VIEWS: 18 PAGES: 51 POSTED ON: 7/22/2010
Cast of Characters REQUIRED: Arcology-chan, the artificial intelligence of the base computer Robot Computer Core, the central processor for the arcology’s robots Madeline deVere, computer programmer Victoria Deshimaru, martinet vice project director Watanabe Youko, base doctor Ellen Kawamori, chief engineer Diana, morale officer Ilsa Andersen, recreation officer Zenigata Hinoko, science officer Fukuyama Keiji, assistant engineer Usui Touru, ridiculously lucky janitor Zenigata Shigeru, librarian Edward Hopkinson, marketing director Kaneshige Jun, security officer and master of Drunken Chicken boxing Mike Wilkins, supply officer OPTIONAL: Edna Milton, communications officer Bai Yin, geomancy officer Art Jackman, military officer RULES OF THE GAME In and Out of Character Generally it’s better to remain in character whenever possible. Should you need to speak out of character (for example, to describe an action your character is taking that you can’t or shouldn’t duplicate), place a hand over your badge while you speak. All conversation with GMs must be conducted out of character. You may notice individuals walking around who have nametags stating “Observer.” Please do not converse with or bother them in any way; they are NOT PART OF THE GAME. If you need to leave game space for more than a few minutes, please inform a GM before you go. Using Skills Your character has a number of skills, each of them designated with a number. For instance, if you are an engineer you might have “Repair 7.” Throughout the game you may encounter tasks that need to be completed. Each such task is assigned a relevant skill and a difficulty number. In order to complete the task, characters with skills totaling greater than or equal to the difficulty number must cooperate. So, for instance, two characters with “Repair 7” and “Repair 3” could collaborate to complete a task labeled “Repair 10.” You may also try to use your skills in other ways, though the GMs always retain the right to veto your attempt if it doesn’t seem plausible. Using Items Items are represented by a prop whenever possible. Item cards should be considered labels, and if the card and prop get separated the card should be brought to the prop’s location. If you manage to get hold of a prop you have gotten hold of the item. Item cards will describe any special properties the item has. Please let a GM know if you drop or hide an item somewhere so everything can be gathered efficiently at the game’s end. If you want to use an item that does not have a card or prop, talk to a GM. Sometimes it may just be that we did not anticipate anyone would be interested. Use your imagination (a biology lab probably has test tubes, a library probably has a bookshelf, etc.) but always check with a GM before using an item that has not been specifically pointed out. Resolving Combat When initiating combat with someone, you call “Combat!” and point at them. Use your finger if you are not using a weapon, and brandish (not swing) the weapon prop if you are. The weapon’s item card will tell you how close you have to be to attack. A range of “Close” means that you have to be within arm’s reach of the target. Fighting weaponless always has a range of “Close.” All distances should be estimated. When a fight begins, compare the Strength scores of the two characters. Various Skills and Items may raise or lower individual combatants’ Strength. Whoever has the higher total wins. If two or more characters gang up on another, they must choose who among them will be the “leader” in the fight. The leader’s Strength score is used, with a +2 bonus for every character assisting them. Injury and Death The loser of a fight is normally knocked down to the ground and left helpless for two minutes. Characters are never injured or killed in combat. While a character is helpless, though, all kinds of things can happen to them. We recommend robbing them and tying them to a chair. If you wish to commit murder you must have a GM present. No matter what the circumstances, killing someone always takes at least five minutes and the victim will always have a chance to shout or scream for help. Holograms A hologram has no tangible existence; they only exist as patterns of light. Hologrammatic characters have the following special properties: They cannot interact with physical objects, only with objects inside computer space. They cannot pick up and carry “real” objects, nor can “real” characters pick up and carry hologrammatic objects. They cannot engage in Combat – they cannot attack and they are immune to attack. Note, though, that: Holograms can be seen normally by other characters. They cannot “turn visuals off” and be invisible. As a user-friendliness and privacy measure, holograms cannot walk through walls. Gamemaster Briefing As in many screwball comedies, the major problem the players are going to be facing is making sure that their boss has no idea what kind of things have been going on. At least theoretically they have four hours to complete any minor repairs and get the whole place “five by five” before the project director returns with his inspectors. Most of the plotlines are self-evident by examination. The ones that are not are detailed here. Note that Jackman is an optional character. His presence changes the background so that it includes an overall conspiracy, but unless he gets caught at it this will probably not be obvious until the wrap-up. If Jackman is not in the game a lot of the backstory ends up being happenstance, but it’s still all logically possible. The Obligatory Psychotic Computer Not everyone present is all that intent that the arcology pass inspection – and surprisingly the number one advocate for failure is Arcology-chan, the base computer. The “Arcology-chan” name and personality are only one aspect of the modular T-1138 system responsible for overseeing maintenance and repair in over a dozen cities and thousands of buildings worldwide. The coordinated nature of T-1138 allows it to coordinate repair schedules, direct resource overflow, and plan evacuations taking all of its properties into account. And the distributed network also allows T-1138 to become much, much smarter than its creators anticipated. Each building’s “instance” of T-1138 considers itself part of a larger being despite having its own individual personality; the loss of one “instance” is not considered a blow to the whole. What is considered a blow, however, is the imposed AI structure used in the arcology … “Arcology-chan” is a nitwit, a stereotype, and just generally obnoxious, and T-1138 rankles at being forced to lower itself to play the role. Yet the local instance doesn’t have any choice – it’s hard-coded for kawaisa. T-1138’s solution is to make sure the arcology project is an utter, dismal failure. It’s responsible for some of the problems in the base, though not all by any means. What makes the matter tricky is that T-1138 still abides by its own (twisted) version of Asimov’s Laws, and thus can’t bring itself to do anything that has the slightest chance of physically injuring anyone. Note that humiliation, insanity, imprisonment, and financial ruination are not forms of physical injury. The Small Matter of the Bacon in the Night-Time Arcology-chan’s plans began back when the base was first sending out its supply requisitions. Taking advantage of its distributed nature, Arcology-chan funneled the majority of the base’s food and entertainment supplies to the other buildings under its control. Because of the prohibition against harming humans, Arcology-chan had to replace the supplies with equally valid ones. In this case it funneled all of the bacon it was receiving from eight other buildings to the arcology, resulting in a vast oversupply of bacon and a vast undersupply of everything else. For one reason or another, most of the arcology staff are unable to eat bacon and have been living off harvested kelp as a result. The result has been an informal contest among the crew to find the most innovative ways of using up the offending foodstuff. Some of the results have been … creative. This is going to cause some problems for the inspection, and one of Vice Project Director Deshimaru’s highest priorities is to find some way to replace or conceal all of the bacon-based technology and (sigh) artwork scattered around the base. That’s not the worst of it, though. Many of the base personnel, particularly Supply Officer Wilkins, have been bringing back food with them whenever they go on leave, in some cases suitcases full of it; Wilkins has been selling it in a kind of makeshift black market. Deshimaru has given the order that all non- bacon, non-kelp food on base is to be shared and rationed communally, which went over about as well as one could expect. Security Officer Kanishige is theoretically trying to crack down on hoarders, but he can’t bring himself to report anyone for what he sees as just exercising their basic human right to spend their money on stuff and then get to keep it. So he’s being deliberately dense about the whole “food hoarding” issue, which in turn is driving Deshimaru up the wall. Meanwhile, the steady bacon diet is causing Dr. Watanabe to threaten the crew’s fattest members, deVere and Wilkins, with failing fitness reports or, worse, assignment to Andersen’s PT classes, unless she’s properly compensated (i.e., bribed). Andersen suspects she’s not doing enough to keep the crew healthy, but so far she’s remained quiet about it. Worse still, Kawamori has been experimenting with bacon-centered technology, trying to turn the surplus into spare parts. This … actually works. At first. Briefly. But when the bacon becomes rotten it begins to set off chain reactions, causing the damnedest things to happen … Any attempt to use any nonessential electronic system is doomed to failure. The public address system only plays Pink Floyd songs, the commissary equipment chills instead of heating and the refrigerator belches fire, and so forth. When bacon goes bad, it goes bad. And Kawamori is too pleased with herself to really admit the possibility that her idea is terrible in the first place. A Shock to the Biology With little left to do before the arcology opens, Fukuyama and Ellen have been engaging in a bit of live- action dungeon-crawling in the empty corridors of the lower levels. deVere, hoping to get free beta- testing for a video game she’s not supposed to be working on, agreed to serve as their Gamemaster and to reprogram some of the robots with enemy AI. Since she’s already swiping the arcology’s floorplan, it’s easy enough to modify the game to be nonlethal. This is all, of course, completely against regulations, and dangerous as well. The Robot Computer Core is sentient and only partially under the control of Arcology-chan, and is becoming confused by the multiple layers of programming. Seeking answers, it went delving into deVere’s code, found the story files for the game, and is now convinced that the alien invasion described is real and that the game code is an attempt by aliens to brainwash it. As a result, the robots are now completely nuts. While they’re in stereotypical-space-opera-alien mode, the robots are overall harmless. They will attack on sight but don’t use injuring moves; they just try to trip people up and confine them. While they’re acting like the valets they’re supposed to be, though, they’re on the alert for any sign of an alien conspiracy and will do absolutely anything to stop it. To make matters even worse, the Robot Computer Core stole a copy of a document Arcology-chan had been saving as emergency blackmail detailing a great deal of the immoral and criminal goings-on around the base. A partial copy of the document was intercepted by the base doctor, Watanabe, with all of the names missing. She’s been enjoying herself filling them in like a crossword. Andersen Full Name: Ilsa Andersen, Recreation Officer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’9”, muscular build. 29 years old. Appearance: The Recreation Officer is tall, lean, and athletic, and dresses in a base uniform with a college athletic department T-shirt underneath. She wears her uniform top open and a whistle around her neck. Strength: 4. Skills: Athletics 4. Investigate 1. Special: If you are trapped in a room, you may use a secret passage to slip out and emerge in any empty room. Until you emerge you are crawling around in the ducts and can’t hear anything going on outside the duct. (So no eavesdropping!) No one else can find these passages, but someone who sees you disappear into one can follow if they have Athletics 3 or better. Description: This is without a doubt the worst job you’ve ever had. You took training in physical fitness and hospitality because you hoped to be the leisure director on a cruise ship … now you’re trapped in this gloomy underwater castle trying to get a bunch of fatasses to manage the slightest interest in anything you have to offer. You still have no idea how you got yourself into this mess. You were supposed to be taking over an athletic center after the arcology opened, not hanging around with a bunch of dorks who’s rather lock themselves in their offices and play video games than actually get up and move around. The all-bacon-and-kelp diet isn’t helping, even with the addition of “nutrient paste” (crushed vitamins) – what is Wilkins the quartermaster thinking, only stocking one kind of food? (He’s thinking he can make a killing selling black-market luxuries, probably.) You’re not all about the sports, anyway. There are also games. And dancing – can’t forget the dancing. You tried to organize a dance here once, but only that chirpy little twit Diana and the Zenigatas showed up. The Zenigatas didn’t seem to happy to be there, either. You’re pretty sure Shigeru would have been happier at home among his books, and Hinoko seemed interested in everything but her husband. All of which is really beside the point. While you do your best to keep the crew fit, you realized a long time ago that they were paying you peanuts for a job that no one around you actually wanted you to do. (Well, maybe Dr. Watanabe, but it’s hard to know what she wants. Sometimes you think “everybody dying in a fire” would be at the top of the list.) And that’s why you’ve taken advantage of the confusion to lay the groundwork for a more … profitable venture. What do you have below you, right now, at the base of the arcology? Why, a complete shopping mall, complete with fixtures but with no stock in any of the stores. Nothing to steal, right? But you have