RED - Tower Offence

by Simon Naylor

A little break from the intrigue and investigation. This BPN is a simple hostage situation, deliberately open ended to let the players run free with their imagination as they try to rescue the board of directors of a subsidiary.

The exact subsidiary and rival company are interchangeable depending on how difficult the BPN needs to be. For the purposes of this description they will be DarkNight and Hijoule, makers of fast cars. DarkNight are most likely to end up in a terrorist style hostage situation, and Hijoule allows the GM to give the players a nice reward that won’t unbalance the game.

Background

The Hijoule Corporation is holding its annual general meeting, and all senior board members are present. Unfortunately for them, DarkNight has infiltrated the building, taking hostage the entire board. For DarkNight this is simply a PR exercise. A high profile hostage situation like this will inevitably cause a media frenzy, and that’s exactly what they want. By making outrageous demands that SLA can’t or won’t meet, they can murder the top flight of a profitable subsidiary and blame SLA for their lack of cooperation. Aided by a timely Channel Resistance broadcast, DarkNight hope for a publicity coup, revealing themselves to be desperate freedom fighters pushing back against the corporate machine, forced to take drastic action. Part of this plan will also include blaming the inevitable rescue attempt for the death of the executives, and DarkNight have a few aces up their sleeves. Once the board, and hopefully the SLA assault team, are dead, and the broadcasts sent, the DN agents will attempt to escape through the sewers where they can disperse into the city.

The Hijoule Building

The Hijoule building is a chisel-shaped, 250 storey tower block of shining steel and glass. The narrow edge is designed to face the usual direction of the howling winds that cut through the heights of Central and deflect the driving rain like a car’s windshield. Currently the building is the centre of a lot of attention, as a recent fire evacuation revealed the entire board to be missing, and upon trying to contact them it was revealed that the alarm was triggered by a DarkNight assault team who now are holding the board hostage. As the squad are being issued the BPN, Shivers are surrounding the building at ground level, and placing Enforcer Shiver snipers in adjacent buildings. APCs are blocking all road entry routes, SCAF bikes circle the building, and half a dozen squads of Operatives are taking position in nearby buildings and in the sewers and access tunnels under the buildings to prevent escape. The players’ squad has been designated as the assault team who will enter the building and forcefully resolve the situation.

The Contact

Ms Kirk (SCL 7B) is a counter-intelligence specialist working for the Dept of Industrial Espionage. She is already on the scene, having issued the BPN by phone on her way there, and is busy harassing the Shivers who have started to cordon off the area around the building. She will give the squad any information she has available, but her attitude should make it clear that all she’s interested in doing at that point is getting the Ops to where she is. Once they’re at the building, which is in Central, she will take a little time out from hassling people to pointedly brief the squad. Her demeanour would indicate that she’s highly stressed, at least at the moment, and she will constantly and abruptly interrupt herself while briefing the squad to answer phone calls, shout at Shivers and members of the other squads of Ops milling around, and stare in concentration at the building. Despite her unfriendly and harassed attitude, she isn’t intentionally hostile towards anyone and will end her brief by asking to be keyed into the squad’s comms so she can help from the command post.

Brief

“You're our assault squad? We’ve got approximately half a dozen DarkNight infiltrators in the board room with the HJ execs, making some bullshit demands. Hold on… move that APC over! We need to leave room for medivacs! I don’t give a shit what I told you a minute ago! Damn Shivers. There’s twenty people unaccounted for after a fire evac, not counting the board. They might be Dinos, they might just be out on an early lunch. Fucking cube dwellers never clock in and out. Hang on… You there! The Frother! Get your goddamn squad into the sewers and don’t let anyone out. I know it’s a shitty job, you’re being paid aren’t you? Stop fucking complaining and get some SCL. Where were we? Not expecting any heavy equipment from DN, but you never know. Don’t worry about termination warrants, we’ll sort that out afterwards if need be. Weapons free in there, the only people I want to see walking out are you and the execs. I might give you a bonus for any useful intel you can collect though. There’s plans and diagrams in my command APC, other than that you do whatever you think best. I’m here if you need me, I’ll be on your comms channel.”

