The PC's were in deep trouble. Money was running short and there was no available cargo on planet. Their Broker didn't hold out much hope of finding them a viable cargo before the Qwielya harvest which was two weeks away. In the meantime their ship sat in dock, empty and ate into their reserves with berthing charges. They headed back to the Starman's Mission on Heartbreak Row with the devout intention of spending what little spare credit they had on an all out attempt to get blind drunk. As they entered the dim interior of the old run down hostel they noticed the desk clerk call them over. His voice wheezed out of his artificial voice box, "Pretty lady wa' lookin' for youse. She in bar awaitin'. Youse can' miss her, onl' brunette on planet near stuff.."
At the bar sat a tall, platinum blonde women, about 25 years old, slim and extremely sophisticated. She moved like a cat as she turned towards them and introduced herself. "My name is Sharik Maihagu, I have heard on the grapevine that you have some, shall we say, unusual talents. True?" The PC's grinned. "I want you to trace my father... I lost track of him twenty years ago. I'm willing to pay and pay well . . ."
If the group agree to help, Sharik will agree to pay all reasonable expenses and offers a Cr. 250,000 reward if they are successful in finding her father. If pressed, she will agree to about Cr. 3,000 each if the PC's ask for an advance. Once the money is finalised she will explain that her father, Hammon Maihagu, ran out on her mother when she was very young but that she holds no animosity towards him. She's due to get married in a month's time and would like to trace him so that he could be at her wedding. The trail is not totally cold as her father was Idex-registered and she was able to trace him through the Brethren here to Hellas. Unfortunately he vanished two weeks ago, just before she arrived. There was no way he could have known she was trying to find him so there had to be another, possibly sinister reason for his sudden disappearance. She will supply the following information;
Name: Hammon Maihagu Age: 67 DoB: 122-1051 Born: Argiluu (1317) Profession: Computer Cryptologist Place of Work: Elsland Advanced Security Idex No: A295BH-45E5
If asked about her father's current address Sharik will be extremely vague but she will state that she will try and find that out. She will also pass over a recent holocube but will appear distressed if asked as to how she obtained it.
To try and find out more information
Difficult, Carousing, Interrogation, Int, (Confrontation, Uncertain)
Referee: Ms. Maihagu is extremely tight-lipped. She will claim to have no more information but, on an exceptional success, will state that she believes her "father" has recently remarried.
"Hammon Maihagu" is an ex-deck jockey (Information Broker) who found himself, rather unwillingly, working for the Lau Yancy under the Ushran Crime Lord Francis Stonewall. He ran, but not before grabbing computer files on Stonewall's drug distribution network. He was picked up by Ushran Internal Security and, in order to prevent being sent to jail, he became a witness against Stonewall. Stonewall was sent down for twenty years but "Maihagu" was still a prime target for Yancy enforcers. The Ushran Witness Relocation Department (WR1) supplied him with a false Idex and gave him a new start on Hellas. Then a judge overturned Stonewall's conviction on a technicality and released him. His first act as a freed man was to order the slow destruction of the man who wrecked his drug empire. He managed to bribe a WR1 official to reveal the deck jockey's new identity and sent his top assassin (Ms. "Maihagu") after him. Thankfully for Hammon he discovered that a Ms. Maihagu was booked on an incoming flight and ran. The WR1 had set up two more identities for him in case of such an emergency. Unfortunately he was unable to leave a message for his new girlfriend before he left. Ms. "Maihagu" is aware that her face is well known to law enforcement officials and has decided to use the PC's as a cover.
If the PC's run..
If the PC's decide to falsify the information or run out with the expenses money, nothing will appear to happen for a few weeks. But, at their next port of call each of the PC's will get the distinct impression that they are being followed although all attempts to trap the follower will prove useless. Then, one night down a dark alley, a gang of several Yancy enforcers (a minimum of two per PC) will jump them and attempt to injure them permanently but will try not to kill them under any circumstances.
The attackers will flee rather than shoot them outright but this must never be stated only hinted at. If the assailants are captured and questioned, they will be unable to tell the PC's why they are being hunted.