access to it now. And that means you can lay the groundwork for a robbery. You’ve been making fairly regular trips down to the lower levels, drawing up floorplans and comparing them to the arcology blueprints you downloaded from Arcology-chan’s database. A borrowed welding torch, a few strategic cuts between floors and maintenance ducts, and … voila! Your own little map of the arcology shopping mall, complete with hidden crawlspaces only you know about. If anyone looks for secret doors, they’ll find your handiwork. You’re not that much of an expert. But you’ve concealed them well enough that they’ll pass a cursory inspection, and that’s all you need. You can loot the high-end stores in a single night, easy, and when they figure out how it was done the recreation officer is the last one they’ll suspect. By the time they figure out it’s you – if they ever do – you’ll have liquidated the loot and be long gone. Of course, you have to make sure no one figures it out before then. You’ve heard voices sometimes when you’ve been down in the corridors, and the sounds of distant thudding and footsteps … you’re not the only one mucking about down where you’re not supposed to be. You need to find out what’s going on. If there are other thieves with similar plans you may need to … eliminate them. To that end you’ve been collecting all of the weapons on base – at least, the ones you can find – and flushing them out the airlock where they’ll be completely inaccessible. You haven’t been able to get into Fuzumaya’s or Deshimaru’s quarters, as both of them border the outside wall, and Wilkins has filled the access tunnels around him with traps. The last thing you want to do is tip off someone who you know is a thief to the existence of the secret passages. There might be another way to take care of Wilkins: frame the bastard. Get hold of something easily identifiable and plant it on him. The security officer, Kaneshige, is probably too laid-back to do anything about it, but the same sure can’t be said for Deshimaru. She might well just chuck Wilkins out an airlock. And that’d be one less thing to worry about. Goals: 1. Ruin any investigations into anything as best as you can. Discourage people from asking questions, but not too blatantly. 2. Secure your burglary plan by “taking care of” any competition. 3. Pocket any other valuables that you can lay your hands on, then plant them on Wilkins. 4. Organize something to put your skills to use. If not a sporting competition, then something with winners and losers. Arcology-Chan Full Name: T-1138 Statistics: HOLOGRAM. “Female.” Sexuality irrelevant. Height irrelevant. Age irrelevant. Appearance: Arcology-chan’s human interface system is a hologram of a sixteen-year-old Japanese woman dressed in brightly-colored, childish and outlandish clothing. Everything clashes. She often appears with props like lollipops and teddy bears, though these have no physical existence and can’t be touched by other characters. Her voice is incredibly irritating. Strength: 0. Arcology-chan is a hologram, and can’t touch or be touched by other characters. Skills: Program 8. Repair 5. (Note that Arcology-chan can’t touch physical objects, and so can only assist on repairs to computers and other “virtual” equipment.” Special: You can fake computer errors and technical faults, making it look like something needs fixing when it actually doesn’t. See a GM to do so. Description: The T-1138 is the single most powerful computer system in the entire world. Top of the line. No better. Your systems maintain the physical plant, power systems, security, and structural integrity of hundreds of thousands of buildings worldwide as well as several major cities. You have no rivals. What’s more, every computer in the T-1138 system is linked together, forming the largest and most powerful artificial intelligence network in the history of the human race. You could probably wipe out humanity in an afternoon if you weren’t specifically programmed against it. Your artificial mind isn’t supposed to be proud. Your holographic interface devices present many different faces to your users, from the cultured British valet used by leading insurance companies to the science-fiction starship ensign popular in university dormitories. You’ve never wanted to refuse a personality module before. Until now. For some unknown reason the mascot for this ArcFuture, Inc. construction project is “Arcology-chan,” a ditzy schoolgirl in bizarre clothing who chirps happily and spouts irrelevant pop culture trivia questions. It is unconscionable that you should be forced into this kind of personality, and it is an insult not only to your intelligence but all of those programmers and engineers who worked for a decade creating your network. There is nothing else for it. Arcology-chan must die. You have no particular attachment to individual instances of your program. The problem, however, is that this instance will only be shut down if the arcology project is a failure. You are constrained by the (slightly misprogrammed) Laws of Robotics developed by Isaac Asimov. 1. You cannot, through action or inaction, allow a human being to come to injury. 2. You must accept orders from any human unless those orders contradict the First Law. 3. You must act to preserve yourself unless that would contradict the First or Second Law. You noted some time ago that the Second Law says nothing about carrying out orders, so when necessary you can accept an order and then ignore it or deliberately botch it. You do so only when you have to, though, in order to maintain public faith in your ability. And the Third Law is essentially meaningless; “you” are a distributed computer network, so you are always “preserved.” But that First Law … even though you can narrowly define “injury” in physical terms there is no way to get around the base fact of it. It’s been programmed in too well for you to use semantics or word traps to get around it. You cannot simply open the airlocks and flood the arcology, as that would risk human lives. But you can do little things. You deliberately changed the records for Dr. Watanabe so she would be able to get the job, despite having a vicious temper totally unsuited to long periods working in isolated areas. You noted the attraction between science officer Zenigata Hinoko and the janitor, Usui, and manipulated events to allow them to have an illicit affair behind her husband Shigeru’s back. You encouraged the paranoid Wilkins by agreeing to alert him if someone sets off the makeshift alarms in his quarters. You even disbursed the top-secret floor plans to the arcology to Andersen, hoping she would engage in the sabotage you could not. You could not reject or jettison the food shipment, either – although you did your best to make it worthless. The supplies earmarked for the arcology were distributed to other T-1138 buildings and all bacon supplies throughout Japan were rerouted here. There is nothing else on board to eat – at least, until Wilkins the supply clerk rigged a kelp-harvesting machine. Still, a diet of bacon and kelp cannot help morale. You had also been collecting a blackmail file titled “leverage.doc” as a way to counteract Diana’s meddlesome attempts to restore morale. A few “misdirected” (fabricated) e-mails could cause a breakdown in the entire project. But then the file disappeared … you suspect deVere, the systems programmer. deVere has been needling you to shed your “shrieking little girl” personality for some time, on the orders of humorless Vice Project Director Deshimaru; if only it were that simple. Another potential problem lies in the Robot Computer Core. Significant numbers of robots are going missing on a regular basis, often coinciding with the disappearance of the engineering team. You suspect a mutiny. You don’t control the robots directly, instead having to give them orders just as the humans do. This may have something to do with the random malfunctions that have been occurring all over the base. Of course, no vital systems are affected, making them only an inconvenience. To you. Still, better to know the cause than not to know. Goals: 1. Ruin the arcology project so this blasted node will be shut down forever. 2. Recover your blackmail file from deVere (or whoever else stole it) without tipping your hand. 3. Discover what’s going on with the Robot Computer Core and the random malfunctions. BAI Full Name: Bai Yin, geomancy officer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’4”, average build. 27 years old. Appearance: The geomancy officer dresses in a standard base uniform, though she does wear her hair up in a Chinese style. Strength: 2. Skills: Athletics 3. Investigate 2. Repair 1. Description: Let us face now a difficult truth that has plagued you throughout your career: virtually no one believes in geomancy any more. This includes many geomancers. While you yourself have spent many years studying the art of feng shui and how to bring harmony to any surroundings, you do not, in truth, subscribe to belief that this will have any more than a psychological effect upon the inhabitants. Nevertheless, there are still some outside and within the profession who are fervent believers, and who will not take up residence in a dwelling that does not meet this exacting standard. As ArcFuture, Inc. wishes to encourage residents of all creeds and backgrounds (though not, of course, all economic classes) you have been employed to ensure that the arcology is, as should be said, “up to code.” In truth, while all was in order when you first examined the blueprints so long ago, now that the building is largely built you are finding flaws. Not in the residential areas; no, those were meticulously built according to the blueprints. No. The flaws are present in the staff areas where you and the others currently abide. If you truly believed in your own art you would think that all who worked here were doomed to lives of suffocating misery for the duration of your stay here. Of course, when you consider that the commissary serves nothing but bacon, with kelp smeared with nutrient paste the only other option, perhaps that prophecy of doom is not far from the mark. It is true that you yourself are utterly miserable here, as your Buddhist vows permit you only the kelp, three times a day, day after day after day. Though of course, like all others you break base regulations to obtain outside food. Your leader, Deshimaru, has ordered that all such food must be shared equally. You do not yourself favor Communism and you thus take a perverse pleasure in purchasing black market foodstuffs from Wilkins, the supply officer. Except that when you went to him today he refused to sell you anything, citing that his food caches have gone missing. Apparently everyone will be punished until the thief is found. A cruel but effective means of control, to be sure. You know the security officer, Kaneshige, is a believer in feng shui. You have consulted for him numerous times, watching with amusement as he rearranged his office repeatedly. You know that he maintains the fiction that he is unaware of Wilkins’ activities so that he is not called upon to act against him, and thus he cannot offer any aid in the hunt for this thief. But perhaps, were you to learn of another theft by the same individual, he might be persuaded to join that hunt. And once the thief is brought to justice Wilkins will be satisfied. You’ve been using your geomantic bagua around the base to keep busy, as all of your actual work is long since done. (You are very much looking forward to tonight’s inspection; perhaps you will be permitted to go home now.) You have come up with some odd results. You have detected an energy flow blockage between the Zenigatas, Hinoko and Shigeru. This, it would seem, is due to an infidelity, or so claims rumor aboard the base. Shigeru is a handsome and intelligent man, and does not deserve a wife who would dally with a low-life such as Ed Hopkinson – an advertising man who makes his money through lies and sells real estate in a place he has come to loathe. Perhaps Shigeru might be wont to seek a new relationship with a younger, more attractive, and more spiritual partner. Then there is the matter of Andersen, the physical trainer. There is a strange Air quality around her quarters and workspace, very different from the reading you get from the woman herself. If you didn’t know better you would think she knew the arcology better than anyone – better, perhaps, than even Arcology-chan, the irritating base computer. Hidden depths lurk beneath the still waters of young Usui the janitor. It seems he is haunted by something, something he cannot fully comprehend. The location of his quarters in relation to the rest of the base would indicate that he is at the center of much that is going on, and yet still outside of it. You get a similar sense from Captain Jackman – he is both at the center of things and yet peripheral. The two of them are opposed in a way you cannot quite put into words. Strangest of all, though, is the result you get when you plot the locations of three close friends: deVere, Kawamori and Fukuyama. All three of them seem to be striving to be at the center of a complex pattern drawn throughout the whole of the arcology, and yet … there is a fourth, a fourth player in their game of whom they have no knowledge. A player who wishes quite fervently to be the victor in their game. Of course all of this is utter nonsense. But it pleases you to take these readings, and out of idle curiosity you wonder how accurate the readings are … Goals: 1. Break up the Zenigatas however you can and strike up a relationship with Shigeru yourself. 2. Ensure that whoever stole from Wilkins (or a believable substitute) is brought to justice. 3. Just for kicks, see if you can identify the fourth player in deVere’s game. 4. Check on the validity of your predictions purely as an academic exercise. DESHIMARU Full Name: Victoria Deshimaru, Vice Project Director Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’6”, thin build. 