DarkNight

There are two squads of DarkNight infiltrators. One started out in the building under cover, and were equipped with DarkNight weapons and armour brought in using various vehicles left in the car park over the past week or so. The other entered the building from the sewer entrance, wearing Blocker and carrying SLA weapons in order to pose as Operatives. The DarkNight objective is in fact nothing to do with their demands of the release of certain subversives. DarkNight are well aware that SLA won’t negotiate, and they plan on turning that against the company. As the BPN begins Channel Resistance broadcasts a bio on the prisoners DarkNight are apparently fighting to release, making them out to be noble freedom fighters resisting SLA’s oppression. In fact the prisoners are nothing to do with DarkNight, they’re just mouthy dissidents and anarchists from Downtown, each with their own crackpot socio-political agendas. None of that matters though, SLA won’t release them (they’re probably dead anyway) and DarkNight don’t expect them to. However, by choosing seemingly benevolent dissidents, playing the freedom fighter card on air as much as possible, and forcing SLA to send in an assault team, DarkNight want the public to blame the inevitable deaths of the relatively innocent and harmless Hijoule directors on the company. The fact that it was DarkNight who killed them (although if they die in the crossfire of a shootout with Ops even better) will be played down and the fact that nobody would have been hurt if SLA would have simply released the ‘innocent social activists’ will be concentrated on. Such is the spin that Channel Resistance can put on a story, the tactic could be extremely effective, and the Ops’ true goal is to eliminate the DarkNight infiltrators while giving Channel Resistance the minimum amount of useful propaganda footage.

The DN squad in Blocker have three objectives. Firstly they’re to provide fallback footage for the media specialist in the event that the Ops don’t do anything incriminating enough. Secondly they’re there as backup firepower for the inevitable gun battle, after all the DN Ops might be relying on a firefight with the squad, but they’d rather not die during it. Thirdly they’re there to sew a little confusion if possible, if the assaulting Ops are gullible enough to believe that they’re another assault squad.

The DarkNight plan, then, is to observe the squad as they enter the building and make their way to the board room. They’ll have half a squad run interference so as to make things look convincing and give the Ops a hard time, while the tech specialists and media specialist observe and record from the security room. Once the Ops reach the board room they’ll be ambushed by the well informed squad of Interceptors in heavy equipment and eliminated, making sure the HJ directors take some of the crossfire. Once that’s done and the media specialist is happy with the footage, they will blitz their way out through the sewers. To assist their escape they have two light anti-tank weapons; one to be fired at the Shiver APCs out front and create a distraction, the other to be used on whoever is defending the sewer exit as a shock attack, along with the spoof squad dressed as Ops. Assuming all goes to plan, they should be able to disperse into the sewers, by which time catching them should be near impossible.

Entry

There are several legitimate entrances to the building, all of which are covered in one way or another by DarkNight. They expect, and indeed are relying on, an assault squad. Of course the players may find an ingenious alternative method of entry, which is fine. This BPN is about planning and improvisation.

From the bottom of the building to the top then. There is an armoured access hatch into the sewers from level B6, which is electronically locked from the inside. There is no access from the outside, although it could potentially be opened using demolitions. There is an armoured door to level B2 from the city’s maintenance tunnels. This one also has an electronic lock, and can be opened from either side. Assuming the Ops can defeat the lock. Each of the top four basement levels has access to an underground car park, accessed from a ramp across the street. The ramp has an automatic shutter which can be opened using an employee’s SCL card or by the security office for visitors. Currently though, because of the fire alarm, it is open. The doors from the car park on the top level are unlocked and bypass the rest of the level, leading down a clean, tiled corridor to the elevator to allow direct access for visitors to the lobby. B2 has a sturdy metal door with a swipe card lock for employees, which leads into the domestic staff offices. The lobby has two entrances – the shining glass and chrome main doors, which are automatic but are locked at the moment, and a large sliding door at the rear to allow entry for display cars. This is only operable from the reception desk. There are no entrances above ground level – the roof is the steeply sloped mirrored glass ceiling of the board room. The windows are armoured glass (ID 5 PV 8), and are 250m at their closest point to adjacent buildings.

Security Systems

The building’s security systems and computer network have been isolated and hacked by the infiltrators’ tech specialists. In actual fact the network was compromised weeks ago by the VEnt virus which collected security data on the building, assisting the infiltration team in their takeover. Now it is sitting dormant and will hide until the system is reconnected whereby it will spread and transmit further security data to secure DarkNight infiltrated nodes within SLA’s network. This isn’t particularly unusual, the network is riddled with the virus and DarkNight has learned to piggyback it for its own purposes. While it lurks it will archive camera footage to be used by the DarkNight media specialist and Channel Resistance.

