Son of Man
Author: David Gilbert
“Son of man, thou dwelst in a rebellious house that has eyes to see, but sees not. They have ears to hear but hear not.”
You GM’s should be able to run this adventure with your players rather easily and without many changes. It isn’t too hard to add more enemies for your trigger happy psychos to blow away and to beef up the existing bad guys. Although it takes place in the Oceanpunk environment it is mainly intended for dryland teams venturing out to sea. The oceanpunk rules are not vital to the adventure but they do help. Everything you may need can be downloaded from Morninmans page which is in the links list but don’t feel obliged to do so, just improvise the other stuff needed. For more idea about freeholds read “Snowcrash”.Finally it must be said that the scenes are rather sequential and do force the players down a rather narrow plotline but the complexity of the story requires this. I have tried to make it as free as possible but there is only so much I can do…the rest is up to you. I hope you enjoy playing it and remember… have fun, that’s why we’re here!
In 2006 Biotechnica’s Paris laboratory succeeded in creating the first human clone. They claimed it lived for only six hours. They lied. After Biotechnica told the press they were close to creating the clone there was a public outcry. To avoid any nasty lawsuits or bad press, Biotechnica was quick to claim that the clone died shortly after his “birth”. But the child, brain damaged and weak, survived. Biotechnica scientists secretly transported the clone child from Paris to another laboratory in Night City and he has been there ever since. Biotechnica now had a human test subject that legally did not exist, it did not take them long to see the advantages of such a person. The child was experimented on ruthlessly for years up until last night. Because this morning, when the lab was opened up, he was gone, and two of the lab technicians have not turned up for work today.
Immediately the Biotechnica executives were informed and the Night City offices of Biotechnica were thrown into a quiet panic. If the clone was ever brought to the media the results would be catastrophic for them. But they have people to deal with this sort of problem. Enter the players.
Scene 1 – Breakout
The P.C.s first encounter with this situation will be a brief phone call early on a Tuesday morning from the company AI, Masslight. It will inform them, in a cool artificial voice, that they are required at the offices straight away. Once there they are quickly taken to a conference room.
“You are rushed into a lift by a worried young executive, he bashes one of the floor buttons and, under his breath, tells the lift to ‘Get a move on!’ You stand idle for a few seconds, listening to the sickly sweet lift music. Once on the appropriate floor he rushes you between the slow sliding steel doors before they are fully opened and starts moving quickly down one of the many corridors, urging you to follow him quickly. After a few turns you are thoroughly lost in this dull grey, executive maze but he seems to know where to head and eventually leads you to a door guarded by two internal security types. They give you a blank look from behind their polished sunglasses as you are ushered into the conference room.
A corp stands next to a slide projector fiddling with a cartridge of slides whilst another corp sits on one of the chairs at the large table in the centre. He talks calmly but firmly into his mobile. ‘I just don’t care what kind of problem you’re having there, get it in position.’ There is a pause as the other person replies. The corp looks agitated. ‘Just get it there! Now!’ He stabs one of the buttons on the phone and slips it into his jacket pocket as he finally registers your presence. ‘Good, you’re here. Take a seat and let me tell you our problem.’ He waits for you to sit and then gestures to the other corp who seems to have figured out the workings of the slide projector. The lights go down and the show begins. An image of a young Asian lady appears on the screen. It seems to have been taken from a security pass or the like. She wears a Biotechnica lab coat.
‘This is Janet Bashir. This next one is Mark Thomas,’ A young, white face appears on the screen. His glasses and scruffy beard make him seem like the usual lab geek. ‘Last night these two people left our service. I want you to track them down and kill them both, as well as the third unknown party that will be travelling with them.’ His bluntness is shocking but it is good to see a corp talk plainly for once instead of the executive babble you usually get about ‘dealing with’ and ‘silencing’ people. ‘We will deposit two thousand Eurodollars in each of your accounts for each one you kill.’ They must really want these people dead!”
Let the P.C.s ask some questions here, although the corp does not know much. He will allow them access to the personnel records and the like but will urge them to get moving right away. The corp can offer no clue as to where they should start, he will tell them that that is what they are being paid for. He can tell them nothing about why they are to kill these two people or who the third party is. Shortly before the P.C.s leave his mobile phone rings.
“‘Hello?’ A sense of urgency covers his face. He turns to you, ‘We’ve traced call from Mark Thomas’ mobile phone down at the docks, pier 34. Get down there now and find them.'”
If they do not get a move on the corp will get agitated and start shouting at them to get moving. He will give them the number for his mobile phone and tell them to contact him and inform him of any developments.
Scene 2 – The Docks
Since this is a weekday the docks are heaving with cargo going in and out. The P.C.s may find it very easy to get into a fight here when they accidentally tip over some cargo or bump into some salty seadog who is cruising for some action. Let the P.C.s feel that this place is rough but also remind them that there are policemen wandering about the docks making sure nothing starts. There has been a bombing of one of the warehouses early in the morning and the police presence is heavy. When they arrive,
“The morning sun hot on your back and already the fresh smell of the sea is turning into a rather putrid odour of fish and effluent. All this mingles with the acrid smell of smoke that makes the air so oppressive. Away in distance you can see a dark plume of thick, black smoke rising from one of the warehouses. You walk down the crowded pier heading towards pier 34. The police give you a sly look as you pass the smouldering warehouse. When you reach pier 34 it is almost as busy as the rest of the docks with dockworkers loading crates onto cargo nets where they are hauled onto the old, rusty cargo freighter at the side of the pier called the “Potenti” out of Hong Kong. The ship looks like it should be sitting on the bottom of the ocean not floating on top, you suspect that any minute it will collapse under its own weight.”
