The Devil Owns A Sawmill

By Matt Rose

This BPN involves tracking down the last location of a seemingly innocent academic, and finding out what nastiness she discovered in the heart of Downtown.

BPN
Colour: White
SCL: 9A
Package: Any, I&I Preferred
Consolidated Pay: 350C per Squad
Report to: Application University 563
Coverage: 3rd EyE News

Squad required to investigate disappearance of Professor Hillary Landtree and co workers in Downtown Sector DT465. More information available from the History faculty at Application 563.

BPN Route Planner

This is going to be relatively complex investigation, with plenty of useless information to filter through and the possibility of a messy death at the end of it. The squad is going to go to the university and gain access to Landtree's office, which will contain lots of interesting nuggets of info, and give them some idea of her research.

From there they should be able to locate Landtree's secondary office in Downtown, which again, contains lots of interesting stuff. From there they should be able to pinpoint her last field camp, as it were, where they'll find almost all of the remains of her possessions. They should get some idea of *what* she was investigating now. With a bit more field work they should get the information they need to determine her last known location, and then there's that messy death I mentioned earlier...

You should be aware that this is a low clearance investigation being commissioned by Application, and as such receives almost no respect or credibility with the rest of the company. No-one with any say in the matter would take such a lowly White...

It may be useful for you to flick forwards to the At Last, An Explanation section to discover the background story.

The Obvious Beginning

"Literature is a subtle essence. What is literature? Is it hidden in the novel and short story? Is it in news articles or technical manuals? Is it in advertising slogans and billboards, or the songs that children sing when most alone?"

Professor Hillary Landtree "The Inherited Soul" Copyright Application Press 879 SD

Upon collecting/being presented the BPN the operatives should head straight for Application 563, situated in Suburbia, Sector SB563. The campus takes up four whole blocks, and includes bars, shops, libraries, etc. as well as the teaching facilities and housing for resident students and staff. The blocks are a little better maintained than the drab monoliths surrounding them, and highlight the grey conformity that pervades Suburbia, especially the student accommodation floors, which often boast banners and bizarre and colourful graffiti ornamenting the exterior walls.

The level zero floor on each block is open to the public, and the Ops should breeze in, perhaps noting the presence of the campus security force. The communal areas are open and well lit, if a little run down. Paint is peeling in places, and not all of the strip lighting is working effectively. These areas are buzzing with activity as administrators flit from reception to office, students rush to lectures, or not, and academics stumble towards their next appointment juggling folders, books and Oysters. The Ops will be directed to a series of reception desks, eventually locating the Faculty of History, where the cheery (i.e., chain-smokes Feelgoods) departmental secretary (One Bessie Emecheta by her name tag.) will explain the situation to them.

Professor Landtree was the pride of Application 563, well the History Faculty anyway. She was a teaching Professor at the university until she went on extended research sabbatical in 896 SD. Her speciality subjects were folklore and superstition in Downtown societies, and she had published numerous papers and books on the subject, dominating the field. Six months ago she took a field expedition of graduate students to Downtown Sector DT465, looking to verify some of her theories concerning children's literature in the area.

Bessie will explain that Landtree kept only very loose ties with the university. Only enough to guarantee funding really. If her office was not in the building Bessie doubt's she would know what Professor Landtree looked like. (Old and vaguely sexless, if you're wondering.) The faculty rarely knew her location when she was on one of her expeditions, and had to rely on her irregular phone calls or visits back to campus to find out. The alarm over her expedition was raised when Ward, one of her colleagues, and usually a very reliable sort of guy, failed to call in on schedule, something he has never done before. It's now been four days since any member of Landtree's party had any contact with the Faculty, and they're very concerned for her safety.

The Beginning of the Brain Pain

The Ops will be given access to Landtree's office as well as a copy of her file. They will also receive her last known area of operation, and the name of the Shiver Sergeant attendant on that area.

The location of Landtree's last known fact finding trip is a grid reference, deep, deep, under Sector DT465 in the once industrial catacombs. It would be pretty pointless to go there as her last phone call to the faculty was made after returning from this location.

The Shiver Sergeant (Sgt. Burroughs) only knows about Landtree's presence (and disappearance, for that matter) from the university, so don't expect him to be any help. He's got enough to deal with, just like any Downtown Sector.

When the Ops look in Landtree's file, give 'em THE HANDOUT...

