GREY - Sordid Fascination

by Simon Naylor

While outwardly a fairly simple surveillance BPN, Operatives who are prepared to dig a little deeper and consider the motives of the person manipulating them will find more under the surface. This serves as an exercise in demonstrating that for the inquisitive the rewards can be interesting, but the risks higher.


Working for the man has its privileges. Money, power, comfort, security. However, sometimes you just can’t influence human nature. Jordene Sumner, SCL 7C, is living the SLA Industries dream. As a mission planner in the Dept of Delegation she is well paid and respected leader to her team of junior managers. She’s popular and successful, attractive and wealthy. She’s also lonely. During quiet moments of her day she contemplates a chance meeting in a bar with her personal assistant. Or, more accurately, she contemplates the quiet and moody looking husband who was in tow. For the last two weeks now she’s found herself obsessing over the thin, scruffy, smouldering young man who her underling goes home to every evening. Jordene finds excuses to keep her PA working late, unable to bear the thought of her being with this man. It’s just reflex though, and she needs something more solid to work towards if she’s ever to win him. After all, she didn’t get where she is by lack of ambition. So, pulling in a few favours she’s managed to raise a BPN to get a squad of Operatives to spy on the PA and her husband. Maybe she’ll find something she can use as leverage. Maybe she’ll just find out a little more about the subject of her obsession. It’s a start.


Ms Sumner is a stern executive who invites the squad to meet her in a quiet bar during the day. She doesn’t drink while there, but is professionally friendly (as in not actually friendly, but as pleasant as she is required to be for working relations). She explains that a BPN is being raised because she suspects a member of her staff is either a subversive or being pressured by a subversive. The staff member in question is her PA, Briony Miseo. If asked what has raise suspicion, she will cite ‘evasive’ behaviour, wanting to do overtime when nobody else is in the office (not true, Sumner is holding her back late with work), possible attempts to use Sumner’s terminal and account (not true, Sumner has made a few incorrect logon attempts herself to fabricate evidence), and general curiosity about project details which are out of her remit (partially true, Briony also has ambition and is trying to show keenness).
Sumner has no particular preference as to the methods used to ascertain the loyalty of her PA (or, more importantly her husband), but stresses that the BPN is about confirming or denying her loyalty, rather than a witch hunt. She’s keen that all information is relayed back quickly so that she can remain informed and make a decision herself. After that she’s not really sure about the methods used by Operatives, so she’ll leave them to their own devices.


Experienced players might spot something fishy from the start here. First off, it’s not like SLA to call in Ops unless they’re pretty sure the target is subversive. That way if they go in heavy handed there’s nothing lost. Having them ascertain potential guilt in an employee who is likely to be perfectly loyal just isn’t done, as Ops will often shoot first and ask questions later. Add to this the fact that this BPN would normally be issued by Cloak Division, and the whole mission looks wobbly. Then there’s the flimsy evidence against Briony. Ops aren’t used to getting huge amounts of accurate information, but they usually can be pretty sure who the bad guy is. Not in this case. That’s before they’ve even started.

The Miseos

Briony is a fairly simple but ambitious employee. SCL 11, she strives for the opportunity to get a foot on the ladder. She wasn’t always like that, but when the opportunity arose for a job in the Dept of Delegation (courtesy of a drunk and amorous male exec) she snapped it up. It didn’t work out with her benefactor since he obviously had his own reasons for hiring her, but Jordene Sumner needed a PA and she was in the right place at the right time. She hopes her next break will land her a corporate job on a project team, and she’s been taking as much interest as she can in what’s going on in the department. Mauro, her husband, represents how Briony used to be. Before she became a wage-slave they both were carefree and liberated. They watched TV, smoked Flip or took PI, fucked and drank. It was the high life for him, but he’s starting to suspect she wants more. And far from being the smouldering, moody, interesting man Sumner imagined him to be he’s in fact dull witted and resentful, and was sulking at being in a ‘snobby’ bar at the time they met. This has led to tension between the couple, and they switch between cold resentment, fiery arguments, and desperate attempts to win the other over as they slip apart. It’s somewhat ironic that Sumner would be exactly as unhappy with Mauro as Briony is.


Neither Miseo does themself any favours to a casual SLA observer, but in fact neither are guilty of anything more than stubbornly following a lifestyle that’s completely incompatible with the other. Briony will bring work home with her unnecessarily in order to try to keep up with the project and hope to impress someone. Even after long hours, she goes home and reads up on what Sumner’s team is doing using a borrowed Oyster which is supposed to be a spare for the managers. Needless to say, to an outsider this may appear suspicious. Mauro, on the other hand, sneaks off to meet his dealers and buddies. Briony hates him doing PI, although still shares the odd Flip with him, and to keep the peace he pretends he’s going out to do other things and heads to a murky and dodgy bar in a decrepit part of the sector. As well as a few dealers and his loser mates, the bar is home to a handful of Johannas and a DarkNight recruiter.


Should any of the Ops decide to take the direct or undercover approach and talk to either of the Miseos, their motives described above should be more apparent. Mauro will be cagy about talking to Ops, but will be openly resentful of his wife if an undercover Op buys him a few drinks and chats to him. Conversely, Briony will be eager to talk to official Operatives on a BPN, but random strangers in bars or on the street will make her suspicious. Talking to them in the correct way should be the fastest method of establishing their innocence.

Reporting In

Keeping Sumner informed will give her chance to react as the BPN progresses. It should be somewhat apparent that she’s more interested in what Mauro is doing than Briony, and if she finds out where his haunts are could well ‘jeopardise’ the investigation by turning up there hoping to bump into him. He won’t realise anything, but shrewd Ops might. This could be the end of the BPN if the Ops play it by the book and do what the file tells them to. If the players have gathered enough decent information they can pass it on to Sumner and she’ll close the BPN. It’s an easy 200c, but they’ll have missed the point (and should earn a little less XP for that).


The point is for the Ops to realise that the whole BPN isn’t quite above board and turn the tables on Sumner. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of reason to investigate Briony, Sumner seems more interested in Briony’s husband, and the whole structure of the BPN is a little askew. That should make the real motive fairly apparent if the players piece the clues together. Should they then start to investigate Sumner, two things will happen. Firstly, gathering information on a higher SCL employee who also happens to be the BPN issuer is bad form. If they get too out of hand Cloak Division will get involved. At first it will just be simple warnings, and if the Ops provide evidence that they have cause for suspicion then Cloak will back off a little. Cross the line though and they could find themselves in the shit. That’s the risk part. Secondly, they should be able to uncover information about the chance meeting between Sumner and the Miseos, that Sumner has been authorising all of Briony’s overtime, and if they played the investigation right that Sumner has been acting very unprofessionally towards her employee’s husband.


Should the squad go to Cloak with decent evidence that the BPN was raised for less than legitimate reasons then they will be rewarded with the CBS for the BPN, as well as +1 rep with Cloak Division. It shouldn’t take too much evidence – as already mentioned the whole BPN setup is bad, and some evidence of both Briony’s innocence and Sumner’s unprofessional behaviour is enough to give Cloak cause to investigate.