To gain information from the Enforcers
Difficult, Interrogation, End, Int (Confrontation, Uncertain)
Referee: Only the suspect can use End & Int as a DM. Up to 3 interrogators may participate at any one time. They may combine their skill as a +DM but only to a maximum limit of 8. If the task succeeds the suspect must throw on the Mishap Table. Those performing the interrogation select how much dice the suspect must roll (up to 3D) The damage is applied equally to Int and End.
Interrogation will reveal that the thugs know nothing except to state that a major power in the Yancy, a Francis Stonewall ordered the attack. The orders were to hurt them but not "bless" them with a quick release. Yancy talk for prolonged torture. Thereafter, the characters will be followed by Yancy hitmen who are under strict orders to cripple but not kill. The only way to get rid permanently of the hunters will be to personally confront Stonewall at the Yancy Citadel, Kiszi Mashumba, on Argiluu.
Should the PC's decide to try and find Hammon Maihagu, there are several possible starting points. They have his business address, his Idex number and date of birth and a recent holocube.
To gain useful information or to find out where to go next
Routine, Carousing, Skill (Confrontation, Uncertain)
Referee: The unnamed skill is one appropriate to the conversation or setting (suggestions are: Legal, Streetwise, Admin, Leader). The referee should set up a rather long time increment for this task. It takes a lot of conversation to gain useful information. To deliberately pump for information increase the task difficulty.
Insist on th PC's rolling to stay determined after each failure.
Difficult, End + Int
A check on his credit rating (at any bank) will reveal only that he is a moderately wealthy man with a good credit history. If they look over the clerks shoulder at the screen as he calls up the information they will learn that his last transaction occurred exactly two weeks ago. No further information can be obtained in this manner.
If the characters decide to report Hammon Maihagu's disappearance to the local police they will have to fill out several lengthy forms. At the end of which they will be informed by the Desk Officer that although a report will be circulated, because there is no suspicion of foul play and Mr. Maihagu is an adult in full control of his faculties that no other action can be taken. He will then take the forms over to the computer and pass them over to another officer who will inform them that Mr. Maihagu has not been arrested or hospitalised but beyond that she can give no information as his Idex is tagged as Extremely Confidential. She will remark that Maihagu must be an extremely important person to rate that.
ELSLAND ADVANCED SECURITY
E.A.S. is situated in a large business park on the outskirts of the city. Guards are everywhere and from the alarmed metal grills over all the windows it is obvious that the site is extremely secure. To the side of the building are a pair of large waste disposal skips. One contains shredded paper only, the other, marked "Non-Confidential" is filled with paper for recycling. If the PC's search the skip they will discover a couple of papers that should have been shredded. The papers are: a memo which shows the personnel manager's name is Tara Shagami and an old interview card that will allow up to three of them access to the personnel manager's office.
Should they go straight into the front desk without the card the receptionist will refuse to let them see anyone unless they have an appointment. If they try to sneak past him, security guards armed with body pistols will intervene. If they ask for an appointment, to speak to someone, the receptionist will offer them an appointment for next week at the earliest. Play him as a "more than my job's worth" type, too scared to be willing to accept a bribe.
The PC's will need to use subterfuge in order to gain any information. The receptionist is extremely tight lipped and will only give information if he believes that it was for Hammon's own good.
The referee should award the PC's with a visit to Hammon's office if they successfully convince the receptionist. Some successful ploys include indicating that it is in Hammon's financial interest that he be found quickly, or that there is medical reasons why he must be tracked down. Attempts to convey the idea that they are police will be successful but any attempt to actually claim to be police will result in security being called. If they gain the receptionist's confidence he will tell them that Hammon was rarely at work as he was on secondment to the Ushran Security Council and had been for the last six months. He generally only came into the office about once a month and the rest of the time he accessed the equipment from home. He can tell them that Hammon lived at 156 East Level 5 with his wife, Angelina. If asked, he will state that Hammon's been working for them for several years but only recently moved to this particular office. He will also tell them that Hammon was a widower who recently remarried. He will also confide that Hammon is often to be seen drinking at the Rameses Club on East level 3.