Should the squad get access to the security room they can attempt to utilise the system themselves. It’s locked out by the DN techs, but a successful hacking roll at -6 will grant them full access to all cameras, which cover pretty much the whole building. Note that this can only be done from the security office or the nearby server room as the system has been isolated from the outside.

The infiltrators know that the main risk to them is the Ops making straight for the security room, but with no indication that SLA knows they’re in there they’re playing their luck. They know the security room staff won’t stand up to an assault by Ops, but there’s a pair of Interceptors in there for cover, and the two techs and the media specialist are reasonably well armed and competent. On top of that their harassment guys will be trying to lead the Ops away up the building, and then there’s always the spoof squad as backup should things get desperate.

If it looks like the Ops are deliberately making for the security room their only recourse is to sit tight and hope to drive off the Ops or kill them. The spoof squad are there for a backup in this event, to replace the real Ops. They’re not badly off – the door to the office is armoured and locked, and there’s no other way in, and the DN inside do have the support of the harassing squad outside.

Board Room (250)

The Board Room takes up the entire top floor of the building, making up the tip of the ‘chisel’. The large room has mirrored glass walls which slope off on one side to form the ceiling. This has enabled SLA observers in other buildings to establish that the directors and some DarkNight are in the room, but without visual confirmation they won’t take action. They’ll have to be taken down from the inside. The only way into the room is through the elevator. Inside the room are the ten board members, still sat at their table, and six DarkNight Interceptors. The Interceptors are stood behind the boardroom table, with the directors between them and the elevator for maximum crossfire coverage, and will be in constant contact with the tech specialists watching the Ops.

Managing Director’s Office (249)

This huge office is sparsely decorated, centred upon the large, heavy, and ancient looking desk. It has an en suite apartment with bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

Directors’ Overnight Rooms (248)

This floor is divided into four moderately sized but luxurious apartments, complete with bedroom, bathroom, and lounge. They are here to be used by any visiting directors from offworld who are working late and need a break, and as such are rather sterile and reminiscent of hotel rooms.

Directors’ Gym and Recreation (247)

This floor is split into three areas. A well stocked and expensive looking gym, changing and shower facilities with spa and massage area, and a large and plush lounge with TVs, bar, VR arcades and movie library.

Directors’ Offices (241 – 246)

Each of the five floors is divided into two large, open offices for each of the board of directors. Each is decorated to its owner’s tastes. Some appear to be better used than others – those less used belonging to the directors who are stationed offworld. Each office has an en suite bathroom.

Executive Conference Rooms (232 – 240)

The eight executive conference room levels are designed to entertain large parties of visitors and VIPs. Each occupies the whole floor, and are configurable as either large meeting rooms or auditoriums. Each has a bathroom, bar, and extensive conferencing and communications technology suite. Several of them also have cars in.

Executive Gym and Recreation (231)

This floor is virtually identical to the Director’s gym floor, except that it is shared by far more people and has less expensive equipment. It’s still rather nice though.

Senior Executive Offices (211 – 230)

Each of these floors is split into three offices for the 60 or so senior executives. Each is large and expensive, with an en suite bathroom. The senior execs can use their office space as they see fit, and so some have minibars, while others have huge TVs, and yet others have partitioned off areas for a lounge or small gym.

Junior Executive Offices (171 – 210)

Each floor is divided into five rooms. Four of the rooms are large offices for the junior execs, decorated in a wide variety of styles and often containing various luxury items such as minibars, large TVs, arcade cabinets, and large models of various Hijoule cars. The fifth room is split into a lounge and a bathroom with good quality fittings and furniture.