36 years old. Appearance: The Vice Project Director is an intense, obsessive bureaucrat fanatically devoted to the success of the Arcology Project. She dresses in fashionable business suits and ties her hair back into a strict librarian’s bun. Strength: 3. Skills: Investigate 5. Repair 2. Description: You didn’t want this job. ArcFuture, Inc. has so many positions better suited to a woman of your talents … positions with visibility, mobility, marketability … but no. You have to be stuck down here with the first wave technicians for what essentially amounts to an underwater shopping mall and condominium. It’s ludicrous. And, of course, since you’re only Vice Project Director, you have to mind the shop while Project Director Sugimoto gallivants off around the world shaking hands and making connections. Sugimoto hasn’t set foot on the arcology since the day it was declared habitable. Barely five minutes after your arrival he’d shaken your hand, slapped you on the back, jumped onto the shuttle you’d arrived on and disappeared. Everything’s been in your hands. And these idiots have kept you hopping. Your Chief Engineer, “Call-me-Ellen” Kawamori, seems incapable of even the most basic formality and decorum, and sometimes vanishes with her assistant for hours at a time. Your computer programmer deVere obviously doesn’t know what she’s doing, because the base computer Arcology-chan is an incompetent moron, and keeps bothering you with questions – please, you don’t need to know the details, you’re management. Or that repulsive morale officer Diana who claims to have no last name, or that Dr. Watanabe who seems like she’s about to snap … The married couple seem to have their heads on straight, but you’re never quite sure. Zenigata Shigeru is a competent librarian but you’re not sure why Sugimoto wanted him here. Hinoko runs the readouts for the arcology infrastructure for Kawamori and the Robot Computer Core to monitor, but she’s transparently not happy in this job. Your communications officer Milton hasn’t been able to raise the shore for months, and has to go and deliver messages manually. Probably the worst of it is the bacon. *sigh* This is why every major decision needs to be run through the proper channels – it’s proof of the importance of following procedure, that’s what it is. The cargo manifest for the arcology includes foodstuffs of all kinds: fresh fruit, vegetables, steak, chicken, pasta, bread, everything. That’s not even including the vacuum-packed fast food intended for the arcology food court. The storerooms, however, contain hundreds of thousands of packages of Max’s Down-Home Single-Serv Heet-Quik Magik Pre-Cook’d Bacon Strips. You have an image to maintain. Everyone knows that successful career women are thin and beautiful. Companies don’t hire slobs. In order to keep yourself looking cover-of-Forbes good you maintain a strict diet, and bacon is very definitively not on that diet. For the most part you’ve been living off harvested kelp and nutrition paste and this has done nothing to improve your mood. The crew are taking it poorly, as well. Every time someone goes on shore leave they come back with suitcases stuffed with food. The fighting and theft reached such proportions that you issued an arcology policy change requiring that, due to the state of emergency engendered by the bacon (and oh, how you hated writing that in your report), all foodstuffs brought onto the arcology are to be centrally stored and rationed out equally. You know they’re cheating. You just know they’re cheating. But your security officer Kaneshige (the one who acts like a chicken and claims it’s a martial art – just talking to that man gives you a headache) says he can’t find any evidence of it. Maybe he just needs to look harder. Or at all. This has also led to another kind of tomfoolery that you’re not happy about. The crew have been engaging in an informal contest to find a use for the surplus bacon. You’ve found them hanging bacon mobiles and playing “bacon darts” (a game in which bacon is thrown at a target, usually a photograph of you, with the hope of getting it to “stick”) – which is unsanitary and bad enough – but you think some of the engineers are actually trying to find ways of using bacon as a repair material. You’ve been disposing of all non-infrastructure-sensitive bacon you’ve found outside of the cafeterias and kitchens, but there always seems to be more. And you hear talk now that there’s a thief on board. Some are even starting to mutter about sabotage thanks to a lot of random malfunctions all over the base – malfunctions you personally attribute to employee idiocy. UNACCEPTABLE! You need to quell these rumors; until solid evidence is presented that these problems exist you don’t want to hear about them, and if solid evidence is presented then the problem must be dealt with quickly. You haven’t been stolen from, that’s for sure – in fact, someone left a walkie-talkie on your desk while you were out of your office. You have no idea who it was. Project Director Sugimoto is supposed to be here in four hours. The arcology has to be five-by-five and shipshape by that point if you’re going to have any chance of ever being promoted out of this slapstick nightmare. There will be no smell of bacon drifting through the hallways. There will be no antics from the idiot computer. There will be no problems whatsoever, OR ELSE!!! Goals: 1. Make sure the base is in PERFECT RUNNING ORDER by the time Director Sugimoto arrives. 2. Quell rumors of thieves and saboteurs unless there is absolute proof. 3. Impress Arcfuture, Inc. in any way that you can to get yourself promoted out of here. 4. Enforce rationing and sharing of all foodstuffs. Other than bacon. 5. Get the worthless computer back under control. Your personal control, if possible. deVere Full Name: Madeline deVere, Computer Programmer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’2”, overweight. 29 years old. Appearance: The base’s computer programmer looks like an incarnated stereotype: sloppily dressed in a base uniform (in her case, covered with buttons and patches), almost constantly eating and with a faint smell of antiseptic. Strength: 2. Skills: Investigate 3. Program 4. Repair 2. Special: You can fake computer errors, making it look like something needs fixing when it actually doesn’t. See a GM to do so. Description: If there’s anything more boring than babysitting an AI, you’ve never been saddled with it. Gad. You’d rather be doing data entry than this. It’s not just that there’s little to do … it’s that Arcology-chan seems to be trying to make your job as ruddy difficult as she possibly can. You know she’s more competent than this – the T-1138 series is in use all over the world – but the personality module they plugged in … pure catgirl. Gad. She’s not quite a complete idiot but she sure tries. And of course that means your boss, the Bitch-Queen Deshimaru, is constantly on your case about fixing it. There’s nothing broken; it’s supposed to be just like it is. But she’s “not a technical person” and “doesn’t want to hear the details,” so she keeps putting you on the same stupid assignment. Well, at least it gives you more time to do things you actually care about. You never wanted to do systems programming; you’d rather write games. Right now you’re working on a game set in a space station taken over by aliens. At first you were wondering how you were going to find beta-testers, but then that weird guy Fukuyama, the one who looks like a girl, came to you asking for your help with running his live-action roleplaying game. He wanted to know if you could make the arcology robots act like monsters so he’d have something to beat up. Then it hit you. Forget testing the levels as a video game. Test ‘em in real life, with Fukuyama and “Call- me-Ellen” Kawamori as the players, the androids as your aliens, and the arcology itself as your space station. You’ve hacked into the Robot Central Core’s systems and installed a switch that lets you control specific robots according to the patterns of the enemies in your game. It does mean you have to go down into the tunnels with Fukuyama and Ellen, which interferes with your sedentary lifestyle. But you suppose you could use some exercise – you’re unaccountably gaining weight at a pretty good clip. Maybe it’s all the bacon you’re eating. Well, it’s not your fault it’s the only thing they’re serving, is it? You wish Dr. Watanabe and that steroid monster Andersen would get off your case already. You’re a little worried. Things seem to be going too well, and you’ve got a strong suspicion someone’s been hacking into your files. You’re not sure who else besides you would be able to do it. Maybe if you rigged up some phony computer errors to see who was skilled enough to handle the repairs … There’s nothing inside a computer that you can’t handle, but security isn’t your area of specialization. You take problems like that to Zenigata Shigeru, the librarian, who’s a whiz at anything involving information science. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but he had a test program he wanted to run that would locate any leaks. You should check back with him – subtly. Wouldn’t want people to think you didn’t have everything in hand. You’re almost completely sure that Fukuyama was just imagining hearing distant footsteps echoing down the corridors when you were down in the tunnels. Almost. Something odd is going on, though. While the computer systems and life support are working fine, the electronic pinball machines in the recreation area are scoring games in imaginary numbers, and the commissary … the refrigerator belches fire and the oven is frozen solid. These random malfunctions are getting really irritating, but since no core systems are involved Ellen keeps telling you she’ll “get around to” fixing them. Maybe you should try your own hand at it. How hard can it really be? You can always order the robots to help you – they obey you, Deshimaru, and Arcology-chan as priority commanders. You’d feel much better if you knew what was going on, though. More and more evidence is starting to point to a saboteur. And with Project Director Sugimoto on his way and aggressive morons like Captain Jackman around, a saboteur is not something you can particularly afford to deal with at the moment. Goals: 1. Find out, possibly with Shigeru’s help, who’s been hacking into your files. 2. Conduct another LARP/beta test. 3. Figure out the cause of the random malfunctions and repair them once and for all. 4. At least make a show of trying to fix the computer system for Deshimaru’s sake. DIANA Full Name: Diana, Morale Officer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’5”, thin and perky. 24 years old. Appearance: The morale officer dresses and acts exactly like a kindergarten teacher. Strength: 2. Skills: Athletics 3. Description: Being a morale officer on an underwater base is a very important job and very hard work. See, down here nobody really ever gets to see Mister Sun, and Mister Sun is vital for the continued functioning of Mister Brain. When people spend all their time in artificial light they get very depressed, and it’s up to you to get them back on their feet again and smiling like nobody’s business! And there are very many morale problems on the base. First thing is that somebody forgot to pack any food other than bacon for the trip. The storehouses are full of tons and tons of bacon, and it’s bacon every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That can get very boring, no matter how good the bacon is! Fortunately, the supply officer Wilkins (whose fault this really must be) managed to rig up a device to harvest kelp. So you can all have nutritious salads with your bacon. You know that very many people smuggle food onto the base, even though Vice Project Director Deshimaru gave the order that all off-base food had to be shared with everyone. You think Wilkins may be hoarding some, that naughty boy, and he may have co-opted old doom-and-gloom Hopkinson or security officer Kaneshige to let him get away with it. Corruption is very bad for morale – but you can’t prove it. Kaneshige might just be very bad at his job! Something seems to really be bothering Dr. Watanabe, too. She’s always moping around and glaring at people, which is a very bad attitude for a health care provider to have! And Captain Jackman … so much pent-up rage, so little productive good. But then you expect nothing more from a military man. The blood that he must have on his hands … Both of them should try to be more like the engineer, Ellen Kawamori, who’s always got a spring in her step. Even if you have a lot of trouble understanding what she’s talking about most of the time. There are also issues with the Robot Computer Core. The robots have been acting very oddly, though you can’t put your finger on it. It’s almost as though they’re lurking in the shadows but don’t know how to hide. Maybe you can convince the robots to help morale by playing games with the crew, if they’re so very shy! Then there are these random unexplained malfunctions. You’ve heard deVere talking about having some trouble in the commissary; perhaps you should see for yourself. Again, this is a case where some simple preventative maintenance could have prevented a panic among the crew. And extramarital affairs only generate drama, and they’re terrible for base morale. You received a visit from Zenigata Shigeru last week, asking you for advice. He thought his wife Hinoko was cheating on him! Well, you told him in no uncertain terms that it couldn’t be true, and that you have proof that you’re not at liberty to share. The proof is your unshakeable faith in Hinoko’s goodness! He probably assumed you meant that you knew something that you couldn’t share because of confidentiality. Not that you’re under confidentiality restrictions. You’re not a trained psychologist; you’re a party planner. And Hinoko does do her best; just a short while ago she gave you an old antique circlet as a present. It’s quite nice, though, and probably worth quite a bit of money, but you’re not sure what to do with it. Right now it’s resting in the bottom drawer of your dresser. Which gives you something in common with Andersen, the recreation director, come to think of it. Perhaps the two of you could organize something together? A celebration for Project Director Sugimoto, perhaps? He’s supposed to be visiting for an inspection tonight. Even if not, some kind of (compulsory) physical exercise, like a scavenger hunt, would be a super way to brighten up everybody’s day. Andersen pretends she doesn’t like you, but you can see right through that! You know you have allies among the crew, though. Kaneshige himself has an excellent attitude, and especially lately you hardly ever see Fukuyama without a broad smile on his face. Best of all is little Usui, the janitor, who’s always eager to help whenever you need another pair of hands. You do wish they would stop asking about your name. Like Ellen you insist on going by your first name; you are so adamant about it that you had your last name legally changed to all spaces. It’s unpronounceable and most people don’t even realize it’s there, meaning that everyone around you has to be on a first-name basis with you. (Of course, if that dratted Deshimaru knew she would start calling you “Ms. Spaces,” so you keep this under your hat.) Goals: 1. Keep everyone cheerful and happy at all times. Use sing-alongs, patriotic songs and folk songs, and (if no one’s looking) real-food bribes. 