Hope you wore clean underwear...
By Darrin O'Connor
Colour Designation: Grey
Minimum SCL: 9
Training Package Recommended: Medical/ Any
Consolidated Pay: 375c per Operative
Contact: Cloak Division
Coverage: Station Analysis
Summary: Investigate the cause of the deaths of several fashion models in Uptown. Cause and nature of deaths are unknown however a biological agent is suspected. Contact Cloak Division for details. <<CD66303/UT>>
When the Operatives establish contact with their employers they will be immediately routed to an agent from Cloak Division. Speaking in a dull, feminine monotone the agent will not agree to a meeting but will instead transmit a briefing along with two attached files. The briefing is as follows:
"Six days ago the body of Angelyne Rennald was discovered in her apartment in Uptown, the cause of death unknown. Four days later Jax Bartholowmew was found dead in the restroom of a popular Uptown nightclub, his skin self-flayed with a small knife. Last night Carla Gene Purdum, going under the name of 'Tracii Stevens', underwent convulsions in the middle of a private social gathering and died shortly afterwards. All were top fashion models working for separate agencies with unrelated lifestyles. "
"You are to investigate the deaths of each victim and ascertain whether or not they are connected in any way. Casefiles for each are included with this briefing. It is imperative that all Operatives connected to this BPN handle themselves with the utmost care and that there is to be no disturbances within the fashion world. We are watching you so do not misbehave."
Mood and Atmosphere
To the people of the World of Progress success can only be gauged through the glamour of the world of fashion. Shamefully commercial and relentlessly seductive, the televisions constantly show a universe that the viewer would pay anything to become a part of. Once someone does 'make it' and join the beautiful people of the popular circuit they constantly find their false perceptions reinforced by the media. To the fashion whore the sun really does shine, and everyone stays young and vibrant forever, and love always lurks around the corner, and they really are better people because they are happy. Those that show the unwashed masses how to live are the true propagandists of the World of Progress, so wrapped up in their own materialistic lives that they cannot see the real dangers hovering all around them...the monsters do not need to hide and they prey on their victims in plain view.
Casefile 44109-UT9.3 - Rennald, A. SCL 11
Read the following to the players:
'From: Shiver Station 431 - UPTOWN
To: Station Analysis
Subject: Rennald, A. SCL 11
Victim's driver discovered victim at 7.15 MST in apartment suite 12 of the Anael's Tower duplex, Harmony Junction. Body's position was at the foot of the bed on the floor. There was no sign of entry and the security system was reported operational throughout the night. Last known time the victim was witnessed alive was by lobby staff at approximately 4.50 MST. Awaiting medical examiner's report.'
Following the report are a series of crime scene photos of the young model, still dressed in a fashionable bodysuit, sprawled on the floor with her eyes open and staring out in horror.
Casefile 46937-UT3.7 - Bartholowmew, J. SCL 11
Read the follow to the players:
'From: Shiver Station 112 - UPTOWN
To: Station Analysis
Subject: Bartholowmew, J. SCL 11
Victim was discovered in a stall in the restroom of The Vault nightclub by a patron. Cause of death was self-inflicted wounds caused by a small pocketknife. Due to the nature of the injuries it is suggested to list as 'Unknown' rather than as 'Suicide'. Discolored stains at the edge of the photographs are vomit, produced on the scene before Shiver detail could arrive and close off crime scene. Unrelated to case.'
Following the report are a series of photographs of the young man, seated on a toilet and stripped to the waist, his shirt and flesh stripped off and lying in bloody heaps on the bathroom floor. Bleeding handprints are smeared along the walls.
Casefile 49008-UT1.1 - Purdum, C. G. SCL 9a.4
Read the following to the players:
'From: Shiver Station 289 - UPTOWN
To: Station Analysis
Subject: Purdum, C. G. SCL 9a.4
Victim was present at a charity fundraiser for Evrard Cosmetics when she underwent convulsions. An on-scene surgeon made attempt at Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation but victim was pronounced dead by emergency medical crew at 18.82 MST. Cause of death is acute cardiac arrest brought on by blockages in the bloodstream.'
