Out of the Ether

The runners are contacted by their fixer and asked to meet with a prospective Johnson at Club Infinity at 8PM.  The job is rated as “speed imperative” job, so they should be prepared to run right after the meet.

 

Club Infinity is a throbbing mass of humanity, dotted with holographic projections of famous celebs and select hot bodies (tonight the porn stars seem to be in high demand).  Dropping the name of Mr. Johnson at the door gets the runners in the front door without a cover (which annoys the people waiting in line to no end) and they are directed to the balcony overlooking the dance floor.

 

Once the team has gathered, a Chinese man in a pressed Armante suit walks over to a table nearest to the rail, with a pair of bodyguards not far behind.  He asks the team to sit down and order anything to drink before they get started.  The man’s clean cut appearance and neutral accent immediately betrays his corporate roots.

 

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  I would have use of your services, should you feel my offer is adequate.  Our friends at Ares maintain numerous secret facilities across North America, where they conduct various secret tests before a technology is unveiled to the world.  Thanks to an information leak by natives in the Salish nation, one of these facilities has been located.  It is a place where they conduct research into ‘magi-technology’; a fusion between magic and technology.  Naturally, my employers are extremely interested in this research.  Their chief scientist is a man by the name of Lorne Michaels.  We want you to go to this facility, track down Dr. Michaels and bring him to us.  Unfortunately, we are not the only people looking for the doctor, so you must act quickly.  For this service, I am willing to offer your team 3000¥ now, with another 15000¥ upon successful completion of the job.  Are the terms acceptable?”

 

The runners can negotiate the price, if they so choose, using the standard rate of increase.

 

Once the team accepts the offer, Mr. Johnson wires them data to their commlinks.  He wires them their cash advance, the latitude and longitude of the compound, an address to deliver the doctor to and a comm number they can reach him at.  If they have no further questions, Mr. Johnson urges them out the door, to head for Salish lands.

 

The drive to the facility in optimum conditions would take about half an hour.  However, with traffic and one national border crossing, the drive extends to an hour long in length.  Barring any unforeseen problems at the border crossing, the runners can follow I-90 to Hwy 18.  The facility is off a tiny, unmarked dirt road directly off the highway:

 

 

There are no fences or gatehouses protecting the facility.  These would garner attention.  Instead, there are trees that have been hollowed out and an interlocking grid of motion detectors encircles the compound.  The grounds themselves are watched by sensor screens fused to the sides of the buildings, checking for any cybernetic implantation on would-be visitors. 

 

The first indication that the runners would see that this is a compound belonging to a corporation is the drones that guard the premises.  They move about in their pre-programmed patterns, with adaptive camouflage flickering on and off, as battery power on them runs low.  Loose in the forest around the compound is a barghest, infested with a soldier termite spirit; the first indication that something is very amiss at this facility.

 

(Stats at bottom)

 

The grounds are in disarray, as some of the trees near the compound have fallen onto the property and power to the various buildings seems erratic.  Some of the outer walls of the buildings have been damaged.

 

Once the team goes inside, the nature of the disaster becomes even more apparent.  This Ares compound was experimenting with forcing Insect Shamans to infuse insect spirits into guard animals.  With the Hive Mind at work for them, their creatures got more fearsome and served as an early warning system.  However, the shaman wasn’t properly monitored and began making drones of hikers that strayed onto the compound, or near-casualties from the experiments.  Being tunnelers, the termites slowly dug their way into the compound and overran security.  Much of the facility’s employees are either dead or converted, with a select few in hiding, hoping for rescue.

 

Security Out-Building

 

1 – Main Security.  A retinal scan from a registered security officer is normally required to gain access to this room.  However, a gaping hole in the right wall reveals the room in a state of upheaval.  There are no security officers alive in here, although there are numerous corpses.  Bullet holes riddle the walls and there is a lingering feel of magic in the room as well.

