“All Is Fair”: An Introduction to Life in the PC.

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ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
“All Is Fair”: An Introduction to Life in the PC.

So I wrote up a little side-scenario to help show what I think life is like in the PC, but it turns out my group has no interest in the themes so I'll probably never run it. Therefore, I thought I'd share it here.

It's a bit light on red herrings and intrigue because it was supposed to be a sideplot I could plug into a campaign rather than a fully independent piece - I hope that isn't too much of a drawback.

I hope to hear what you all think :D


- Premise.
The Basics; The group are approached by a man named Phillipe Delacoure on behalf of a Brothel owner he knows. One of their regular patrons has gone missing, and the group are hired to discover their fate.

  • Twist 1 - The patron is an Alpha Fork of one of the indentured workers. The brothel allows all it's workers to create a Fork in order to seek additional employment to pay off their contract.

  • Twist 2 – The patron has been kidnapped by one of the Brothel's business rivals, who seeks to discover the source of the Brothel's success.

  • Twist 3 - Phillipe Delacoure is a low level Oversight agent, nominally tasked with providing confidential licensing for controlled technologies.

- Gameplay notes.
The player's success throughout the scenario is measured through three counters;
[Alert] measures how blatant the group is during their investigation, and influences the the state of the antagonists during the climax.
[Delay] keeps track of how much time the group 'wastes' during the investigation, and determines the condition of the Fork at the end of the scenario.
[Evidence] is increased by uncovering proof of Foul Play and learning what transpired. The players' rewards are determined by this counter.

- Timeline.

  • Four Weeks Earlier - Bethari van Haitsma becomes aware of the Jasmine Garden's unusual success, and begins searching for candidate to find out it's origin. She contacts Les Ghoules to hire a crew.
  • Three Weeks Earlier - Bethari locates Rowan as a potential Target and begins observation.
  • Two Weeks Earlier - Bethari arranges for Rowan to receive passes for the Luminosity Lounge.
  • 10 Days Earlier - Rowan visits the Jasmin Garden, goes to the Luminosity lLounge and meets Bethari van Haitsma. The observation is stepped up.
  • 9 Days Earlier - Rowan becomes nervous due to irregularity in his mesh presense and daily routine. He orders a Nanoswarm to monitor himself, and requests a Grimoir from Berlin.
  • 5 Days earlier – Rowan is abducted from the Universidade de São Paulo library.
  • 1 Day earlier – Coraline Melati contacts Philippe Philippe Delacoure

The Hook.

“You have been contacted by a man named Phillipe Delacoure, regarding a job in Noctis-Qianjiao.
He asks that you make your way to a brothel/lounge named “The Jasmine Garden” and talk to the proprietor “Coralline Melati”, who has a problem she needs solved."

Phillipe is willing to cover any travel expenses required, so long as you agree to hear Coralline out and consider her request. Should you then accept the job, and complete it successfully, he will reward you to the sum of 7000cr per head, with a bonus for good work.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
1. The Jasmine Garden.

1. The Jasmine Garden.

The Jasmine Garden is a fairly successful establishment. Whilst ostensibly a brothel staffed by indentures, it is often considered more a lounge or spa. The décor and atmosphere have been arranged to culture a sense of comfortable relaxation, and a good portion of the patrons visit simply to have a pleasant place to drink – some even use it as a telecommute workspace.
Whilst this lack of emphasis on more “profitable” services should be harming the business, there's nothing to indicate that this is the case.

The Garden is built into an artificial cave in the side of one of the canyons of the Noctis Plateau, nestled amongst the bridges. A small rocky protuberance serves as a drop-off point for aircars, and a short stairwell leads to a Tram station.
To enter the cavern, one must pass through an airlock decorated to look like sandstone, with swirling patterns and reliefs of attractive figures carrying jugs of water “carved” into the surface.