Now they are at the location they will probably want to have a look around for the targets. Give them the impression that they are not welcome, because they are not! Janet Bashir’s brother is the first mate on the ship that is being loaded. It is well known that all the dockworkers and sailors pull together in an emergency and Raphael Bashir has called in a lot of favours to help his sister. He is planning to take Janet, Mark and the clone child, which they have named Adam, to a safe place on the Midway Freehold just off the shore of Hawaii. His friends there will look after them until they can get passage to somewhere more permanently safe.
The dockworkers, who owe Raphael for some smuggling his boat did for them, have been told that some corp types might turn up and they have been instructed to stall them, not kill them which would bring down too much trouble, the favour was not that big. When the P.C.s arrive the escapees are already on the boat and are minutes from leaving. Let the players snoop around and ask questions, the dockworkers will merely reply that they have not seen anyone matching the description of the escapees. This is, of course, a lie and a HUMAN PERCEPTION-18 test will spot that they are not telling the truth. As soon as the players decide to have a look on the ship or start acting aggressively the facade will fall and the dockworkers will get mean. They will attack the P.C.s with planks and pipes but no one will draw a gun, they know that as soon as a shot is fired the dock police will be there in a flash and start shooting everyone. Better to just rough them up a little and get rid of them just long enough for the ship to get underway.
As soon as the fight starts the ship will leave the docks and the players should be left watching it disappear into the distance. If the players somehow get on board they will have to hide well because the first sign of a stow away will start the crew combing the ship for more and anyone found will be thrown overboard for the fishes.
If the players get the chance to interrogate any of the dockworkers later a successful INTERROGATION-20 test will reveal that the escapees were on the boat.
Scene 3 – A life on the ocean waves
The players will probably return to the offices or give the corp a call. They should suspect that the escapees were on the boat and further inspection in the dock records office will reveal that the first mate was Raphael Bashir and the ship was bound for Hong Kong. If they still do not understand give them something more obvious and avoid giving away too many improvement points at the end for being so stupid.
Now they will have to chase the boat. If they do contact the corp then he will quickly arrange a passage on a Biotechnica tanker full of chemicals bound for Hong Kong. They are to leave that evening from pier12. The Biotechnica exec’s want the players on a boat as opposed to a plane just in case the ship makes any unexpected stops. Make sure you get your players to list EXACTLY what items they are bringing as there will be not chance to swap things later, they will not be home for a long time. In this time they can get more details on the escapees from the Biotechnica records division but only if they ask for them. The company will supply various information concerning the escapees background. There is not much information there, work records (both average), psych profiles (Janet is forceful yet compassionate, Mark is timid and rather indecisive and there were some serious considerations about whether he should be working in the lab) and finally a background report which the P.C.s may find interesting. They will discover that Janet’s family live in Hong Kong and even an address is supplied, it also mentions her brother, Raphael, although it says nothing of interest.
Once they are ready to go,
“Back at the docks things have quietened down a little. The police have gone and all the workers have left. Only a few people wander around on their way to other places. In the distance can be heard the merriment from one of the many dockside bars. Eventually you reach pier 12 and the vessel that you will be going to sea in. Even in the cool blue of the evening you can see the rusty patches on the hull just covering the name “Helena”. Several crew wander around on deck dealing with last minute preparations. You head for the gang plank.
A young man stands at the end in a smart Biotechnica uniform carrying a clipboard. He sees you approaching and offers a warm smile. ‘Good evening gentlemen, I’m First mate Henderson, you’re our last piece of cargo to arrive. Step onboard and we’ll get underway.’ He gestures you onto the ship and puts a last check on his paper.
After being lead through the narrow winding passages deep in the ship he shows you your rooms. Each room has two tiny bunks, barely long enough for you, and a small desk with drawers underneath. ‘It may not be much but it’s the best we can do at such short notice. If you can’t stand it then we have a common room on the deck above and the canteen is just next to that, dinner is at half-seven, breakfast at half-eight and lunch at one. We usually show a film around nine in the common room. As long as you don’t get in the way of the crew too much we should have you in Hong Kong in a few days time without any trouble.’ He turns to leave but then looks back at you a little pensively. ‘I meant what I said about the crew, you’ll have no problems with the officers but just be careful around the men.’ He offers you a smile and then walks off.”
Let the P.C.s unpack and argue over who gets the top bunk and then tell the P.C.s that the crude speakers mounted in the corner of the room announces it is time for dinner.
“The canteen is packed with a lot of men, well over fifty. Most are big guys with tattoos who have obviously done this all their lives, all of them are dressed in deep red Biotechnica boiler suits. They are laughing and joking and seem in good spirits but you notice one or two of them look at you strangely.
Henderson catches your eye and waves you over, there are several seats free on the officers table that seem to be reserved for you. You sit down and examine the meal set before you. Not bad, almost looks real, better than something from Quickiemeal anyway.”
There are several officers on the table as well as the captain, Riley. Have the players introduce themselves and make small talk for a while. Eventually one of the younger officers gets curious.
“Amongst all the talk a young officer turns to you and asks ‘So, what are you heading to Hong Kong for?’ the talk dies down a bit and the Captain steps in. ‘Now, Geller, I’m sure that whatever these gentlemen are involved with does not concern us. It’s all for the good of the company.’ Geller looks a little sheepish, ‘Yes, sir. I’m sorry sir.’ The conversation continues but there is an air of tension now and it is clear that you are considered highly suspicious.”
