Testing Ground

A White BPN for SLA Industries by James Fullerton

This BPN has been designed as an introduction to the JNFWoP 333 Gator Stormer Variant. It has been designed for any squad that knows how to do basic investigative work. The actual death-threat level of this BPN is minimal if they are sensible, but as they do have to enter DownTown during a riot at the end, the GM is free to throw whatever he wants at them to slow them down. I've set it at SCL 9 purely because I don't think Karma would hire SCL 10 Operatives.

#1: Starting the BPN

The BPN will be offered to them through either a corporate contact, any contacts from Karma, or a messenger who appears at the squad leader's house and offers it to them. Karma are purposefully choosing a squad that does not have a big media image and yet have been relatively successful in their careers. The BPN offers minimal information about the nature of the investigation.

Colour Designation: White
Minimum SCL: 9A
Training Package Recommended: Kick Murder/Investigation
Consolidated Pay: 200c per Operative
Contact: Dr Kristofasen, Department of Biogenetics
Coverage: Station Analysis
Summary: Investigate killings in Karma experimental lab. Possible escaped test-subject. Contact Dr. Kristof Kristofasen at main Karma office on 222 KARMA ext. 3905 ASAP.

Contacting Dr. Kristofasen will get them through to a very panicky man. He needs them to go to a Karma Laboratory that is relatively near to them, where there has been a massacre. He doesn't know what has happened but he needs the squad to find out what has caused the killings. He thinks it has left the labs now, but needs them to confirm this. Dr. Kristofasen is actually very panicky about the lab and doesn't want any media attention in the area. The labs had an unfortunate breakout last year and although Karma has increased security in the area it will be bad for their image if it gets linked back to the lab. Because he is desperate he might be persuaded to increase the payment up to 325c per Operative.

Arriving at the lab, the Operatives will be allowed onto the premises by the gate-guards on showing the BPN. They will be met by the Head of Security, Shiver Lt. Karem, who is looking a bit flustered at the moment. As they walk to the building he will outline what he knows. Approximately 30 minutes before they got the BPN one of the labs was 'breached' by an unknown creature. It is believed to have been held captive in the lab and managed to escape past the security systems that kept it there. He will explain that following the breakout last year the security measures have been dramatically increased and this sort of thing should not be possible. It then proceeded to massacre those scientists that were in the lab before escaping out into the main complex.

Once in the main complex it managed to attack two security stations, killing the Security Shivers that were based there. All twenty of them. It also managed to take the security tapes so they have no idea what it is they are facing. Unfortunately everyone who would know what was in the lab is believed dead in the actual lab and the person left holding the buck is Dr. Kristofasen who issued the BPN (and knows sweet FA).

Once inside the complex the Operatives will have to temporarily surrender any large firearms and heavy armour, although pistols will be permitted. This is part of their standard security procedures and is mainly to prevent any equipment that could damage a test-subject or possibly allow it to escape. Lt. Karem is confident that the creature is no longer in the vicinity although he is not one hundred percent sure. Standing by a door with a big dent in it and fractured security glass, Lt. Karem will type in the code number to open the door, before moving away, so that the Operatives may enter the room.

#2: Inside the Lab

The scene inside the lab looks straight out of a comic-horror movie, with body parts and blood everywhere. At the far end of the lab is a cage and it appears that this is where the carnage started. The cage is about 6m square and just over 2m in height. Most of the floor and bars are padded, although a lot of the padding is ripped and torn. At the side of the cage is a keypad that appears to the combination lock required to open the cage. This is dangling by its few internal wires, sparking slightly.

Just in front of the cage are the remains of a desk and chair with scattered video equipment on the floor. One of the victims is lying by the table with their left arm from the elbow missing. They also have a stomach wound that with forensics seems to be several sharp bladed objects that have inserted and turned; possibly claws. Most of the front of the face is missing and looks like it has been chewed off. There is no evidence of the left arm at all.

Just to the side of the cage is a collection of large filing cabinets. These have all been knocked over, toppling them onto the poor soul whose left leg sticks out from underneath them. Just in front of the filing cabinets, scattered across a desk are the two separate parts of a body that until recently were joined together - the intestines split and discarded across the desk.