Once through the airlock, visitors find themselves in an actual garden, with covered with grass, dotted with jasmine. At the edges of the cavern the bushes grow to a height of several meters, and on the opposite side of the cavern the Brothel itself stands, carved into the likeness of an Indonesian/Indian temple.
Visitors who access the local AR channel find the roof of the cavern replaced with a clear blue sky, and the walls of the cavern replaced with a vista of jungle-covered mountains – the impression is of approaching a mountain temple on earth.

Upon entering the building proper, visitors find themselves in an ornately decorated room with walls of golden stone and floor of polished marble. The layout is roughly octagonal, with an open doorway on each cardinal wall, and raised platforms strewn with cushions provide a place to lounge against the others.
Fabrics draping from the ceiling combine with a light, soft perfume originating from a small fountain in the middle of the room to provide an atmosphere of relaxation and contentment - complemented by the pheromones in the water.
The doorway to the left of the main entrance leads to a lounge where drinks may be procured, whilst the one to the right leads to staff rooms and quarters. The final doorway, opposite the entrance, leads to a long curving corridor, dotted with private bedrooms.
A few pleasure-pods of both sexes are present, dressed in Kebayas. During the day, they those present will be engaged in light conversation with those few customers present, whilst others tend the bar.

After a moment, a young woman (Coralline Melati.) will approach .
As long as the group appear to be customers, she will be gently welcoming, playing up the image that the Garden is a place of relaxation, and comfort.
When the group reveals the reason for their arrival, she asks them to take a seat one one of the many cushioned platforms around the room whilst she attends to her other guests.
On their way over, she will contact them over the brothel's mesh, and inform them that the problem is a sensitive matter, and forward them an NDA.
The character's muses can identify the document as a standard contract, with the following caveat – in order to prevent the leak of sensitive materials, the characters must either (A) be under the influence of a memory lock or memory-suppression drug (which would be provided) when the details of the actual task are discussed, or (B) present a Fork of themselves, which will be given the relevant details.
Should the characters then refuse the task once it has been discussed, the relevant memories or fork will be deleted.
A successful Protocol test will reveal that this is a common requirement in NDAs, it is unusual that this would be called for in a Brothel.

Assuming the character's agree to these terms, Coralline will approach with another worker, and together they lead the group into one of the rooms in the back.

The bedroom they find themselves in is large, and decorated with a mix of Asian styles. In the centre of the room rests a bed large enough to accommodate multiple morphs, and an adjoining bathroom is dominated by a marble bathtub set in the floor.
All the rooms in the brothel are equipped with a Bugzapper set into the main doorway, and when the door is closed it forms a Faraday Cage blocking all mesh access – the bathroom door is similarly equipped.
This room in particular also contains an ego bridge hidden behind a wall panel, which can be used to create a Fork as per the NDA if necessary.

Once inside, Coralline will introduce the worker as Cahya , and together they explain the problem:

- The Problem.
The Jasmine Garden is a little different than most Indentured Brothels. Quite apart from their focus on general well-being instead of simple carnality, the workers are all willing “employees” despite their indenture contracts are significantly longer than usual – 17 years being the minimum.
This is because that, as per a confidential clause in the contract, each indenture may create an Alpha fork which isn't bound as an employee. This fork may then seek employment or otherwise go about thier life whilst their counterpart works off the expense. Should the wandering fork gain employment, they may use the funds to help pay off the contract – similarly, they may extend the contract further in exchange for financing if necessary.
This arrangement has worked exceedingly well, and the Jasmine Garden is significantly more profitable than it obstinately “should” be.
The catch is that, in order to keep everything above board, the Employee must agree to a Psychosurgical procedure.

This procedure combines an Awareness Block with Behavioural Control, with the following effects;
i) All memories of the contract and the subject's fork are unavailable – they only remember when within the Jasmine Garden's private rooms.
ii) The Subject is Blocked from creating forks or backup outside of the Jasmine Garden.
iii) The Subject is Encouraged to return to the Jasmine Garden once every seven days.
This procedure serves to prevent others from discovering the nature of the Contract, as well as ensuring the Fork returns regularly for merging.

The problem is that Cahya' fork, who goes by the name Rowan Asperson, is overdue – it has been 10 days since they last visited.
The Characters are to quietly investigate and discover what has happened.