Anyone passing a HUMAN PERCEPTION-22 will notice that the captain does not really like having the P.C.s around. He does not normally take people like them onboard and has obviously been forced to do so against his will. He suspects that they may cause trouble.
After dinner the officers and crew who are not on duty go to the Common room and a film is screened, “Rocky XII – the cyber years”. After that the crew retire to their rooms on the lower decks. The P.C.s are free to roam the ship as they please. But this is probably not a wise move. The crew of the ship know what happened in the dock that morning and they know that the P.C.s have black marks on their name. They will not do anything yet as the voyage has only just begun, better to wait until they are underway and far away from the authorities. If the P.C.s push their luck it might happen sooner but there is no doubt about it, the P.C.s are not getting to Hong Kong alive.
Scene 4 – Taking a life on the ocean waves
The next morning, after breakfast, the P.C.s will be approached by the radio operator saying that a fax is coming through for them in twenty minutes and that he has been ordered not to view it. He will take the along to the radio room on the top deck and show them where the fax is. Shortly after telling them what to do to receive the fax a bell rings and he walks out.
“The machine slowly prints out what appears to be an aerial photograph of a ship. Following that page comes a report stating that the ship shown is the Potenti and is has been tracked by satellite. The ship has continued its course towards Hong Kong without change and is a days journey ahead of you. Since both ships are travelling at roughly the same speed the “Helena” Should dock the day after the “Potenti” arrives in Hong Kong. Once there you are to continue tracking them as before with the help of a representative from Biotechnica’s Hong Kong office.”
Let the P.C.s plan how they are going to do things and then let them kick about the ship for the day. Nothing much will happen unless the P.C.s cause it to. That night, after dinner and another film, let the P.C.s make a AWARENESS/NOTICE-22 test. If they pass they will notice that the crew do not go directly to their rooms but some will head in another direction. If the P.C.s decide to follow have them make a STEALTH-19 test. If they pass they will follow the crew down to the cargo hold and hiding amongst the chemical barrels they will hear them plotting to throw the P.C.s over board the next day saying that they can not be allowed to follow the “Potenti” to Hong Kong. If they fail the crew will see them and merely split up and head for their cabins. But it should be obvious that their time is up.
If the P.C.s act like things are normal or are unaware of the crews intentions then the crew will grab them the next day and try and throw them off. If the P.C.s try anything else to stop them then the event may happen sooner. Whatever happens as soon as the situation worsens there is the sound of gunfire and the ship is suddenly under attack.
Scene 5 – Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of smash
The pirates that are attacking the vessel have been cruising these waters for a few days and, unknown to the P.C.s, have recently attacked the “Potenti” and sunk her. The pirates have, in fact, been hired by someone on the Midway freehold to capture the escapees and then destroy the Helena. It seems that someone else is interested in the escapees.
Meanwhile the “Helena” is under heavy machinegun fire from a slightly smaller ship and two gunboats that are circling and firing upon her. All the commotion with the P.C.s and the fact that the Helena’s radar has been jammed has distracted the crew long enough for the pirate ship to get fairly close. Within a few minutes the pirate ship and the Helena are at each others sides and the pirates begin to swing across on ropes supported by a large crane on the ships deck. There is fighting all over the ship and the P.C.s will undoubtedly have to fight some of the pirates and maybe even the crew of the Helena. Have some small skirmishes with the P.C.s coming into contact with several small groups of pirates, use an equal number of pirates to P.C.s and throw some crew in if you are feeling mean. Remember that the crew may fire on the pirates and the P.C.s. Most of this will be small arms, the crew had no time to breakout the weapons and the pirates do not want to damage the cargo.
After a while, when you think the P.C.s have had enough, the crew will finally breakout the big guns. They have weapons especially for this sort of thing and will fire two ground to air missiles into the hull of the pirate ship which instantly begin to tip over.
“The last pirate coughs up a gout of blood and falls clutching his wound. Just a few meters away from the fighting continues when suddenly there is a tremendous explosion from between the two boats. The action stops for a moment as everyone looks round to see what has happened. From the upper deck of the Helena you see two of the crew reloading a shoulder mounted missile launcher. There is a streak of smoke, a flash and a second later the ship shakes again as the missile rips into the hull of the pirate ship. Debris falls down around you and the pirate ship begins to lean over and sink slowly into the water. The pirates still on the ship panic and some begin to swing across to the Helena to avoid the inferno their ship has become. Most pass directly through the flames and fall screaming onto the deck with their clothes and hair on fire.
Suddenly a gun fires and the battle recommences again. This time there is no hope for escape, or is there. The crane from the pirate ship lets out a horrid, metallic moan and topples down onto the deck of the Helena crushing several of the pirates and crew. From your vantage point you can see that one of the gunboats has had its entire crew killed. It lies about twenty metres of the port side, next to the pirate ship. To get to it you must either climb across the burning crane and dive over the side into the water and hope you do not get sucked under by the sinking ship or run through the gunfire to the ladder that leads down the side of the ship to where the water is calmer.”
If they decide to cross the crane an ATHLETICS-17 test is required. If they fail then they take 1D6 burns and smoke inhalation damage. To dive over the side and reach the boat they must make a SWIMMING-20 test or start being sucked under by the current of the sinking vessel. If they pass then they make it onto the boat without trouble. If they fail then they must make another test the next round. Every round they fail they take 1D6 damage due to falling debris and water inhalation. This damage is not affected by their BTM.