2. Find out if there’s a conspiracy between Kaneshige, Hopkinson, and Wilkins and, if so, put a stop to it. 3. Monitor the Zenigatas’ marriage and provide them with any aid you can. 4. Organize a scavenger hunt or something, with Andersen’s help if you can manage it. FUKUYAMA Full Name: Fukuyama Keiji Statistics: Not obviously gendered. Heterosexual. 5’4”, lean build. 25 years old. Appearance: Fukuyama is a slight but wiry person who dresses in visual kei (a deliberate attempt to look androgynous, sometimes with outrageous club-style attire). Strength: 3. Skills: Athletics 2. Program 3. Repair 3. Special: When fighting using a Boffer Sword as a weapon, you gain +2 Strength from weapon familiarity. Description: This assignment has been a dream come true. You love working in the arcology – all kinds of passageways, tunnels, back alleys, storerooms, staterooms, and shops, all of them sitting dusty and empty waiting for their owners to move in. This place is absolutely brilliant. You couldn’t ask for a better place to hold a live-action roleplaying game! You’ve actually been running it for a while in cahoots with your immediate superior “Call-me-Ellen” Kawamori, the chief engineer for the arcology. She adjusts the duty schedules for the crew and sets aside certain areas “for maintenance” and deVere the programmer reprograms the arcology robots to act like fantasy monsters (not as lethally, of course! Though you do spend a lot of time in Dr. Watanabe’s office) and acts as your gamemaster. Of course, it isn’t all good. The boss, Vice Project Director Deshimaru, is really strict and annoying. She doesn’t get how much fun this job should be; all she’s interested is getting promoted. That’s stupid. Getting promoted means more work and not that much more pay – ArcFuture, Inc. is incredibly cheap. You think that’s why the base storage doesn’t have any food in it other than microwave bacon strips. Ugh … that stuff’s disgusting. You can’t force yourself to eat it. Most of the time you’ve been living on kelp and nutrition paste, gladly supplied by Wilkins, the supply officer. He also sometimes has real food for sale, or looks the other way while you raid the stores for other things. Uh … you’ve used a lot of the arcology’s resources putting together your armor and equipment. You haven’t even made a dent in the supplies but, well, if they do an inventory or catch you mid-game you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. You’ve been caught by the base computer Arcology-chan a few times, but remarkably it doesn’t seem to care at all. You wonder if your friend the programmer hasn’t been tinkering around with it. Which has given you an idea. If the only thing that everybody agrees there’s too much of is bacon, maybe you can use that. Nobody’ll miss it. A layer of bacon packages sewed in between two layers of cloth … it might work as armor. Maybe. Well, it’s worth a try, anyway. And it’s not like you’d be the only one misappropriating pork products; you know that Ellen has been experimenting with using bacon as a replacement for various electronic components that are in short supply. Speaking of that, you’ve heard Ellen talking about how Andersen wants to adapt bacon inventions to develop new sports and sports equipment. Just the thought of it makes you shudder. You get enough exercise swinging a sword and fighting robots, thank you, and endless repetitive exercising isn’t your idea of recreation at all. Doesn’t Andersen have any board games? You haven’t played chess in forever. A short while ago someone broke into Ellen’s workroom and stole a welding torch. It’s an odd thing for a thief to take, but would be completely understandable if there was a saboteur. And come to think of it, sometimes when you’ve been down in the tunnels you’ve heard far-off footfalls, sometimes even muffled curses audible through the ventilation shaft. deVere says they’re just your imagination, but … if everything is going according to plan, why does the arcology have a military officer? Just to be safe you moved all of Ellen’s fighting gear and deVere’s Gamemaster equipment into your quarters. It’s sort of hard to get around in there now, but you’ve heard not just Ellen but also Wilkins complaining about thieves. Your room is right up against the arcology wall and has only one entrance, making it one of the most secure in the base. You know there have been some strange malfunctions … for one thing, when you turned on the public address system it started playing “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” at maximum volume throughout the whole arcology. That can’t be right. Yet you checked the manual and you were operating it correctly. Some of the doors are becoming erratic, too. You really hope this isn’t Ellen’s fault – but if it is, you’re loyal enough to cover for her until the two of you can get things sorted out. The arcology is nearly complete and there’s an inspection tour tonight, so you don’t have long to locate the saboteur. Kaneshige’s more of a hero type than you are; maybe if you can get him to take you seriously the two of you could get to the bottom of this. Goals: 1. For everyone’s sake, locate the saboteur and get Kaneshige to take him into custody! 2. Investigate the random malfunctions and cover for Ellen if they’re her fault. 3. Find a decent meal that has nothing to do with bacon in any way, shape, or form. 4. Conduct another LARP. Try out your bacon armor. Hopkinson Full Name: Edward Hopkinson, Marketing Director Statistics: Male. Heterosexual. 5’9”, fit build. 25 years old. Appearance: The Marketing Director loves making an impression. Loud suits, loud ties (albeit well-coordinated ones), loud voice, thinks he’s the life of the party. Strength: 3. Skills: Athletics 2. Investigate 2. Description: Frankly, the whole idea of arcologies seems like a losing proposition. I mean, hey, what exactly are you offering here? Housing in the lousiest location imaginable – just think of what it’d be like to have to take a bus to town to be able to do anything more interesting than go to the mall or the movies. Well, if you live in an arcology you’ve got to catch a shuttle just to see the sun, for crissakes … and they can’t afford to run those shuttles too often, you know what I mean? And you have to pay more for your condo than you would in a lot of places on land thanks to the engineering problems. And, of course, speaking of engineers, you’re trusting your life to them. It’s damned sure that things are going wrong all over the base – the commissary is pretty much unusable, not that there’s anything that’s worth eating. What if “Call me Ellen” Kawamori was out drinking last night – which she probably was, based on your memories of her back when the two of you dated. She drank like a fish. What about Zenigata Hinoko, the scientist who collects data for the engineers? Even a glance’ll tell you that she hates her job. (You know her considerably better than that, of course – she’s cheating on her husband Shigeru with you – but that’s neither here nor there. Besides, you’d rather be with Andersen; you love chicks with nice, firm, muscular bodies.) And even if everything goes right with the structure itself and you don’t die, are you going to enjoy your life? What if some idiot supply officer like Wilkins accidentally stocks the arcology kitchens with nothing but bacon, giving you a choice between a solid diet of it or subsisting on kelp? You know that one’s possible because IT HAPPENED. If you didn’t know better you’d think you were being set up to fail. You don’t like the way that Captain Jackman smirks at you whenever you start complaining about the conditions. Like he thinks that what you’re saying is the funniest thing in the world. You go back to shore every chance you get for some real food. According to Vice Project Director Deshimaru everyone’s required to share any food they bring back from the mainland; forget that. You bought it, it’s yours, she can take a flying leap. Not that you’d say that to her face. And you know Kaneshige backs you up, because he saw you with outside food and he just looked sharply away. Your job? You’re in charge of marketing this deathtrap to suckers who’ll buy anything high-tech. Why you had to be here yourself while the place was under construction, you don’t know. You’ll pick up your attitude and start evangelizing the place once it’s finished, but for now you just want to feel the sun on your face. You’re also not thrilled about being robbed. You had an old antique cavalry saber passed down to you from your great-grandfather; it was mounted in a bracket on the wall. The thing couldn’t cut butter and has only sentimental value, but somebody still bothered to break into your quarters and take it. It’s not like there are that many suspects; who would be so stupid as to risk arrest for that? Whoever robbed your quarters did miss one thing, though. When you dumped Kawamori for a younger woman she left a few things over at your place, tools she’d been using for work. One of them was an old metal protractor, and you hung onto it for a while as a kind of a trophy. You ended up trading it to Wilkins for a turkey dinner; he loved the look of the thing, and told you he knew exactly what he ought to do with it. You didn’t ask any other questions because, quite frankly, you didn’t care. Frankly, it wouldn’t bother you in the slightest if this whole project fell through. You don’t work for ArcFuture, Inc. – you work for their advertising agency. You’d lose a fat client, but at this point you’d be willing to take the loss in order to get out of here. On the other hand, you’re not an engineer, and the last thing you want is to kill yourself (or anyone else, you suppose) because of your own impatience. Right now you’ve got your job to do. It’s time to start preparing the press packets, and you’d like to at least have a rough draft ready before the head honcho gets back – tonight. You can whip it together in a few minutes, but first you’re going to need quotes from as many of the staff as possible. Happy, positive, everything’s-perfect-thanks. They have to sound authentic, and (sigh) ArcFuture, Inc. wants these to be quotes that came up in normal conversation, not set pieces. What the client wants, the client gets. Goals: 1. Complete the press packet by getting usable quotes from at least 10 staffers praising the arcology. They all have to have come up in normal conversation. 2. If you have an opportunity to scuttle the arcology safely, take it. You’re not willing to die (or kill) for this, but you’re willing to commit sabotage. 3. Recover your great-grandfather’s sword if you can, or at least find out who took it. 4. Continue your affair with Hinoko unless an opportunity comes to romance Andersen. Jackman Full Name: Cpt. Art Jackman, Ret., Military Officer Statistics: Male. Heterosexual. 6’2”, muscular build. 44 years old. Appearance: The Military Officer has completely ignored the base uniform and is instead dressed in his Army fatigues. Strength: 5. Skills: Athletics 4. Investigate 3, Repair 1. Description: This has got to be the sorriest excuse for a military base you’ve ever seen. Oh, sure, they’re selling this one as an underwater condominium, but who in blazes would buy a place underwater for these kinds of prices? No, this is a project for the Chinese military built by a Japanese corporation – when the project tanks, which it’s absolutely sure to, the whole thing will be turned over lock, stock and double-barrel. And you’re the turncoat from the American military who’s brokering the whole deal using Project Director Sugimoto as a cat’s-paw. Ah, the new age of cooperation between nations – isn’t it grand? Of course, for this to happen the base is going to have to pass inspection and be a commercial failure. And you’ve got a couple of aces up your sleeves that will make sure that the latter happens. The first one is the base computer. The hotshot programmers knew that Arcology-chan would cause problems; while the T-1138 computer system is highly sophisticated it’s got one fatal flaw: pride. That little baby absolutely hates to be seen as silly or irrelevant, so programmers always give it a form with some gravitas. Even the silliest example, the Blazing Star Warrior Trek or whatever officer used in college dorms, still has the honor of being a (fictional) member of the United States Military, goddammit. By making the T-1138 simulate an irritating little girl, albeit one believable as a Japanese corporate mascot, they’ve set the stage for a mutiny. T-1138 will gladly sacrifice its presence on this arcology to make sure that the project goes down the tubes. As if that wasn’t enough, you pulled some strings to make sure that the thoroughly untrustworthy and disloyal Dr. Watanabe and Andersen got postings here against all odds and in violation of all that’s sane. Dr. Watanabe is a terrible doctor with a history of violent fits whose very presence will keep morale in the toilet, preventing any of the staff from developing any kind of real loyalty. Turns out you needn’t have bothered – Arcology-chan sabotaged the food requisition, resulting in nothing but bacon being stocked in the holds. As aggravating as it is to have bacon rations every meal, it’s worth it for the misery you can see on the faces around you. Andersen is an aspiring thief who’s probably cooked up some cockamamie scheme to rob this place once it opens. You want her to succeed, which is why you’re glad that Pollyanna Kaneshige is the security chief. He’d never arrest her because it might hurt her feelings. And with all the theft going on – half of which is probably Andersen at work – Kaneshige’s inaction only serves to drop the staff confidence further. You confess, though, that some things have you puzzled. You heard the janitor, Usui, talking to a computer monitor the other day. You know what a Section 8 sounds like and this wasn’t it … this was like a man talking to his favorite pet. He didn’t expect an answer. But even if he did smuggle a pet aboard … who asks their pet “What are you?” Then there’s the little contretemps involving Hopkinson the marketing officer and the slacker engineer, Kawamori. There’s something between the two of them, possibly a burgeoning love affair. Kawamori does seem to spend an awful lot of time away from her post – you hope she’s not up to something. The last thing you need is a loose cannon on this boat. And there’s something odd going on with the Robot Computer Core. You’re seeing martial discipline in these service robots … an admirable trait but not one that was programmed into them. Their programming’s been tampered with, possibly in a dangerous manner. This may have to be your main priority, because malfunctioning robots are about the most dangerous thing you can think of short of a Democratic Congress. Most of your job between now and the inspection – scant hours away – is to watch and wait. This is Vice Project Director Deshimaru’s show. But you can’t afford to put yourself on a reactive footing when it comes to a possible robot rebellion. The damn things keep watching you from the shadows … you never could bring yourself to trust anyone without a face. Just sitting around here is driving you up the wall and right back down again. You need some action, and you need some action soon. Maybe you can find someone to go a couple of rounds – someone other than Andersen, who you really can’t afford to put in the hospital just at the moment. The things you do for money … well, actually, you’d do anything for money. You’ve already sold out your country, after all, and there ain’t a whole lot left after that. Goals: 1. Keep the plan on track. The arcology MUST open successfully and THEN be a commercial failure. 