Dreams of Avarice

The Karma Palace. The image conjured by the name is that of the expensive Uptown Boutiques where the wealthy shop for this week's must have DNA altered animal to go with their exquisite and scandalously expensive designer outfits. Here the gliterati of Mort city pay huge sums to expert craftsmen like Talbot and Pathe for custom creations that cost decades of a civilian's wage.

The Palace. Deep in the heart of Downtown where the desperate, the insane and the simply evil scurry and struggle for survival. Beyond the black market, accessible only to those who have proven themselves to the masters of this realm there is a place where you can go for the latest illegal muscle grafts and bone lacings. Here in the darkness and perpetual chemical run-down from the lower levels Orientia biotech changes hands in deals controlled by the Tangs and is implanted into mercenary Props by chop-shop doctors whose skills are their life.

No one knows when or how the Skin Trade made contact with the Tangs but the deals they have made have increased their power expediently. Every piece of Orientia Biotech that comes into Mort City passes through the hands of Skin Trade before making it's way down to the eventual purchasers. Orientia Biotech is not the only type available in these depths but it is the best and few Props like to trust their lives to the vagaries of DarkNight's creations given that they are the creators of Shatter.

Of course augmentation is not the only form of Biotechnology available here. Like its wealthy relative Downtown's Palace has any number of DNA altered animals, most bred for strength and vicious temperament. These animals are brought by gang lords and other scum for defence and by more powerful patrons for more 'exotic' purposes. At least one powerful Skin Trade boss is rumoured to keep DNA altered alligators against which he pits captured SLOps for the entertainment of his court.

Downtown's Palace is not any single place. That would make it far to easy for SLOps and other 'undesirables' to locate and destroy it. Instead you must make contact through the Black Market. This is not easy as most of the 'traders' here do not even know of the existence of the Palace, let alone how to contact it. This being so you must find someone who does, and do so without attracting the wrong sort of attention. This is not really something that can be simulated with dice rolling, although a high streetwise (8+) would certainly be a prerequisite for any attempt. Role playing their way through a seedy and desperate underworld should be a great opportunity for all involved.

Once a contact has been found the prospective buyer will need to prove his or her self to the contact. This will always involve performing a task for the contact (in keeping with the contact's sponsoring organisation). This task always involves doing something that the contact can hold over the prospective buyer at a later date. The prospective buyer will also be watched at all times during and after the task. Only after the task has been performed will the contact inform the splicers of the prospective buyer's existence from this point the splicer will take over the surveillance. It is worth noting at this point that almost all splicers have or have access to a Finance Chip Scanner, the best splicers can manufacture those too but the price of such security is astronomical. If the prospective buyer passes the surveillance, lasting tow to four weeks depending on the prospective buyer's performance on the task, then (s)he will be contacted by a representative of the splicer and given a place to go. Once there (s)he will be 'collected' by the splicer's representatives and taken to a splicing lab, usually blindfolded or similarly prevented from seeing their destination. Here the splicer will 'cut in' and implant the purchased biotech. Once the splicer is done the representatives will deliver the client back to the original meeting point. There is no aftercare involved in these transactions.

Of course for members of DarkNight or the Skin Trade (especially the latter) things are very different. All possible care will be taken to ensure that the recipient gets the rest and care they need to assimilate the newly grafted biotech. Granted this is pretty far from the extensively equipped recovery centres used by wealthy operatives but it's far better than sweating it out in some dank hideout wondering if your muscles are about to fall out.

The range of available biotechnology on Downtown's DNA row is far from as extensive as that sold by Karma and the various smaller SLA Subsidiaries and Indies. For the most part it concentrates on enhancing the body for combat rather than making lifestyle and fashion statements. The only exception to this is the Skin Trade's high quality skin grafts. These are very important, as Trade agents cannot be seen sporting obvious biogenetic enhancements. That would draw too much unwanted attention from certain quarters.

It is important to note how vital good splicers are in this economy. These people are fiercely protected by their sponsors and the death or kidnapping of a splicer is often the cause of an horrific gang war. Of course if a splicer is killed or captured by SLOps those responsible have made dangerous enemies among the dangerous denizens of the Black market (Give each squad member a Major Enemy [appropriate organisation] 2+, dependant on the splicer's importance to the organisation. Particularly important splicers might merit one major and several minor enemies).