This weekend was a much needed return behind the screens of running a REWIRED. Our AD&D 2e game was cancelled, and I saw it as an opportunity to introduce the game to a couple long time friends (and old gamer buddies) who hadn’t been around for my play tests. Although I printed up a new copy of the rulebook, the pocketmods and the character sheet… it was awesome to show up to see my buddy Joey already had read through the book and printed out their own. What followed was an awesome afternoon/evening of crazy role-playing.
The Varying Views of Purification
NuGene Tek is known around the D/FW Metroplex of owning specialized research farms to assist their genetic and environmental modification projects. In particular — Facility #37, located in Denton county, has been experimenting with Nanite Purification systems to clean out all the yucky microorganisms and pollution in the local water supply. Nanotechnology is still a fresh frontier in the Mangled Earth setting, but NuGene Tek is on the warpath of developing some world-changing solutions.
But there’s another view of “purification” in the area. The Brotherhood (which at one point may have been called “Aryan”) sees high-technology — like nanotech, cybernetics, genetic modifications and the like — as “tainted” and “unpure” practices enforced by the corporate giant. While they may have a point, they’re also not fond of all the “trash” that hang around the city of Denton: Neo-Bohemians, Urban Primitives, bands of nomadic Travellers and the like. Between the high-dollar corporate universities and the “decadent scum” that the area is known for, the Brotherhood sees Denton as a large cyst on the face of Texas.
The Medschool Murder at the Massive
Our team of operatives gets buzzed by their Broker, picking them for their diverse talents to handle a particular contract. An anonymous benefactor has offered payment on behalf of a grief-stricken couple to investigate the murder of their daughter. Alison Crane was a med student in Denton, found stabbed to death at the scene of a Friday night massive. It’s been a week, and the coroners officer still hasn’t gotten around to examining the body, and the local municipal law enforcement seems uninterested in a stabbing at a rave.
The players consisted of “Doc” (a multi-functional street doc, psychic and face for the group,) Grace (a highly introverted computer hacker,) and Duke (a dual-pistol wielding Maverick who thinks Hollywood Westerns were documentary pictures.)
The adventure kicked off at the coroners office, with Doc (escorted by Duke) making no bones about being contracted by the family to perform the autopsy. While they went in to recover the body, Duke caught glimpses in some of the rooms of lone cybernetic parts being left out on tables. Grace had researched online that there have been accusations of “chop shop” operations coming out of Denton County. While not relevant to their case, they did deduct that perhaps this was the reason for the back log on autopsies.
The Devil in the Details
Doc’s autopsy on the victim revealed a few things: The stab wounds weren’t with a knife, but with a rather crude syringe, and there were signs of a struggle. She also picked up that the tissue around the wound appeared to show signs of both toxins and infection prior to death. Doc collected tissue samples from the body, and determined from there to return to her own home lab to look into the nature of the infection.
While her and Grace drove back to her Ft. Worth home, Duke decided to do some snooping of his own. With Grace’s help, he tracked down an apartment number and the name of Alison’s room mate. He arrived, questioned her, and learned about how she was of the “Work Hard, Play Hard” philosophy. While a hardworking medical student, Alison was also a bit of a pill-popper, and often spent her weekends partying with the locals.
Meanwhile, as Doc analyzed the samples, Grace was digging up additional info on Alison: She went to med school on a sponsorship by NuGene Tek, working on a university research team hired out by the local Farm Facility to aid in one of their research projects. Grace delve in further, hacking into NuGene Tek’s files and uncovering encrypted data for “Deep Blue” — the project to purify the local water supply using nanotechnology.
This becomes increasingly relevant as Doc discovers the nature of the “infection” — the tissue was poisoned with toxins that were an effect of said Nanos being hunted out and destroyed by a rogue agent. Someone had engineered their own nanos to kill the Purifiers, and in the process contaminate the cells around the target.
While these discoveries were made, Duke continued questioning Alison’s friends. At one point, at a coffee shop in Denton proper, he had attracted the disdain of a group of Brotherhood members who felt like making an example out of him. They attempted to ambush him in the parking lot, but he managed to not only avoid a fight but completely subdue them through intimidation tactics. In a moment of second guessing if he was worth jumping, he hopped on his bike and fled out into the night.