On the opposite side of the room are a couple of dissection tables but the victims on these tables don't look like there were dead before the massacre started. One of the victims is pinned to the side of the table as if they were pushed heavily by the creature and has had their waist impaled by the now broken side of table. The other looks like they have been thrown onto the table and then had something heavy dropped on to them, denting the once solid table significantly and almost flattening their upper body. Between the two tables is a third body with a right arm cut off at the (now missing) elbow and its head buried into the floor of the lab.

By the door of the room three more bodies lie. One looks like it has been clawed from behind, by something strong enough to tear most of their back muscles before shattering the spine. The second has a hand that is still attached to the door handle. Unfortunately this is no longer attached to the rest of the body, which looks like it has been repeatedly pounded into the floor. The third and final victim by the door has had their throat ripped out and large chunks of their body shredded apart.

Once the Operative's have got over their initial shock of seeing the room (and you wondered why Lt. Karem seemed so flustered) they can do some proper investigative work. Their first step should be to try and identify the bodies, and try and establish who was killed. Luckily if they ask Lt. Karem he will tell them that they all have personal codes to enter doors and so he can find out who was in the room. Whilst he does this they may notice the wipe board half covered in blood with a list of names. Strangely enough there seems to be one more name than the number of bodies, a fact that is repeated when Lt. Karem returns with his list.

Additionally the panic alarm in the room hasn't been used (it is located near to the door, so someone should have been able to try it). If they ask Lt. Karem he will say that he doesn't know why it didn't activate but that he also found the lab door shut when he arrived there, which seems quite strange if the creature escaped. Further investigation by the cage will reveal a lab coat covered with blood (arterial spray from the arm of the body just in front of the cage). However, the coat looks like it has been discarded as opposed to being sprayed where it lay. All of the bodies in the room have the remains of the lab coat, except possibly the body hiding under the filing cabinets (which also does if they move the cabinets).

If anyone has the forensics skill they can try checking the inside door of the lab and the cage keypad for prints. This will take some time and so they are probably best left to it whilst the rest of the squad get shown the other sections of the complex by Lt. Karem. If they are sensible they will also get the finger prints of those that have been killed so that they can run IDs on those who might otherwise be hard to identify. Checking the video equipment, they will find that the tape has been removed.

#3: At the Security Stations

The first of the security stations is just an outpost that once had a few guards. The scene is pretty much what you would expect if there had been a fight between a half dozen security guards wearing light body armour and carrying riot batons against a Stormer high on UV and Bass. They have been ripped apart and flattened against walls and didn't really stand a chance at survival. Again there is a panic button at the outpost that would have locked down the whole complex but this has not been activated. There is a security camera positioned to show everything in the corridor, which looks untouched. Just past the outpost is a large bay door that when opened leads outside. Instead of exiting this way immediately the creature continued along the corridor until it got the central security outpost.

Even walking up the outpost there are signs that 'something' has happened; there is a pool of vomit by the door, next to an outstretched hand that holds half a riot baton. There is also a pool of blood that has seeped slowly out from the door only now mixing with the vomit. Inside the room is a scene similar to that of the lab. At least the security guards here tried to fight off whatever attacked them although they were not successful. In all there are about a dozen security guards, give or take a few body parts.

Once the bodies have been dealt with it is time for the Operatives to do some more investigating. If they have tried to identify the bodies in the lab they will find out that the missing person is Doctor Kobus Larsen SCL 5B. He was in charge of the lab and the door record states that he should have been in the room when the attack started. Formally a Karma bio-technologist his main work has been with the recent improvements to the 330 Gator Stormer variant. All of his work is currently at a high SCL and so the Operatives will not be able to find out what was in the lab.

The fingerprints on the lab door keypad are smudged as if the last person to use it smeared their fingers on the keys. Either that or someone wearing gloves smeared the previous user. The prints on the cage keypad are a different matter and come out very clearly. If they run them through the personnel files they will identify Dr. Larsen. Checking the panic alarms in the rooms will show that they are all working, but that at the time of the massacre they were running diagnostic checks. All of the security doors that have been opened between the lab and the security stations do not appear to have been opened at all since before the massacre.