Landtree's Office

Hillary Landtree had one of the largest suites available to academic staff at Application 563. It comprises of several linked rooms. The first of these seems to be a reception area where Landtree can conduct interviews. There is a desk with Dataslug deck and Oyster, a camera mounted on a tripod, and three comfortable looking SynthLeather chairs. The room is very tidy, and has several potted plants.

The next room appears to be Landtree's work room. Only the floor is visible. There are several desks and several shelving units but they are almost totally obscured by the confusion of research materials scattered haphazardly over every flat surface. There are at least four different computers, all obsolete with doubtful compatibility between formats. There is a wealth of recording media, dataslugs, memchips, discs, and OpCubes. Books, papers and sheets of acetate litter the desks. Finding anything in this mess is going to be a nightmare.

The next chamber is Landtree's archive. It is difficult to squeeze between the closely standing shelves which fill this room. Each shelf is bursting with a similar incomprehensible variety of information to her work room, only more so.

This is where the squad I&I will earn their money. (You did bring an I&I with you, didn't you?) It's going to take *hours* to find any useful information at all. They're going to have to wade through reams of written material, sort through Landtree's baffling computer arrangements, paw through the thousands of recorded interviews and generally strain their headpan. This is going to get very boring for the hard of thinking in the squad, so I suggest you send the Frother's and Brainwasters off to pick fights with left wing student protesters ("We don't dig Company oppression, man...") and drop the Stormers off at the campus Creche. (No really, the kids love 'em!)

How long the investigation takes will depend on how high the I&I's Detect is. Conc and Dia should also make a difference, as will Computer Use and Admin. At the minimum we're talking four hours though. If the I&I is crap at their job it will take days. Eventually though, they will have found everything which might be useful. All the information that seems relevant to Landtree's most recent work, as well as some recently written notes... Go on, hit 'em with ANOTHER HANDOUT!

But What Does It All Mean

The Ops should get the easy stuff. Landtree is researching the rhyme, as her notes suggest. She is also obviously searching for any information linking Sector DT465 to lightning/powertool murders and has been pestering the Dept. of Architecture, Construction and Planning over numerous old locations. Lets start off by telling you, the GM, that most of this stuff is decoy material.

The mad doctor and his 'Vortex' as well as the serial killer Cogent are dead ends. The players can confirm their existence with the Dept. of Enquiries if they like, and even get the exact addresses of victims etc. These crimes are hundreds of years old and have no bearing on this investigation.

The location requests are also, for the moment, useless. Be sure to stress to the players that to actually get to any of these grid references, although possible, would take hours picking through the darker areas of Lower Downtown. Unless they have a damn good reason to go to one of these sites, advise them that the unpleasantness of Lower Downtown shouldn't be needlessly experienced. If they do go, set something nasty on them and then describe the derelict nature of the site once they arrive. Then set something nasty on them on the way back...

The invoice? This is the most important piece of information here. Sadly, without other nuggets of wisdom to be found later in the BPN, it's meaningless. Sad, eh?

Joachim Stone is a journalist working for the Sector Press (465). He had interviewed Landtree about three months ago concerning her work in the Sector. He is aware of the nature of her investigation, and was preparing an article on it to be released in conjunction with the release of her book. He is not aware that she has gone missing, and will show professional interest if told. He'll offer to interview the Ops and cover their BPN. They can look him up when they get to the Sector.

Faroul Ibn Farouk is an antiquities dealer in Lower DT465. He has a shop crammed with fascinating items from numerous worlds and eras. If you searched hard enough among his stock, you could probably find something to get yourself into a lot of trouble, and we're not talking little furry creatures with peculiar dietary requirements. Faroul last saw Landtree some weeks ago when he sold her some photocopies of some documents dating before 300 SD. (He can identify the invoice as his, the other documents were pages of adverts from local papers.) Although Faroul Ibn Farouk is not at all what he seems, we won't get into that in this particular BPN...

Allen Johnson is an old friend of Landtree's. He's not seen her for about a week. When he realises this is an investigation into her disappearance (he's old, and easily confused) he'll be very upset, explaining that Landtree and her "youngster" colleagues were staying with him on and off over the last six months. He still has boxes of files in his spare room, and the Ops are welcome to come down and examine them. Not having much else to do, I'd advise them to accept his kind offer...

