Ghost in the Manchineby Peter Bogdasarian
"A Dark Romance Set On Mort"
"Look, I know the supernatural is something that isn't supposed to happen, but it does happen." - Prince of Darkness
The BPN : Suspected Manchine presence downtown. Operatives tasked with location and elimination of Manchine threat. Manchine last spotted in the Northern 80's. + Red BPN + Station Analysis + 200c per operative + Dept. of Investigations + Recommended Packages : Death Squad, Investigation & Interrogation.
Gm's Summary of Background - Alicia Roberts was a young, loving girl with long brown hair and a quiet, reserved personality who became interested Ranier Baumann, a Downtowner with a rather inscrutable personality after the two spent an evening sitting next to one another in a Shiver Control Office. Alicia was charmed by the fact that Ranier paid attention to her for who she was, not what she looked like, and the two began to see one another, eventually becoming inseperable during the daylight hours. Alicia felt that Ranier was soon going to ask her to move in with him, and was ready to do so.
Unfortunately, before this step in the relationship could be reached, Alicia died at the hands of the serial killer that she had fallen in love with.
Ranier was in the SCS because he was under investigation for the murder of a woman who was found dead three blocks from his apartment. The Shivers had the right man, but for the wrong crime. Ranier paid attention to Alicia, because hers was a life he could take pride in destroying. Perhaps the ultimate blasphemy, he hoped to make her love him even in the final moments as the knife descended.
A Manchine was stalking the streets of downtown, looking for flesh, the night Alicia died. Her spirit, filled with adoration for Ranier even as the knife split her spine, took to the winds until it came to rest inside the Manchine. The Manchine felt a power surge and then all existing parameters were deleted as Alicia took control of it. She then set out to do the one thing she wanted most: to reunite with her lost lover.
The Manchine now speaks with Alicia's voice and is controlled by Alicia's mind, but Alicia lost part of her memory in the transition. Most of her body reflexes were banished during the change, and she is letting the programs run the Manchine's body, hence the slaughter. The programs are drawing inspiration from her unconcious mind, the source of the bizzare tortures she is commiting. Alicia has become obsessed with Ranier, believing that he will take her back since she had proven her love with her ultimate sacrifice.
As for actual game abilities, Alicia can be considered a standard Manchine. The generation of Nightmares is not an easy task for her, and is linked to the storm and places she has a strong attachment to. Thus in combat, she will perform as a standard Manchine, with her personality being submerged beneath the automatic programming.
Sequence of Events: Much of the adventure will take place Downtown, attempting to find the grains of truth admist the mire, only to shift location for a climax amidst the spires of Uptown. Throughout this adventure, maintain a sense of environmental continuity, building the storm slowly and carefully, and also gradually isolate your players. Have the streets be empty, the characters they do interact with be curt and of little help and let them begin to feel cut off from the surrounding world. (The people are staying indoors due to both the Storm and the Manchine that lurks inside it)
It's been a long, sleepless day in the Crib, waiting for your next BPN. You've been waiting for perhaps six hours on line after line, que after que until you reach the front. By this point, you're about ready to go to sleep, but first there is the matter of your BPN.
1. Enter Stage Left!
The Manchine was first sighted near a phone kiosk on 81st North & 50th West. It tore through two civilians, one in the phone kiosk, the other by the alleyway. Alicia lost part of her memory during her soul journey, and the first thing she has done is look up Ranier's address in the phone book. She has clawed a line under his name (and through about 20 additional pages) The on-site Forensic evidence is minimal, especially due to the increasing rain. Shivers are on-site, but have merely been preserving the evidence until a squad takes the Bpn.
Inside the phone kiosk is the reeking mess of a corpse. Gray ropes of intestine are spread across the pavement and the phone book is shredded. The phone itself is shattered, driven into the viewscreen by an intense force. The shards had fallen like rain on the corpses upturned face, mincing his recognizable features into a mass of gore.
Pieces of the corpse are splattered across the entrance to the alley. From the look of it, the Manchine grabbed the poor bastard and then it ripped him apart piece by piece with its claws and threw the broken residue all over the place.
Place an entrance to the sewers in the alley. The Manchine is quite clearly gone..... for now.