Both Coralline and Cahya respond readilly to questions, and can reveal the following -

  • Rowan's mesh activity was normal for five days after his last visit, then ceased abruptly.
  • He is a student at (3. Universidade de São Paulo.) , and is studying nanosculpture and industrial design.
  • He has an apartment (2. Rowan's Apartment) close to the campus, which is available at a reduced rate for students. He pays for this by working at the campus Library (as a Lector. More details about the library are available below.
  • He isn't especially social – he has a group of friends he goes clubbing with once or twice a week, but they aren't especially close. Mesh Ids will be provided on request.
  • A successful Kinesics test reveals the one exception to the previous, a fellow student named Berlin, who lives a few doors down from his apartment. An exceptional or Critical success will make Cahya reluctantly admit to having a crush on Berlin, sadly unrequited.
  • Questions about their life in the weeks before the disappearance reveal nothing out of the ordinary.
  • It is extremely unlikely that the Rowan is staying away willingly – the compulsion is extremely strong, and Cahya knows of no reason they would resist. Either something has happened to prevent them from coming, or they are a victim of foul play.
  • Neither Cahya nor Coralline are willing to contact the police, as there is no reason for a brothel or worker to inquire about the status of a customer, even a regular. It would look highly suspicious at best, and at worst may tip off any hostile parties. Cahya cannot access his mesh accounts for the same reason.

At this point, the group must choose to accept the job or not.
Assuming they do, they have two possible places to begin their investigation; Rowan's Apartment, and the Universidade de São Paulo Library.

- Mesh Investigation. - At this point, the group may attempt to find out more using the Mesh. This should be done whilst travelling to a location; if not, increase [Delay] by one.

If a character attempts to use Spimes or mesh traffic to investigate Rowan's movements, then they should make an Interfacing and InfoSec test, with the following results;
- Interfacing:

  • Severe/Critical Failure – A morph matching Rowan's description jumped from one of the bridges the day of his disappearance, and the stack was damaged upon impact. The morgue can be contacted to identify the remains (it wasn't him). This requires a simple Protocol test; on a success, increase [Alert] by one, on a failure increase it by two.
  • Failure – Nothing noteworthy occurs in the weeks up to Rowan's last visit to the Garden.
  • Success – After leaving the Garden, he went to a club with his friends, then returned home. The next few days seem to go as normal, with a package delivered four days later. On the fifth day, he went to work in the library as normal, but never came out.
  • Excellent/Critical Success – Some small irregularities are revealed. Two days after the last visit, Rowan began accessing the spimes surrounding his location more often, and updated his firewall software. The package that was delivered came from a legitimate delivery service, but nothing in his activity seems to correspond with an order. Increase [Evidence] by one.

- InfoSec:

  • Severe/Critical Failure – Increase [Alert] by two.
  • Failure – Increase [Alert] by one.
  • Success – Patterns in spime access records indicate that someone else was using the mesh to monitor Rowan for 26 days prior to his disappearance. Increase [Evidence] by one.
  • Excellent/Critical Success – Someone, presumably the same person, is passively monitoring Rowan's mesh presence and social networks for signs of investigation. Increase [Evidence] by two.

- Networking:
Due to monitoring, any attempt to use Reputation networks to investigate is inherently dangerous; unless they are explicitly attempting to be circumspect, increase [Alert] counter by one.
If they are trying to conceal their actions, they must make a Networking check as appropriate: If they fail, increase [Alert] counter by one. If they are aware of the monitoring (such as through the Infosec Excellent/Critical Success above), then they gain a +20 bonus on this check.

Investigations using most rep networks are mostly fruitless, revealing nothing more than the personal details available from Cahya.
However, a success on a g-Rep or a critical success on c-Rep networking test will show that Rowan had been active three days following his visit.
A level 2 favour will reveal that he had attempted to make an anonymous purchase through the PC networks, which was fielded through a burner account. Increase [Evidence] by one.
A level 4 favour will reveal he purchased a Nanoswarm configured for internal use, but not the exact nature of the swarm. Increase [Evidence] by two.