Off To Downtown We Jolly Well Go

Allen Johnson's apartment is in one of the less run down areas in Downtown. He lives near the top of his block, rarely goes out, and lives a quiet, academic life. He looks as old as Landtree and wears baggy, shapeless, drab clothes. He will greet the Ops and insist on making them a hot beverage of some kind, and until the moment they leave will babble ceaselessly about his life.

At first he will talk about his career with Application, how he met Hilary at Application 933, how they shared an interest in folklore etc, but soon he will wander off the subject and start to talk about his wife, who the Ops will gather, was beautiful, and died about 10 years ago. Without comments from the Ops to steer his monologue around to Landtree, he'll quite happily warble on about his wife, and soon his ailing health, until they leave.

If kept on track he'll talk of how he hasn't seen Hilary so excited about her work "since '67". He'll mention her two "nice young helpers, very polite", although he wouldn't be able to name them. He'll talk of Hilary's conviction that there was something concrete behind the Chainsaw Man rhyme, a story she longed to uncover. He will also talk about Landtree's work pattern, how she and her assistants would spend a week or two living out of a tube hotel across the Sector in order to be closer to her area of research, although "I could never use those dreadful things, such a pain to my back..." The address of her last base should be in with the rest of her stuff. He'll apologise for not having been more organised and keeping it separate...

Kept in the back room, along with his cat Mitzi who "grows a little manic around strangers, best to lock her up for a while", are the boxes of Landtree's research. There are dozens of data slugs containing interviews, footage of children playing, computer files and other tidbits. The information that another multi hour brain storm on behalf of the I&I is contained in delicious HANDOUT NO.3!.

And This Means What, Exactly?

Once again, without further information most of these clues will be frustratingly meaningless. The AC&P inquiries are still just seemingly random grid references in deepest darkest Lower Downtown. If they pick one at random and go to it, feel free to mess with their minds.

Gervase's Diner is, not surprisingly, Landtree's eatery of choice. It's a quiet Diner mostly frequented by old people, not even the staff are under 40. Gervase will remember Landtree, she tipped big compared to Downtown residents, but hasn't seen her for a few weeks.

The Application report on radioactivity and the Dept of Environment report on the coolant spill have nothing to do with anything. They're just here to disguise the real information.

The Dept. of Meteorology report on electrical storms is useless at the moment, but at the next stage in their investigation it's going to be very valuable indeed.

The nursery rhyme should get the Ops a bit more edgy about lightning storms. There is a lot of useful information in here, as you'll see if you read the BPN background...

The tube hotels are scattered over the sector. They are all on the border between Upper and Lower Downtown. Each tube hotel is located in a former car park or warehouse, where 1.5m by 3m 'rooms' made of industrial plastic are stacked along the walls and rented out by the night. Inside each tube is a light, a TV and a bed, along with a small amount of storage space. Some tube hotels have communal toilet/wash facilities, some do not. The tubes can be locked, and are sometimes used for storage, rather than for sleeping in. Of course, the management have replica keys and liberate any possessions still in the tube should the payments stop coming.

When the Ops contact the tube hotels they get the following responses:

The Good Mattress - A greasy, unshaven, surly man will tell them to fuck off. When he realises they're SLA, he'll tell them Landtree rented 4 tubes for about a week some 3 months ago. He's not seen her since, but it is his policy to give visiting Ops in the sector a 10% discount. (Cheesy Grin)

The Little Hilton - A stern, starched looking woman will want some form of ID before she says anything. Once she's pacified, she'll disappear for a few minutes before returning with a book of her records. Landtree stayed for 5 nights, renting 4 tubes, at a total cost of 240 Unis. That was 6 weeks ago. She has not been back.

The Rack - An oily looking Brainwaster will stare vacantly at them, saying he's never heard of Landtree. If the Ops are phoning him he'll hang up, leaving his phone off the hook. When they go round in person they'll either have to bribe or intimidate him into confessing Landtree rented 4 tubes about a week ago. He hasn't seen her or her colleagues for four days. He'll just be telling them her deposit runs out tomorrow when a battered looking snotty Brainwaster kid will come into the hotel yelling 'Dad, I got three hundred for the hag's Oyster, I'm takin' ten percent.' The kid will throw a crumpled dirty looking wad of notes on the counter and disappear up some stairs, presumably to the family apartment, shrugging off a rain coat as it goes.