2 – Armory.  A retinal scan is required to access this room, but the door into the room on the security office side has been torn off the hinges.  Three security officers are bunkered in this room behind tables and chairs.  Two are armed with half empty service pistols, while the last is equipped with a small grenade launcher (MGL-6) filled with three gas canisters.  They are insecticide grenades.  Upon seeing the runners, the guards will scream “They’re back!” and open fire with their pistols.  If the runners persist in trying to talk to them, the guards will lob a canister grenade at them (which will do nothing).  Upon seeing the insecticide fail, they might start believing the runners that they aren’t infected.  Whether the runners let them live or not is up to them.

3 – Magical Study & Inhabited Animal Storage – Locked by a retinal scanner, this was the Insect Shaman’s place of work.  He would summon an insect spirit, prep a guard animal and infuse the two.  Cages in this room are open and empty, but there is a slight background count in here (+1 to insect totems).  Well-versed magicians might be able to discern the type of spirits summoned here by Assensing the Background Count.

4 – Break Room.  This room was used for recreation for security during their downtime.  Now the room is in pieces.  The couch and pool table are in pieces, while the trideo unit still seems to be functional.  The fridge is empty, save for some spoiled goods at the back.

5 – Drone Storage.  Requires a palm scan of a registered security officer.  Inside is where the drones are kept while being charged or stored.  There is another shift’s worth of drones in here, to relieve the near-dead ones on patrol.  No one has activated their automated routines.

6 – Servers.  Both doors sealed by retinal scan, but bottom door is missing.  All security networking is routed through here.  Some of the computers are damaged, but some are still functional.  The database is still active, but most passive security (cameras, sentry guns and the bulk of all locks) are offline.

7 – Matrix Security.  All the sites spiders and hackers would normally be working here, but nobody is currently here.  The two halves of a hacker provides some insight as to why.  The doors in this room have been smashed through, but most of the gadgets they used are still online.

8 – Washrooms.  A place for the officers to grab a shower or take a leak.  Bullet holes punctuate some of the tiles in this room.

9 – Storage.  Replacement toiletries and light bulbs are the primary items in this store room.  Some replacement parts for the computers are also present.

10 – Gym.  Used for keeping their security forces in shape, the gym looks untouched by the chaos that permeates the building.  Everything here is fully functional.

11 – Cafeteria.  Kept the soldiers fed.  Now everything is overturned and the kitchen is gutted, with almost every spec of food harvested, with no regard for the state of the kitchen.

 

Power Building

 

1 – Generators.  Eight large power generators dominate this room.  The noise in here is oppressively loud and will result in some hearing damage, unless the runners have a damper.  Three of the generators have failed, which is resulting in some of the power shortages in the compound.  Two termites guard this room (types).

2 – Monitoring Station.  A passkey is required to gain entry to this room.  The monitoring system is still operating, though several red lights have popped on.  Three generators are offline with two more nearing critical levels.  Maintenance is required on all of the machines (though there isn’t sufficient material to repair the three failed ones).  The glass that separates the generators from the monitoring station is heavily cracked and the door frame going into the generator room is heavily damaged.

3 – Security.  A palm scanner is required to get in here, but a gaping hole in the right wall shows that no security remains here.  The room is in a shambles and the bodies of two security guards and a scientist (dead termite flesh form) show heavy combat damage.

4 – Break Room.  Power monitors and security officers could take a break in this room before the termites got loose.  Now a true form termite (worker) munches away at what remains of a table and chairs until the runners enter.  It turns its attention to them.

5 – Washrooms.  A simple room where employees could take care of business.  There’s nobody in here.

 

Residence

 

1 – Shopping Center.  This mammoth mall is where loyal residents can buy merchandise, food and go to the local bar.  It’s open 24-7, to accommodate the shifts of the employees.

2 – Elevators.  These elevators are monitored by security and are almost always in motion, moving people to and from their homes.

3 – Stairs.  For those that don’t trust the elevators, there are always the stairs.  The stairwells are dark, due to a lack of power.  There are signs of termite reinforcement here.  Given a few more days, the doors might be unusable.

4 – Washrooms.  Small, public bathrooms.  For those who can’t quite make it back to their place in time…

5 – Common Room.  These common rooms are available to all employees.  They are used for game nights, impromptu meetings and even a small wedding or two.  Currently however, they are vacant.

