Too Many Medics.
Main medical services in San Francisco:
Trauma Team – Solid range of services aimed at those who expect trouble.
Valkyrie – Most expensive, but the best. Flat (high) rate for service.
Doc Wagon – Budget service up to Diamond, almost as good as Valkyrie.
New player – only been around 2-3 months –
Crash Cart. They offer a range of services, appearing to be attempting to be all things to all men. Their vehicles have a tendency to show up where there’s trouble, and attempt to if not actually poach business, pick up any remaining pieces. Then they bill you later.
The first inkling the players will have is when they are watching the Channel 32 show “Emergency Action” – this is a programme where one of the corporation’s medias, Rick O’Reilly, goes out with the emergency services and transmits back live pictures of what is going on. Today Rick is out with a Valkyrie Armoured Ambulance, high above the central business district of San Francisco cruising and waiting for a call. One comes in, it’s been sent by Christie Malth, VP New Business of the Bank of Credit and Commerce Interstellar’s San Francisco branch. Swooping down over Washington Square, the Ambulance jinks around a jet of orange flame, looks like someone’s been playing with high explosive, then lands amidst the wreckage of tents and wine glasses. (BCCI had rented the Park for an executive reception, and it’s been hit by SF3, in the shape of Carl The Killer, and his old friend, Semtex..) Amidst the chaos, the pickup seems straightforward combat medic service…..until another vehicle flies over at about 20 m, spraying the area with what sounds like minigun fire (and incendiary bullets at that). The door gunner of the Valkyrie Ambulance returns fire, and Rick is obviously hanging out of the side of the Ambulance as it takes off, trying to get the best shot of the marauder. Transmission is abruptly terminated as the picture goes into a dizzying tumble (Rick was hit and dropped the camera). The final glimpse of the aggressor shows a white-painted side with the letters “ART” in red.
After a moment, the Channel 32 announcers will relay what happened, along with an interview from Rick in his Valkyrie MedCentre bed; and announce a reward for the return of the camera (20,000 eb). As the Park is in the
more salubrious part of town, anyone going there will have to talk their way past roving CorpCops, who work for AMS (Amalgamated Megacorporation Security), wear black uniforms with orange insignia and carry Steyr assault rifles with piggyback grenade launchers. They travel in packs of five, one a corporal. The CitiCops have meanwhile cordoned off the area, but they are waiting for Lone Star operatives to do the actual investigation.
Later, players will encounter a Doc Wagon team bugging out – it was a budget account call and they ran into heavy fire. A Crash Cart team makes the pickup. When the smoke dies down, one Doc Wagon operative (one of the solos) is lying injured on the ground. The only person using a weapon corresponding with his injuries (incendiary bullets make one hell of a mess) was the Crash Cart door gunner. Players may choose to aid him – he
carries Doc Wagon Employee Cover, which would cover an extraction even under fire (and there isn’t any – now) so they can snap his card, or they may choose to give him whatever assistance they can. He’s conscious, but not at all happy (nor would you be with the best part of your right leg shot off). If the players go, he will have noticed them, and will be able to track them down later. (An eidetic memory for faces is wasted on a Doc Wagon grunt, but no matter.)
Either – or both – of the following may happen.
1 The Doc Wagon man, whose name is Martin Mullen, will track them down once he’s recovered. He wants help. Doc Wagon paid up his medical bill under the cover he had, but his nerve has gone and he has been sacked. He feels that if he can prove that a deliberate assault was made on him (or at least, on the Doc Wagon) rather than just a stray bullet, he will regain his confidence and be able to work the streets again, or at worst, Doc Wagon might give him some kind of job even if not his old one back.
The evidence available is basically that of the injuries suffered compared with the armament carried by the Crash
Cart vehicle. Accessing Crash Cart logs will give the names of the team involved, and show that they were “cruising” rather than answering a call. If you go through the logs this is not normal practice, although on occasion a team will be logged as cruising for a short period then they will be directed onto a call in the vicinity, or will call in themselves reporting trouble.
2 The erstwhile Doc Wagon Budget Plan customer is also not a happy man. The Crash Cart team made the pickup and took him to their trauma clinic. Here they stabilised him and patched him up, but threw him out when they found that he is not rich….just a student of electronics at one of the local colleges, who only has a budget account at all because of where he lives – he can’t really afford even that. Although he’s basically OK, his hands have been damaged to such an extent that the fine manipulation necessary in his chosen field of microelectronics will not be possible without cybernetic replacement fingers. And he certainly can’t afford that.
The student’s name is Shane Tucci, and although he has nothing with which to pay the players he would be very grateful for any help. The problem is, apart from his hands, Crash Cart have now handed him a large bill for the extraction and basic treatment that he did receive (on a fairly high “Non-client” tariff).
The interesting thing is that he had been attacked by common-or-garden muggers armed with no more than flick-knives. Funny that the injury to his hands was caused by incendiary bullets. He can’t account for it, all he recalls is being badly slashed across the face, panicking and using his Doc Wagon card. He’d felt the thieves making off with his wallet (and worse, his pocket toolkit) but had thought that the pain in his hands was them cutting him again. Then he’d passed out, and reawakened in the Crash Cart trauma clinic.
So What’s Going On?
Crash Cart is being run by an unscrupulous individual, one Alice Okrand who is seeking to increase their market share by fair means or foul. She is driven by the need to prove herself to the Japanese owners of the company, the Matsuda Corporation, as this is the first independent operation she has run within the organisation. They are watching, she’s acutely aware of this as she has to report to both Matsuda HQ in Tokyo and to Yoshio Matsuda who runs the San Francisco office. Yoshio doesn’t like her, or at least, he thinks that women are only good for one thing, and occidental women not even very good for that! He makes this obvious every time he meets her.
And What Can Be Done?
That’s up to the players.
Alice isn’t likely to be very impressed by “You shouldn’t be doing this”. Such an approach is likely to get you thrown out of the office, at the very least. Some of the Crash Cart solos are very good, so if the players annoy her they may well be hunted down. She might be prepared to deal, Tucci’s fees and maybe a job for Mullen for the players’ silence (but there again, she may think better of it later, and order everyone involved killed).
Yoshio would be very interested, not that he’d think it was wrong but that it would be a good excuse to order her immediate dismissal (spell this as “execution”). Even an unsubstantiated verbal account, provided the players are prepared to make it on tape, would do, and Yoshio will pay for it. But of course, no word must get out, this is a Family matter, you understand. He’ll believe them if they say they’ll be discreet, but if a word is breathed (even if by someone else) it’s corporate ninja time.
The media would love it. If there’s a media type in the group, she’s probably itching to go public already. If you know anyone in the business, they will be delighted. But they do need evidence, even if it is just someone willing to stand up and talk. The media corps will fall over themselves to pay for the story. After the story has broken, however, the players are on their own. Alice will be furious that her little game is revealed. She’ll be dead soon if not very careful – and will try to bail out by contacting the players and hiring them as bodyguards. If they survive, she can always kill them later. The Matsuda Corp won’t be too impressed at their newest subsidiary’s name being dragged in the dirt, and if they are mentioned themselves, they will be livid. Corporate ninja time.