Contagion (Shadowrun)

This was one of the two adventures I ran at the Fall Phantasm of 2014.  The maps I used at the time are missing, so feel free to use a standard hospital floorplan for the last scene of the adventure.

The runners are contacted by their fixer for a datasteal. The fixer will be conducting the meet at Dante’s Inferno at 9PM. He tells them that the job is from a trusted source and the pay is average.

Scene 1 – Getting the Details

Dante’s Inferno is packed, as usual and runners that show up too late for the meet may find themselves greasing the palms of the bouncer substantially to get in. Dropping the fixer’s name at the door will help speed up the process and they are told that the fixer is down on the third level.

Where the top floor is jammed with people, the lower levels give the runners space to move around. The third floor is Gluttony and the smell from the kitchen fills the air here. Underworld Lieutenants and corporate middle managers dot the floor, trying to impress anyone they can with their wealth and influence (even though it wasn’t substantial enough to go any further down). Their fixer is in the corner waiting for them when they arrive (if the runners are really early, he is conducting business with another team of runners).

Once the team has gathered, he leans forward and delivers the pitch. “All right guys, here’s the deal. My client is interested in anything Aztechnology learned during their conflict with Amazonia. We’ve all heard the rumours that those tree huggers in South America have some pretty exotic ways to die and the Aztecs didn’t succumb to them, which means that they have discovered antidotes for the myriad of toxins that breed in the rainforest. Mr. Johnson wants the medical test data for those cures. He doesn’t want a sample… he fears that any risk of accidental exposure in Seattle would be a nightmare, so he’s merely after the test data. The complication is that Mr. Johnson doesn’t know where the data is being kept. If the runners are willing to do the legwork and get the data, Mr. Johnson is willing to pay 6000¥ apiece.

Truth be told, Mr. Johnson doesn’t know for certain that the data even exists. But he is gambling that such information does exist and wants to ensure he is the one who retrieves these “breakthroughs” first.

Mr. Johnson had authorized the fixer to negotiate some on price, but wants to keep the price below 7500¥. If the runners take the job, the fixer doesn’t have much more for them to work with, but will avail him/herself if the runners need their assistance.

Scene 2 – Tracking the Source

With no real leads to work with, the runners have to start from the ground up. They know that the information Mr. Johnson wants comes from the Yucatan conflict. Searching for information may seem like a needle in a haystack. Whether the runners use contacts within Aztechnology, a deep Matrix dive or greasing a lot of palms, they can eventually unearth information from the conflict.

The Aztechnology forces hired several mercenaries who were veterans of the region and some even provided antidotes they had procured during the Cartel battles in Bogota, but there were several viruses that the Amazonian jungle seemed to use as a protection method in the face of the Aztec flamethrowers.

The disease most often faced by the soldiers came from Awakened Dieffenbachia plants. Long used by the indigenous peoples to poison their weapons, the sap of the Dieffenbachia plant is a skin irritant and if injected or consumed causes severe pain. While numerous species exist, all plants share a green and yellow marbling on the leaves.

The Awakened variety has orange marbling instead of yellow and as a defence mechanism, can emit a cloud of spores in the area near the trees. These spores contain the same toxic compounds, but in a much greater concentration. If inhaled or in contact with the skin, lesions will form on the areas exposed, and rotting of the flesh follows. If untreated, the spores continue to consume the body until death claims the victim.

Aztechnology was forced to address the situation when the trees seem to detect the approach of Aztec soldiers and the spores melted through protective garments. Defeating the Amazonian defenses is what Mr. Johnson is after.

With some background, the runners can learn that a doctor from the war was removed from the front lines and placed in a “mental health retreat” in Seattle for treatment with his PTSD. While he wasn’t a member of the research team, he administered treatments to the troops and knows who held the data.

Dr. Nicholas Ortega served with Aztechnology as a field doctor in the Yucatan Peninsula, where the company committed some of their worst ecological atrocities. He witnessed the innocent casualties, the the result of Mother Nature’s wrath and the aftermath of war firsthand. When Dr. Ortega threatened to quit the company, they sent him here, far from the war, but a place where Aztech could monitor him for signs of defection.

Scene 3 – The House of the Scarred

The “Tranquil Estate Rehabilitation Center” is a treatment facility for those battling stress-triggered disorders, but specializing in PTSD patients. The interior is open, spacious and decorated with a nearly spa-like feel and the air is lightly scented with incense. Anyone magically attuned can sense that geomancy has been performed in order to optimize the serenity of the space.

Security at the facility is practically invisible. The obvious presence of armed personnel could trigger an episode in some of the residents, so security is mostly passive. If some is suspected of being an intruder or otherwise unwelcome visitor, Knight Errant is notified and the residential wards are locked down to minimize the areas the intruder has access to. Once isolated, orderlies will urge the person to leave, but will fight if provoked.

Dr. Ortega is a high-maintenance patient: he is haunted by what he has witnessed, he knows Aztechnology is watching him closely and the strain of being policed has pushed him to the edge. He is highly medicated and checked on frequently by the staff for any signs of homicidal or suicidal actions.