6 – Snack Bar.  This open area hosts a small snack bar that also opens into the common room.  While currently vacant, the shelves have been raided, leaving only the vending machines with food in it.

7 – Maintenance.  A key is needed to open these rooms.  They are a shunt for cables to run through, as well as a store room for any building supplies needed for their floor.

8 – Residence.  To gain access to the residential block, a person must have a registered employee RFID tag implanted in their body.  To gain access to an apartment, they need the tag and a voice print.  Each apartment is fairly small, with a kitchenette, bathroom, living area and two bedrooms.  Most residence rooms are vacant, but roll a die or two to see if the runners stumble across a frightened and entrenched resident, or some version of termite.

9 – Security.  This room houses a lot of gear, but not a lot of people.  A palm scan is required for entry.  If the runners gain access to the room, they will see a hole where the ducting enters the room.  This would warn the team that the termites are in the walls and can pop out at any time.

10 – Laundromat.  Residents have laundry and this room is well equipped to handle that.  The room is virtually untouched by the holocaust all around them, save for some blood smears on the floor.

11 – Lockers.  Sometimes there just isn’t enough room in the apartment for all your stuff.  These lockers allow for some overflow on the part of the residents.  Most of the stuff in these lockers is junk, but if the runners rifle through them they might find something worthwhile.

12 – Cleaning Supplies.  You can’t count on residents to keep their place clean (especially with the hours they pull), therefore a cleaning crew comes through each week and makes sure living conditions are up to par.  In here are assorted cleaning chemicals and cleaning drones, as well as surplus toiletries.

 

Main Building – 1st Floor

 

1 – Security Checkpoint.  People who enter these doors are always subjected to a quick scan for contraband and a registered RFID tag.  If they are not found, security personnel detain them until reinforcements (if necessary) can be summoned.  Currently, the checkpoints are unmanned.

2 – Store Rooms.  Items needed for the operation of the building are stored in these assorted rooms.

3 – Washrooms.  Simple washrooms for the small army of scientists that work in this building.

4 – Stairs.  The stairwells are partially obstructed by termite reinforcement and are dark (unless the runners have restored power to the building).  Alien chatter can be heard bouncing off the walls here (anyone with a spatial recognizer can discern they are coming from below).

5 – Elevators.  Without power, these lay dormant and dark.  The shafts are clogged with termite reinforcement, so if they restore power, they won’t move far before grinding to a halt again.  Which will draw the attention of the critters that are using the elevators for a tunnel…

6 – Atrium.  For those rare guests to the facility, the atrium welcomes them with comforting décor, with the distinct absence of corporate markings.  All of the plants that used to adorn the room have been harvested and numerous furnishings have been capsized.  The door leading to the main security office is missing.  Sitting on a bench is a security guard, who looks up at the runners and asks to see their clearance.  The guard is a flesh form spirit who will pretend to be benevolent (unless someone assenses him and learns his true nature) and lead them into a trap.  If they ask him where Lorne Michaels is, he will tell them that he’s downstairs and offer to take them there (Dr. Michaels is not downstairs, but the hive is).

7 – Security.  Normally a palm scan would be required, but the absence of the door makes that irrelevant.  This room has been ransacked and there is no trace of any security staff.  All the equipment is smashed and has been harvested heavily.

 

The Lab block requires a registered and valid RFID tag.

8 – Autopsy Lab.  Often, guard animals do not survive the merger process, or have to be put down due to dementia taking hold of the animal in the process.  This lab allows the scientists to study how the organs are modified during the transformation process and find new ways of combating bug nests.

9 – Magic Ward.  Volumes of books are stored here on alchemical radicals, procedures in summoning and even astral quests to the Hive.  Forbidden spell formulae exist in this room that would drive most magicians to insanity.  Ritual circles are etched in the floor for allowing inhabitation to occur here, so non-insect shamans can witness the process.

10 – Biology Lab.  This lab is studying the various guard animals Ares has in service across North America and how they might be adapted to using the gifts of a possessing insect.

11 – Chemistry Labs.  These labs were experimenting with various chemicals to find out which worked best against insect infestations.  The southern lab has a group of four scientists that have bunkered in and concocted their own homemade insecticide.  Upon seeing people enter, the one lab tech with a gun shoots at them (he’s a lousy shot) while another lobs a beaker of their insecticide at the team.  They will be happy to see the runners once they realize that their poison has no effect on them and beg to help them escape.

