SILVER - Narcotic Trends

by Simon Naylor

No twists this time. After all, if every BPN had a moral or a lesson then the players would look out for it. This does demonstrate the importance of the media to some extent though. This should also help cement the squad’s relationship with Lloyd Langley, for later surprises.


Background

Desperate people will often find ways to improve their position, and there are many desperate people in Downtown. Ralph Morrisey managed to capitalise on his intelligence and grasp of chemistry. Through research from an early age, and bribery of those bigger and stronger than him with the results, Morrisey built up a small but effective counterfeit drugs operation. Early years of making pirate copies of Alice and Flip proved quite lucrative, but with the market already legal and flooded by SLA it was always going to be competitive. Occasionally a gang would push to get in on the profits, but Morrisey had the foresight to invest his income well in the form of competent protection with good equipment.


The money from copies of SLA drugs couldn’t provide the funding to hold off the big gangs though, and the Kiestas have started to show interest. Morrisey has taken a gamble, and has begun to produce a drug of his own design by the name of Glacier. In order to maximise the sales of his drug, he plunged a large amount of his funding into hiring a couple of Uptown socialites to spread the word and supply his new drug to the wealthy and the fashionable. The gamble paid off, at least for now, and demand is such for this must-have product that prices are rocketing as supply is outstripped.
SLA has caught on to this, and on to the loss in profits. Unwilling to fuel the already blazing fire of publicity that Glacier has created itself, the dept. of Press and Publicity has been called in to run a smear campaign against the drug and destroy it by making it undesirable.

Contact

Mr Bhiagi is mostly just a figurehead of this BPN. Langley is the brains behind it but as he doesn’t work for the Dept of Press and Publicity he needs a front man. However, Bhiagi won’t let on and unless pressed neither will Langley, so when he tells the squad at the end of his brief that Langley will provide their coverage they will most probably assume it’s coincidence or the GM recycling NPCs.
Bhiagi can give the squad a few leads to start with, covertly supplied by Langley. The point of origin of the drug seems to be a club in Uptown by the name of Technoir, but there is no information as to who might have been supplying it. Taking the drug, while technically illegal, isn’t a particularly weighty crime and SLA has no real interest in punishing users. In fact, it has no real interest in anyone beyond the source. This should free up the Ops from having everyone they interview arrested, and should make it easier for them to get information. Aside from that, these people will be mostly wealthy employees and SLA is only happy to bend the rules for the successful.

Langley should be already familiar to the squad from the previous BPN. Hopefully they should have some reasonable mutual respect. Langley is a man with fingers in many pies and will be getting a tasty commission for both the coverage and the results of the BPN. Naturally he’ll do whatever he can to support the squad, but what he’ll be keeping to himself is his ulterior motive for getting involved. Langley has already done some investigating of his own and knows a fair bit about Morrisey. Talent scouts are always finding enterprising psychopaths for the Contract Circuit, and Langley has a similar thing in mind for Morrisey in Karma’s research labs.

Technoir

The Ops will probably be quite cagey about approaching people and asking for illegal drugs, but anyone who spends a little time in the club getting a feel will soon realise that half the buyers are Ops anyway. Finding a source of the drug should be difficult to mess up as a result of this, and most patrons could point the Ops towards a couple of city types who are dispensing Glacier with little discretion. Indeed, the sellers do nothing to disguise the fact they are selling the drug even when the Ops approach to speak to them. Should they let on that they are investigating the supply, or make the sellers suspicious, they might start getting defensive. They will be of the opinion that they are committing a minor infringement (they are), and that SLA doesn’t care about a little private enterprise (they don’t). They know that the Ops can’t do very much to them without paperwork which will never get authorised (true), and if pushed will threaten the Ops with investigation by Internal Affairs (which are empty threats). Befriending, charming, or sufficiently intimidating these characters shouldn’t be too difficult though, and eventually they will give up their supplier. A famous socialite by the name of Kitt Crawley.

Kitt Crawley

Anyone with a streetwise skill of four or above will know who Kitt Crawley is. Famous for no reason other than that she is famous, her image perpetuated in the media for doing nothing in particular. If she wears a new hat it makes news headlines and fashion victims all over Mort will be seen sporting them soon after. It is likely that the squad will take an instant dislike to her. She can be found in an exclusive Uptown nightclub by the name of LaFours, although gaining entry is tricky. Some very high profile people hang out here, and the doormen won’t let just anyone in, particularly low SCL Operatives. Quoting their BPN reference number and flashing their SCL cards should work, but whether the players think of such a simple approach is an entirely different matter.