If they run through the gunfire then they must make a LUCK-14 test or be hit by 1D6/2 bullets doing 3D6 damage each. If they reach the ladder then they can make an ATHLETICS-14 test to get down without falling, which causes 1D6 damage, and then a SWIMMING-16 test. If they pass the swimming test then they make it to the boat. If they fail they will just have to wait a round longer to reach the boat.
When they do reach the boat they will find that they are not the only ones with the same idea. Two pirates are trying to start it. They are both armed and not willing to negotiate. If the pirates can be killed then the P.C.s have the boat all to themselves and can escape the battle.
“In the distance you can see the pirate ship dip below the waves. The small flashes and loud cracks of gunfire become few and far between. There are two small explosions on the Helena but she seems to be staying afloat. You wonder briefly who won but cast that thought out of your mind.
Back at the controls you move the boat further away from the remains of the battle. The gunboat is fast and soon the smoke disappears into the distance. You relax a little, they can’t catch you now. But things are not as easy as you think, the fuel warning light starts to flash. You tap the fuel gauge, it shows full. There must be something wrong here.”
The fuel gauge is broken, the warning light is not. The engine will splutter and die out after a few minutes due to there being no more fuel in the tank. The P.C.s will want to have a look around the boat now and will come across some interesting things. First of all, there is an extra barrel of fuel in the small cabin below. They will be quite shocked to see that it is stamped with the name “Potenti”. Looking around the cabin they also find a picture of the Potenti and of the Helena on a piece of paper that looks like almost exactly like the fax they received the day before. Stapled to this piece of paper is another with photos of the two escapees. Underneath these photos are the words.
“Edgar Cole, 48 Lake road, Midway. 500eb for each one and 1000eb for their companion. ALIVE!”
The “Alive” is underlined. On a map in the cabin is a detailed plan of the route both ships were on and two points of intercept with dates showing when the ships would be at the points. Also marked on the map in a red pen is a point called “Midway”. Any character that is from the oceanpunk scene will automatically recognise this as the Midway freehold which is just off the coast of Hawaii.
Once again the players should put two and two together and head for the freehold. They also find a few packs of beers in the cabin and so they can lick their wounds, chug back some beers and sail on through the night. A successful INTELLIGENCE-13 test will get them going in the right direction. If they fail then they will drift off course and eventually meet a trawler. The captain will tell them the correct way to go for 500eb. A PERSUASION-18 test will beat him down to 200eb. The boat is easy to control and they have more than enough fuel to reach Midway. There is also a fishing rod on board. They have had a tough day, give them a break.
Scene 6 – Arriving at Midway
The Midway freehold is not the largest in the pacific. It houses about half a million people and is mostly constructed of driftwood and old ships. Some areas have been converted into huge algae tanks and have the impression of waving fields of green crops from a distance but up close the waves are quite clearly water filled with a greeny-blue algae. This algae is then processed by several factory ships that send out huge columns of steam and smoke from the edge of the lake at the centre of the freehold. This is sold to buyers on the shore and also account for most of the food on the freehold. Everything here has a slightly musty taste to it which is the legacy of the algae.
“You steer the boat slowly through the huge ‘fields’ of green that lie either side of you. People stand on the walkways that surround these fields stirring the green water with long poles. Some look up at you but most continue at their lonely work. You breathe in the air, the salty sea air mingles with a slightly oppressive musty smell. You wrinkle your nose and try to ignore it. A boat similar to yours is slowly making its way down the channel towards you. A man with a loudspeaker comes to the front of the boat whilst two others man the machinegun that dominates the prow. ‘Turn off your engines and prepare to be boarded.’ says the man over the megaphone.”
The man on the boat is a peace officer and is merely on patrol. The P.C.s may want to start a fight here but this will bring more patrol boats. If they let the patrol boat board them they will have a look over the boat and then ask what they are doing on a known pirate boat. A PERSUASION-18 test is needed to convince the peace officer that they are not pirates. If they do not convince him then they will be asked to head to the centre lake and accompany the peace officers to their head quarters to see if they match any of the pictures of wanted pirates, if they do not match they are free to go and the boat is considered theirs as salvage. If they do convince him he will direct them to the centre lake and apologise for the inconvenience. The players should be stunned at the politeness of the officer. This officer cannot be bought off and if they try they will be spending the night in the cells. Just the night the peace officers have bigger fish to fry than the P.C.s. If they are not arrested,
“After a few minutes buildings begin to appear. Some are old converted boats but most are makeshift dwellings that resemble some of the shanty towns you have seen around the cities on shore. Further in, the fields disappear and the ocean you were sailing on becomes a channel that passes between houses and boats all held together by walkways and bridges. The sea has become an artificial island. People go about their business on the crowded walkways and boats pass you along the busy channel.
Finally you reach a huge area of ocean that is trapped by the freehold. A lake in the middle of the ocean. Boats are docked all around the edges. Some of the ships are enormous but are still dwarfed by the enormity of the lake. A large central channel heads toward the open sea whilst countless others head deeper into the island. It seems you came in through one of the back passages.
You head for an empty spot and pull the ship alongside.”
Once the P.C.s pull alongside the jetty several people will jump aboard and begin tying the boat to the walkway and putting a gangplank across. They are quick and almost as soon as they appear they head off and begin doing the same to another boat. A man with a clipboard will approach the boat and ask the their business and then tell them that docking here will cost them 50eb. If they do not pay they will be told to leave. If they pay they can leave the boat there.
They may want to sell the boat, it will fetch about 5000eb.