Conference Rooms (151 – 170)

Each floor is split into four conference rooms containing cheap but comfortable furniture, segmented tables which can be configured for large meetings, courses, or presentations, and a large screen. Every floor alternates between a lounge with coffee facilities, and a toilet area. In the lowest of the conference room floors, two DarkNight Ops are guarding the pair of anti-tank rockets that the infiltrators plan on using during their escape. One has been unpacked and will be fired from the window of this room into the roof of one of the Shiver APCs below as a diversion while the infiltrators make their escape through the sewers. They are keeping a relatively low profile so won’t go looking for trouble. Should everything go wrong for the infiltrators and it looks like escape is unlikely, they will fire both weapons at the Shivers below in order to create some chaos that might aid their escape, and take a few of the enemy with them. They won’t fire them at the Ops – they’re not designed to be used as anti-personnel and the chances of a direct hit are negligible. Fired from an above ground floor the rocket will most likely end up erupting from the building and landing harmlessly without hitting anything hard enough to detonate it somewhere in Central. If the Ops recover the weapons they will receive a nice bonus of 400c per weapon.

Cube Farms (6 – 150)

More than half the building is taken up with large open plan offices containing partitioned areas of various sizes. Thousands of staff work in these cube farms, from sales to customer support, tech support to design. The specifics vary according to the role the staff there play, but on each floor there is a toilet area, half a dozen managers’ offices, a refreshment area, and a small break area.

Employee Cafeteria (5)

This whole floor is taken up by a large eating area and food serving area. It looks to be in constant use, as even now there are abandoned meals on most tables in various states of being eaten. At the opposite end of the room to the serving area is a bar, which is shuttered off. The harassment squad will begin here and follow the directions of the techs in the security room. Their role is to react to the Ops’ movements and pick at them with hit and run attacks. There’s limited scope for that in a tower block, and the DN Ops are relatively poorly armed and armoured, but for the purposes of the exercise, as far as DarkNight are concerned, they are expendable. Of course they disagree.

Kitchen and Cafeteria (4)

The cafeteria area is very similar to the level above, but around half the size. Managers tend to congregate on this floor to avoid the masses, but there’s little to indicate that to the Operatives. The other half of the floor is occupied by a large kitchen that works constantly to feed the thousands of staff who eat here. Dumb waiters in the kitchen are used to pass food to the levels above and below.

Lobby (G – 3)

The lobby is a grand room in chrome and glass taking up most of the first three floors. On the ground floor there is a square reception desk with an elevator shaft on each corner and a stairwell and ducting system in the centre. There’s very little in the way of cover, having glass exterior walls on all sides facing out onto the surrounding courtyard, although support pillars are spaced along the walls. There is also a pair of Hijoule Makari on tilted stands, one the most recent top of the range model, the other the classic 844SD original. Both are in full working order, the keys are in the security office. The next two levels are taken up by a void with a balcony around the side, which have walkways leading to the elevators. The balconies contain café tables, and at opposite ends are small counters for serving food, with dumbwaiters to the next level. The infiltrators have left this area unmanned due to the lack of cover and concealment, but are still observing the entrance using the building’s security system.

Domestic Staff Offices (B1)

The first basement floor contains the toilets, crew room and managers’ offices for the domestic contractors. They are grubby and cheaply furnished, but the walls are far more solid than those above ground. The car park area on this level can’t be accessed directly from the offices, although it can be accessed through the elevator, and contains the luxury cars of the execs and VIP visitors.

Security and Maintenance (B2)

This floor is home to the server room, elevator machinery, security offices, and air conditioning control panel, as well as various fuses, switches and other electronics. All doors on this level are electronically locked and armoured. The security office is the control room for this whole DarkNight operation, vulnerable as it is to assault. Due to the nature of the mission the media specialist has overall command, coordinating all the other teams from here until sufficient footage for Channel Resistance has been taken. In fact, unless the Ops do some impressive computer work (bearing in mind the SLA network security team misses this after the BPN when they bring the building back onto the net), VEnt will pass any footage to DarkNight anyway, but even the media specialist doesn’t expect that. However, taking the media specialist out early will seriously affect the choreography and the impact the footage will have on the public. Inside the security room is the media specialist, two tech specialists, and two Interceptors. Their motives and actions are explained in more detail in the DarkNight section of this BPN. The car park on this level can be accessed by a pair of solid but functional double doors which are used as the main entrance for the domestic employees.

Employee Gym (B3)

The employee gym is a large, decrepit and smelly area with mostly free weights and some semi functional machines. There is a communal changing and shower area, which is equally smelly.