Regardless of how they get in, it isn’t hard to find Crawley. Surrounded by braying flunkies and necking expensive New Parisian cocktails. She’s loud, empty-headed and obnoxious. At fist her retinue will scurry as the Ops approach, scared of their rough appearance and violent nature (which will almost certainly be the case). Crawley, however, is as self important as ever. She will answer the questions the Ops pose to her truthfully but sneeringly, talking down to them and making bad jokes at their expense. If they question the truth of her answers she will inform them that she has no reason to lie to people of so little importance, she just wants them to leave as they’re ruining her ‘Feng Shui’ (pronounced incorrectly and used hideously out of context). The only real information she has to give is that, yes she is the main supplier of Glacier (“to the beautiful elite, you people can’t have any”), and that she gets her supply off her agent, Tony Pope.

Tony Pope

Unsurprisingly, Tony Pope is also loud and confident. He’s not as stupid as Kitt Crawley though and knows he might be in trouble. He weighed up the risks before he started and reckons that SLA won’t judge him too harshly, and he’ll co-operate with the Ops in order to ensure just that. How the Ops approach Pope will dictate how he’ll react. If they’re friendly he’ll give them some information on who they’re dealing with – that Morrisey is a chemistry genius and that he’s being protected by a pretty well armed Soft Company called Black Pig Armaments. He can also tell the squad that the protection is mostly there to keep the Kiestas off their back, and that they’ve no fight with SLA. He gives them the name of his middle-man, Juan Montoya.

If the Ops go in heavy handed with Pope he’ll act differently. He’ll squirm and give them Juan's name and location, and make it look like he was squealing to save his skin. He’s hoping that the Ops will see him as a minor cog in the affair and leave him alone after they get what they want. He’s not as spineless as he makes out though, and doesn’t like being pushed around. If the Ops do leave him alone after they’ve bullied information out of him he’ll call his contact and warn him that there are Ops incoming.

Juan Montoya

Morrisey’s front man goes by the name of Juan Montoya. It is Juan who runs the day-to-day business of the enterprise, and it is Juan who attends all the meetings with the various third parties. Despite this amount of control, he still works for Morrissey. Chances are the Ops will encounter Montoya as a result of information from Pope. How they got that information, and how they approach Montoya will dictate how he’ll react. If the Ops have bullied the information out of Pope and prevented him calling ahead, they may catch Montoya off guard. He’s known to SLA, so finding his address is only a matter of using a computer to look it up. Catching him off guard will cause him to panic, and he’ll try to get back to the manufacturing facility as quickly as possible where he has the protection of the Black Pigs. Cornered, he will try to negotiate his way out, explaining that his company has no issues with SLA and would be happy to co-exist. If forced to fight he will return fire with a BLA 12.7mm derringer, although he only has a skill of 3. Of course if they kill him they’ll never find out where the facility is. If they capture him then he’ll try to resist but it’s unlikely he’ll hold out against a determined squad of Ops. In this situation, with the Ops being hostile, he won’t voluntarily hand over any information.

If the Ops have bullied the information out of Pope but he was able to call ahead the Black Pigs will set a trap. Montoya will leave a dummy message on his answering machine urging himself (obviously the Ops won’t know it’s his voice) to get to a particular address as soon as possible. When the Ops inevitably show up he’ll be waiting to negotiate a deal. His free and easy attitude in the face of an armed and hostile squad of Ops will no doubt throw them, and he’s counting on this. There are at least an equivalent number to the squad of Black Pigs lying in ambush in nearby containers. It is unlikely that the squad will be able to detect them, unless they decide to make a track roll nearby Montoya and notice they’ve been recently disturbed. Montoya will try to talk the Ops into leaving the company alone, or try to broker a takeover from SLA. None of the Ops have the authority for this, although a Business Financier could probably see the potential and get the ball rolling. Similarly, previously encountered financier Haynes has both the authority and the capacity, and would receive a healthy commission. Should the Ops agree and begin brokering the deal Montoya will stand the Black Pigs down and wait for a Business Finance representative. Once negotiations are in order the squad simply have to wait for about 12 hours, when they will receive a call from the Business Financier informing them that the drugs operation has been absorbed into SLA. This has effectively neutralised the illegal source, as it is now legal, and the BPN can be considered complete. If the Ops do not negotiate and aggress against Montoya the Black Pigs will step out from the back of their containers, armed and aimed at the squad. The Ops can either fight, which if they win they can then drag the information out of Montoya, or they can negotiate. Of course the terms will be less favourable. Montoya will explain that their operation wants no fight with SLA, so they should leave and just fail the BPN. He will ask that they leave their weapons on the ground, and walk away. Should they follow his instructions the supply of Glacier will stop reaching Uptown – only fools would continue to provoke SLA after such an encounter, so the Ops could be considered to have completed the BPN assuming they haven’t called in to report it failed.