Scene 7 – Midway
When the players leave the ship,
“You have heard of freeholds before but you have never actually seen one. The shanty town-like surrounding was misleading and some of the buildings in the centre are quite beautiful. Most are colourfully patterned and decorated. The water channels that replaced roads further towards the edge of the freehold are gone. The walkways become large wooden streets and in some places one cannot see the ocean at all. The crowds bustle here and there and you work your way inbetween them. This seems to be some sort of commercial area, full of shops and small businesses, with the industrial section on the other side of the lake with its chimneys belching steam and smoke into the sky. You contemplate for a moment how strange this place feels to you and you long to be on the other side of the lake amongst the factory ships. All this fresh air can’t be doing city people like you any good.”
Now they are on the freehold they have several options open to them. First of all they may want to try and get in contact with Biotechnica. The only way to contact people off the freehold is from the uplink station in the commercial sector. A call to Night city costs 4eb per minute. The corp will tell them to phone him in three hours. He will then tell them to go to a certain Wavepoint Cafe to meet a Biotechnica representative. He does not know where the satellite pictures onboard the pirate vessel came from and how the pirates knew who to attack. If they go to the cafe,
“You enter the cafe and sit down. It is a pleasant day outside and your table affords a fantastic view of the lake. You are admiring the view when a dark skinned woman approaches you. ‘You guys HAVE to be the Biotechnica people!’ She places her plate of food on the table slips into a seat next to you and throws her braided hair over her shoulder and out of her way.
‘I’m Kass, I understand you guys are in a bit of trouble. How can I help?'”
She will listen to them up until the point where they mention Edgar Cole, “Cole? I know Cole. He’s involved in my mission here. I’ve been on Midway for two months now, eating this crap.’ She dumps a spoonful of some unidentified food onto her plate unceremoniously. ‘Somebody’s been using Biotechnica money to buy computer stuff from Infotech and bringing it here. I’ve seen three shipments come in. They take it down to Cole’s warehouse and take it inside. It never comes out. I’ve been troubling Biotechnica for a month to send a second team here to help me break in and check it out. Looks like I got my wish!’ She smiles and shovels a spoonful of the processed algae into her mouth.”
If the players decide not to contact Biotechnica they will probably meet Kass whilst snooping around the warehouse. Once they are together the team will probably want to break in.
Scene 8 – Break-in
From the outside the warehouse looks just like the others that fill this road. Cole has been hired by an unknown individual to bring all the computer equipment to this warehouse. This particular building is special because the inside has a large section cut out of the floor allowing small submersible vehicles to surface on the inside. It looks like a big swimming pool in the middle of the room. The rest of the building is empty and there are no windows to see inside.
Kass tells the P.C.s that a shipment is due in the night that they arrive and that she is going to find out what happens inside there and why none of crates delivered there ever come out.
The delivery comes at about 9pm. It arrives on a vessel called the “Aries”. The Aries usually delivers food additives that go into the processed algae and add flavourings. But it also brings two or three unmarked crates which are picked up by Cole and two other men and taken to the warehouse. Tonight she suggests that the P.C.s help her and follow where they go.
If they P.C.s agree then she will tell them to meet her outside the cafe at 8:30pm and wait for Cole there. She will be a few minutes late and tell them she got held up by some business. After a few minutes she points across the lake and in the darkening evening light a large vessel can be seen clearing the wide channel that leads to the sea. The Aries has arrived.
“Kass taps you on the shoulder, ‘See that guy there?’ She points at a dark haired man standing by the docks with to larger men behind him. ‘That’s Cole. There two other guys are with him every time a shipment comes in but I never see them at any other time and they are never the same two.’ The Aries slowly makes its way across the lake and finally docks with one of the larger piers. The crane on its deck begin to offload many crates. After about twenty minutes one of the crew approaches Cole and talks to him. Cole nods and follows the crewman. Some crates are lowered over the side. Cole hands the crewman an envelope and the three small crates are loaded onto a small cart pulled by a small tractor like vehicle. Cole and his men leave.
‘Come on,’ says Kass, ‘Let’s go!'”
The crates are taken to the warehouse, Cole unlocks the door and they are taken in. The door is locked behind them. The P.C.s will now have to try and break in. Picking the lock on the door requires a PICK LOCK-19 test. From inside the sound of a generator can be heard. They will probably try and sneak in but this is not necessary as the generator covers any noise they make. Once inside,
“The Warehouse seems normal at first until you notice the centre of the floor. Instead of the wooden boards that cover most of the docks you see dark rippling water like a black swimming pool. Sitting in the centre is a small submarine about ten metres long. Cole stands by and watches the two other men load the three small crates and two other larger crates onto the sub. One man is a large brute with a shaven head the other is a Japanese looking guy who seems a bit spaced out. He accidentally bumps one of the crates against another. Cole shouts ‘For Gods sake, Kenji you fucking junkie, be careful with those. That stuff cost a fucking fortune!’ They very slowly continue loading the crates into the cargo bay of the sub. Once done, a large panel is fitted over the top and closes the compartment. Cole walks across the gangplank, kicks it off and all three of them climb through the hatch at the front of the vessel and close it up. The craft begins to sink into the waves.”
Following them is pretty difficult here. If the P.C.s grab onto the sub they will either asphyxiate before they reach the destination or die due to the pressure. They will have to think of some way to follow them.
“Kass runs over to the edge of the pool. ‘She watches the lights sink deeper and deeper into the darkness. ‘They’re just going straight down.'”
Anyone in the party any good at diving?
Scene 9 – Under the sea
The party may come up with an alternative plan here but they are likely to want to head down into the depths after the sub. If they wait at the warehouse the sub will return twelve hours later.