2. The Flowers amidst the Thorns
1. In which the players recieve an important call from the Shivers while traversing Downtown.
You're moving about downtown when the Shivers patched through to your helmet communicator on channel three. "We've got a triple homicide attributable to your Manchine at 82nd North and 39th West. There's one other civilian seriously wounded on the scene. Place is a wreck."
2. From the outside, the flower shop looks bad. Real bad. There's this body out in the street, torn to pieces by claws, the arms wrenched at unnatural angles. Beside its the small & pathetic shape of a CAF pistol, clenched like a toy gun in its hands. The front windows are shattered and glass is spread everywhere. The green paint splashed across the front of the shop for decoration has decayed away in the constant rain, leaving the gray concrete of the building exposed beneath it.
Inside, it's worse. Karma-produced biogenetic flowers of all shapes and descriptions have been scattered around, trampled into the floor and stripped of their artificially given lives. A second body rests on the floor with pieces of a metal chair driven through both its knees. Placed below each wound is a rose with the petals open, looking to your empty eyes as if it is drinking the blood of the victim.
The last body had been placed on a shelf and overlain with bright flowers. Its that of a young woman, her blond hair falling to the ground. Her hair is entangled among thorns and her face bleeds with hundreds of small cuts. Her tougne has been ripped from her mouth and her right arm swings lifelessly in the cold Mort breeze.
The shopkeeper has his back pressed up against the wall, whimpering. One of his arms ends at the wrist, and has been tightly bandaged by a Shiver. He has been gagged by the simple expedient of wrapping thorns around his head, and as you enter a Shiver slices away the stems with a SLA combat knife. His severed hand holds another rose, this one placed as if making an offering to someone. Long cuts bled along his legs and his chest was rent by claws.
The rest of the flower shop was not spared the Manchine's destructive wrath. A shattered glass case beckons your eyes, pieces of bright red Karma flowers scattered around it. A small velvet pad sits emptily in the middle, devoid of whatever it once held. The checkout counter is ripped up and the posters on the walls have been torn down, leaving white shreds of paper scattered like the new-fallen snow. The phone is broken to pieces, shards of blue & green plastic from the casing spilled across the floor.
The store owner is named Miles Kelly and he has been in the buisness for forty years. He informs the players that the Manchine entered dressed in a long, grey coat and when he looked up, it flung the coat off and attacked. It tore up his customers quietly and efficently and then moved on to him. His neighbor ran over to see the disturbance, opened fire with his pistol, and then died. The Manchine came back inside, grabbed him and then he fell unconcious.
As for the glass case, it contained the pride of his family's possessions. It was the last non-Karma rose reared on Mort, dating back to the beginning of the World of Progress and kept sealed in glass. His family passed it on from generation to generation, and it has always been viewed as a good luck charm.
If anyone investigates the phone and hits REDIAL, it patches through to Ranier Baumann's answering machine. Alicia attempted to call Ranier, only to get his answering machine. She left a plaintive message, and then smashed the phone to pieces in her rage. The players may be noticing this repeating chain of events. If they do not, continue it. After each slaughter, Alicia attempts to call Ranier, cannot reach him, and breaks a new phone apart.
3. This part is optional, necessary only for players who don't pick up on the on-going action immediately. Ranier goes to a bar later that night, accompanied by his newest woman, one Leah Malinovsky. Alicia tails him there and after they leave, she enters the bar and attempts to kill everyone inside. There is only one mutilated survivor to blubber out details of how a Manchine tore its way through the bar, screaming "WHERE IS HE?" and slashing them to pieces when they did not know what she meant.
4. The Killer's Den
Ranier's apartment (number 206) at 89st North and 43th West is in a decent section of Downtown with a low rate of street crime. It is a gray concrete and steel building, about 10 floors tall.
Ranier is not home. This should not deter most players, who will simply break in the door, or pick the lock. While they are preparing to do this, however, the window at the end of the hallway explodes in a spray of glass. This is merely the result of the rain, but it should place the players on edge. This is important at this point. Describe every aspect in detail, from the loud creaking of the ancient floor to the howl of the wind. Play loud music and mention it is coming from the stereo in room 205, and then suddenly shut it off.