Further checking the computer records using Computer Subterfuge will show that the files have been tampered with by an outside source. This source has infiltrated the computer system using an admin account only set up the day before. With a successful Subterfuge usage the correct door usage files will be located. It seems that that the outside source set up a program to divert the real signal of the doors opening to a new file rather than to the security files. This new file shows each of the doors opening in sequence and allowing someone or something to travel through the corridors. With a very successful Subterfuge usage it is possible to track down the telephone number of the original source. Coincidentally it is the phone number of Dr. Larsen's home.

The next thing to check is the security video-tapes. Unfortunately those that show the inside corridors for the last few hours are gone. The ones for outside are still available. They show the Doctor leaving the building a few minutes after the time of the massacre and reversing an armoured van (the type used to transfer creatures around in) to one of the loading bay doors. Climbing out of the van he opens the back up and then reverses it so that it is flush against the door. Using what looks like an Oyster computer he opens the loading bay doors and something enters the van. As the van starts to shake around he closes the bay door, leaving the creature trapped inside the back of the van. He then reaches into his pocket and withdraws a small black object, like a car-zapper. Pressing it the movement from inside the van stops. Driving the van forward a little he then disappears into the back of it for a few minutes before closing the back up and driving away, out of the compound.

By this point the Operatives should be placing an APB on the black van and finding out the Doctor's home address.

#4: The Home of Doctor Larsen

The Doctor lives in an Uptown apartment that is paid for by Karma as part of his salary. It is on one of the outer areas of Uptown and is relatively close to the Suburban based Karma facility. Getting to the apartment isn't too difficult. If the Operatives have the foresight to contact building security they will be advised that the Doctor is not home at the moment and that there are no known guests staying there either. If the Operatives want, building security will actively monitor the room until their arrival, although they will not enter the room for them. They will also request that the Operatives gain a Search and Seizure warrant before trying to enter his premises. This can easily be gained from Dr. Kristofasen.

As long as at least a photocopy of the Search and Seizure Warrant is made available to Building Security they won't interfere with the Operatives. They will also give them a key card that will override the lock at the door. If the Operatives listen at the door they will hear nothing from inside the apartment. Assuming they try a SWAT type entry on the apartment they will quickly establish two things - there is no one at home and the place looks like it has been ransacked.

Once they have secured the premises they can start looking around for clues and hints. Contrary to their first thoughts the room has not been ransacked; it is just that Dr. Larsen is very messy. At its base design the apartment is quite luxurious and spacious with three bedrooms (one converted to a study) as well as a living room and bathroom. The decor is all high quality furniture and fittings although suffering slightly from neglect. On top of this potentially nice background there are papers and files everywhere, interspersed with clothing and used plates. There are ideas and thoughts scribbled on most items including take-away food containers and a white shirt with equations on it.

The study is not much tidier, with Karma manuals and documents everywhere. Most of the books have 'Do Not Remove From Lab' written across them as well as diagrams and figures all over their covers. Inside they are just as bad with footnotes and side notes and passages scribbled out and re-written. Hiding under the pile of books is a computer, plugged into the power supply as well as the telephone line.

If any of the Operatives check the computer one or two things may surprise them. Firstly the computer only has a basic operating system, although the computer itself is very hi-tech. Secondly there is hardly anything stored on the computer even though it has a substantial amount of memory available. If anyone checks it doesn't actually have the software installed on it to run the modem inside it. Anyone getting suspicious about this can start interrogating the computer properly using Computer Subterfuge.

In the meantime if anyone has been looking around the apartment for clues to where the Doctor has gone they are out of luck. However, what they will find out about is what the Doctor has been working on recently. They will get hints about something called The Rage that he has been trying to establish the limits of. If they manage to find his diary (located somewhere near his bed) it will describe the symptoms of the Rage to the level explained in the Gator description. Additionally if they look back further it will describe the 330 Gator and a Variant based off of it called the 530 Gator. More recently it explains how the numbering system of the new variant has been changed to the 333 Gator because 'them upstairs don't want this project linked to the failed 500 series of products. Which is stupid as it is one of them.'