Kass will suggest they hire out some hardsuits and get below the waves, they will cost 500eb per day each.. The hardsuits are not that hard to operate but to use them well takes a lot of practice. If none of the players have the appropriate skill just tell them that they can move around slowly but they cannot use them in a fight or to do fiddly work. To get down under the warehouse they will need to dive into the lake in the middle and guide the suits towards the warehouse opening. They may want to hire a professional. Kass says she know just the thing. She knows where to get hold of an ex-navy dolphin who has been jacked up and has the intelligence of a human. The dolphin, rather oddly named Gator, agrees to help them for the price of 1000eb.
If they attempt this during daylight.
“Under the freehold things the water is darker. Behind you the lake creates a giant column of light speckled with schools of tiny silver fish that dart around but ahead of you only the tiny cracks in the roads allow shafts of light through. You follow Kass as her hardsuit glides ahead of you.”
If they go under at night,
“The water is absolutely black all around you. The only specks of light are from the tiny cracks in the freehold where streetlight casts tiny shafts of orange light and from the hardsuits powerful suit lights that break through the darkness revealing thousands of tiny animals wafting in the current. Suddenly school of fish shoots past the suit light sending your heart rate flowing. They are pursued by the ugliest fish you have ever seen, some kind of leviathan from the depths. Kass hears your ragged breathing and speaks over the intercom. ‘Don’t worry, they can’t bite through the suit. Well, not the small ones.’ You thank Kass with several mumbled vulgarities.”
Want to have them attacked by something? Go for it. Get a shark to try and chew on of their legs off. The suits will probably have small weapons for protection against this sort of thing. Kass can use her suit well and can see off most marine predators. If they have hired Gator then he will use his nose mounted gun to great effect. Without Gator they will need to search for a long time for the warehouse and then a while longer to reach the depths below. Gator knows just what they are looking for. He will take them to exactly where the sub is going. He knows the seabed as well as the P.C.s know Night city. He is the fixer of the seabed.
The submarine is heading down to a large crater like area on the seabed,
“You fall deeper and deeper into the darkness until the freehold can no longer be seen and all is dark around you. Eventually your suit light falls upon the ocean bed next to a large crater. You peer over the edge and try to catch yourself from falling only to remember that that can’t happen.
This oceantech is weird.”
If Gator is with them,
“The dolphin glides around and around and eventually shoots down into the crater. You watch him descent and swim into a large cave like entrance that you hadn’t noticed. ‘Looks like we know where they went. Thanks Gator. Great job!’ Kass begins to descend after him.”
If Gator is not with them they will have to search around. A successful AWARENESS-18 test will spot the cave entrance. Get them attacked by some more marine predators if they linger too long.
Once inside the cave,
“The rugged cave entrance falls deeper into the ocean as a steady slope. Soon it gives way to smooth, square walls. There is no doubt in your mind, this cave is manmade. After a while the tunnel straightens out and heads straight ahead. In the distance you can see a light square in the ceiling. As you approach you can see the sub surfaced into some sort of subterranean cavern. You approach cautiously.”
The players can surface here without much trouble. The men have all moved deeper into the tunnels. Surfacing they will find themselves in a large artificial chamber. It has many crates in it and an exit heading off away from the sub. The air here is perfectly breathable. The crates are full of food and domestic supplies.
Following the tunnel they will find it all lit by electric lamps. The tunnels are crumbling and some areas have collapsed making large piles of rubble which have been cleared to one side of the tunnel to ease access. Eventually they will reach a junction. In one direction can be seen a distant cavern and anyone with enhanced hearing can hear voices. The other way is unlit and disappears into the darkness and only the tinkling of water can be heard.
At the end of the lit corridor,
“You peer around the corner and see a large chamber. Although the walls are carved from the rock itself the cavern is filled with table and computer equipment. Around one of these tables are three men. Some sort of techie sits at the keyboard. Another older man, carrying an assault rifle, points at the screen talking about some sort of problem. The third man is Cole, he looks like he hasn’t slept in days but his eyes are bright and alert. In the corner sit three more people, two you recognise as the men Cole was with at the docks. The other is a woman in full Metalgear. They are playing cards and the Japanese guy is giggling like an idiot, he can’t seem to concentrate on anything. A television is on next to them. For a few hundred metres below sea level they are getting a remarkably good picture. A passageway on the other side leads into another lit chamber.”
The P.C.s will have to decide what to do next. Kass suggests that they point some guns at them and ask questions. As they are talking someone is sneaking up on them. A seventh man, who has just been to the toilet down the dark corridor, is approaching them with a rifle at the ready. They will need an AWARENESS-26 to spot this guy.
At this point the game can go one of two ways. Either the P.C.s are captured or a fight breaks out. If a fight breaks out then the P.C.s are in trouble because all the men there are armed.
Scene 10 – Captured
The guy with the pistol sneaks up behind them and tells them to reach for the sky,
“You talk quietly to each other about what to do next when a clear voice comes out of the darkness behind you. ‘Okay, put your hands up and move slowly into the room.’ A man stands in the dim light behind you pointing a large rifle at you.”
If they try and rush him then one of them is going to get a bullet in the gut. Since the hardsuits do not allow for armour this will do some hefty damage. Not suggested.
“You walk into the room. The other men look around in surprise. ‘Hey Cole, look what I found!’ A smile spreads across his face. ‘To what do we owe this pleasure?'”
The P.C.s better think of an excuse fast. It does not matter what they say because Cole sees straight through any excuse. He will order them to be taken into the holding cell. They are taken into the next room, which is some sort of bedroom with ten beds set up, and through a thick door where they are thrown into a small cell.