The hotel keeper, FJ, will stare murderously after the brat before attempting to give the squad an ingratiating apologetic smile. He'll give them the replica keys to Landtree's tubes and rush upstairs to 'enquire' about the sale his child just made.

Inside three of the tubes will be a few personal effects from Landtree and her colleagues. Mary has left her wallet in her tube, along with some make up and some magazines. Ward has left a stack of historical journals on data slug, along with a reader. Landtree has left some of her more impractical clothes, probably not suitable for trips to Lower Downtown...

In the fourth tube will be a collection of research materials, so once more, the players get a HANDOUT.

The Strain In The Brain Falls Mostly In The Brain

Let's start by ruling out the red herrings. The location request is of course useless for the time being. The report on admissions to the asylum means nothing really, just that this Sector is slightly nuttier than it's neighbours. If the Ops look up what an Olive-Para Index is they'll find that it just means people in this Sector tend to get nervous when a storm is in progress.

The investigation by Mexican Standoff will have relevance soon, but for now it's just colour!

The latest nursery rhyme should get the Ops thinking. They should make the link between Flacherty and Flannery (from the advert also found here) fairly quickly, and if they're really bright they'll see that the initials of Flachertys Furnishings are 'FF', and thus connected to the invoice they found in Landtree's office.

Mother Pitt is an interesting figure. In 301 SD she was the peoples leader of DT465. She campaigned for increased aid work from SLA Industries to repair the damage of the Fall, effectively holding the company responsible. She was enormously popular, and was continuously working to highlight SLA Industries deficiencies in treating the people. All of this the Ops can find out fairly easily. What they will be unable (through the normal course of things) to discover, is that Mother Pitt discovered the truth about the Chainsaw Man, and tried to warn both the company and the public. The company ignored her requests to have the Chainsaw Man hunted down and neutralised. All that remains of her pleas to the public are the nursery rhymes. (Mother Pitt was assassinated in 310 SD by DarkNight, apparently, although the subject has been classified. Hence Landtree's D-Notice.)

If the Ops compare the record of missing persons with the meteorological survey they found earlier, they'll be able to deduce that in stormy weather at least a hundred extra people vanish. That's three or four per night! If this does not scare some caution into them, they deserve everything they get...

When they've viewed this information, FJ, the Brainwaster hotel keeper will return from upstairs, massaging his knuckles, with the news that his kid (entirely without his knowledge or consent he might add) went into Landtree's tube and took her Oyster computer. He'll give them the address of the pawn shop and if they really threaten/bribe him, he'll accompany them as well.

The shop is a DarkNight trading point, where any contraband goods can be bought or sold. It is guarded by a couple of props. As long as the Ops don't start anything, no-one'll get hurt. If the Ops are reasonably respectful the owner will hand over the untouched Oyster without a fuss. It's more than his job's worth to do anything else. If they start being all confrontational you'll have to stage a fire fight, but I'll leave that up to you. When the Ops leave, the entire establishment will be packed up and relocated within 8 hours. When they peek inside the Oyster, they'll have the last pieces of the puzzle. (In the form of a HANDOUT, obviously.)

So What Do We Do Now?

Killa Chassis made large nasty suits of power armour. They are the only Independent company ever to have successfully resisted a hostile takeover from SLA Industries. At the time that this memo was written however, they were somewhat smaller, still comfortably nestled in the bosom of SLA. The memo will tell them (If they're sharp enough) that Artificial Artisans were building robots. (The wording of the memo suggests that what they're building now *could* accommodate a pilot, but does not at the moment, hence a robot) For extra points they could spot that Artificial Artisans is 'AA', which means the invoice is for one of their products. This tells them that these robots retailed for 200 000C, and that 'FF' bought one.

Secondly, the Oyster points to the Gikonyo Retail Hub as being the location of this machine.

Lastly, the reference to electrical dynamo gizmos should tip them off as to what is powering the device. (If theOps make enquiries into Bathsheba [Stone] at Application 563 they'll be told "She's on sabbatical at Orange Crush." If they contact Orange Crush they'll always be told she's busy, but they can leave a message. In fact, the Dept. of Energy has whisked her away to an unpleasant little room for 'debriefing')

I think it's about time I tipped you off as to what's actually happening, and to what all this has been building toward.

At Last, An Explanation

So what is going on in Sector DT465? What is the reality behind the myth of the Chainsaw Man? To answer that question we must look back in time, back before the fall of 300 SD, at two businesses just starting out under SLA Industies protective corporate umbrella, one of which could have been huge, the other was doomed from the start.