The Double Agent
Trenton McCalister was a microbiology student, who worked on the same project with Alison Crane and even volunteered to help out at the NuGene Tek farm facility. Trenton is also a Brotherhood sympathizer, coming from a family who was forced into poverty thanks to the genetic licensing procedures of NuGene Tek crop strains. When offered the sponsorship, he saw it as a gateway for revenge.
He was able to smuggle out samples of the Deep Blue nanos, and with the assistance of the Brotherhood, he found funding for a small lab on an abandoned ranch outside of Denton. He worked in his off time to crudely develop a killer agent, and in doing so had attracted his own cell of Brotherhood members to work on production. To the Brotherhood, this was two birds with one stone: If NuGene Tek’s nanos were revealed by means of a “plague” that killed thousands, it would show them to practice unsafe, inhumane things in secret and tarnish their image. Also, those thousands infected would most likely be “undesirables,” so they’d be doing their own “purification” in the process.
But Alison was onto Trenton’s work, although she had no clue the source. When livestock and crops turned up abruptly infected and dead, she was the one who discovered the agent. Trenton panicked, and tried to cover his tracks by sabotaging her research. This lead to a few verbal blow outs, which went on record as a disciplinary demerit. Also, Alison complained to many of her friends about the trouble he was giving her, so when our Operatives came around questioning, one name became a constant: Trenton.
Trenton had killed her at the Massive, injecting her with a crude farm syringe of the killer agent he developed. He was a smart man, but he was sloppy: Social networking pictures from that night showed him in the crowd, and Grace’s facial recognition algorithms found him. The operatives had enough evidence stacking against him, and they decided to pay him a visit.
The Big Blow Out (in two parts)
The initial attempt to question Trenton blew the Operatives’ cover quickly, immediately setting him on edge at his own house and gunfire was exchanged. In a weird twist of events, Duke and Trent were both shot up to near death… and Doc managed to talk them both down. She patched them both up in Trenton’s kitchen, but as she handled the unwanting host… she noticed his hand had made contact with a random switch under the table. Immediately, a jeep full of Brotherhood goons showed up (the same guys Duke encountered earlier.) Now they were out gunned, injured, and being swarmed in on — Duke and Doc fled out the back door, making a rush for the SUV where Grace was parked. One of the Brothers caught up and grappled Doc, but duke laid two pistol rounds into his skull before he could do anything. While running back to the vehicle, Grace was on the DataSphere knocking out any call transmissions bound towards law enforcement. The scene ended with a car chase, with the Brotherhood’s drive shot up to all hell (thanks to Duke) and Grace barely out maneuvering them.
The operatives laid low for a couple days, Doc having to patch up Duke’s gun wounds. Newsfeeds began to flood with reports of an outbreak in Denton County. They knew they had to clean the job up pronto. The final plan resulted in Doc mixing together her own knock-out chemicals, and attaching a dart gun to one of Grace’s quad-copter drones. They drove around, looking for Trenton and his boys, and when they found them — surprised them with a drone knocking on their front door.
Although the quad-copter ate shit after taking a shotgun blast, it managed to fire off its rounds into a couple Brotherhood guys –including Trenton. Duke and Doc swept in, weeding out the strays and apprehending Trenton.
The Contract was finished; the Job is just getting started.
The Operatives met up with the corporate suits who hired them to exchange all of their findings, evidence, and Trenton himself to them. While the suits threw the drugged-up Trenton in the trunk of their sedan, the main Corp guy revealed himself to be an executive with NuGene Tek (and his business card also showed Ferencszy Corp, the Megacorp that owns NuGene.) Impressed with all of their findings, he’s promised them further work down the line. While they were able to recover enough intel to develop a quick cure for the people infected in Denton county, the truth is the Brotherhood still would be developing the killer agent. NuGene Tek has made it very clear they want this situation handled off the books and as best in the public interest as possible.
There may be a lab being raided soon.