, Santiago and Thompson take out four more goons that spring up behind the bar, whilst Johnny narrowly avoids a shot that kills a nearby patron.
The team retreat to Johnny's Porsche as Thompson deduces they were tracked by his Trauma Team card. Before they make it to the car when an Arasaka AV appears overhead as Rogue is the first target in their sites. Before she is gunned down Thompson takes the AV out with a well placed shot from his grenade launcher. Ditching the car to avoid another ambush the team head off on foot. Santiago takes the lead, followed by Thompson and Johnny with Rogue bringing up the rear.
Elsewhere Alt Cunningham is surprised to find herself not in the company of the boosters that kidnapped her, but rather in the relative comfort of an Arasaka facility. She is greeted by Toshiro Arasaka and his bodyguard Akira. After being offered a drink, Alt notices the way in which Akira moves, like that of a professional killer, and decides against making a move against her mysterious kidnappers. It is revealed by Toshiro, that Alt had been nabbed to work for them, a fact that calms her nerves and changes the dynamic of the situation. However the conversation turns sour when he brings up Soulkiller.
A Gathering of Hosts
The team of Johnny, Thompson, Rogue and Santiago are laying low at the abandoned Mark Luxor Hilton hotel. Thompson is scanning the radio whilst Rogue and Johnny are watching the streets for anymore corporate goons on their tail. Santiago then suggests attacking Arasaka head on at their facility on the edge of town, as Alt is either there or has been shuttled back to Japan to the main HQ. Rogue, in agreement, suggests they attack sooner, rather than later, as Arasaka's main forces are probably still patrolling the streets, rather than guarding the HQ. Whilst Johnny is running diagnostic on his arm, Thompson reckons that the Soulkiller program is probably only able to run on the mainframe in the Arasaka facility. The group then begin planning the assault.
Interface the Music
Alt is plugged into the Arasaka mainframe with the intention of recreating Soulkiller by memory. Arasaka netrunners watch her every move and dissuade her from trying anything. Not that any of it matters however, her body lies on the couch of Toshiro's office, in a near comatose state as she is running through the NET. She thinks back on how she originally created the software, initially creating it as a harmless program to contain artificial personalities before later discovering that the software could contain living personalities as well as seamless transfer back and forth, essentially creating immortality. When her employer ITS discovered the work, they set about creating it as a digital prison that kills the body and traps the mind indefinitely. Alt realized that it was only a matter of time before they either kill her, or test the software out on her.
The team have made their plan. An impromptu Samurai concert on the green outside the Arasaka building. The idea is perfect, to raise a literal army of fans, and something Arasaka will never see coming. Rogue and Santiago make supply runs, collecting explosives, rifles and the cyberware needed. Thompson is working hard on the streets, meeting his contacts, making tip-offs to the scremsheets and making sure the word spreads. By noon the whole city knows - the band is Samurai, the time is sundown, and the beer is free. As the day goes on, a restless mob converges on the Arasaka tower.
Alt, deep in the Arasaka mainframe makes a breakthrough with the Soulkiller copycat. She manages to create an artificial construct within the machine, one that Arasaka has not noticed yet, a controller override that may hold the key to her survival.
Seicho Harada, a member of Arasaka security and a Japanese native, watches the scenes unfold opposite the main entrance to the facility. He is bewildered by the anarchy and compares it negatively to the strict discipline of his homeland. He watches as Johnny Silverhand takes the stage, knowing it would cause a massive riot if they were to take him out. He breaks into song, his smash hit Chippin' In, all the while scanning the crowd, building the atmosphere and the watching as his team get into position, ready for Johnny to create a diversion. However Arasaka create it themselves, the guards go over the edge, too much stress causes them to open fire on the crowds. It is not enough as more than six thousand rabid fans pounce and storm the lobby of Arasaka. Santiago covers the crowd, picking off guards with his high powered sniper rifle. Rogue and Thompson enter the lobby disguised as members of the Iron Sights, a known Arasaka collaborator. Rogue takes out the guards behind the desk and the duo race ahead of the crowd towards the elevators. She places explosive charges in the remaining elevator and sends it up to the executive offices. Johnny joins the pair, covered in a bloody Arasaka guards jacket, the name on the tag reads Seicho Harada. The trio move up throughout the building, evading the Arasaka security before hopping onto the top of the elevator cars to avoid the gunfire. As they approach the upper floors she activates the shaped charges that have stopped outside the executive offices.
Elsewhere in the building Toshiro can't help but admire Johnny's plan and instructs Akira to move troops into stairwells and to shoot anything that leaves the elevators. He approaches Alt, weary that time is short and Johnny could burst in at any moment. He orders Akira to hold Alt, and asks his techs if the software is ready. They confirm and he jacks into the mainframe and tests the program on Alt, ripping her mind out of her body.
In the mainframe, Alt trawls through information on Arasaka, diverting funds from Saburo Arasaka's personal accounts, wiping the software's code, fries the brains of the three netrunner techs and uses the rooms laser controls to burn Akira's cyberoptics. Toshiro watches on in astonishment, complimenting Alt's skills in escaping her certain doom. As she goes to transfer her mind back into her body, the explosive charge goes off. Toshiro manages to disconnect Alt from the cyberdeck as the trio burst in. Johnny rushes to Alt, but realizes its too late. Her lifeless body resting on the couch as her mind is lost in the machine. Thompson starts to broadcast the scene, his big scoop to take down Arasaka as he confronts Toshiro, however a defeated Johnny tells him to cut the feed before he shoots Toshiro dead. Johnny leaves with Alt's lifeless body as her digital form silently screams from inside the mainframe.
- It is unclear if Toshiro Arasaka is directly related to Saburo, as no other mention of him exists within the series.
- Arasaka is described as a small-time corp by Thompson, who compares its size negatively with EBM.
- This mini adventure is designed to be played by a group of 4 players, with tips and tricks for each scenario. The book also gives referees a way to save Alt, suggesting they hook her back into the machine. However for the sake of the story, this is considered non-canon.
- The adventure takes place on April 15th and 16th 2013
PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk 2020. 2nd ed. Berkeley CA; R.Talsorian Games, 1990.