If they manage to get to visit his office they will find an immaculate office obviously little used. If they manage to detract the receptionist long enough to do a quick search they will find a alphanumeric list taped under the desk drawer, on the desk is a small holocube of a beautiful women in her late thirties and an empty envelope with StarFlight Travel emblazed on the corner.
To identify the list as Idex numbers
Routine, Int, Admin 1 min (Unskilled OK, uncertain)
Referee: Success means that the PC's recognise the list as a series of unrelated Idex codes. Exceptional Success will result in the PC's realising that most people use their Idex codes as Communet numbers.
D185HG-23K8, Q834VC-50S2, S934JD-36V6, M273FX-73L2, L099HG-18L5, G916FD-29D1, L765DR-82D5, G792SX-96H9, K439GL-68J1, A931WV-32I6.
If they obtained and used the appointment card (the receptionist will not check the date) to gain access to Ms. Shagami the personnel manager, they will again have to gain her confidence. Attempts to pretend to be police or private detectives this time will result in them being immediately shown the door. If they succeed Ms. Shagami will pull out Hammon's employment file. It will reveal the following information. Hammon was apparently born and educated on Hellas. He married 36 years ago and she died about three years ago. No children. He remarried last year to an Angelina Greenaway, 38 and lives at 156 East Level 5. He was hired by their head office three years ago but due to an apparent clerical error, she only has records dating back to last year when he was moved to this office while working on secondment for a Government Department, she is unwilling to state which. He is in perfect health. The files does contain a copy of his gene code, there is also a copy of his infrared body map as used by the Centre's security if the PC's think to steal it.
If the PC's visit the starport with Hammon's holocube they will discover that staff don't really look at their passengers. None of them will recognise the cube. A computer check on his Idex will reveal that not only hasn't Hammon left the planet in the last few weeks, has never been off-planet in his life. If they think to check out the tramps and hawkers that infest the starport they will eventually find a Hari Krishna disciple who was proselyting in the Main passenger lounge on Terminal 7 two weeks ago. If the PC's buy a copy of his religious mem-clips he will remember someone resembling the picture in that terminal that day. A check on ship's leaving that particular day will reveal only four passenger carrying ship's departed with male passengers;
1. The Van De Greistoock, a subsidised merchant heading for Nox.
2. The Kunta Bunduki, a 1,000 tonne passenger ship heading via Nox to Ushra.
3. The Fa Tsan, a free trader heading for Kikaduum via Adele.
4. The Lady Lovecraft, a subsidised merchant heading to Nafud.
If the PC's decide to check out the travel agents (or if they discovered the envelope in his office) they will eventually discover that there is no sign that he has left the planet (an exceptional roll will reveal that he has never been off-planet in his life) but that he had booked tickets with StarFlight Travel to visit Nox next year. If the characters have a copy of his gene code taken from his medical files they can cross-match it against all travellers leaving the planet in the last three months.
To convince the Clerk to allow them access to the Passenger Manifesto
Difficult, Admin, Legal, Int (Confrontation, Uncertain)
The computer, however, will refuse to give any information other than to confirm that someone has left two weeks ago unless the PC's insert the person's full name and/or idex. Hammon's code will give an "Incorrect answer" reply. If the PC's have the list and have realised that they are Idex codes they can imput them but again without success. Checking the back issues of departures will reveal four passenger ship's left that day.. See above.
A FRIENDLY VISIT..