Following the report are a series of photographs of the victim, dressed in skin-tight lingerie, curled up in a postmortem fetal position on the ground.
At some point in time the Operatives will be interested in getting some background information on the victims. This is the information that is readily available to them:
- Angelyne Rennald; age 23; SCL 11; daughter of Thomas and Kristine Rennald, Chairman and CEO of Rennald Textile Manufacturers, respectively; raised in Uptown until age 16, when she was transferred to Madame Foucart's Beauty Academy on New Paris; entered Sunfire modeling agency age 17; modeling credits include L'Sensual, Sigerson, Satin&Steel, Buckleware, Reflective Fashions, Pop-Up Pleasuresuits, Dreamer's Delight, Venus Bodysculpting, and Solutionwear.
- Jax Bartholowmew; age 19; SCL 11; parents unknown; raised in Downtown until discovered by talent scouts at age 17; joined Visions modeling agency age 17; modeling credits include Downtowner Magazine, Dig, Alexander Male Cosmetics, Skivvies, E-Z Access, Nuke Tendon, Multi-Angular Cutters, Venus Bodysculpting, and Solutionwear.
- Carla Gene Purdum, aka 'Tracii Stevens'; age 24; SCL 9a.4; parents unknown; raised in Downtown until discovered by talent scouts at age 6; joined Rainbows modeling agency age 6; modeling credits include Pretty Young Thing, Lollipop Clothiers, Mini-Model Magazine, Sweet Thirteen Magazine, Pop-Up Pleasuresuits, Sweetum & Eeetum, manager of Lacy Tracii's child modeling agency, featured as covergirl for Karma Katalogue 900 SD.
At some point in time the Operatives will be interested in visiting the crime scenes and/or victims' residences. This will not bring up any new clues but it is good for some atmosphere. An important note should the Operatives search the victims' wardrobes: each has a wide selection of fashionable clothing, each of which has been unused for quite some time and is collecting dust.
The morgue OR "Let's search the bodies"
Should the Operatives show an interest in examining the bodies (particularly if one possesses the 'Forensics' skill) they will find quite a lot of useful clues. The following information may be given out by the medical examiner or may be uncovered by a Medical Operative (GM's decision).
- Angelyne Rennald's corpse is nude, the (biogenetic) bodysuit removed shortly after it was brought into the morgue. The body is a work of art in flesh. Most of it has been remade by cosmetic implants, all of which are biogenetic and manufactured by Venus Bodysculpting (makers of quality cosmetic biogenetic implants). If an autopsy is (or was) performed it will become readily apparent as to the cause of her death: Tissue rejection of a biogenetic intestinal implant designed to regulate metabolism and maintain a slim figure. Once the incision is made the liquified small intestine will seep up and out of the body cavity, emitting a horrible stench and driving away those with weak stomachs (no pun intended). As a side note, there are several splotches of torn skin and lesions dotting her body. If questioned about it the examiner will explain that in some cases with biogenetic clothing the flesh bonds to the clothing and removing the article causes a rash. Of course with a careful examination (and Forensics roll) the Operatives will notice the lesions are all in areas where biogenetic implants are located.
- Jax Bartholowmew is also nude although there is no need for an autopsy as the body was skinned at the time of death. There is very little medically wrong with the victim; like Angelyne he has been outfitted with a staggering amount of biogenetic implants, courtesy of Venus Bodysculpting. In addition he has received a set of muscle augmenting brace tendons from Nuke Tendon. Should the slightest instrument prod the set located in his pectoral region the brace tendons will burst like a wet balloon, immediately draining itself of its dissolved biogenetic contents. This, too, smells horrible and by now there should be a fear of contracting an infectious (possibly airborne) viral contagion. If the GM feels particularly evil you may have the morgue locked down and quarantined for a few days.