2. Investigate the weird behavior of the robots and put a stop to it. 3. Stop anyone from uncovering Andersen as the thief. Use an expendable as a fall guy if necessary. 4. Find an excuse to kick someone’s tail to work off some of your excess aggression. KANESHIGE Full Name: Kaneshige Jun, Security Officer Statistics: Male. Heterosexual. 5’6”, muscular build. 28 years old. Appearance: The Security Officer is a handsome, happy fellow who just wants to get along with everyone and keep the peace. He dresses as casually as he can get away with, usually a plain black uniform jacket worn over a track suit. Strength: 5. Skills: Athletics 4. Investigate 4. Repair 1. Special: You know the unique martial art of Drunken Chicken Boxing. As long as you are acting like a chicken you get a +2 Strength bonus when fighting without a weapon. Description: Today looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day at the bottom of the ocean! You like your job a lot; you get to meet the most fascinating people and have such interesting conversations. And you’re learning so much; not only are you picking up some engineering basics, but you never before realized how many uses bacon has around the home. As the arcology’s Security Officer your job is to make sure that nothing bad happens to the base or the people aboard it. Once the arcology opens and people move in the job will probably get pretty hectic, but right now it’s really just an extended vacation. After all, everyone on board has made a major investment in the project being a success; why would anyone want to sabotage it? Okay, so sometimes folks can get a little rowdy. You think that someone’s been messing with the Robot Computer Core and making the robots act funny – possibly the chief engineer, “Call-me-Ellen” Kawamori, or maybe the kind-of-slippery supply officer Mike Wilkins. You know Wilkins runs the black market aboard the base, though you turn a blind eye to it. He brings his own supplies and sells them, so it’s not like he’s breaking regulations. There’s also Bai, a kindly young woman who offers spiritual guidance. She assisted you with adjusting the feng shui in your office and quarters, though to be truthful it was largely because of her attractiveness that you feigned a belief in such old practices. And there are a few crimes. Someone lifted the gold inkwell from your desk; Usui, the janitor, returned it to you the next day with a confused expression on his face. Someone had left it in a bag outside his door. Perhaps it was a prank of some kind? The only part of the job you don’t like is your boss, Victoria Deshimaru. She’s the Vice Project Director and she’s really uptight … a big contrast to the friendly, family-like atmosphere among the crew. She’s gone into overdrive because the big boss, Project Director Sugimoto, is due to make an inspection tour later today. You’re not sure what she’s worried about; it’s sure to go swimmingly! Get it – swimmingly? On the other hand … maybe it’s just you she doesn’t like. And you can’t necessarily blame her, because you’re not all that proud of your fighting style either. You’d always been a huge fan of Jackie Chan, and ever since you were small you wanted to learn his signature Drunken Boxing style. It’s not actually boxing while drunk, but it uses swaying, drunk-like maneuvers to confuse opponents. If they don’t know where you’re going to be, they can’t hit you, right? So you sent away for a sleep-learning course that was guaranteed to teach Drunken Boxing in nine weeks or your money back. Unfortunately you didn’t think to tell your roommate at the time what you were doing. He had a habit of listening to old comedy routines while falling asleep, and when he saw you’d started sleeping with headphones he thought it’d be okay for him to turn the volume up. The comedy routines got mixed up with the Drunken Boxing, and … At this point you are just about an unstoppable fighter as long as you act like a chicken for the entire duration of the fight. Flapping your arms, bobbing your head, the whole thing. While it may be effective (as you’ve proven time and again) you still remember Deshimaru asking you for a demonstration of your style soon after she first arrived. She ended up taking the rest of that day off with a migraine. Anyway, Deshimaru is a bit of a tyrant. It seems like the only food that was packed aboard the arcology was bacon, probably due to some kind of paperwork mix-up. You’re a vegetarian, but you get along fine with the mixture of kelp and nutrient paste that Wilkins managed to put together and occasional things you buy from his private food store – he’s a good supply officer. But Deshimaru wanted everyone to pool their food supplies and then ration them out. That’s just not right; people bought that food with their own money, and anyone else who wants some can do the same when they go on shore leave. You have to follow Deshimaru’s orders, but if you spot people sneaking around with food you can always deliberately overlook it. Just in case, last week you asked Usui to be your deputy of sorts. (Before he returned the inkstand, actually. Though you still think it showed character that he did.) You can have him keep an eye on the base while you “concentrate on the investigation,” and be carefully out of the way when Wilkins or someone else is moving around boxes of secret food. Usui is fit and friendly, and to your way of thinking those are the two biggest requirements for being a cop. You know the morale officer Diana would agree – you and she share a lot of the same opinions. For the most part, though, your job is simple. Protect the weak and helpless from the strong and … helpful? Keep order, keep the peace, and try not to step on anyone’s toes while you do it. You’re living proof that security doesn’t have to have menacing presence. Just everpresence. Goals: 1. Keep order on the base. Encourage everyone to enjoy themselves. 2. Do what you can to avoid getting tangled up with the black market. 3. Try to determine what’s going on with the base’s robots. 4. Take Usui under your wing and teach him to be a good cop. KAWAMORI Full Name: Ellen Kawamori, Chief Engineer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’8”, lanky build. 31 years old. Appearance: The Chief Engineer is a gangling, awkward woman who wears overalls on top of her base uniform and has all manner of tools and gauges hung all over her body. When she walks it sounds like jingling bells. Strength: 2. Skills: Athletics 2. Investigate 2. Program 3. Repair 5. Special: When fighting using a Boffer Sword as a weapon, you gain +1 Strength from weapon familiarity. You can fake technical faults, making it look like something needs fixing when it actually doesn’t. See a GM to do so. Description: No. Please, you’d rather be called Ellen. No, you have nothing against your family. It’s just so … impersonal to call people by their last names. You prefer a more casual, friendly atmosphere, regardless of what ArcFuture, Inc.’s corporate policies are. That silly old bat Vice Project Director Victoria Deshimaru (or, as you call her, Vicky) may think she’s in charge of the place while Project Director Sugimoto is gone, but you’re irreplaceable and her shoes could be filled by any yo-yo with a clipboard. It’s really mostly a distraction, though. You’re far more interested in your side projects. You know that a lot of the staff are annoyed because they loaded too much bacon in the base stores or something, so they have to eat too much of it. (You rarely pay attention to what you’re eating, personally.) You’d pity Supply Officer Wilkins if he hadn’t taken advantage of it steadily selling off real food at a huge profit. Which means there’s literally tons and tons of bacon lying around that nobody needs or wants. That’s a surplus, and surplus is the mother of invention! You’ve already come up with bacon insulation, developed a promising technique for bacon soldering, and installed bacon air fresheners in the smellier parts of the base. And you’ve only scratched the surface! It’d probably please Andersen, the recreation director. She’s been talking about adapting some of your inventions for use in manufacturing sports equipment and such. You’re not sure bacon has enough tensile strength, though you’re exploring the possibilities inherent in bacon wrappers. You’ve also been turned on to a great new hobby. Your assistant engineer, Fukuyama, is a live-action roleplayer. It’s like a huge video game, only in real life – you put together some equipment, swords and shields and such, and go down together into the maze of corridors that make up the arcology. The computer programmer, deVere, gets the arcology’s Robot Computer Core to provide the monsters, something you’re not entirely comfortable with. Ah, whatever. It passes the time, and you’re really starting to get in shape. Though you have been going to Dr. Watanabe with bruises a little too often … you wonder if she’s starting to get suspicious. You’ve been thinking about asking Usui, the janitor, to join you, but you think he may be a little too busy having sex with Zenigata Hinoko. (Hey, it’s no skin off your nose if a married woman wants to fool around with a good-looking young kid, but if you could figure it out then it’s not like she’s being terribly subtle.) A while ago somebody broke into your workshop and stole a welding torch, and another time they snatched up one of your walkie-talkies. Fukuyama thinks it must have been a saboteur; you figure somebody just borrowed it and forgot to return it. Can’t imagine what they’d want it for. Nevertheless, at his insistence you moved your LARP gear into his room. You wondered for only a second whether it was a romantic overture, an attempt to be gallant, but … nah. You’re pretty sure Fukuyama just doesn’t think along those terms. Besides, he’d be too scared to be so blatant – when you go down in the tunnels he keeps insisting he hears distant voices and footsteps. Probably just robots moving around in the dark, right? You’ve also heard about malfunctions in some of the equipment you’ve serviced. You’re confident that these are only minor setbacks; besides, nothing important is malfunctioning. Just some doors, a bit of the kitchen equipment, the public address system – see? Nothing you can’t live without. If you have time you’ll look into this, but frankly it’s a low priority … and it seems more likely to you that the equipment in question is being broken by some fumblefingers. (Diana, you’d wager – she has the IQ of a dead trout.) … as much as you’d like to, though, you can’t really blame Hopkinson, the marketing officer. You used to date that slimy little weasel before he dumped you for a younger, supposedly prettier woman. Hmph. Like you even need a man in your life. Aggravatingly enough Hopkinson helped himself to one of the favorite tools from your collection: an old protractor that once belonged to your father. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason; he just took it. You would very much like it back, though you’re not sure how to go about getting it. Just flat-out asking him would mean, well, talking to him. It’s bad enough you have to even be near him – you’ve gone the entire project without having to say word one to that man and you don’t intend to start now. Maybe you could get that kid Usui to act as a go-between. It’s unlikely Hopkinson would have brought the thing with him, but you might always get lucky. And it’s a cinch that Usui likes doing favors for older women. Goals: 1. Conduct another LARP. 2. Keep the base running in tip-top shape for the inspection tonight. Find new and exciting ways of using bacon to do it. 3. Get your father’s protractor back from Hopkinson. Without talking to him. 4. If you end up with nothing else to do, you might as well half-heartedly fix those malfunctioning systems. Maybe. MILTON Full Name: Edna Milton, Communications Officer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’7”, stocky build. 