If the PC's obtained Hammon's home address from his work place they will find a small but expensive and well furnished apartment. His wife, Angelina, is a beautiful 30 year old. She will take some time to answer and will be extremely reluctant to open the door. Throughout she will use the door vid unit. If the PC's explain that they are looking for Hammon on behalf of his daughter she will appear confused and mutter something about "but he hasn't got a daughter??" If they describe their employer she will appear frightened but will quickly agree that yes, that's his daughter from a previous marriage. She will claim that she doesn't know where her husband went, what department he worked for, etc. If the PC's ask her to confirm anything about her husband she will quickly agree even if it contradicts something else she said. If the PC's make up something totally false she will agree that is true also. If confronted with a contradiction she will burst in to tears and switch the door 'phone off. No amount of hammering on the heavy security door will elicit any response. If the PC's call back the next day they will learn from one of her neighbours that she's gone away for a few days. Angelina will also cease to exist. She will comment in passing how this one at least lasted a few months. If questioned, she will reveal that Hammon lived with a succession of beautiful women but had seemed to go stable with this one for the last few months. If the PC's ask if he was ever married, she'll burst into laughter at the thought.
If the PC's realise that Hammon's official background is at odds with the details supplied by his daughter they may decide to talk to her again. She will meet them at the public square. Standing nearby will be several well built men and women, obviously augmented. If they confront her with the inconsistencies she will initially plead innocent. She will claim her story is the true version and she doesn't understand how his official story got altered. She will offer them Cr. 10,000 each to keep working on the case and to call her immediately they found out any more information. If they try to push it she will admit that her father is an "unusual" man but will refuse to comment beyond that. Any attempt to threaten her will result in 1d6 enforcers jumping to her aid. Should the PC's decide to get out at this stage, go to "If The PC's Run..
THE RAMESES CLUB
If the PC's visit the Rameses Club on East Level 3 they will discover an exclusive gambling club. The stakes are high, lowest bet is Cr. 100 and the drinks cost about Cr. 50 a glass. In the background is a live "entertainment" session. Showing the Holocube around will result in the PC's being quickly expelled from the club. Subtle questioning of the barmaid, however, will reveal that Hammon was a big spender. He liked variety in his women, but over the last few months had taken to living with one of the "exotic" dancers, Pippa. She thinks she remembers him talking about visiting the Joker Tower at Nox but for some reason, and it definitely wasn't shortage of money, he never went off-planet. She doesn't know where Pippa lives now. If the PC's check with the doorman, he will not remember Hammon but will realise that the barmaid is actually confused as it is actually another regular customer, a teacher at the local school, who's always wanted to visit the Tower.
If the PC's have discovered the Idex list in his office they can run a credit check on the list of Idex codes which will reveal that all the people listed are high credit. No further information is available without names. If the PC's check the Communet index against the numbers they will find that, like most people, these individuals use their Idex codes as their contact numbers. Calling them will reveal a motley looking bunch of villains. None will give any information and at least one will threaten to do grievous bodily harm to them should they come near. While they are trying to find that information, they will spot a small advert stating that Daya Crua, an "information broker" (deck-jockey) is available for hire.
Daya is a Lancian who makes his living obtaining computer based information for others. A free-lance hacker. He will want to know why they want to find Hammon and if he thinks that there is a chance that they mean to harm Hammon he will refuse to help. Depending on how much sympathy they manage to obtain he will charge between Cr. 2,500 and Cr. 10,000 for the information. He can check the following information if asked. Note if any of the PC's have computer or Comms skills he will willingly accept assistance and reduce the overall fee by 10% per skill level.
To access computer files
Varies, Computer, Comms, Edu, 3 min (Fateful)
Referee: Each task has a different difficulty level. Note that although PC's can add their Computer or Comms skill to Daya's (up to a maximum of 8) only Daya's Edu score is acceptable. On an exceptional failure the hack has been discovered and the local police informed. The PC's should determine in which order the search should be carried out.
8a. THE LIST
Daya will recognise them immediately as Alphanumeric Idex codes. Each will seem perfectly normal except that cross-checks <ROUTINE> on any data prior to three years ago does not exist. There are no birth or marriage certificates, credit sales, records of education, etc. The people appeared out of no-where three years ago with an untraceable background.
8b. HAMMON'S CREDIT TRAIL <DIFFICULT>
Shows that an Ushran Government Department, WR1, has been lodging Cr. 2,000 per month into Hammon's account since it was created three years ago. He is classed as having a good credit history. There was a Cr. 300,000 withdrawal two days before he vanished and there has been no further credit withdrawals since then. The information also shows him to be unmarried.