- 'Tracii Stevens' is the most recent case and has not yet had a chance to be examined. She is still wearing her biogenetic lingerie and looks gaunt in person compared to the photographs. She has lost approximately 20 pounds since being admitted. Should the Operatives ask the medical examiner about this he/she/it will explain that biogenetic clothing nourishes itself off of the body's fluids and it is common for them to metabolize cadavers after the host is deceased. Removing the lingerie will be difficult...the creature has bonded itself to the corpse and must be cut off of her, thereby 'killing' it. The sight of the withering, dying piece of lingerie is quite disturbing, to say the least. As for Tracii a quick examination will prove that her death was caused by a heart attack as previously surmised however there are no blockages to be found. In fact there is no heart to be found at all; only a crimson, oily mass situated between her lungs and a cavity through her sternum where the flesh was eaten away. It shouldn't take too much time for the Operatives to head towards the restroom in a frantic race to start throwing away their own articles of biogenetic clothing.
Tracking down the killer
At this point the BPN will probably break off into two different searches, one for the companies that create and supply biogenetic clothing while the other examines the articles of clothing worn by the victims.
- Examinations of the victims' clothing. Each of the victims was wearing an article of biogenetic clothing at the time of their death. In the case of Jax he killed himself removing his shirt, cutting it as well as his own skin off with a knife. Tissue samples of each are available and tests will confirm that their DNA structures have been altered, with only a single protein modified by a foreign toxin to change them from a harmless organism into a lethal parasite. The tampered protein lies dormant until triggered by coming into contact with a biogenetic body implant, thus the perfect Operative killer. In addition each DNA strand in biogenetic material is marked and copyrighted from its manufacturing center and in all three samples they originated from the same source, a Symbiant Activewear studio/plant located near Mort Central.
- Searching for biogenetic clothing producers All biogenetic material is manufactured by Karma, yet multitudes of sub-companies utilize its vast monopoly for a variety of consumer applications. Biogenetic clothing is still a new trend and because of that there remains only two companies in the market: Soulutionwear and its new sub-company Symbiant Activewear. Symbiant has just recently been created and its market is being geared towards the Operative crowd. In fact later this evening a celebrity ball is being hosted at Symbiant's studio/plant near Mort Central. Several top Contract Killers will be there modeling the newest line of fashionable 'living clothing'.
It's party time
- Do you have your ticket? Unfortunately the Operatives are forbidden from stopping the party. However they are allowed to attend, thanks to their SCL cards and a quick call to Cloak Division. Tickets will cost 2,000 UNI a piece (or 200c) and formal dress is required. Leave the Crackshot at home.
- Let's go shopping! Only the most beautiful and influential people in the fashion world are allowed into the event; it will take quite a lot of money to get your average Operative up to a presentable level. A single outfit may run from 60c (garish and tacky) all the way up to 500c (dressed at the height of fashion). Don't forget a full hair/facial treatment (25c), manicure (5c), and possibly a stylish temporary DNA face tattoo (15c and it's the hippest accessory now). No expense should be spared in making the Operatives look and feel pretty as they prepare for their journey into the world of high society.
- "Sir, you're going to have to buy an extra ticket for your rifle..." The sight of high-caliber weapons of mass destruction and armed Operatives would not sit well with the event staff. To prevent this social faux pas from happening a team of polite, well-trained and extremely deadly Shaktars dressed in biogenetic white tuxedos will be sure to have all coats and heavy firearms checked in at the door. Operatives with the proper releases signed by Cloak Division may be allowed to keep their melee weapons and perhaps one or two very small concealed firearms (and no, small is not a relative term; Blizters are noticeable no matter how you stuff it in your waistband).
- "So Mister Bonecruncher, what do you do for a living?" The celebrity ball is a good place to introduce some more atmosphere. Have the Operatives shmooze with the young and the pretty of Mort, possibly giving them the opportunity to establish contacts in the fashion world while simultaneously drawing them into all kinds of intrigues. Most of the people here are rich corporate tools of the Company's media empire and they are always looking for a few fresh faces to exploit. Meanwhile the Contract Killer fashion show is scheduled to begin in an hour...not much time to investigate.
Investigating and stuff
There will be few discernable clues about the nature of the supposed attack that can be found in the midst of the party. Operatives are allowed into the security room to view the surveillance systems yet they are not allowed to visit the main plant because it was powered down a week ago in preparation for the event. Some interesting tidbits..