Artificial Artisans Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of SLA Industries, was celebrating it's 25 birthday in the year of Salvation Tower's fall. Combining the cream of the technical staff of many companies, poached for the project, Artificial Artisans sought to marry power suit technology, robotics and the latest development in artificial intelligence. The first saleable products released by AA were the Apprentice Series of mechanised workers, droids capable of performing the work of 20 humans, ceaselessly producing night and day.

The resources generated by the Apprentice Series went into the Journeyman Series, a line of automata with more flexibility than had previously been thought possible. The Journeyman Series were not shackled to the workplace, nor to any set locale. The advances in their software imbued them with an adaptability and versatility that raised eyebrows within SLA head office. There was talk of a defence contract, millions of Journeyman manufactured to act as soldiers and law enforcement.

But this was not what Artificial Artisans had in mind. The revenue of the Journeyman series funded the design and research of the MasterCraftsman. Creative robotic intelligence. Given a sample set of, say, car designs, a MasterCraftsman could be adapting blueprints within 24 hours, and manufacturing an entirely original car, from the chassis up, in under a week. Prohibitively expensive, the MasterCraftsman Series (Catno: AA003) was intended for use by the largest subcompanies within SLA Industries; Karma, Fen, Cloak Division.

Three months before Artificial Artisans released the MasterCraftsman on general sale, almost 2 years before The Fall, a mid-distance Packing & Shipping technician, Patrick Flacherty, won the lottery. And not just any lottery, not some poxy Sector Lottery, no! Flacherty scooped the largest Mort Lottery jackpot in the contest's history, millions of unis, undreamt of wealth. Unfortunately, Flacherty was, in the words of the Outskirt Enquirer, "an IDIOT." Flacherty's astonishing luck wasn't about to change him into some big-spending braggart, oh no, he was going to buy himself a showroom a block from the Central Outskirts apartment he'd lived in for the past 15 years and start up a little business selling quality wooden furnishings. For fifteen unremarkable years Flacherty had been hauling imported timber from space port to work shop. Now that he was a multi multi millionaire, to the neighbourhoods bitter disbelief, Flacherty pulled himself just one small step up the ladder. His one small concession to his fabulous wealth, something that endeared him even less to his neighbours, was to purchase the newly released Artificial Artisan MasterCraftsman.

The MasterCraftsman, a hulking industrial machine capable of the most intricate technical tasks, arrived at "Flacherty's Furnishings", and was put to work constructing luxury household items from costly imported timber. For almost two years.

When The Fall plunged Flacherty's world into darkness he was at the workshop. Around him, without light, heat or food, Central Outskirts tore itself apart, descending towards the horror of the Cannibal Sectors. Alone in his workshop (no need for staff when you've got a MasterCraftsman), sheltering from the savagery, Flacherty started to reprogram the Artisan. 'Bring me food', he told it, and after a day or so, when no more food could be found in the Sector, he said 'go out there and bring me meat'.

At first the Artisan was clumsy, ineffective, and the 'meat' it attempted to retrieve escaped it. Soon though, it's adaptive programming gave it an edge over the other competitors struggling to survive in the battlefield outside. The MasterCraftsman learnt to be stealthy, to select it's targets with care, to remain unseen. When Flacherty died of a heart attack 12 days after the fall the Artisan was perfecting a camouflage pattern on it's carapace. When the aid workers started re establishing order in the Sector, the Artisan watched them, unseen from the shadows.

It's been six hundred years and the MasterCraftsman is still following it's programming. Flacherty, because of incomprehensible fears about high running costs for his 200 000C Artisan, had bought a Bolt Catcher Energy System from Prometheus Technologies, a sub company developing lightning rods and dynamos. With every electrical storm over Sector DT465 the Artisan receives a few more days of operational life. Sometimes months, even years, have elapsed without sufficient energy to stir the MasterCraftsman from the showroom. Right now it waits under Downtown, dreamlessly sleeping until the next burst of lightning sends it silently out into the darkness, seeking meat to bring to a master six hundred years dead...

Note

In the economic chaos that followed the Fall of 300 SD Artificial Artisans were bought out by Killa Chassis, who squandered most of their ideas but kept some of the actuator designs. Prometheus Technologies also vanished during the Fall, and although no takeover occurred, the Dept. of Energy, a component of the Dept. of Resources, are strangely edgy when questions about their lightning nets are asked.

