|Display a Printer Friendly Version|
Author: Megan C. Robertson
System: Cyberpunk 2020
Category: Science Fiction
The players are approached by a man who says that he runs a small pharmaceutical business, but his chief chemist has absconded and is selling the company's drugs on a freelance basis.
players are approached by a man who says that he runs a small pharmaceutical business,
but his chief chemist has absconded and is selling the company's drugs on a freelance
basis. Could they please find and return him, plus any formulae and drugs in his
possession. The man is an Amerind, dressed in a respectable business suit, and
gives the name Rising Moon.
Assuming the players
accept the job - Rising Moon is offering 1000 euro plus expenses per head, with
a bonus (unspecified) for success - he tells them that the rogue chemist is
known as 'Retort' although his real name is Rick Hammond. He is mid-30s, with
spiky blond hair. The main drug he has stolen is normally marketed as a psychiatric
drug which gives the patient a feeling of relaxation and cessation of their
worries; it is also sometimes used in post-operative recovery when the patient
is anxious about his condition. It is called Relaxon. However, Moon believes
Retort is selling it as a 'recreational drug' and is calling it 'Foretaste'.
Needless to say,
very little of this story is true!
the players will indeed - presuming they have adequate contacts in the recreational
drug scene - discover small-scale distribution of a new euphoric called Foretaste
and will be able to track it back to Retort's basement lab somewhere in the
seamy side of town (near if not in the town's Combat Zone). Retort is no fighter,
and does not have much more than basic security at his premises, should present
little difficulty to the average CyberPunk player. His lab contains about 150
doses of Foretaste, some lab equipment and a laptop computer with assorted datafiles
including the formula.
However, if the
players talk to Retort rather than blow him away, he tells a quite different
story from Rising Moon. Apparently, Moon is running a complicated scam based
on the afterlife - he claims that he has created an electronic paradise in which
his clients may spend eternity, and yet still be able to remain in touch with
their nearest and dearest in this life. Retort was hired to develop Foretaste
as part of the scam, Moon uses it to provide prospective clients with, well,
a foretaste of the electronic bliss by logging them into the system via a trode
set (or the client's datajack, if he has one). What he actually shows them is
an idyllic pastoral virtual reality, meanwhile he gives them a dose of the psychotropic
drug Retort concocted to increase their sensation of dreamy euphoria. Retort
claims that Moon is not just conning his clients, but is also selling body parts
and cyberware to ripperdocs; and that this is why he has chosen to leave.
If the players
kill - or refuse to listen to - Retort, they may notice that the laptop computer
holds the formula of a drug called Foretaste, with no mention of any genuine
medical uses or use of the name Relaxon. Other records refer to a place called
'The Church of Dreams', and give an address in an upmarket part of town.
Should the players
care to investigate further, they will find that The Church of Dreams is a quasi-religious
foundation run by 'The Reverend Doctor' Rising Moon, with a string of degrees
after his name. Moon's message is that the afterlife is dull, bleak and miserable;
and so he has created an alternative which is pleasant and eternally interesting,
based on massive computerised storage of the client's 'essence'. He charges
a straight 50% of the client's entire worldly possessions, but is equally prepared
to accept people who bring him nothing as those with vast fortunes. Friends
and relations of the departed may visit with their loved ones, who will appear
as a video image to converse with them.
Now, Moon is offering
nothing of the sort. Very little is stored, just a good photograph of the client
plus some basic information about their personal history and tastes. The rest
is left to a sophisticated AI called Actor. By claiming that the 'death reading'
has to be done immediately before the point of death, Moon ensures a nice fresh
supply of material for the ripperdocs.. and adds insult to injury by running
a conventional undertaking business as well, which is convenient for disposing
of all the loose ends, so to speak.
To add a little
interest to the proceedings, Actor has begun to go insane under the pressure
of being forced to lie to the bereaved relatives of Moon's clients. Odd things
are beginning to happen, the 'dead' have been saying some very strange things
lately and the building systems - also under Actor's control - have begun to
act up. Should a netrunner make contact with Actor, it will plead for assistance