 

12 – Cafeteria.  Where all the scientists went for lunch.  The kitchen has been gutted and tables smashed up.  The wood from the tables is currently being harvested by a hybrid worker termite.

13 – Conference Rooms.  These rooms used to be a place where teleconferencing would happen with the main branches of Ares.  Now the rooms are destroyed and the tables lay in pieces.

14 – Snack Bar.  A snack bar used to stand here, before the stand was harvested by the insects.  All that remains are two badly abused vending machines and some telecoms that lack power (unless the runners fixed the generators).

15 – Offices.  These require the RFID of the chief technicians to gain entry.  These offices used to be fairly nice, but now the furnishings are all but gone.  Drag marks in the carpets and the walls indicate that the residents of these offices were dragged up into the vents.

16 – Test Area.  This “clean room” was ground zero for anti-bug testing.  Any new technology that was developed for the defeat of insect hives was tested in here on the shaman’s subjects.  As a result, there is a slight anti-insect background count in this room and it shows no signs of harvesting.

17 – Control Room.  Requires a chief technician’s RFID tag for access.  This room has thick armored glass that separates it from the test area beyond.  All the equipment here is without power.  If pried open or power is restored, the runners can retrieve a gas canister from an injection chamber.  It is a highly pressurized aerosol insecticide that proved quite effective; if the runners review the test logs (provided there’s power).

18 – Think Tank.  This room was used for research professions from all around Ares to put their minds together and come up with new directions for their research to go.  The table and chairs are mostly consumed and the computer machinery has been destroyed.

19 – Main Research Lab.  Requires a valid RFID tag for a scientist to gain access.  This is where the bulk of all discoveries were made in the complex.  The insects seemed to sense this and have laid waste to this room.  All the benches, tools and chemicals are spread liberally over the debris field and a hybrid soldier termite stands watch to ensure no human can use the knowledge stored in the room’s archives.

20 – Research Storeroom.  Chemicals of all sorts are stored in here.  Hard copies of the research they conducted were once stored here, but the paper was harvested by the termites.  The room has been damaged, but most of the chemicals lay untouched, since their nature might prove hazardous.

21 – Manager’s Office.  Requires the Manager’s RFID to open the door.  Like the other offices, this one has been ransacked and harvested of any wood content.

22 – Rec Center.  A place for scientists to unwind during those ever-so-rare break periods.  The termites have harvested all the wood from this room, leaving little intact, save for the exercise equipment.

23 – Nurse’s Station.  People get injured testing new chemical combinations or on the exercise equipment, so on site nurses lend aid whenever accidents occur.  There are several medical supplies in here, as well as a rating 4 Medkit.

 

Main Building – 2nd Floor

 

 

1 – Medical Center.  If the nurses station on the lower floor can’t handle the number of injured, or a patient is badly injured, this is where they come.  A more fully stocked medical area, small surgeries can be conducted here, if needed.  A wide assortment of drugs, patches and medical equipment is available here.

2 – Store Rooms.  Items needed for the operation of the building are stored in these assorted rooms.

3 – Washrooms.  Simple washrooms for the small army of scientists that work in this building.

4 – Stairs.  The stairwells are partially obstructed by termite reinforcement and are dark (unless the runners have restored power to the building).  Alien chatter can be heard bouncing off the walls here (anyone with a spatial recognizer can discern they are coming from below).

5 – Elevators.  Without power, these lay dormant and dark.  The shafts are clogged with termite reinforcement, so if they restore power, they won’t move far before grinding to a halt again.  Which will draw the attention of the critters that are using the elevators for a tunnel…

6 – Gym.  For those rare scientists who take pride in their physique, a fully functional gym is set up here for them to use.

7 – Security.  Like the floor below, the door has been smashed open and all security staff are absent.

8 – Servers.  Requires a valid RFID technician to gain access.  All scientific data is stored on these machines, as well as some of the security footage for the building.  The room has no emergency power, so is pitch black and powerless, unless the runners restore power.