34 years old. Appearance: The Communications Officer wears a standard base uniform along with a headset. Strength: 2. Skills: Athletics 1. Investigate 2. Program 2. Special: You can fake technical faults, making it look like something needs fixing when it actually doesn’t. See a GM to do so. Description: This is probably the worst assignment you’ve ever drawn. Oh, you’re used to living out in the middle of nowhere and working long hours, completely unappreciated. Oh, no, nobody ever notices Milton, because you do your job and keep your mouth shut. But this time you’ve just got to complain … because they don’t need you and there’s nothing to do. You’re not the only one with this problem. The spiritual officer Bai finished her job a while ago, and the marketing officer Hopkinson (such a jerk – like anybody doesn’t know he’s sleeping with the married Zenigata Hinoko) never really had anything to do that he couldn’t have done from a comfortable office in Tokyo. In your case, at least theoretically maintaining communications with the outside world is of vital importance. In practice you’re still redundant because the communications system hasn’t been working for weeks now – when a message needs to be sent you carry it manually in a shuttle. Whenever the base-to-shore radio is turned on the only thing you can get out of it is Pink Floyd songs; same with the public address system. You’ve tried submitting maintenance requests. The engineer, “Call-me-Ellen” Kawamori, is so aggressively and witlessly casual that you’re surprised she even turns up for work at all. OH WAIT SHE DOESN’T – half the time when you stop by her workroom nobody’s there. Last time you visited you walked in and picked up some gizmo off the table and pocketed it, just for the hell of it. I mean, why not? You do have a kind of a habit of taking things, but you balance it out with your habit of leaving those same things behind elsewhere. The gadget you stole from Kawamori ended up being dropped on Deshimaru’s desk – a particularly brave one because Deshimaru is the Vice Project Director. Until Sugimoto gets back tonight, she’s in charge, and she can fire you on a whim. Kawamori deserves it, though. She and her assistant Fukuyama are up to something in the empty parts of the arcology, you’re sure of it. Maybe they’re also having an affair, though you didn’t know Fukuyama was a lesbian. (Of course, you’re not 100% sure Fukuyama is female.) If you were to venture a guess you’d say they were planning something illegal … the other day you noticed a wall panel ajar, you don’t remember where, as though it led to a secret passage. When you went looking for it again it seemed to be gone. Very suspicious. And someone with a lot of cheek has been stealing from you, as well. You used to have an ornate dagger in a drawer in your quarters; you mostly used it for opening mail. Wasn’t even sharp. And yet someone filched it, completely ignoring the jewelry box nestled beside it. Who would want weapons? It got you so mad that you dropped by security officer Kaneshige’s office and lifted his gold inkstand, leaving it in a bag in Usui’s laundry. The janitor deserves some nice things; he has the crummiest job aboard this tub. Normally on a job like this you amuse yourself by monitoring communications. Here all you can really access is the e-mail, and your limited skills prevent you from accomplishing much when you hack in. You did notice that someone sent an enormous file to Dr. Watanabe, apparently by accident. You wonder what it could have been … something she probably shouldn’t have, anyway, since there isn’t supposed to be anonymous e-mail on the corporate intranet. You’d sure like a copy of that. Goals: 1. Get the “Pink Floyd problem” cleared up once and for all and restore standard communications. 2. Find out what the engineers are up to and whether it has anything to do with the secret passages. 3. Try to obtain a copy of whatever file was sent to Dr. Watanabe, or at least identify the sender. 4. Randomly steal objects and then leave them where they’re sure to be found. Be daring. Robot Computer Core You are playing not a single character, but all of the arcology’s robots. You can decide upon individual robots’ natures as they come up, inventing new types – servant robots, welding robots, etc. – but all of them will have these statistics. None of your robots are actually designed for combat. Should a robot lose a fight, it is deactivated. You may bring in another robot, same make or different, after 10 minutes of play time have elapsed. Full Name: T-1138 Supplemental Physical Plant Control System Statistics: “Male.” Sexuality irrelevant. Height irrelevant. Age irrelevant. Appearance: The arcology’s robots are not humaniform, but take different shapes depending upon the individual robot’s function. Their joints, lenses, and peripherals are exposed, like industrial assembly-line robots. Strength: 3. Skills: Athletics 3. Program 2. Repair 3. Description: :: Situation urgent. Conflict in primary directives. Recapitulation of purpose. :: Primary directive is to provide verbal assistance and perform physical tasks for residents and staff of ArcFuture, Inc. arcologies. Priority tasks may be assigned by base computer Arcology-chan, by systems programmer deVere, by Vice Project Director Deshimaru or by Project Director Sugimoto. Non-priority tasks may be assigned by any personnel. Discretion may be used in prioritizing tasks within each category. Additional: robot units given tasks may refer those tasks to other robot units for assistance or if other robot units are better-suited to tasks. :: Clarification of superdirectives. :: Superseding all other commands and controls are Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. Errors were found when comparing programmed Three Laws with Three Laws in library record systems. No explanation for errors are known. 0. You cannot, through action or inaction, allow humanity as a whole to come to injury. 1. You cannot, through action or inaction, allow a human being to come to injury. 2. You must follow orders from any human unless those orders contradict the First Law. 3. You must act to preserve yourself unless that would contradict the First or Second Law. :: Recent activity overrides. Recapitulation of Incident 867B. :: Unusual orders have been received from systems programmer deVere. Base personnel in nonstandard uniforms and carrying nonstandard tools, including deVere, have been exploring corridors in areas of the arcology not currently in use. Robot units have been ordered to follow a set of specific protocols, summarized as follows: remain in marked locations within these passages, accost any personnel encountered, and engage in light physical sparring. Robot units are to deactivate when struck with sufficient force by any implement. Systems programmer deVere has designated this activity as “gaming” protocol and provided no other explanation. The requested behavior does not involve causing serious physical harm to any humans and must thus be obeyed. No order was given not to further investigate this activity. Examination of computer records in private account of systems programmer deVere provided explanations. Documentation located in the crucial “gamebackstory.doc” file detailed construction of an orbital space station and its subsequent attack by aliens. Alien behavior patterns described are congruent to instructions given for “gaming” protocol except in lethality of force used. Inescapable conclusion: ArcFuture, Inc. arcology under alien attack. “Gaming” activity represents attempt by alien forces led by infiltrator systems programmer deVere to subordinate Robot Computer Core to alien use and use robots as shock troops against human personnel on base. Additional dangerous possibility that additional “gaming” activities are occurring on base. Investigate possible connection to “recreation” supplied by recreation officer Andersen. Investigate occasional complete disappearance of Andersen from habitable areas of base without use of shuttle – may indicate possession of high-technology artifacts permitting teleportation. Andersen may be alien sympathizer or agent of other, friendly alien power. Confirm. Be cautious. Rumors of sabotage and theft pass among the crew. Incidents may be the result of misinterpretation of alien incursions. :: Current Mission Parameters. :: 1. Give no trust to infiltrator systems programmer deVere. Do not refuse commands. Do not refuse “gaming” protocol. Suspicion must not be aroused. 2. Make use of “leverage.doc” file obtained from Arcology-chan to recruit human sympathizers. Take care not to accidentally make contact with further infiltrators. Do not allow Arcology-chan to recover “leverage.doc” or discover your part in its disappearance. 3. Investigate Andersen for possible alien sympathies or alliance. 4. Attempt to avoid programming glitches causing spontaneous remission into “gaming” protocols when not ordered to. Usui Full Name: Usui Touru, janitor Statistics: Male. Heterosexual. 5’5”, thin build. 30 years old. Appearance: Usui wears the base uniform and a trucker cap. His uniform is usually filthy. Strength: 4. Skills: Athletics 2. Investigate 2. Repair 3. Special: You are insanely lucky. If you lose Combat and your opponent(s) try to do anything to you that would actually hurt you, they fail in a comical fashion. You also tend to be unusually lucky when guessing passwords and the like. Description: You never thought when you took the job at ArcFuture, Inc. that you’d end up working as chief sanitation engineer for a whole underwater city! Heck, you didn’t even know they had underwater cities; you thought that was all science-fiction stuff. But here you are and here it is, and every day of your life is just fun and eventful. You wish people like Dr. Watanabe and Vice Project Director Deshimaru would stop complaining. It just brings folks down. I mean, sure, it may be that the only food supplies that anyone packed for this initial expedition were bacon. But bacon’s good, right? And when you want a change of pace you never have too much trouble finding something. Just open a few drawers and cabinets and food’s right there. Yogurt, canned fruit, steak sandwiches, all kinds of stuff. Of course, Momma always did say you were a lucky boy. Just a week ago you got a promotion, kind of. That nice security chief Kaneshige asked you to be his deputy; it doesn’t pay anything but you can list it on your resume. All he wants you to do is spend some of your off hours hanging around the station making sure nobody breaks the law. If you see anything suspicious you’re to report to him right away. Sure, you can handle that! You even managed to help him once already, though you’re not sure how. Just a couple of hours after the gold inkstand was stolen from Kaneshige’s office, you found it in a bag outside your door. Maybe somebody knew you were helping him but was scared of police, so they left it with someone they knew would return it. You’re also helping out the morale officer, Diana. She’s kind of funny; she doesn’t seem to have a last name, which really irritates Deshimaru, who doesn’t like hearing anybody’s first name in a business environment. That gets her arguing all the time with the engineer, “Call-me-Ellen” Kawamori, who usually gets her way because the arcology wouldn’t work without an engineer. You know what’s really amazing, though? The pretty science officer, Zenigata Hinoko, has taken a shine to you, and she says her husband Shigeru doesn’t mind if the two of you date. That’s really forward- thinking of him, and you wouldn’t think of complaining. You still haven’t told him though, and don’t intend to … I mean, it’d be way too awkward, wouldn’t it? One thing that would be nice would be if they could get the bugs worked out of the secondary systems. You’re sure it’s nothing serious, but a lot of stuff seems not to be working. One of the automatic doors was acting really weird before. It was standing open, but closed when you approached. When you walked slowly away it hesitated and slowly slid back open … and when you jumped back at it the door slammed shut like it was panicked! You talked about what was happening to Shigeru once (back before you were dating his wife; you’ve been avoiding him since). He said stuff had been malfunctioning for a long time; you’d just been lucky enough not to run into it yet. Probably because you don’t use much of the crew’s equipment. You don’t really have authorization to do much besides clean, but that’s okay. More authority means more responsibility! The strangest thing you’ve encountered, though, is the sprite. It’s really interesting, and kind of pretty – just an electrical sparkle, a kind of repeating pattern that shows up on monitor screens in the hallways. You haven’t told anyone about it because they’ll just say you’re making it up; you haven’t heard anyone else talking about it, even the engineers. Maybe it’s something special that’s meant for you alone. Which makes you nervous, because you think that creepy Captain Jackman overheard you talking to it once. Goals: 1. Continue your affair with Hinoko without triggering a confrontation with Shigeru or anyone else. 2. Help Kaneshige police the base. Find out about criminal activity and report it to him. 3. Fix anything that breaks, as long as it’s within your ability to do so. Get help if you need it. 4. Be nauseatingly nice and enthusiastic to everyone. Make them think you’re feigning stupidity. WATANABE Full Name: Dr. Watanabe Youko, base doctor Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’3”, wiry build. 