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A Matter of Trust
Author: Megan C. Robertson
System: Cyberpunk 2020
Category: Science Fiction
The players are ostensibly hired to make a series of 'hits' in a Mafiosi dispute - or so their fixer tells them.
The players are ostensibly hired to make a series of 'hits' in a Mafiosi dispute - or so their fixer tells them. Apparently, the leading 'Godfather' in [whatever city the game is set in] - one Guiseppe "Pistachio Nut" Castiglione, is having trouble with some of the young bloods in his Family and thinks that eliminating a few will keep the rest in line. Unsure of the loyalty of all his soldiers, he's turned to outside help - he thinks it will ensure no lingering resentments within Family ranks. Well, that's the story, and the money is good.
In actuality, the players are being sucked into an internal corporate struggle. The corporation in question, Alfatek, has many divisions world-wide, and is controlled by three people - Salvatore Scarlatti, Greg Gibson and Anthony Gillham. The corporate HQ is in Rome, Italy, where Scarlatti - the oldest of the three - lives; but the major commercial and R&D facility is based in [the city the game is run in]. This 'flagship' operation is Alfatek Small Arms, run by Gibson; and this is both the best known and probably the most profitable part of the entire corporation. Alfatek weapons are extremely high-quality, precision engineered and a joy to use.
Gillham wants to expand Alfatek operations into the 'security service provision' sector, but he has run into opposition from both Gibson and Scarlatti who both believe the corporation's future lies in supplying others rather than becoming involved in operational matters themselves. In contravention of a main board decision, Gillham has secretly set up a security organisation which he has named TRUST (Threat Response Uniformed Security Team). He has hired a group of extremely competent combat specialists, who are beginning to be seen in the area wearing dark green paramilitary uniforms with high grade arms and equipment. They are already getting a reputation for 'no-nonsense zero-tolerance policing' (according to their press release) or barely legitimised thuggery, depending on to whom you talk. Some local politicians and corporates are already talking about supporting TRUST in a bid for the city police contract.
Gillham has not yet made public his involvement with TRUST, but is worried that Gibson might find out and use the information to force him out of Alfatek altogether. So he intends to strike first by causing so much disarray in Gibson's territory that he has no time for anything else, and may even be brought down himself.... or be put in the position of unwittingly hiring TRUST to protect his assets! Obviously Gillham needs to keep at a goodly distance from such an operation, so he sent a trusted aide, Shelby Gaylord, to find some expendable freelancers. Guess who?
Each 'hit' will be presented as a separate job, with full details - but a false name - about the target. The players will be given a location and time at which they are expected to strike, and an outline of the sort of attack that is required, they will not need to do any research for themselves before the operation... indeed this is discouraged as they might discover that they are taking out corporate 'suits' not
Gillham has selected his victims with care, using his detailed knowledge of the corporation to pick those whose demise will cause the most chaos and harm. The first is given to the players as being Hannibal Kent, a senior black lieutenant annoyed that his colour bars him from becoming a full or 'made' member of the Castiglone - in reality Henry Kennedy, a talented ammunition designer. The 'hit' is to be made in a parking garage under the mall in which the main Alfatek sales outlet is situated - the players will be provided with swipecards to give access to the area and told that their target, who has a 2 or 3 man escort, will be leaving a meeting within the mall area at 3.30 in the afternoon. He is in fact due to make a presentation to senior sales staff about new ammunition developments, and his 'escort' are other ammunition technicians who will be assisting him. The players are asked to do a nice messy job, "make it obvious that this was a Mob hit".
For the second attack, they are to eliminate Henri Fellini at his home in Paradise Towers Residential Complex, a luxury apartment tower on the outskirts of town. The chosen time is mid-evening, when Fellini is believed to be holding a meeting of other disaffected Family members. The target is one Harding Firth, head of the Training Simulation Division (they produce various training aids for shooters, including automatic ranges, laser-simulation systems, 'scenario' tapes and virtual reality sets). Firth is holding a party to celebrate his eldest son's graduation from business school, and has invited several senior Alfatek staff as well as some of his son's friends. The players will be provided with plans of the building and told that if they can eliminate the security camera on the fire exit door nearest to "Fellini's" apartment they will be able to get upstairs unobserved, the Paradise security system is devised around perimeter defence and once you are in it is relatively easy to get around. This door has a cardlock, but a passcard supposedly belonging to the security firm (Minutemen) which has the contract for the complex has been provided.
The third 'hit' is on Zito Bellini, who is to be killed at the Lively Legs nightclub. The players are asked to make this an extremely violent attack, no problem if bystanders are taken down. The victim is in reality Zephie Bradley, who is a young and brilliant handgun design engineer - if any of your PCs is a 'gun nut' he may have a Bradley weapon and/or recognise the photo provided. Zephie enjoys live music, but always carries a weapon and has two 'minders', such is his value to Alfatek. Lively Legs is the sort of place where nobody in his right mind goes unarmed, it is quite notorious and it is a rare night when there is no shooting. The 'dancers' are all holograms, the bar staff shoot back.... and it's a place the average CyberPunk character might enjoy anyway!
The referee might like to make up two or three more such 'hits' before things take a darker turn. Their fixer calls for a meeting, but when they get there - somehow they are delayed on the way, be inventive but make it appear accidental! - he has been killed. As they arrive, the players are nearly knocked down by a fleeing vehicle, a brief glimpse of.... TRUST's motto 'Protect and Preserve' is all they see. The fixer's records (you do have a netrunner who can access his computer, don't you?) reveal that he was given the jobs by one Shelby Gaylord, with whom he had never dealt before. As the players search for Gaylord, they become aware that somebody is after them.... a few near-misses to begin with then start playing hardball.
Scarlatti has discovered that Gillham is 'up to something' and has sent Adrian Nix, his troubleshooter, to investigate. Gillham heard of this, and decided to close down this operation, although he is confident that his connection to TRUST will not surface, as the controlling interest is in the name of Sylvia Bent, an aged and wealthy recluse. She does not even know this, which will surprise anyone asking as she is an astute lady who runs her portfolio very competently - despite her age she's a netrunner of considerable talent. Gillham's netrunner - fellow called Joel - is even better; having set up systems to divert all material to Gillham's desk while making it look as if it has gone to Bent.
Once they start snooping around, the players may well encounter Nix. He's a solo, and not particularly interested in their problems, but is prepared to use (and then drop) them if their investigations touch on areas in which he is interested. Anyway, he may need to hire some firepower himself, as once Gillham finds out he's in town, he will begin to make use of TRUST to defend himself from intrusion, ostensibly as a regular customer in need of protection.... just no invoices are ever presented or paid!