You should have died.
Somewhere along the line things went bad. Really bad. Bad enough that your vision went fuzzy, your vitals started to crash, and you blacked out in a world of pain. It looked to be the end of the line.
You awoke in the ICU strapped to machines and with no record of who admitted you. The doctors barely glanced in your direction and when you were released a week later you were handed your possessions and informed that the bills were paid. Among your personal possessions was a strange black commlink emblazoned with a red X and a certified credstick containing enough money to sustain you for a month.
You attempted to rebuild your previous life, to find out just where things went so wrong. All inquiries pointed to a Mr. Johnson, a smug bastard of a human with red eyes and black hair. His true identity was shrouded in mystery and all attempts to locate him failed. That's when the strange requests started coming from the black commlink.
At first they were simple. They promised “karmic rewards” for simple things, like buying a man a cup of soykaff or leaving a spare clip of ammo on a stairwell. Every act of compliance was met with a small stroke of good luck; minor but incredibly useful perks. And when the requests were ignored small patches of bad lucked seem to follow.
Then came the first big request. “For a karmic reward meet the following individuals and liberate John Smith from the Lone Star Security Building within 24 hours.” Whether it was fear, greed, or simple curiosity you decided to fulfill this request as well. You met with the listed individuals and successfully extracted John Smith from his cell hours before his extradition for a crime he (supposedly) didn't commit. He thanked you profusely and his driver handed you a certified credstick containing 50,000 nuyen.
Shortly after your first big success a new message arrived. It read “Phoenix Protocol initiated.” Since that time you have ceased to exist in any official capacity. Records of your birth, activities, even your name have erased. You are a digital ghost protected by a powerful and unknown benefactor who communicates only by cryptic requests that promise karmic rewards.
Of course you're free to walk away at any time. None of the reprisals seem to be lethal. But how would you unravel the mystery of the Exchange? Just what did they mean by Phoenix Protocol? And are they connected with the Johnson that left you for dead? The only way to know for sure is to dive deeper into the mystery that is the Phoenix Exchange.