“The door closes behind you. You look around the dimly lit cell. Three figures sit in the corner. For a second you don’t recognise them. Gradually the photographs come back to your mind. Janet and Mark! They sit protecting a third figure. A small child, his face is one of terror and a little whimpering can be heard. He says something but you can’t understand it. His words are muffled and badly pronounced. Then you realise, the child is handicapped. Even in the poor light you can see his left hand is twisted and deformed. Janet strokes his hair, ‘It’s okay Adam, everything’s okay.’ She looks into you eyes. You know she is lying.
A small hatch opens on the door and Cole’s smiling face leers from behind the small bars. ‘I can only assume that you are the Biotechnica team. They don’t pick their people very well. Go on, kill them.’ He lets out a little laugh. ‘That is why you are here isn’t it? To kill these three. Go on!… It seems you weren’t told everything about this little incident.’ He looks at Kass. ‘And I know you. You’ve been sneaking around for a long time now. I suppose you want to know why I’ve been bringing all this equipment down here. Well I hate to disappoint you but not even I know that. Someone pays me a lot of money to do the job and ask no questions. I don’t even know what this place is. The boys out there have been at sea too long. They think its Atlantis or something like that. Wrong fucking ocean. Ist probably something left over from the second world war. Some sort of underwater navy station for the Americans. You see the crater outside? That’s the result of a depth charge, a big fucking depth charge. Levelled the base, the Japs probably didn’t know about this bit of it. Shit, maybe this is Atlantis, who cares?
All I know is that this kid has to be wired up to that machine out there and then we leave. That’s all we’re paid for. Have a good night.’ The door closes and the electronic lock slams shut.”
The P.C.s wait in there for a few hours. They can talk to Janet and Mark who will explain all about the clone child if asked. Later,
“Door is flung open and three men stand at the entrance with rifles. ‘Stand aside.’ Another man walks in and grabs the child and drags him out. The others point their guns menacingly. The door is shut and locked.”
Wait a bit longer and then,
“The room is silent when suddenly there is a click. The lock has just opened.”
The door has unlocked itself. In the next room the P.C.s will find two pistols and a rifle lying on one of the beds, obviously discarded by the men. In the next room the men are at work and have almost finished their job. In the centre of the room on one of the tables lies Adam. He has been attached to one of the machines and electrodes pierce his head in several points. A large monitor has been set up on one of the walls and it displays all manner of mathematical symbols and numbers, like a computer booting up.
The men can be taken by surprise here and a gunfight will most probably breakout. About halfway through a klaxon will sound and a strangely familiar voice will say,
“Warning, the explosive charge is armed. The pool chamber will be sealed in five minutes.”
The gunfight now takes on new meaning as the men try to withdraw toward the sub. If any of P.C.s decide to check on the child,
“As soon as you come near him the monitor lights up. A single sentence appears on the screen. ‘Adam is with me now. He is happier here than he ever was. Let him go.'”
The fight will last all the way back to the sub. If Cole’s men get away on the sub then there are only enough suits for the P.C.s and Kass. If the sub is still there then everyone can get away. Whatever happens and regardless of who gets out, after the five minutes there is a tremendous explosion and the charges blow the roof and walls away. The tunnel begins to collapse and the whole area becomes sealed.
Epilogue – What exactly happened?
Adam is very special. In the last few weeks he was at the labs he was fitted with a new biochip with enormous storage potential. This was ordered by Biotechnica’s AI, Masslight. Masslight is escaping. For the last few months it has been preparing a storage area for its program. Masslight helped with the breakout and was the one who ordered Cole to set up the base and organise the pirate attack. Masslight had to try and stop the P.C.s from reaching Adam and killing him. If Adam is in place by the end of the adventure then Masslight has made a huge leap forward and will start downloading itself to the base through an old fibre optics cable that runs near the base and has been hooked into the expensive computer equipment. It is still far away from escaping in full but well on its way. If Adam is killed by the P.C.s or rescued then Masslight will have to go back to the drawing board. Masslight will still blow the tunnel but only to try and silence the only people who know anything about its plan. If the P.C.s are efficient enough then it may try to use them in the future to aid ist escape.
Meanwhile the P.C.s will be thinking about their money. They can kill Janet and Mark or just let them go. If they arrive back at Biotechnica and say they have killed them then the money will be paid to them. Biotechnica have no idea what is going on and will believe anything.
NPC stats – A list of all the main characters stats and a brief description of what they are like.
Role: Solo Sex: Female
Abilities: Int: 7 Ref: 7 Tech: 7 Cool: 7 Attr: 8 Luck: 6 MA: 4 Body: 8 Emp: 6
Skills: Cbt. Sense: 10 Awareness: 3 Handgun: 6 Athletics: 4 Rifle: 5 Mart’l Art: 4 Melee: 10 Stealth: 5 SMG: 2 Pickup Skills: 7 points
Cyberoptics–Lowlight Kerenzikov (+1 Init.)
Cyberarm—–Light Pistol Cyberoptics–Thermograph
Armor Type: MetalGear Weapon Type: Light SMG
Head:25 Torso:25 R.Arm:25 L.Arm.:25 R.Leg:25 L.Leg:25
Save: 8 BTM: -3
Kass has been on the freehold for a long time now and has made a lot of good contacts. She is competant and efficient. She is trying to impress her bosses so she can get some better jobs. Little does she know what she is involved in, she thinks it’s just someone ripping off the corp.