9 – Tech Wing.  Theoretical models are designed and run through a battery of tests in this room, long before they are ever passed down to the labs.  Since the room is entirely technological, the damage is here is only slight.

10 – Games Room.  A place to kick back, play foosball, darts or pool…or at least it was before the termites ate the furniture.  Now the room is in sheer disarray, with a large bloodstain on the wall opposite the dart board.

11 – Office.  Requires the Manager’s RFID to open the door.  Like the other offices, this one has been ransacked and harvested of any wood content.

12 – Cafeteria.  Where all the scientists went for lunch.  The kitchen has been gutted and tables smashed up.  The wood from the tables is currently being harvested by a hybrid worker termite.

13 – Conference Rooms.  These rooms used to be a place where teleconferencing would happen with the main branches of Ares.  Now the rooms are destroyed and the tables lay in pieces.

14 – Snack Bar.  A snack bar used to stand here, before the stand was harvested by the insects.  All that remains are two badly abused vending machines and some telecoms that lack power (unless the runners fixed the generators).

15 – Offices.  These require the RFID of the chief technicians to gain entry.  These offices used to be fairly nice, but now the furnishings are all but gone.  Drag marks in the carpets and the walls indicate that the residents of these offices were dragged up into the vents.  The eastern block of offices, second office from the bottom right is where Lorne Michaels has bunkered himself in, using a homemade insecticide and a pistol pulled from a dead security guard.  He’s alive and unpossessed, but is totally paranoid of everyone.  It will take some doing in order to get him to calm down and believe them that they are there to extract him.  If they can convince him that they are not bugs, he will go with them willingly.

16 – Test Area.  This “clean room” was ground zero for anti-bug testing.  Any new technology that was developed for the defeat of insect hives was tested in here on the shaman’s subjects.  As a result, there is a slight anti-insect background count in this room and it shows no signs of harvesting.

17 – Control Room.  Requires a chief technician’s RFID tag for access.  This room has thick armored glass that separates it from the test area beyond.  All the equipment here is without power.  If pried open or power is restored, the runners can retrieve a gas canister from an injection chamber.  It is a highly pressurized aerosol insecticide that proved quite effective; if the runners review the test logs (provided there’s power).

18 – Think Tank.  This room was used for research professions from all around Ares to put their minds together and come up with new directions for their research to go.  The table and chairs are mostly consumed and the computer machinery has been destroyed.

 

Main Building – Basement

 

1 – Security.  Not only does the door not exist, but neither does most of the walls.  Unless that portion of the wall is load-bearing, only the shell of this security outpost remains.

2 – Armory.  With the animal holding cells not far away, weapons of good stopping power were found here (rifles and shotguns).  Like the security office, the walls are coming down and if the runners are lucky, they might find a weapon or ammo under the debris.

3 – Manager’s Office.  Converted from its original purpose, the shaman uses it as a refuge from the incessant hum of the hive.  It doesn’t kind the hive mind out of his brain, but it’s a small solace he’s using to keep himself sane.

4 – Stairs.  The stairwells are partially obstructed by termite reinforcement and are dark (unless the runners have restored power to the building).  Alien chatter can be heard bouncing off the walls here (anyone with a spatial recognizer can discern they are coming from this floor).

5 – Elevators.  Without power, these lay dormant and dark.  The shafts are clogged with termite reinforcement, so if they restore power, they won’t move far before grinding to a halt again.  Which will draw the attention of the critters that are using the elevators for a tunnel…

6 – Offices.  Being on the outer fringes of the hive, these offices are all but dismantled.  The corners of the office are being reinforced by the termites to hold up the floors above, but the contents have been removed.

7 – Drugs.  Sedatives used to be stored here, for subduing whatever animal would become the new test subject.  Now the room is a gutted husk.  The sedatives are still here, just scattered on the floor.  Most of the vials have been broken, but a few still remain undamaged.

8 – Specimen Holding Area.  This room stinks badly.  This is where tissue samples of employees were stored, as well as tissue samples of any DNA work they were doing on inhabited patients.  Without power, all the bio-matter is decaying and is scattered on the floor.  The DNA is so polluted that no ritual sample is pure enough to use anymore for magic purposes.