Aztechnology has, of course, bugged his room. While the main intent is to ensure he isn’t meeting anyone for extraction, if they hear the man being interrogated about info from the war, they will move in (spirit first, soldiers soon behind). The Aztechnology soldiers don’t care about the mental well being of the other residents and will storm in, offer the runners the chance to surrender and open fire shortly thereafter, if they do anything but drop their weapons.

How the runners plan to get the information from Dr. Ortega is up to them, but with Aztech eavesdropping and the facility staff monitoring the doctor for signs of stress, they will have to conduct themselves carefully and keep their information source alive. They can offer to help disappear him, but that will bring Aztech in force.

Once they obtain the information, they learn that the medical subsidiary Medicarro holds the data from the front. The local offices in Tacoma should have a link to the database, where they can obtain the data.

Scene 4 – Health Hazard

The Medicarro facility is part clinic and part research facility. While companies such as DocWagon and Crashcart offer comprehensive care packages for everything from the common cold to resuscitation, Medicarro’s presence in Seattle is minor. Catering to corporate medical needs (especially those with standing contracts with Aztech), they perform less invasive procedures, cosmetic surgeries and preventative treatments for those who can pay the bill.

The low level of patient traffic makes Medicarro a great place to house a medical research station within its walls. Due to the wealthy clientele, security is substantial but subdued. The guards are well-dressed, wearing either armored business clothes or form-fitting body armor under layman’s clothes. There are no magical security on site, though the medical research division is heavily warded and mages will be dispatched the moment an alarm is raised.

Matrix Security is respectable. The security system is a standalone server that monitors all cameras, locks and motion detectors throughout the building. The public system for Medicarro is mostly advertising of medical packages they offer, but it also serves as an interactive map to find your way around the building, so long as you’re a patient or registered guest (registered guests will have background checks performed).

The security system, should a hacker try to seize control, has the following rating:

Medicarro Host – Matrix Architecture looks like old Spanish style, with stucco walls, terracotta ceiling tiles and sandy textured walls, with arched doors serving as connections between nodes. Those who run VR can even feel a warm afternoon breeze flow through the space at random intervals. Users appear as featureless doctors in white coats. Security appears as Conquistadors, and IC as Pikemen.

Rating 7 Host – Attack 8, Sleaze 7, Data Processing 9, Firewall 10

IC Available – Acid, Crash, Jammer, Killer, Patrol, Probe, Scramble, Track

The runners will need to move through the clinic to where the medical research ward is. When they find the door into the research ward, they quickly discover that the area is on lockdown. If a hacker successfully breached the defences of the host and gain access to the research ward cameras, they will see that the area is a ghost down and in a few places cameras are down. Dead bodies can be occasionally spotted sprawled on the ground.

If they override the lockdown and enter the research ward without protective gear, they are exposed to a spilled contagion. Just inside the door is a doctor slumped against the wall and when the runner realize that something has gone wrong it’s already to late. If they disturb the body, they find the body is very warm and a trickle of blood leaks from the eye socket. The runners resist the toxin as usual, but if not completely resisted, they are infected and are on borrowed time. As well as getting the data they came for, now they have to determine what they’re infected with and find the antidote before they fall prey to the disease they’ve contracted. They have now also unwittingly infected the hospital’s inhabitants. Security will learn of the lockdown quickly (immediately, if the runners haven’t suppressed the alarm signal) and seal off the building. If the runners enter the research ward, the security team will re-engage the quarantine and stand vigil, awaiting the runners escape attempt, while the antidote is administered to the residents.

Red Fever

Vector: Inhalation

Speed: 5 minutes

Penetration: -1

Power: 4

Effect: Disorientation, Nausea, Physical Damage

Red Fever is a tropical disease was discovered in the rainforests outside Caracas. A parasitic infection, the parasites are almost microscopic in size and latch onto the tongue, nasal passages and eyes of anyone that comes in contact with a larval cloud. They penetrate the epidermis into the blood, where they begin consuming red blood cells. The body’s natural defences generate a fever to try and burn out the intruders, but the parasites are resilient against heat and the body ultimately cooks itself from trying to fend off the attack. The cure for the infection is to inject themselves with a low-level dose of West Nile or some other blood-borne virus that will kill off the parasite and the body’s natural immune system can fight off the new problem.

Every 5 minutes the disease is in the system, the infected must make a Body test against the Strength of the disease and any residual damage is taken as physical damage. Each interval, the power increases by 1, as the parasites wreak havoc and spread.

>> Hunting down some disease created in the wilds of the Amazon is not exactly my idea of a good time…
>> Wraith

>> And what would you know of it?
>> Hunter

>> Did some time down there some time ago.  It was an insane place back then… things have had plenty of time to evolve since then.  I’ll keep my distance from anything birthed in that wilderness.
>> Wraith

~ by 1nsomniac on December 26, 2014.

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