Ralph Morrisey

If the Ops get information on the location of the manufacturing facility out of Montoya, they can find Morrisey. If Montoya had been warned of the Ops then Morrisey will be prepared as Montoya was. There will be roughly double the squad’s number in Black Pigs guarding the facility, ready and waiting for an attack. There’s little chance of negotiation now – even though Ralph will do, the Black Pigs aren’t in the mood for talking. If and when they find Morrisey he will not resist any kind of arrest, and is unarmed. If the Ops do anything other than kill him he will end up working for Karma anyway, possibly with Langley getting a fat commission for finding him.

The Manufacturing Facility

Glacier is manufactured in a medium sized warehouse by naked, filthy Lower Downtowners. It is situated nearby the CS2 wall, too close for comfort. The facility is guarded by a number of Black Pig Armaments personnel.

 There are, again, a number of ways the Ops can approach shutting down the facility:

Attack

The simplest is just to assault the facility. The warehouse has two large loading doors which have been welded shut, a smaller loading door used to ship the Glacier, a staff door, a vent on the roof, and a sewer maintenance grate. The vent and grate are alarmed but unguarded if the Black Pigs aren’t alerted. The two doors have two guards each and the rest of the personnel (about equivalent to the squad) are in the manufacturing hall overseeing the workers. If they are alert there will be four guards on each door and four on each of the grate and vent, as well as half again the squad’s number in the manufacturing hall, and finally two guarding Morrissey.

Negotiation

The Ops may see the risk of an attack and attempt to negotiate anyway, despite not taking that route with Montoya. Morrissey will be receptive, and while the Black Pigs won’t be happy they don’t want to get into a war with SLA, and will drift back into Downtown leaving Morrissey to the Ops.

Media

If the Ops can sneak into the facility with a camera they can get footage of the conditions in which the drugs are made. Crawley should be a strong hint at how vain the users of the drug are, and if they see their favourite narcotic is made in filthy conditions by the sickly and disease ridden Lower Downtowners they will instantly reject it. This effectively neutralises the supply, and will get the squad some good public image to boot.

Flush

The proximity to CS2 means shrewd Ops have the option of creating a direct route from a nearby overflow pipe into the Cannibal Sector into the basement of the facility. This could be done to draw hordes of Carriens into the warehouse to attack the position for them. This has its risks – if the Carriens escape then the Ops will have an even bigger problem on their hands, and clearing up afterwards may prove problematic. SLA will also be less than impressed if the plan goes anything less than flawlessly.

Decoy

There are a lot of Kiestas around the area, and there is a good chance the Ops know that there is a lot of friction between them and the Glacier operation. Careful negotiation could persuade the local gangers to attack the facility from the front while the Ops attack from above or below. The Kiestas aren’t stupid though. They’re well armed and numerous, and in return for their help they want the contents of the facility. This isn’t particularly a problem for SLA, it still limits the drug to Downtown. A false move or double cross though and the squad might end up with a lot more enemies.

Black Pig Armaments

Also know as the Black Pigs, they make their money from manufacturing pirate copies of numerous FEN weapons. Their armour mostly consists of DarkNight body armour and ex-Shiver Blocker, although some have PP8 Exo. The staff guarding the Glacier facility are just footsoldiers and only have access to 10mm weaponry, although higher echelons and special staff (not encountered in this BPN) may have better equipment.