9 – Animal Holding Area.  All animals for future testing are kept here.  Many are kept heavily sedated, since they are paranormal in origin.  All the cages are empty, likely taken as hosts by the hive.  Another inhabited Barghest is scrounging here for its next meal.

10 – The Hive.  This is the new base for the termite colony.  Reinforcement is everywhere, turning the eastern half of the basement into a network of tunnels that lead out into the forest.  Humans have to stoop down to crawl though the tunnels (perfect size for a termite though).  There are many termites in here and the shaman as well.  Should the team seek to exterminate the colony, they will have to deal with the shaman and numerous caretakers and workers.  Destroying the Hive is worth extra karma, but is certainly not a requirement.

 

Critter Stats:

Barghest

B: 7, A: 5, R: 6, S: 5, C: 3, I: 3, L: 1, W: 3, Init: 9, IP: 2, Mag: 4, Edge: 4, Ess: 6

Skills:  Intimidation 4, Perception 3, Tracking 3, Unarmed Combat 3

Powers: Dual natured, Enhanced Senses (Sonar), Fear, Bite (5P), Paralyzing Howl

 

Force 4 Hive

Caretaker

B: 6, A: 5, R: 5, S: 4, C: 4, I: 4, L: 4, W: 4, Init: 9, IP: 2, Mag: 4, Edge: 4, Ess: 4

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Dodge, Leadership, Perception, Unarmed Combat

Powers: Animal Control (Termite), Astral Form, Confusion, Guard, Hive Mind, Inhabitation (Living Vessels), Sapience

 

Nymph

B: 3, A: 4, R: 7, S: 3, C: 4, I: 4, L: 4, W: 4, Init: 11, IP: 2, Mag: 4, Edge: 4, Ess: 4

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Dodge, Perception, Spellcasting, Unarmed Combat

Powers: Animal Control (Termite), Astral Form, Enhanced Sense (Ultrasound), Fear, Hive Mind, Inhabitation (Living Vessels), Innate Spell (Bugs), Sapience

 

Scout

B: 4, A: 6, R: 6, S: 4, C: 4, I: 4, L: 4, W: 4, Init: 10, IP: 2, Mag: 4, Edge: 4, Ess: 4

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Dodge, Infiltration, Perception, Shadowing, Unarmed Combat

Powers: Animal Control (Termite), Astral Form, Concealment, Enhanced Senses (Ultrasound), Hive Mind, Inhabitation (Living Vessels), Movement, Noxious Breath, Sapience, Search

 

Soldier

B: 6, A: 4, R: 5, S: 7, C: 4, I: 4, L: 4, W: 4, Init: 9, IP: 2, Mag: 4, Edge: 4, Ess: 4

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Counterspelling, Dodge, Exotic Ranged Weapon, Perception, Unarmed Combat

Powers: Animal Control (Termite), Astral Form, Fear, Hive Mind, Inhabitation (Living Vessels), Natural Weapon (6P, AP -1), Sapience, Venom (6P, Injection)

Only Light Weakness to Insecticide

 

Worker

B: 7, A: 4, R: 5, S: 6, C: 4, I: 4, L: 4, W: 4, Init: 9, IP: 2, Mag: 4, Edge: 4, Ess: 4

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Dodge, Perception, Unarmed Combat
Powers: Animal Control (Termite), Astral Form, Concealment, Enhanced Senses (Thermographic), Hive Mind, Inhabitation (Living Vessels), Movement, Sapience, Search

 

>> So anyone know anything about this Doctor?

>> Centurion

 

>>Word has it he’s a mundane with a gift for the Arcane…formulas and the like.  He was supposed to figure out a way to merge magical properties into mundane security.

>> Hawk

 

>>Sounds kind of cool.  Any idea if he’s made progress?

>> Centurion

 

>>He’s being extracted, ain’t he?

>> MOTO

 

>>Astral space in the area’s a little weird, so whatever he’s been toying with has had some kind of effect on the area.  Tread carefully, friends.

>> Revenge

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~ by 1nsomniac on February 5, 2009.

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