It’s 3am, and the team converge on the Grasshopper Factory, a glass-steel enclosure the size of a football field in an increasingly skeezy part of the Sprawl. Inside they can see a variety of buildings, some of them dimly lit, dominated by enormous nesting pylons for grasshoppers – and the air hums with the dull, low-octave rasp of millions of grasshopper legs rubbing together. Even though the Factory has been abandoned, swarms of mutant grasshoppers have survived and continue breeding. There’s another sound, too – the whopwhopwhop of a Breach Stormcloud helicopter drone, the size of a bear, circling the Factory, the stolen Breach rocket launcher mounted on its underside.
Working from schematics that 3dgelord pulled up, the team single out a few locations where the hijackers and the transport van could be, most likely in the sub-basements of the complex. Tanno lies in hiding, the others approach the glass-steel wall away from the shuttered main entrance, and Maddox blows a massive hole in it with his explosive cannon! They run in and dive for cover as the drone swoops in, but Tanno shoots out a rotor from hiding, and Maddox destroys it while it spins out of control.
While Maddox and Sokolov keep watch, Snow and 3dgelord make for one of the buildings so that they can access the Factory’s secure matrix. They find an office – and two armed hijackers! Snow manages to fast-talk them and tell them that the threat is outside, so they charge out into darkness and a whirling storm of angry grasshoppers. The insect swarm confuses Maddox’s optics, and before he can take out the guards they shoot him – his heavy body armour saves his life, but a bullet to the face blasts out one of his cybereyes! Sokolov rescues him and shoots the hijackers, but the team is on the back foot.
3dgelord hacks into the Factory matrix and finds the rest of the hijackers – four armed gunmen, the hacker Redpill and Breach agent Rogers, all in a sub-basement near the generators. Rogers orders two of his men to investigate the comms chatter; they come up the elevator to the main building as Sokolov, Tanno and Maddox try to get there to box them in. Tanno gets there first but gets shot, and the gunmen recognise Maddox as he lays down cover fire. The team manage to take out the two hijackers, but Tanno is hurt and Rogers is preparing to evac with the Octagon.
Sokolov puts the bodies in the elevator and rigs them with a flashbang grenade; the team then head down the emergency stairs to the sub-basement as 3dgelord remotely sends the elevator back down. When it arrives, the last two gunmen investigate – and as the flashbang goes off, 3dgelord seals the elevator, sends it back up and locks it between floors! The team burst out of the stairwell, and Maddox shoots the assault rifle from Rogers’ hands as Tanno gets close; the Breach agent gets off a shot with a pistol just as Tanno fires, and the investigator is critically wounded even as he kills the enemy!
Surrounded and outgunned, Redpill immediately surrenders, telling the team that Rogers was working an authorised mission; Breach and NBN are cooperating to steal the Octagon from ümi, and an NBN transport is on its way to collect the van. 3dgelord and Redpill combine efforts to hack the van’s defences, and finally unlock the back section to reveal the Octagon – a sad-eyed cloned octopus, its body riddled with circuitry, floating in a tank of cloudy water.
The team peel out, collecting Snow and 3dgelord on the way, and meet up with their contact Darling at the beach of the bay, just before dawn. A team of techs swarm over the van and the Octagon,Darling pays their fee in full for delivery, and the team head back to the city.
NBN and Breach have it out for them, the Dead Eyes have been decimated, Tanno and Maddox need medical care, ümi knows too much about them and everyone feels bad about that poor sad octopus – but payday is payday, and that’s all that matters right now.