8c. MEDICAL CHECK <DIFFICULT>
If the group have obtained a copy of his gene code Daya can run a cross-check against emigration records. If they failed to obtain a copy, Daya will try to download Hammon's medical file <FORMIDABLE>. It will reveal that Hammon has received no further treatment since he went missing, he started with the doctor on the same date he opened his bank account. The file will reveal his gene code.
Crosschecking against emigration <DIFFICULT> could take several hours unless the PC's remember the Travel agency. Cross referencing the search with StarFlight Travel ticket holders within a one week period will produce an exact match with a "Achmed Connors"....
Achmed Connors, born 155-1051, Argiluu Idex. K184VF-65L0 Single, works for Ushran Department WR1, a member of the Church of Ascension he left for extended leave two weeks ago heading for Adele on board the Fa Tsan.
8d. ACHMED CONNORS
Department WR1's (a sub department of the Judicial department) computer is heavily guarded <IMPOSSIBLE>, the local Church office isn't <ROUTINE> and reveals no trace of Achmed Connors having ever undergone the Rights of Passage. Since every adult, practicing or otherwise had to undergo this ceremony this seems to confirm that the Idex is, to say the least, inaccurate. A credit and or registration check <ROUTINE> reveals no substance to his history prior to three years ago... If the PC's think to run a similar check on Hammon, his previous records will reveal no birth registration, no education. Hammon did not appear to exist before three years ago.
8e. ANGELINA <SIMPLE>
An Idex check will reveal that she was Angela Greenaway until she married Hammon last year yet, a search of bank records, medical records etc. <DIFFICULT> will reveal that all were registered on the same day three months ago. There is no birth registration or marriage registration prior to that. There is a marriage record but the record was entered in to the system only three months ago. A cross-check with her medical gene code <DIFFICULT> will reveal her to be a 25 year old, registered exotic dancer named Mary-Anne Phillipa Marsden (Pippa). There is no credit trail since she left under either name.
8f. WR1 <IMPOSSIBLE>
If the PC's try to find out what the WR1 department does they will alert the police who will trace the call. Daya will suddenly grab his unit and bolt for it screaming that he's been traced. If the PC's grab or try and delay him as he leaves he'll inform them that he's just tried to hack into the Ushran Witness Relocation Department's files. He will only impart this if he honestly believes that the PC's will hold him long enough to guarantee capture. From the time of Daya's first warning the PC's have exactly 3 minutes to disappear before the police arrive to arrest them. Remember, the police have no idea who they are looking for.
If the PC's report any of their findings to Sharik Maihagu, she will offer to cover all expenses for a trip to Adele provided she and a guest accompany them. If they agree, she will leave one of her people with them to "oversee" arrangements while she obtains her luggage. Should they attempt to take off, without informing her of their destination, they will find her packed and ready standing outside their ship with two of her "guests". She will insist on coming with them. If they refuse, her men will detain them until Security arrives. At this point she will press charges claiming that they are thieves. Police will find a small diamond brooch amidst their bags. They will be arrested and charged but, after two days of interrogation they will be released once it becomes clear that Ms. Maihagu has left the planet.
The journey to Adele will be uneventful. If Ms. Maihagu accompanies them, she will spend the entire voyage in her stateroom. Her "guest" will prove to be a quiet body builder type who refuses to speak about Madam. Anyone who pushes it could end up in a fight. Note, "Philip" is physically augmented and his body system is immune to most commercially available tranq. drugs.