Meanwhile if someone is checking the computer out they will have found that it has two hard-drives. The smaller of the two is running the basic operating system and also a program that wrote a random sequence of numbers to every memory address on the main hard-drive seven times - more than enough to completely obscure any data on it beyond recovery.

Lt. Karem will contact one of the Operatives on his mobile. The Perimeter Wall between Suburbia and DownTown has just let the van through its gates. Rather than trying to apprehend it, they have scrambled a SCAF to follow it. Currently it is in a DownTown Street, which the Operatives are given directions to.

#5: Rumble in DownTown

If the Operatives manage to get a direct link through to the SCAF pilot, he can give them a complete breakdown of what has happened so far. The van is parked at a side street that connects to a busy night-club area in the sector and it is currently just sitting there. Ideally it should be early evening by now and the streets are starting to get busy. Every now and then the Doctor will exit the van and go into the back returning a few minutes later. Other than that nothing else happens, except for the adjacent street starting to slowly build up with people, most of who are in gang colours.

Murphy's law dictates that the creature inside the van will wake up before the Operatives get there. The creature is a 333 Gator that is suffering from a Psychotic Frenzy and will probably never recover. The Doctor has bought it here to test the extent of the Frenzy if it happened in a densely populated place. Obviously he is quite mad. However he is also quite intelligent and this makes him even more dangerous. The Gator that is in the van is one that the Doctor helped to create and it has an implanted memory device that forces it to ignore the Doctor on his command. Luckily for the Doctor it still works when the Gator is completely frenzied. It was the Doctor that was responsible for the Gator escaping from the lab. He also used his computer skills to control the security systems in the lab through the Oyster he is carrying around with him (and his computer at home).

Attached to the back of the Gator is a small device that stores a tranquilliser in it. This can be activated remotely by the car-zapper device that the Doctor used previously. This is a standard device that Karma uses on its test subjects so that they can be easily transported between labs. It also has a homing beacon on it that will send a signal to the Doctor's Oyster so that he can track the movement of the Gator should he loose it. The SCAF pilot will start to describe the chaos on the streets as the Gator attacks just prior to the Operatives arrival. Due to the vast number of people around the scene will be worse than a riot as panicked people run everywhere trying to get away from a creature that can run quicker than they can. The Gator will need to be stopped one way or another.

If you want to make the job even harder for the Operatives have them run into Dr. Larsen just as they arrive. He will make it clear to them that he has approval for this action from high up, claiming that 'it is best we find out the limitations of this creatures rage now, then when we have to confront hundreds of these mass-produced creatures.' If they ignore him, he'll give them a direct order (his SCL is higher than theirs is) to let the creature continue its massacre.

Now it is up to the Operatives what they do. The easiest solution is to ignore the Doctor and kill the Gator. This will be reasonably tough but if they go in for hand-to-hand the chances are a nearby media team will catch the fight. This will make them look good on camera for a few days until the media realises that the Operatives were actually part of a cover up and will then try to discredit them. All the time during the fight the Doctor will try getting in their way. He knows that the Gator won't attack him and so he'll risk being in the middle of the fight if it helps. Of course he might have a problem if he is covered in someone else's blood as this may allow the Gator to attack him (hence why he discarded his lab coat in the lab).

If the Operatives have sussed out about the tranquilliser then they may try wrestling the controller from the Doctor. This would allow them to stop the massacre by simply knocking out the Gator. They would then be able to get the body into the van and drive it back to Karma for them to deal with. The Doctor will of course try stopping this and has an Adrenal Boost injector that will counteract the tranquilliser if injected before the Gator is completely unconscious. The Operatives will have to be careful that they are not too hostile to the Doctor as anything they do will be captured on video camera by the SCAF pilot who is waiting patiently on the roof of the building watching them.

The BPN will end when the Gator is either captured or killed. As long as not too many people were killed then Karma will pay up the credits owed. If they handed the Doctor to the Shivers then it is likely that he will end up being interrogated by Cloak Division for his actions. If however, he is given to Karma, they may publicly criticise him, but will get him working on a few other projects instead...