- A week ago a strange private security firm arrived with documents signed by Symbiant corporate offices authorizing them with access to the facility in order to 'bring the systems up to an adequate level'. A close inspection of the documents by anyone trained in Electronic Forgery will show that the authorization is a fake.
- The air circulation systems have been malfunctioning since a little under a week ago when the security staff 'accidentally tripped a wire somewhere'. As the party goes on guests will complain about the hot temperature and humid atmosphere. Unless the Operatives stop them the staff will switch to the backup air conditioning/humidifier system.
- Each member of the event staff is dressed in a white biogenetic tuxedo (for males) or a white biogenetic short dress (for females). Fashion-conscious Operatives may notice that a few of the staff (4 males, 1 female) are not wearing biogenetic threads but instead cheap synthetic imitations. If questioned they will claim in an offhanded way that the supplier ran out of biogenetic attire for its staff. Extremely perceptive (Detect 7 or higher) might be able to notice a thin undergarment bodysuit underneath the tuxedos of the men.
- Backstage the Contract Killers are getting ready to begin modeling the latest line of fashionable 100%-organic clothing. Each is being assisted by event staff (1 of which is one of the men wearing the synthetic tuxes) and all of them will react in a brisk at best manner towards the Operatives. Contract Killers will have higher SCLs than the squad and will deny any requests to inspect their belongings. Each brings at least one fully-loaded firearm with them however they will leave them backstage when they take to the catwalk.
For the sake of keeping the climax loose and unscripted I will only provide the identities and plans for the attackers, leaving how the Operatives deal with it up to the course of gameplay.
- Who are they? The 4 men in synthetic tuxedos and the one woman in the synthetic dress are all DarkNight infiltrators. The men all wear DN Bodysuit armor underneath their outfits and are armed with concealed DN74 pistols. Although the woman does not wear armor she will be armed with a dart pistol loaded with 4 vials of the toxin. Most of their work has already been accomplished and they are merely here to ensure that the operation is carried through to the end. They will observe the Operatives carefully and if they suspect that the squad is close to figuring it out they will attempt to find a way to ambush them in private.
- The backup air conditioning/humidifier system has been rigged to release an airborne version of the toxin when activated. Odorless and colorless, it will be absorbed into the biogenetic clothing and alter the dormant killer protein. This specific strain of the toxin is meant to create an especially lethal protein so that the deaths of the partygoers and Contract Killers will take place within minutes after exposure. Anyone small enough can crawl into the ventilation system and locate the rigged dispensers and it is simple to disable them. However they will have to get past the infiltrators first.
- The infiltrators will try to escape in the chaotic aftermath of their attack. They did not come here to shoot the place up but should a firefight break out one or two of them may make it backstage and grab one of the Contract Killers' weapons to even the odds. Even without that benefit the Operatives are most likely without their armor and extremely large guns and therefore the risk of death should be appropriately high. And don't forget there are a lot of celebrities caught in the crossfire.
Aftermath - Rewards and stuff
Regardless of the outcome the Operatives will have completed the BPN at its fundamental level; SLA now knows the DarkNight has developed a toxin that works specifically on biogenetic material. Of course should the Operatives have failed in preventing the attack at the party their payment will be deducted by 300c and Cloak Division will monitor them in the future. It will be almost impossible for the media to cover up the attack and the Company may use the squad as scapegoats to take the blame for it. Of course should the Operatives succeed in stopping the attack they will receive their full payment and be given a small reward depending upon their actions (stock options, etc).
Bonus - The Ly-47 (codename: Lamprey) Toxin
The toxin works in altering the Ly-47 protein in biogenetic material. Normally responsible for producing enzymes that break down fatty acids the protein is strengthened while reprogrammed to attack foreign biogenetic agents in contact with it. It attacks and destroys biogenetic matter much like a virus destroys natural tissue. The end result is instant organ failure and ultimately tissue rejection in a body that has Karma implants. A person with muscle implants may lose much of their body's musculature and still survive while someone with a full skeletal enhancement may experience an agonizing death. Stormers are thus far resistant due to their regenerative abilities yet stronger strains of the toxin may be in production.