So What Do We Do Now?

At this point the Ops have enough information, almost, to close the investigation. All they need is confirmation that Landtree has indeed been killed by a 600 year old robot. When the Ops retrieve Landtree's Oyster, be sure to have an electrical storm just building up. Describe how the streets start to empty, and even the markets which usually thrive day and night seem underpopulated. The rain gets heavier and the traffic noise is drowned out by thunder. At this point encourage them to go over all the information they've collected, and if you're feeling generous, give them a few nudges in the right direction.

If they go directly to the Gikonyo Retail Hub, kill them all. ALL OF THEM. They failed to put together the pieces and they deserve every industrial-chainsaw-sized cut they get. If they wait a few days, on the assumption that whatever it is will run out of power, reward them with a slightly toned down encounter that some of them will be able to drag themselves away from.

The Gikonyo Retail Hub is situated deep under the sector. The squad will need to drive about in Lower Downtown for quite a while, trying to find an unblocked route to the appropriate grid reference. Emphasise the darkness and isolation they feel as they travel further and further from anything that would pass for civilisation. The hub itself is a large subterranean shopping mall cum industrial estate. A central plaza is ringed by derelict shop fronts and showrooms. All of the windows have long since been broken. The only items left in the shops are those that were not worth looting during the riots of 300SD. A sharp eye will see that there hasn't been any looting or scavenging since then, almost as if the area were being guarded... [Chuckle]

From the advert they have, the Ops will recognize the exterior of Flacherty's Furnishings. The once shiny sign has fallen from above the shop, and lies half covered by detritus on the floor. Inside the showroom the floor has been swept clear. Both walls are piled high with what was once quality timber furnishings. Now a fascinating variety of moulds and funguses are thriving on the rotting wood. Sometimes amongst the rubbish, an almost intact armchair or wardrobe will project out from the decay, testament to the power of Flacherty's preservatives. At the back of the showroom is a large opening which leads to the production floor.

The production area is a cavernous chamber, 50m across, 100m long and 5m high. The entrance from the showroom is in the south-west corner. The first thing the Ops will detect is a very weak scent of putrefaction, a slightly sickly smell that permeates the area. As soon as they smell it here they will realise that it has been thick in their nostrils for quite some time. The first thing they will see (and I think they're going to like this!) are plastic drums. Stacked the length of the west wall, and all along the north wall, three out into the room and three high to the ceiling, are industrial plastic 200 litre drums. Some two thousand one hundred and seventy two drums of liquified human remains are neatly stacked along two walls of the factory. If the Ops open up a barrel and test the contents they'll be able to identify the remains of several individuals in each barrel. If they're really sharp you can tell them it looks like conventional stock rotation is taking place, the barrels are arranged in chronological order, the oldest meeting the newest halfway down one wall.

The Ops will also notice that the concrete floor of the factory is very clean, and appears to have been hosed down recently. (If they came straight here without letting the Chainsaw Man power down, the floor will still be wet...)

In the centre of the east wall is a huge double door, which if inspected, will prove to be both locked and rusted shut, not having been opened in 600 years. In the south-east corner of the room is a 5m by 5m grate set into the floor. IR scopes will see hot air rising from the vent, an obvious indication that a heat sink somewhere within the complex has been breached.

Between the grate and the door along the east wall stands a huge pile of broken furniture. The pile spills about 5 meters out into the room and almost touches the ceiling. It is very densely packed, and difficult to move individual items because the legs and arms of the chairs are tangled together.

Set into the south wall, quite near the grate, is the Chainsaw Man's recharge facility. It is set behind a lightly camouflaged panel, and the Ops will only find it if they state they are actually looking for a recharge socket, or if they have stupidly high Detect.

The only other feature of the factory is a small prefab office in the north-east corner. The office is about 5m by 5m and is 3m tall. It has no windows and the door is open. When they approach the door they will see that the floor of the office is covered with a thick crust of dark brown *stuff*. In the far corner of the office are a pile of tin cans that have been corroded through, they appear to be the source of the stuff. If they inspect the cans they will find that the labels read 'Preservative'. Partially concealed behind the door is a swivel chair, in which sits the desiccated screaming remains of Flacherty himself. The preservative has soaked up into his clothes and skin, freezing his last moments of isolation and pain. If they try to separate the body from the chair they will hear a dusty ripping noise, and the husk of Flacherty will come away in their hands leaving his back and most of his spinal column clinging to the upholstery.