On Adele the PC's (and Ms. Maihagu who will now refuse to leave their sides) will discover from emmigration that Achmed Connor is staying at the Blue Moon Inn. Enquiries there will reveal that Mr. and Mrs. Connor have not been back for a couple of days but their room is booked up for the week and their luggage is still at the Inn. Ms. Maihagu and Philip will immediately book in. If the PC's think to check out Connor's room they will discover that his bags are sitting packed ready for a quick departure. Taped under the bedside cabinet is a fax "Make your way to Ushra. Agent Bhalak will meet you at terminal 211." It is unsigned but if the PC's think to check out the despatch number at the top they will discover that it was sent via secure Governmental despatch. The room will reveal nothing more of interest but, should the PC's take their time over searching they will hear a noise outside the door. A few seconds later Ms. Maihagu will enter with Philip. If the PC's hid they will see her place a variety of bugs in the room. Philip will eventually call out from the door, "Hurry up Shanna, a maid's coming!" They will then hurry out. Should the PC's stand their ground, Ms. Maihagu will look momentarily surprised then laugh and ask them what they found. If they show her the fax she will be extremely interested. She will make a quick phone call, relaying the message to an unknown person, before closing the circuit. If the PC's ask who the message was sent to, Philip will usher them out of the room. From this point on Ms. Maihagu and Philip will stay in the Inn. Ms. Maihagu will attempt to get the PC's to stay out of the way but will refuse to pay them any more money until she has met her father.
Should the PC's do the rounds with the gene code and holocube
Difficult, Carousing, Computer, Edu (Confrontation, Uncertain)
Referee: On a success they will discover that; Achmed Connor has recently been to the Ushran Embassy. There they will learn the following information - 1. Achmed Connor has just posted bond for a Masui Taralak to emmigrate to Ushra. 2. Hammon can be found waiting for his receipt in a back street bar near the starport.
At the bar they will eventually spot a disguised Hammon in the rear booths. At first he will refuse to admit that he is either Connor, Taralak or Maihagu. If they try and bodily take him, the barman will threaten them with a shotgun. He will be totally unco-operative unless they mention that they are with his daughter. At this, Hammon will burst into tears. Through the sobbing he will tell them that he has no daughter. He will eventually confide in them, admitting he originally worked for the Yancy as an Information Broker under a crime lord named Francis Stonewall. One day he decided to get out and turned states evidence. The WR1 (Witness Relocation Department) gave him a new identity and transported him to Hellas. Unfortunately the case was dismissed on a technicality and Stone was released. He swore to get even and set about tracking Hammon down (under no circumstances will he tell the PC's his real name). Fortunately Hammon got a warning that an assassin was on the way and used a second identity set up for him by the WR to flee. His girlfriend joined him only a few days ago. If he can get him off planet he knows that the WR will reward the PC's highly. After all, he still has information that would send Stonewall down for life. Information that, until now, he has refused to give to the "Filth".
At this point, the PC's have to decide whether to hand him over to his "daughter". She's a trained assassin who will kill Hammon and attempt to frame the PC's for the murder. Remember, it is the PC's who have been asking the questions. She has no intention of paying them their "recovery" fee.
If they decide not to hand him over, they must decide how much help to give. Should Ms. "Maihagu" or Philip discover that they helped him escape they will bring the wraith of the Yancy down upon them. (see "If the PC's Run..")
Remember they have to also get "Mrs. Connors" who is currently shopping and prevent her from returning to the hotel. Even should they manage to take the assassins out they would have an extremely difficult time explaining to the local police what had occurred. Hammon would prove more of a liability than an asset as he will claim the PC's kidnapped him and threatened to kill him so he could maintain his freedom. At the first opportunity he would escape off-planet leaving the PC's to their fate.
IF THE PC's SUCCEED IN GETTING HAMMON OFF-PLANET
A week after they arrive at another planet Hammon will send a message to the WR1, an Agent will turn up and take Hammon into protective custody. The PC's will be questioned as to their involvement and how they managed to break the second identity. If they admit their methods the WR will make a report and reward them Cr. 25,000 each. Should they refuse to co-operate the WR will only cover the cost of any expenses since they met up with Hammon.
The WR will be willing to create false identities for the PC's to help them to flee from the Yancy but even if they refuse there will be no trouble. Stonewall is presently in the process of fleeing and the other Crime Lords are too involved dividing up his territory to worry about revenge.