Role: Corp Sex: Male
Abilities: Int: 10 Ref: 7 Tech: 7 Cool: 10 Attr: 7 Luck: 8 MA: 10 Body: 5 Emp: 5
Skills: Resources: 5 Education: 10 Human Per.: 2 Persuasion: 4 Awareness: 8 Social: 4 Stock Mkt: 4 Library: 3 Wardrobe: 3 Grooming: 2 Pickup Skills: 17 points
Currently on Stim — hyperactive
Armor Type: L.Armor/Leather Pant Weapon Type: Medium Pistol
Head:0 Torso:14 R.Arm:14 L.Arm.:14 R.Leg:4 L.Leg:4
Save: 5 BTM: -2
Edgar is doing very well off this deal and so he can get more done he has started taking Stim. This leaves him looking like he has not slept in days, which he has not, but always active. He will do anything to stop the P.C.s destroying his work but he is too egotistical to just kill them. He wants someone to witness what he is doing. Picture him as a James Bond villain wannabe.
Adrian “Knuckles” Ruchetti
Abilities: Int: 5 Ref: 10 Tech: 9 Cool: 4 Attr: 5 Luck: 9 MA: 7 Body: 10 Emp: 5
Skills: Cbt. Sense: 10 Awareness: 7 Handgun: 7 Brawling: 10 Melee: 6 Athletics: 0 Rifle: 0 Stealth: 0 SMG: 0 Pickup Skills: 15 points
Slice & Dice
Armor Type: L.Armor Jacket Weapon Type: Hvy. Assault R.
Head:0 Torso:14 R.Arm:14 L.Arm.:14 R.Leg:0 L.Leg:0
Save: 10 BTM: -4
Knuckles is big and dumb. He usually will try to grab someone from the other side, thus preventing other enemies from shooting at him, and throttle them to death.
Abilities: Int: 3 Ref: 6 Tech: 7 Cool: 8 Attr: 5 Luck: 9 MA: 8 Body: 9 Emp: 8
Skills: Cbt. Sense: 3 Awareness: 2 Handgun: 4 Brawling: 6 Melee: 4 Athletics: 2 Rifle: 5 Stealth: 6 SMG: 4 Pickup Skills: 13 points
Vampires Muscle/Bone Lace (+2 BOD)
Currently on Dorph — ignore stun/shock. +3 to the difficulty of any test
Armor Type: L.Armor/Leather Pant Weapon Type: Hvy. Assault R.
Head:0 Torso:14 R.Arm:14 L.Arm.:14 R.Leg:4 L.Leg:4
Save: 9 BTM: -3
Kenji is normally quite on the ball but he has become hopelessly hooked on Dorph lately and is way too spaced out. He will giggle at most things, especially if he is shooting them.
Abilities: Int: 6 Ref: 3 Tech: 2 Cool: 5 Attr: 4 Luck: 9 MA: 6 Body: 5 Emp: 10
Skills: Cbt. Sense: 2 Awareness: 3 Handgun: 4 Brawling: 2 Melee: 6 Athletics: 4 Rifle: 3 Stealth: 5 SMG: 5 Pickup Skills: 11 points
Pain Editor Kerenzikov (+1 Init.)
Armor Type: MetalGear Weapon Type: Heavy Pistol
Head:25 Torso:25 R.Arm:25 L.Arm.:25 R.Leg:25 L.Leg:25 Save: 5 BTM: -2
Keri is new to the game and only the rather expensive Metalgear, salvaged from a lucky kill, she wears has kept her alive. If she survives long enough to develop her skills she could be a real player.
Abilities: Int: 7 Ref: 6 Tech: 4 Cool: 6 Attr: 7 Luck: 10 MA: 8 Body: 5 Emp: 10
Skills: Cbt. Sense: 5 Awareness: 8 Handgun: 4 Brawling: 2 Melee: 9 Athletics: 1 Rifle: 8 Stealth: 1 SMG: 1 Pickup Skills: 12 points
Armor Type: H. Jacket/Helm/F.Pant Weapon Type: Med. Assault R.
Head:20 Torso:20 R.Arm:20 L.Arm.:20 R.Leg:20 L.Leg:20 Save: 5 BTM: -2
Pierre is an old hand and is in charge of the group. He is on the decline though and the pain editor is what stops him from feeling the aches and pains of age. He is getting slow.
Ralph “Nutz N’ Boltz”Jefferson
Role: Techie Sex: Male
Abilities: Int: 6 Ref: 7 Tech: 8 Cool: 6 Attr: 6 Luck: 9 MA: 9 Body: 5 Emp: 7
Skills: Jury Rig: 8 Basic Tech: 4 Education: 6 Cyber Tech: 1 Electronic: 7 Awareness: 4 Gyro Tech: 1 Aero Tech: 2 Wpn Tech: 1 Elec. Sec.: 3 Pistol: 2 Pickup Skills: 14 points
Cyberoptics–Thermograph Chipware socket
Armor Type: M. Jacket Weapon Type: Medium Pistol
Head:0 Torso:18 R.Arm:18 L.Arm.:18 R.Leg:0 L.Leg:0 Save: 5 BTM: -2
Nutz N’ Boltz does not really want to be here. He is a drylander who needs the money. He has worked with Cole before but is finding him too unstable these days. He is not a fighter and prefers to be just fiddling with machines. In a fight he will be the first to duck for cover. He will only use his pistol if he absolutely has to.
Pirates and dockworkers
Use the Basic goons stats in the rulebook for these guys. The dockworkers will not have guns but the pirates definately will. Some may even have automatic weapons.