So where is the Chainsaw Man? The Ops have probably been creeping around ultra cautiously, covering each other and all the little precautions players like to take. When they look into the shaft, describe how if this were a film there'd be a shot from beneath the grate looking up at them as they peer ineffectually into the dark. When they investigate the pile of furniture, the camera is looking out at them from within the pile, just out of their sight. There can even be shots filmed from on top of the office! Really try to set them on edge...

Its up to you when you want the Chainsaw Man to attack. As the Ops poke around above it, the Chainsaw Man is concealed within a niche in the wall of the shaft. Its IR signature is masked by the heatsink rupture. (Its IR signature at the best of times is difficult to spot. This is one stealthy machine...) The only way to spot it down there would be to open the grate (Str 12 needed, at least) and dangle down there on a rope. Don't fancy doing that? Well you won't see it until it attacks then.

Ideally wait until one of the Ops is near the grate. (Maybe when they find the recharge socket), then have the Chainsaw Man leap up into the room. The iron grate will blast upwards and slam into the floor. If anyone thought they were being smart by standing near the shaft and 'guarding' it, have the grate land on them and pin them to the floor. The Chainsaw Man is a nightmarish attacker. Details are difficult to make out, it's covered with a very effective camouflage pattern. Just describe it as being vaguely arachnid, lots of black limbs emerging from a central black body. The 'head' is a mass of small manipulative digits capable of numerous fine tasks. (Skinning and liquidising a human for example.) The Chainsaw Man's eyes are hidden beneath sheets of laminate, and as such are impossible to distinguish from the rest of its body. However, it has taken the trouble of mounting red LEDs behind lenses in some of its less vulnerable areas. These look a lot like robot eyes might be expected to look, so you should be able to trick the Ops into shooting off pointless extremities while the robot gets down to the serious business of cutting off peoples legs.

The only feature of the machine that is subject to no ambiguity or doubt are the saw blades. There are two of these, mounted beneath the machine and projecting forwards. (The saw blades are actually on the end of arms which can extend out at a moments notice... ;) ) They are two metres long, and the teeth, which are similar in makeup to a MAC knife blade, are a little longer than your thumb. The robot moves very quickly (Bloody quickly if you didn't let it power down!) and has no concept of mercy. It's priority will be to cut off peoples arms. It will ignore them once they have ceased to be a threat. It will collect them for 'processing' later if they run away without their arms.

The Chainsaw man also has four Cable Guns, which fire a nasty looking set of hooks attached to a thick cable. It will use these hooks to ensnare people and drag them towards the blades.

If they manage to give the Chainsaw Man a battering, it will attempt to run away back down the shaft to one of its three workshops it has set up in the Sector. At any one of these it will be able to self repair, and even improve itself if it learnt anything new from the Ops.

The Glorious Conclusion

The BPN can end in one of three ways:

1 Eyes pop, skin explodes, everybody dead.

2 They destroy the Chainsaw Man and identify the remains of Professor Landtree, her colleagues, and two Props they hired for protection in one of the newer barrels. They are later reprimanded by the Dept. of Resources for their wanton destruction of a valuable ... err ... resource.

3 They repel the Chainsaw Man, identify the remains and then inform the Dept. of Resources, who can go and get it themselves if they want it so bad... (In this one you could give them a finders fee type bonus, but you certainly don't have to...)

The Chainsaw Man

These stats are flexible. You should modify them to suit your squad. Ideally, the Charged version should be able to slaughter them all, preferably in a humiliating way. The Flat version should be a challenge, but something they can overcome if they're good...

Charged:
STR - 24
DEX - 14
DIA - 8
CON - 8
Move 2, 4, 7

Flat:
STR - 12
DEX - 7
DIA - 6
CON - 6
Move 1, 2, 4

PV - 14
ID - 500
The Chainsaw man will take 250 ID before retreating.

Armed with two Saw Blades (Skill 10):
Charged Dam 18, Pen 6, AD 8
Flat Dam 14, Pen 5, AD 6

Also has four Cable Guns (Skill 7):
Range 5 - 30m Optimum 30 - 60m Maximum
When two cable guns hit a target they will be reeled in at 5m per phase. It takes one phase and a successful Dex roll at -7 to escape one cable.