Office and Domestic Supplies (B4)

This whole floor is occupied by a huge room containing racks upon racks of metal shelving. Most of the shelves contain any kind of office supply imaginable, while one corner is full of plastic bottles of detergent, tubs of polish, and boxes of cloths. There is a single small office near the elevator whose purpose would appear to be to contain an array of sports merchandising and semi-pornographic pullouts were it not for a couple of computer terminals and some battered filing cabinets containing supply receipts.

Storage (B5 – B6)

The bottom two floors of the building are given up to large hangar-like storage areas containing an array of office furniture, spare parts for the various equipment, large displays, and basically anything that’s too big to fit on the shelves of the office supply level. The bottom floor has a large set of doors with a clear path to the elevators which lead to the car park. The bottom car park level, whose ramp is blocked by a heavy barrier, contains dozens of Hijoule cars all covered by anti-static tarps, from famous classic racers to today’s street cars. All are very expensive and even more fashionable, and the oldest cars are so rare as to be priceless. Should any of the older cars be damaged somehow the Ops will be reprimanded far more than they will be for the deaths of board members.

DarkNight Personnel
Squad 1 (Specialists) – Security office
Tech Specialists x 2
Media Specialist x 1
Interceptors x 2

Squad 2 (Interceptors) – Board room
Interceptors x 6

Squad 3 (Harassment) – Mobile
DN Ops running interference x 4
DN Ops guarding LAWs x 2

Squad 4 (Spoof) – Mobile
DN Ops x 6

DarkNight Interceptor
PV: 11
Hits: 16
Phases: 1, 3, 5
Skills: Rifle 8, auto/support 6, blade 1-h 6, detect 5
Equipment: DN Power Armour, GAK 19 (boardroom) or KPS Mangler (Security), DN Vibrosabre.

DarkNight Op
PV: 5
Hits: 14
Phases: 2, 4
Skills: Rifle 6, auto/support 5, blade 1-h 4, detect 4
Equipment: DN Body Armour, DN100 AR, DN Vibroblade

Outcome

The BPN will inevitably end in a showdown in the boardroom. The heavily armed and armoured Interceptors there are expecting to be able to anticipate the Ops’ arrival in the elevator and catch them in a hail of fire, killing the Hijoule directors in the crossfire. There’s not much on the way of subtlety, just two groups of heavy fighters slugging it out. However, if the DarkNight team in the security office have been removed then the Interceptors will lose the advantage. For the most part the outcome of the BPN will depend on the tactical planning, imagination and ingenuity of the players. The more influence the media specialist has on what is happening, the more Channel Resistance will be able to use against them. If the squad storm straight up to the board room, kill the Interceptors there and most of the directors in the process, then let the other DarkNight escape while they try to react from the top of the building then Channel Resistance will have a field day. The squad may well have cleared the building as per their BPN, but all bonuses will be blocked, and any relevant reputations will take a big hit (consider turning Third Eye and Public Image scores negative) as they’re shown on TV across Mort as being tools of the oppressors. Should the squad drive off DarkNight they can be considered as having completed their BPN. If they manage to avoid killing any of the HJ board, the company will reward them too with a permanent lease on a Hijoule vehicle of their choice from the current range. These are all very expensive (and very impractical) luxury sports cars. As they are on lease, though, players can’t just sell them for a huge profit.

Optional intrigue

Should the squad be interested, there are deeper reasons behind the DarkNight infiltration. Information gathered on the BPN could indicate that DN had received quite a bit of inside help, and that the help has not been identified. This doesn’t fall within the scope of the BPN, but the means of finding out who was helping them out should be available for a bonus should they follow it up. In fact, the insider was a plant from a rival manufacturer, hoping to use DarkNight as a way to disrupt Hijoule’s business and create some breathing space in the luxury car market. If the Ops successfully hack the building’s security and do a little digging about the VEnt virus, they can find out who put it there. Similarly, if they do a little computer work on the DN guys they can match them to employee names. Some decent computer use, interviewing of people in the personnel department, and following up leads as to who took the infiltrators on should give them a name without too much trouble. That’s all that needs doing for the squad to pass the name to Cloak Division, or their contact. If they want to follow it up and bring the guy in then they won’t be admonished, but they won’t get anything extra. It should be emphasised that this is player driven, an extra reward for going above and beyond, and shouldn’t be led by the GM. As a reward, the squad will each receive a 200c bonus and a +1 reputation with Cloak.