Ranier's apartment has four rooms: a bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. There is a coat closet in the living room and another one in the bedroom. The bedroom has a high-posted bed, and if anyone looks closely, they can see rope fibers on the posts. The nightstand is empty, except for a locked drawer. Inside is a folder and a journal. The folder contains news clippings from the screamsheets about a lady killer at work downtown. The journal contains the names of women and various dates. (days met, time together, times of death) All the women are dead except for the last entry, Leah Malinovsky. Alicia Roberts is the last entry of a dead woman. If the players go through the dresser, they find a small oak box. Inside are various scalpels, pliers, forceps and rib spreaders.
I pried open the lid with care so as not to spill the contents inside. Wrapped in delicate velvet and silk were tools of steel with bright and cruel edges, finely honed and machined, precision instruments of fine torture.
5. The Nightmares
As the players go through the apartment, they will split up. Reinforce the isolation. Have them stop communicating unless they are in the same room or use their helmet comms. The helmet comms will be interfered with by the storm, and the transmissions will be tainted by static. Take each player aside and tell him he is beginning to drift off to sleep. Perhaps he is hypnotized by the storm, or has merely sat down for a second. Then read him one of the passages below. The player is always the main character in the dream, but he has no control over his actions. When he rejoins the group, tell him he is forbidden to talk to anyone else until you tell him otherwise. In selecting the passages, attempt to tailor them to the players. Number one has proven to have some real shock value for those performing certain actions (see below) and Number three should be read to someone in the party. Number two is intended for someone with a pet disadvantage.
1. All evening, you've listened to this noise at your front door, an everpresent scraping, as if that of someone trying to claw their way out of a grave. The night is quiet, no stereos, no sirens, nothing. Just silence.
As you make your way down the hall, you can hear a faint voice whispering against the beat of the rain on the windows, chanting just out of your hearing. It seems to grow the closer you come to the kitchen, muttering "nonononononono, that's not right, you're a bad person, you'll just hurt him. why don't you go away before I kill you."
You open the front door and stare out into an empty hallway. There is nothing there but the quiet hiss of the wind and water dripping from a crack in the ceiling. As you close the door, you see five parallel grooves on the inside, as if something was trying to get out and a voice whispers "I just want to get back to him," in your ear.
Remember the answering machine? Have one of the players drift off to sleep while listening to it. When he wakes back up, he hears the same voice as the one in his dream come out of the answering machine, pleading with Ranier, begging with him to "take her back." This has gone over extremely well in the games I have run, with one player just sitting down from a standing position in shock over it.
2. Your cat hisses at you, baring its fangs. As you try to calm it, it backs away, its fur standing on end and makes its way behind the old armchair. You try to circle around, seeking to grab it and find it sitting on the floor, choking. Its mouth opens and it vomits gears and screws which spill across the floor with a crash like thunder. Its skin bursts and it jerks upright, standing on its hindlegs like a boxer. It reaches out with a paw, and the paw suddenly becomes a blade, slashing a red line across your hand. As you jerk back, the head snaps in two and circutry pours across the floor. The arms snap out at horrible angles as it grows before your horrified eyes, uncrouching as the servos whine, until it stands above you, your eyes inches from carbonsteel fangs dripping acid saliva. Your nostrils are filled with the odor of a tomb and you awaken from the dream dripping with sweat.....
3. Dark corridors, lifeless and empty, stretch before you. Each step you take echoes through the halls with a banshee wail. Tables are off to your left and right, bodies stacked like cordwood on their sterile surfaces, marked only by small metal tags tied around their toes. A white basin holds tools of surgical steel, their unbreakable surfaces almost translucent in the failing lighting. Up ahead is the table, the one you're looking for. You reach out a clawed arm, and pull away a sheet from the corpse of a young woman dressed in a white jacket and skirt, her clothes stained by dust and dried blood. Water drips from the ceiling, off to your right. You strech out another arm, this one tipped with ten inches of merciless and cruel vibrational blade, and begin to saw determindly at the neck, your ears filled with the quiet hum of the edge and the soft roar of tearing flesh. The blade rasps on bone and blood pours from the table onto the dirty floor, spilling into a heart-like pattern. You notice that the tips of your claws are painted a glossy red as they clench around the woman's head, piercing through the long, silky brown hair spread across the table. As the claws turn the head towards your lenses, you awaken from the dream.....