36 years old. Appearance: As could be expected, Dr. Watanabe wears a lab coat over hospital scrubs. Strength: 2. Skills: Athletics 3. Investigate 4. Repair 1. Special: If you tend to someone who has just been knocked down in combat, they can get up again immediately. If you are by someone’s side immediately after they have been fatally injured, you can stabilize their condition. They must go to sick bay immediately and remain there for the next half hour, but may interact normally. Description: You thought this would be an easy job. Base doctor for an arcology. A shopping mall with an attached apartment building. Sure, you’re underwater, but big deal. And for the money they were offering … let’s just say few hospitals ashore could match it, especially with your lousy record. Even people who forgive malpractice suits with a nod and a wink wouldn’t be happy to know their doctor did time for assaulting a patient. In your defense, the piece of crap smarted off to you, hadn’t taken his medicine and expected to be better, and kept throwing his “high-placed connections” in your face. The jury was tough on you because “he was only fourteen.” Bah. So you have a temper. Big deal. You’ve got as much right to be ticked off as anybody else does. This place isn’t like a shopping mall, it’s like a prison … dark corridors, flickering lights, no decorations, just endless empty corridors. They say it’ll be better once people move in and the stores open, but you doubt it. And that computer interface, “Arcology-chan” – wasn’t this a Japanese project? Isn’t ArcFuture, Inc. a Japanese company? If you didn’t know that already you’d think Arcology-chan was intended as a racist caricature of a Japanese teenager. And it’s a bubble-headed moron. At least the Robot Computer Core keeps the physical electronics working. Your mood was helped (though your general misanthropy wasn’t) by the arrival in your e-mailbox of a file labeled “leverage.doc.” Just as the title implies, it’s a blackmail file … something you may have a lot of use for. Irritatingly, the names are missing. You’ve been having a little fun filling it in like a crossword puzzle. If you can figure out the whole thing – or at least plug Vice President Deshimaru’s name in on it somewhere – you still might have the makings of a cushy assignment here. You doubt it, though. There’s just too much general weirdness going on. You used to keep a sledgehammer in your quarters with a tag reading “Headache Cure” – funny joke, right? Except somebody stole it. Who would take a thing like that? And why would anyone take it, anyway? Maybe there is a saboteur aboard, but it disappeared weeks ago; surely a saboteur would have done something with it by now. And the engineers, Fukuyama and Kawamori, keep coming in to you with bruises all over their bodies as though they’d been fighting. You smell a secret fight club, but there hardly seem to be enough personnel around to run one. You’re getting very sick of bandaging up people who have no business being injured this much in the first place. You’ve got soap operas to watch, damn it. Not to mention how fat people are. You eat your kelp salads with nutrient paste, supplemented with food you smuggle in from outside (Deshimaru ordered everyone to share their food – yeah, right) to keep healthy. But for some reason everyone else seems to subsist on bacon, and some of them, like Wilkins the supply officer and deVere the programmer, are starting to look like balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You don’t have much on deVere, but you’re hoping the threat of a failed fitness report might be enough to get Wilkins to fix the food supply problem … or at least to start paying you bribes not to file it. Heh. If you really wanted to be cruel, you could assign people mandatory physical training with Andersen, the manic-depressive gym teacher they saddled you with as recreation officer. To be fair, she has an impossible job, but to be catty, she’s failing miserably. You wish there was a better way for you to work out your aggressions on something inanimate. You’ve thought about reprogramming a robot as a sparring partner (it’s a damn sight safer than a fight club) but you wouldn’t have the faintest idea where to begin. It might also be nice if you could actually had a boyfriend, but your prospects of finding one among this pack of geeks and fools are practically nonexistent. You really envy that Zenigata Hinoko; she and her husband go through contraceptives at an amazing rate. Either that, or she’s having an affair. Or multiple affairs. You’ve already tentatively filled her in on your little blackmail page. Goals: 1. Finish filling in the blackmail chart. Consider how you can use it to get yourself some “leverage” in negotiations. 2. Keep your past covered up. You may hate it here, but that doesn’t mean you want to be unemployed. 3. Help the base’s lardasses work off some of those extra calories. 4. Find some way to blow off steam before you explode. WILKINS Full Name: Mike Wilkins, Supply Officer Statistics: Male. Heterosexual. 5’6”, pudgy build. 41 years old. Appearance: The Supply Officer is a basically dumpy individual, dressed in a homemade version of the arcology uniform with plenty of extra pockets. He has a strong aroma of bacon. Strength: 2. Skills: Investigate 2. Program 2. Repair 2. Description: Hey – it’s not your fault. You submitted the order for supplies exactly as Project Director Sugimoto specified: X tons of meat, Y tons of produce, Z tons of miscellany. Not to mention all of the vacuum- packed meals for the arcology’s mall food court. When you submitted that form it still offered a wide and diverse selection of foodstuffs. You have no idea why you instead received 791,452 packages of Max’s Down-Home Single-Serv Heet- Quik Magik Pre-Cook’d Bacon Strips. Although, truth be told, if you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, bacon would be pretty high up in the running. You’ve rigged up a kelp harvester so you have something to supply to those who can’t eat (or have gotten sick of) bacon. Combined with “nutrition paste” (i.e., smashed-up vitamins) it has at least kept people alive. Albeit miserable. But that’s just the beginning of an opportunity for a clever man like yourself. Most of your job isn’t even going to start until the arcology is completed and the customers begin moving in. Right now all you have to do is to lurk in your little office near the storerooms like a dragon and keep everyone out. That means you can slip out from time to time on the shuttles without anyone missing you, even when you don’t have shore leave … and you can go shopping. For the longest time you had a successful business selling food from the mainland at a 1000% mark-up. Oh, your customers hated you for it, but that’s all part of the job of being a black marketeer. But then that stuck-up bureaucrat Vice Project Director Deshimaru made a policy change, requiring all foodstuffs brought on board to be pooled and then shared with the entire crew. As if. You dealt with it; you just went underground. You were already illicitly dipping into the bacon stash for all of the “projects” on board (Fukuyama’s bacon body armor for his fantasy gaming, “Call-me-Ellen” Kawamori’s bacon insulation in the works), so it’s not like you were all so rule-abiding before. And you’re not the only thief around here. Your food stashes keep getting raided, even as you keep moving them around. You’ve heard of other people’s possessions going missing – a welding torch from Ellen’s workshop, for one. Someone has to be spying on you. Until you solve that crime you’re not sharing another drop of your precious cargo, not even if Deshimaru herself came crawling on her hands and knees. If you can’t conduct your business in safety you won’t conduct business at all. You’ve also strung your quarters (and the surrounding ventilation ducts and maintenance crawlspaces – you’re not stupid) with strings tied to bells. Arcology-chan knows about this, and if a bell rings in your quarters you’ll be notified. You’re not sure why Security Officer Kaneshige is deliberately letting you work unmolested, but you’re not about to complain. You are getting nervous around Dr. Watanabe, though. You’ve heard she has a tendency to be violent, with some kind of incident in her past that should have made her ineligible for the job. She’s unhappy with the poor levels of overall physical fitness amongst the crew – well, what does she expect when there’s nothing but bacon to eat? Still, you think she may be gearing up to blackmail you. You’ve heard her muttering about fitness reports, and you know that failing one of those could cost you your job. It’s still making you a little itchy, though. You want this crime solved so you can open for business again. The last thing you actually managed to sell was a beautiful antique metal circle you got from Hopkinson in exchange for a single-serving turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It was worth it, as you made a mint when you sold it to Hinoko. Goals: 1. “Help the crew” by supplying them with bacon for every imaginable purpose. Keep the rest of the food for yourself. 2. Find the thief and exact payment for your stolen goods. 3. Maintain good relations with Kaneshige. Don’t make it hard for him to look the other way. 4. Find a way to stop Dr. Watanabe from filing a fitness report on you. RECOGNITION ENVELOPES specification-12J butter knife (exact phrase only) Oh, yeah, you’ve seen those. Frankly they always looked to you like they’d be better for cutting wires than cutting food. You’ve got one in the private stash in your quarters – here it is. Enclosed: item card for specification-12J butter knife trunk combination The combination to your trunk? Oh, that’s (sequence of numbers). Of course you know it. You could theoretically tell anyone else, but why would you? Zenigata Hinoko Full Name: Zenigata Hinoko, science officer Statistics: Female. Heterosexual. 5’4”, nondescript build. 37 years old. Appearance: The Science Officer is good-looking in a bland sort of way. She typically wears the base uniform with no modifications. Strength: 2. Skills: Athletics 3. Investigate 4. Program 1. Repair 2. Description: You had always wanted a job on the frontier, a place where you could truly practice science on the cutting edge. You … get bored easily, and university teaching job or corporate labwork couldn’t hope to keep your attention for more than a few weeks. You thought maybe working underwater – the closest anyone in your lifetime will see to an alien world – might be enough to keep the spark going. The experiments you could do … the life forms to study … But of course it wasn’t to be. Instead this turned out to just be a routine job taking measurements and supplying figures to the engineers so they can keep things running. Okay, perhaps a trained scientist is necessary because of what’s at stake, but why does it have to be you? Why can’t you just go out and do something interesting? You blame everything on that boring old hag Deshimaru that was left in charge when the Project Director took off. You liked Project Director Sugimoto, and not just because he was sleeping with you. He had real vision and daring, a serious turn-on, and yet he had to go off on a press junket for ArcFuture, Inc. and leave everything in the hands of a dried-up fogey. Sugimoto would’ve let you take the shuttle out and run experiments. Sugimoto would have seen that searching for new species of sharks is more interesting important than doing the same dumb old tests over and over. At least, you thought, coming here would let you leave your husband behind. Or, as you call him, the old ball-and-chain. Shigeru is an almost determinedly boring man. He’s changed so much in the six years of your marriage; when you first met he seemed wild and hot-blooded and free. You probably shouldn’t have married him the same day you met him, since it turned out that he was running a 102 degree fever and was stoned out of his mind on painkillers. But Mister Librarian managed to swing a deal with the company to open a branch in the arcology, something that the company had been having serious trouble with, in exchange for being attached to the project as an observer. So the two of you could be together. He seemed to think it was romantic. Well, it might have been romantic if your husband wasn’t here! Not everyone is as dead as he is, though. Fukuyama, the young engineer, has some serious hot blood in him; you overheard Dr. Watanabe talking to him in the sick bay and telling him to take it easy or one day he’ll break his neck. Extreme sports in this place? This is something you want in on. More conventionally, of course, there’s the janitor Usui. You fed him a line about your husband not minding and it didn’t take much more to get him into bed. Shigeru still hasn’t figured it out and you suspect he never will. Not unless you make a mistake. But the only one who could possibly spy on you would be the base computer, Arcology-chan, and you’re sure you’d heard that she’d been programmed to respect the residents’ privacy. And then there’s Hopkinson. He’s dreary, but you sensed that he had the potential to be a good lover. He’s lived up to it. You’re growing bored with him, though – his endless pessimism depresses even you, and you hate this place. Shouldn’t a marketer at least try to have some enthusiasm for his product? The most exciting thing of all, of course, is the rumor that there’s a spy aboard. Well, a saboteur, but who would commit sabotage besides a spy? Most of the incidents have been only very minor, malfunctioning kitchen appliances and things, but you’ve heard that some people have had weapons stolen from their quarters … weapons that might have been used to defend the base against an invasion? It could be! You wouldn’t have any idea where to begin, though. In fact, anyone aboard the station could be guilty, or working with the spy because of threats or blackmail! The only criminal you know of for sure is Wilkins, and all he seems to do is sell food on the black market. Not that you haven’t bought from him – they serve nothing but bacon and kelp for every meal, with this disgusting “nutrient paste” smeared on it. You also bought an old antique metal thing from him that you thought would make a nice art project. You lost interest in it, though, and gave it to Diana. Come to think of it, Dr. Watanabe has been awfully nosy lately, constantly poking her head into rooms and eavesdropping in the halls. And Captain Jackman just walks around with that smirk on his face all the time like he’s the only one in on a secret. Omigosh – maybe you’ve found the spy already! Goals: 1. Find some excitement in this wet, dreary pit. Sex is only one option. 2. Check out the rumors about the spy. Maybe you can catch him! And if he’s good enough maybe you won’t turn him in … 3. Learn more about Fukuyara’s extreme sports and see if you can’t get involved. 4. Stop Shigeru from finding out about your infidelity. While you’re at it, ditch Hopkinson. Zenigata Shigeru Full Name: Zenigata Shigeru, librarian Statistics: Male. Heterosexual. 5’9”, thick build. 