“Autorun initiated.” The files were opening. There was a flurry of code running across his screen. Ones and zeroes, old binary machine code. It was beautiful.
In The Source , cyber-explorer Nasir Meidan departs Heinlein for Earth and the relative safety of his apartment. There, he stares at the drive in his hand before booting up his console. Was he able to complete his download? Does this drive truly contain the net’s legendary source protocols? What will he find? After a series of thrilling encounters with Corporate security measures and security officers, all he has to do is pull up the files…
For five Data Packs, the Lunar Cycle has depicted the different ways that the lunar environment impacts the cat-and-mouse struggles between Corps and Runners, and as it returns those struggles to Earth, The Source takes a final look at the moon’s grail ice, locations, and Corporate divisions.
At the end of your lunar expedition, the sixty new cards in The Source (three copies each of twenty different cards) reveal surprising new takes on life, evolution, and death in the virtual world and the cyberstruggles of Android: Netrunner . You’ll find assets that reward Corps for birthing new servers and others that can self-destruct. You’ll find self-propagating viruses waiting to explode into the network, and you’ll find programs that reward you for jacking out of your runs.
Arriving at Utopia
Throughout the Lunar Cycle , we’ve seen several shards and fragments that have splintered off from the net’s legendary source protocols. InThe Source , Corps gain access to another fragment, quite possibly the most perfect and harmonious of them all, the Utopia Fragment ( The Source , 110).
This unique agenda is limited to one per deck and offers three points for five advancement, a fairly mundane ratio of points to advancement. However, once scored, the agenda is anything but mundane; it’s more like a bit of code has come to life and started working for you. It’s not unlike magic.
Once scored, Utopia Fragment forces the Runner to pay an additional two credits for each advancement token on an agenda in order to steal it. By itself, Utopia Fragment can make it prohibitively expensive for the Runner to steal advanced agendas and may promote the use of even more high-advancement, high-reward agendas. Of course, it can also be used to an even more devastating effect in combination with multiple layers of taxing ice and agendas, like NAPD Contract ( Double Time , 119), that already can’t be scored unless the Runner’s willing to fork over the credits.
Waiting to Be Born
Could it be possible that data drive in Nasir Meidan’s hands is the key to unlocking some horrible secret? What if it were a virus waiting to be pulled out of isolation and injected into the net? What if it were a virus like Incubator ( The Source , 113) or Ixodidae ( The Source , 114)?
Anarchs have long been the game’s greatest proponents of virus programs, and that’s certainly not something about to change with The Source . The two viruses that Anarchs gain in this Data Pack empower virus-based strategies by working well with other viruses.
For three credits, Incubator lurks in the background, spawning virus tokens every turn until you choose to spend a click and trash it to boost another of your virus programs. Incubator can effectively double the rate at which your Parasite( Core Set , 12) chews through a layer of ice, or it can accelerate the evolution of your Darwin ( Future Proof , 102). Moreover, since Incubator allows you to stockpile and then transfer your virus tokens without taking any specific actions, it offers you a way to activate Chakana ( Creation and Control , 43) or Deep Thought ( Future Proof , 108), without running on R&D.
Still, running is at the heart of the Runner’s game. It’s just a matter of where you’ll want to run and which benefits you’ll hope to derive from running. To that end, Ixodidae partners perfectly with Lamprey ( Upstalk , 14). When you have both in play, your successful runs on HQ will both drain credits from the Corp and drip them into your account. In fact, they’re so potent together that it’s almost a given the Corp will spend a turn purging virus counters in order to get rid of them, but baiting the Corp into spending clicks in that manner is just another way of draining its resources.
Complete Your Journey
What will you take from the moon at the end of the Lunar Cycle ?