The first time this adventure was run, the player who recieved this message, when the party got to the morgue, simply stated "turn left." The other players asked him why, and he replied he couldn't tell them, but turn left. He did this with no urging, but it was a hell of a cool thing. When your players reach the morgue later on, mention to the player that everything looks familiar from somewhere.....
4. A glass rests on a mahogany table, the light reflected in its crystal surface. The pale shimmer of the moon comes through an open window and the rain is quiet and soft. There is water in the glass, its surface smooth and even, undisturbed. Then you feel a tremor. The water shakes, its surface no longer even. Then another and you watch the glass shake. The steps come closer and closer, approaching you. Another step, and the glass falls to the ground and shatters, crystal shards spinning across the floor, the water spreading out into the carpet. The window explodes inwards, a spray of glass blasting through the room, destroying the things of beauty within. Standing, revealed in the entranceway, is yourself.....
This sequence is a metaphor for the operatives coming and destroying Alicia's dream of reuniting with Ranier.
5. A rooftop at night, lit by pale neon lights from the streets above your head. A few feet before you is a dark figure in a black trenchcoat with silver pins on the shoulders, looking out over the city. You reach out to him and caress his shoulder, but your hand catches on the pin and tears a little. As you draw it back to nurse the cut, he turns a little and you see the shape of a massive knife held in both of his hands. And then the dream ends in red....
Needless to say, this coat is in the closet in Ranier's room. The roof of Ranier's apartment building (should a brave soul venture up there - remember that there is a tremendous storm raging!) will seem to be the same location. Alicia was cut apart up here and then dumped off the edge into a dumpster - her body is no longer there.
As you awaken, cold and shaking, you notice the light of your phone is on and there is a ringing in your ears. Outside the rain sounds as if it is reaching the strength of the tempest.
The Morgue has been broken into and Premature Burial is pissed off. (The Necanthrope in charge of the SLA Industries Morgue on Mort) The door was open when he arrived and he found a security guard with his throat slashed. The surveillance camera was disrupted during this time period. He asks them to come up and have a look. Should the players ask him why the hell he is calling them, Premature Burial will only give a short grating laugh and order them up to the Morgue.
Mort central hangs above you, an immense fortress seemingly carved of black glass. The rain continues to grow in strength, pounding like a hurricane against Mort. The wind tears at you, seeking to pull you away with it. Shiver APCs roar past, warriors dispatched on missions in the Company's best interests.
Inside Mort Central, the players are greeted by an agitated Premature Burial. He keeps muttering that this doesn't fit the pattern and how pissed off he is that someone fucked with HIS corpses. His Gore Cannon (resembling Mortician's tools - scalpels, forceps, etc.) doesn't seem too happy either. Premature speaks to them:
A Manchine's biggest dream in the whole world is to be able to replace the parts of its flesh that decayed off after it was given birth. The Morgue would be like their wildest dream, an unending supply of body parts so that they could reclaim what they wanted. I should know, I've had to hunt them down in here before. Why else would you place a Necanthrope in charge of a Morgue? Now, go in there and get her out of here.
After that, he refuses to say anything more to them.
7. Down Among the Dead Men
The players race through the Morgue, until they come across the Manchine slicing the body apart while a terrified Ranier Baumann is helpless in the background. The Manchine is speaking to him while it cuts the flesh and hair from the lifeless corpse and sews it to itself in an attempt to regain its lost life.
Alicia is only faintly aware of any other part of her surroundings and will be immediately ready to defend Ranier from the players. Worse yet, there is nothing that can be done to help her in her present condition.
A nine-foot tall nightmare with carefully combed long, brown hair stands in the dim lighting, calmy discoursing with a man bound in barbed wire. It wears a long, brown coat with a rose woven in its midst and it has placed a beautiful rose with deep red petals and a beautiful scent in the midst of his lap, amid a pool of blood and grime. Its cold lenses stare at him with deep affection, as he writhes in horror. It speaks soft, reassuring words to him in a voice better suited to a chainsaw grinding and ripping through flesh. It notices you and whirls, screaming "NO! He's mine! Forever now!"
No doubt it ends in blood.