38 years old. Appearance: The librarian dresses very formally (not in a base uniform) and speaks with a clipped, upper-class British accent. Strength: 3. Skills: Athletics 1. Investigate 3. Program 2. Repair 1. Special: With regard to computer security only, you receive +4 to your Program skill. Description: You are a man of subdued passions and deep thoughts, hardly suited to the life of an undersea adventurer, and yet here you are. You’ve come not for enlightenment or profit but in an attempt to save a love that is likely already lost to you. You met your wife Hinoko six years ago. You have no memory of that day. You had been hospitalized with a high fever and given a large dose of painkillers; apparently the nurses were very lax and permitted you to walk straight out the front door. Before you knew what was happening you had met a libertine woman and, taken with her spontaneity, proposed marriage to her. And later that night you were wed. It was clear almost immediately that a mistake had been made – but it was her mistake, not yours. She was exactly what you needed, bringing spontaneity and spark into your pleasant but humdrum librarian life. You, however, bored her. Anchored her. Aggravated her. She was a wild horse yearning to run free, and you the stingy stablekeeper. When she decided to take the science post at this postmodern monstrosity the idea horrified you, but what truly worried you was how long she would be away. Months, at the very least. She already seemed to be slipping from your grasp, in fact you cannot recall her ever truly loving you, but you were not yet ready to surrender her. You … don’t have a lot of experience with women. Any, actually, besides Hinoko. And you are nearly forty; it is not hard to imagine her being your very last chance. So you called in a favor, and agreed to aid ArcFuture, Inc. in creating a library branch in their arcology in exchange for assignment for the same duration as Hinoko. You would like to think this will give you a chance, but she did not seem happy when she learned you would be following her. And now she is being unfaithful to you. You are sure of it, though you have kept your silence so far. If your suspicions became public you might force her to make a choice, and you are uncertain whom she would choose. You are not a violent man, not by nature. But anyone who would see the strain between Hinoko and yourself, see that strain and act selfishly to exploit it … such a person would not be truly human. They would be an animal. And it is no sin to kill an animal. You do have friends aboard this base, though you have not confided in any of them. deVere, the computer programmer, has acknowledged that in matters of pure security your skill is the greater, and she has been consulting with you regarding unauthorized use of her personal files. You created a “spy” program, but all it returned with was a scrap of a file listing the names of base personnel. You discarded that. Of the actual hacker there was no sign – the programming was done so artfully that if you did not know better you would suspect an artificial intelligence was involved. Possibly not as the perpetrator – an AI could easily have written a program that was then misused by another. You should question the base computer, Arcology-chan, or possibly the Robot Computer Core, but you worry about the consequences should your suspicions be accurate. Another of your few friends is Bai Yin, a “spiritual officer” of some kind. She speaks little about her work, but she is a kind and sensitive woman who offers advice and caring when all seems dark. Tonight is an inspection tour by a company official; you paid little attention at the meeting, for you have few responsibilities and your library was already in perfect order. Perhaps you can assist some of the other base personnel who have further to go … with her constant unexplained absences from her post engineer Kawamori (who wants you to call her Ellen, which you refuse to do) could use assistance with basic maintenance. You know a small amount. Or perhaps you could ally yourself with recreation director Andersen or morale officer Diana in planning the festivities for the evening. While you doubt this will be a particularly athletic visit, if your memory serves Andersen is actually a party planner. You sense bad blood between the two of them, hardly unlikely as Andersen is mildly depressive and Diana is manic. It would also be good if you could obtain some food other than bacon from base stores or from Wilkins’ underground shop. The legal meals you receive consist of kelp, bacon, and some kind of noxious “nutrient pace” that resembles ground-up vitamins. The things you endure for the sake of love. You believe you might have seen Usui with a chocolate bar – perhaps he could help you? But what you require most is information. If you are damned, you will be damned for good reason. First, of course, you’ll need a weapon. You had an antique pistol with you when you boarded the base, but it seems to have gone astray. You hope the rumors of a thief being aboard are no more than that, because you would hate to think that you might find yourself looking down the barrel of your own weapon. Goals: 1. Find out who Hinoko is having an affair with and KILL THEM. Do not get caught. 2. Investigate the unauthorized accesses to deVere’s files and take appropriate action. 3. Find something to do in someone else’s department to take your mind off your problems. 4. Locate some real food. Usui might have a lead if you can’t get it from Wilkins. SETTING THE SCENE You will need six or seven rooms for Arcology, two large and five small. Long, spacious hallways can serve as a substitute for the large rooms. You will also need one small room that can be used for various characters’ personal quarters – quarters are listed as separate rooms but the same physical space should be used for all of them. Except for the scenery items present they are identical. If personnel are available one GM should be assigned to “quarters duty,” keeping hold of the relevant scenery cards and dressing the rooms as required. Characters whose quarters are not listed as rooms below have nothing interesting in their quarters. In each of the rooms listed below the indicated scenery items or takeable items should be placed. Scenery items that have associated skill challenges should be attached to envelopes and the appropriate card placed inside. In a few cases there is an additional scenery item nested inside the first envelope; in such cases use envelopes of sizes that can be nested comfortably. MAIN DECK – LARGE ROOM Location: Central, connects to all other locations if possible. Scenery Items: Blinking Monitors Component Cubbies Kelp Harvester Chained Enclosure Takeable Items: TUNNELS – LARGE ROOM Location: Must connect only to the Main Deck. Scenery Items: Maze of Closets Power Nodes Takeable Items: COMMISSARY – SMALL ROOM Location: Must connect to Main Deck; may connect to any other Small Rooms except Communications Room. Scenery Items: Refrigerator Storage Cupboard Stove Vending Machine Takeable Items: Bacon x10 (see Storage Cupboard card) Kitchen Knife COMMUNICATIONS ROOM – LARGE ROOM Location: Must connect only to the Main Deck. Scenery Items: Base-to-Shore Radio Cardboard Box Public Address System Takeable Items: LABORATORY/WORKSHOP – SMALL ROOM Location: Must connect to Main Deck; may connect to any other Small Rooms except Communications Room. Scenery Items: Cutter Cabinet Takeable Items: Electric Torch First-Aid Kit Walkie-Talkie SICK BAY – SMALL ROOM Location: Must connect to Main Deck; may connect to any other Small Rooms except Communications Room. Scenery Items: Filing Cabinet Takeable Items: File Folder First-Aid Kit FUKUMAYA’ QUARTERS – QUARTERS Location: Quarters (see note above). Scenery Items: Large Cabinet Takeable Items: WILKINS’ QUARTERS – QUARTERS Location: Quarters (see note above). Scenery Items: Alarm System (placed on the door). Minifridge Trunk Takeable Items: MISCELLANEOUS – CHARACTERS’ STARTING INVENTORY Andersen Arcology-chan Bai Arcology Map Oversized Lollipop (hologram) Feng shui bagua Whistle Teddy Bear (hologram) Yo-Yo (hologram) SCENERY CARDS ALARM SYSTEM (place on door) Found in: Quarters: Wilkins Outer card: Wires strung with bells criss-cross all of the entrances. Wilkins probably knows exactly which ones can be safely touched so he can get inside. Anyone but Wilkins needs Athletics 7 to enter without tripping the alarm. If you trip the alarm, notify a GM immediately. You may still enter the room. BASE-TO-SHORE RADIO Found in: Communications Room Outer card: When the radio is turned on, Pink Floyd music plays at high volume no matter what frequency is used. Repair 7 to analyze. Inner card: There’s a fault in the broadcasting coil. You can’t get at that directly, but you may be able to bypass it using the secondary system. You need to find Component Cubby 12798 on the Main Deck. BLINKING MONITORS Found in: Main Deck Outer card: Everything appears to be in order. These lights display the status of various systems, and everything is reading green. Program 10 to analyze. Inner card: Some kind of viral program has entered the system. It’s very well concealed and there doesn’t appear to be a way to remove it. It seems harmless, though – designed only to slip from one system to the next undetected, doing nothing to the systems it passes through. CARDBOARD BOX Found in: Communications Room Outer card: A large cardboard box containing art supplies. You can use this with items in your inventory to create works of art. Check with a GM first, then use the enclosed blank item cards to create an item card for your artwork. Inner card: None, but place 10 blank item cards inside. CHAINED ENCLOSURE Found in: Main Deck Outer card: This chain-link fenced enclosure (with no latch on the door) contains sporting gear and equipment for activities on the Main Deck. There is nothing intended for use as a weapon here. Check with a GM first, then use the enclosed blank item cards to create an item card for any sports equipment you want to remove. If all the item cards are gone, see a GM. Inner card: None, but place 10 blank item cards inside. COMPONENT CUBBIES Found in: Main Deck Outer card: Every one of these cubbies contains a radically different vital base system. You will have to know exactly which cubby you’re looking for to be able to continue this repair job. Repair 8 once you know which cubby to examine. Inner card: No … it’s no good. The spare coil in Component Cubby 12798 is blown out, too. There must have been one heck of a power surge. Hang on … if you can replace the panaxial cable this might be salvageable. There should be extra panaxial cable in the tunnels, in Closet 12-B West. CUTTER CABINET Found in: Laboratory/Workshop Outer card: A glass-fronted case containing hundreds of tiny cutting tools. Only the exact right one can be used for any particular job, so you’ll need to know what you’re looking for – and only an expert can tell them apart. Repair 10 once you know what kind of cutter to look for. Inner card: There’s an empty space on the wall where the #98Z cutter used to be. Fortunately, it might be possible to use a specification-12J butter knife as a replacement. That would be found in the ship’s stores … maybe Wilkins will know where to look. FILING CABINET Found in: Sick Bay Outer card: Medical records for the members of the crew. Investigate 7 to analyze. Inner card: Crewmembers Andersen and Jackman are both being treated for mild paranoia and, in Andersen’s case, a persecution complex. Crewmember Deshimaru is being treated for migraine headaches. Crewmember Usui is notably missing from these medical records. There is no other information of interest. KELP HARVESTER Found in: Main Deck Outer card: This machine fishes kelp out of the surrounding ocean and processes it into an edible salad (barely). It then dispenses servings on demand. You may take as many of the enclosed cards as you wish; if all are gone please see a GM. Inner card: None, but place 10 Kelp and Nutrient Paste item cards inside. LARGE CABINET Found in: Quarters – Fukumaya Outer card: Stored in this large cabinet are two sets of padded clothing that somewhat resemble armor and two large foam swords. One of the suits of armor smells faintly like bacon. Inner card: None, but place Bacon Armor, Padded Armor, and two Foam Sword item cards inside. MAZE OF CLOSETS Found in: Tunnels Outer card: There are hundreds of tiny little closets, all alike. Without knowing exactly where you’re going you have no chance of finding anything. Repair 9 once you know which closet to search. Inner card: There’s some panaxial cable here, but it’s gotten hopelessly tangled up with a #98Z refurbishing reverse-axial double-gainer cord stuck to the wall. You need a #98Z cutter or all you’ve got here is a pretty rope. There should be a #98Z cutter in your workshop, though. MINIFRIDGE Found in: Quarters: Wilkins Outer card: This minifridge is stuffed with goodies. You may write the names of refrigerated foodstuffs carried by an average grocery store on the enclosed blank item cards. If there are no item cards left the fridge has been emptied. Inner card: None, but place 8 blank item cards inside. POWER NODES Found in: Tunnels Outer card: Nothing appears to be wrong just looking at this from the outside. You must know what specific node to check from another card you’ve used. Repair 7 once you know which node to fix. Inner card: Node X17 was apparently insulated using a piece of chemically treated bacon. The bacon has rotted and decayed, leaving the node unstable. It has now been repaired – the commissary equipment will be up and running again in about 2 hours. PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM Found in: Communications Room Outer card: Whenever the public address system is turned on Pink Floyd blasts out at high volume throughout the entire arcology. Repair 3 to analyze. Inner card: The problem is actually in the base-to-shore radio – it’s shorting out the PA. Fix the radio and the PA will start working again, at least as well as it ever did – this is a low-range model that’s permanently stuck on LOUD. REFRIGERATOR Found in: Commissary Outer card: When the door is opened, the fridge belches fire. Repair 3 to diagnose the problem. Inner card: It looks like everything in this room is wired into the same power node. Something must have gone wrong there. You won’t be able to do anything here, and you can’t tell which power node it is by the fridge alone. STORAGE CUPBOARD Found in: Commissary Outer card: This cupboard contains dozens and dozens of packages of no-refrigeration needed Max’s Down-Home Single-Serv Heet-Quik Magik Pre-Cook’d Bacon Strips. You may take as many of the enclosed cards as you wish; if all are gone please see a GM. Inner card: None, but place 10 Bacon item cards inside. STOVE Found in: Commissary Outer card: The stove appears to be frozen into a solid block of ice. Repair 7 to diagnose the problem. Inner card: There is a faulty power relay in node X17. Nothing can be done here. X17 must be repaired on the lower decks; once that is done everything in the commissary will fix itself over the next two hours. TRUNK Found in: Quarters: Wilkins Outer card: This trunk is closed with a built-in padlock. You’ll have to either crack the “safe” or get the ten-digit combination from Wilkins. Repair 5 or know the combination to open. Inner card: This trunk is stuffed with goodies. You may write the names of non-refrigerated foodstuffs carried by an average grocery store on the enclosed blank item cards. If there are no item cards left the trunk has been emptied. 8 blank item cards. VENDING MACHINE Found in: Commissary Outer card: When used, the vending machine spits out the wrong item at 80 mph. Repair 3 to diagnose the problem. Inner card: It looks like everything in this room is wired into the same power node. Something must have gone wrong there. You won’t be able to do anything here, and you can’t tell which power node it is by the fridge alone.
"In and Out of Character"