If Networking is used to contact Rowan's friends, they will all tell similar stories; Rowan was a nice guy who largely kept to himself, but was pleasant company for nights out. They have noticed his absence in general, but haven't attached any importance.
On the night of his last visit, they all went to a new club (4. The Luminosity Lounge) , but they often visit new clubs and rarely visit a given club more than twice. If asked, they will indicate that Rowan suggested it, and can provide details.
Note – Berlin has more information (2. Rowan's Apartment) but will be careful not to reveal anything over the mesh.

- Travel Throughout Noctis-Qianjiao.
There are multiple ways the group can navigate Noctis-Qianjiao. Whichever way the group chooses to travel, they should make a Test, with failure increasing [Delay] , [Alert] or both by one, depending on whether the method they choose is slow or conspicuous.

- Riding Forth.
As soon as the group has two of the three primary clues in the scenario (The Tracker Nanoswarm Data from Rowan's Apartment, the description of the Vehicle used in the abduction and exact time from the Library, and the Property list from the the Luminosity Lounge) it's possible to determine Rowan's location using mesh searches, statistical analysis and good old footwork.
This is, however, very slow.
To represent this, the group should make Tests (whichever seem appropriate), and need to Succeed on 2 tests per character.
For every check made increase [Delay] by one.
If they have managed to acquire all three clues, then determining Rowan's location (5. Construction Site.) takes less than a minute, and requires no checks.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
2. Rowan's Apartment.

2. Rowan's Apartment.

Rowan's lodgings can be found in a low-cost apartment complex on the southern side of the Noctis Dome.
The building has eight floors, and is formed in the shape of a crescent conforming to the curve of the dome, with all of the apartments on the outer curve, whilst utility rooms are located along the inner, with a single corridor separating the two sides. The building can be accessed in two main ways; there is an aircar drop-off point on the roof, and a normal lobby on ground level, accessible from both sides of the building. Four elevators run from the lobby to the roof, and two larger goods elevators can be found at the tips of the crescent. Five stairways leading to every floor are located equidistant around the curve.
The structure is formed of blocks of resin-bound compressed regolith, with the domeward surface painted with low resolution chameleon tiles, allowing the Martian landscape to be seen “through” the building.
Inside, the walls appear to be made of gold-threaded marble and the floors covered with vermilion-coloured carpet. The faint, uncomfortably penetrating tang of orange-scented cleaning fluid is omnipresent throughout the building.

The building has very little in the way of security measures; the doorlocks are all simple keycode models, and can be cracked with a 3 minute Infosec Task Action. The rest of the systems such as spimes an fire control are linked to a basic server loaded with four infomorph Indentures with limited agency; the server will normally count as unmonitored, with a basic firewall.
Should someone alert security to the group's presence, then the server will become monitored (Use an effective skill level of 40 +30 for assistance from others for all tests), and 4 Security Drones will be activated. Should that not suffice, the local Militia will be contacted.

Rowan's apartment is number 5-23 (on the fifth floor) and his friend Berlin dwells at number 5-26.
A couple of minutes after the group enters the Rowan's apartment, Berlin will come bounding in from the hall.
Berlin set a basic alert in the hallway spimes to alert her if someone entered Rowan's appartment, but neglected to check how many people there were, nor their identities; she simply assumes that it is Rowan who has arrived, and will be happily greeting him as she walks in (she has access credentials if the group thought to close the door).

Her reaction on seeing the group will depend on whether they have had previous contact over the mesh; if so, she will recognize them by their mesh IDs and remain calm, if uncomfortable and a tad embarrassed. Otherwise she will become nervous and the group will have to make opposed social checks to prevent her contacting building security.
Assuming the players calm her down, she knows the following;

  • She was part of the group which went to (4. The Luminosity Lounge) on the night of Rowan's last visit to the Garden.
  • The visit was Rowan's idea, after he got Coupons waving the entry fee in as part of a promotion.
  • Berlin will express mild concern about Rowan's whereabouts, unlike the rest of his acquaintances. A Kinesics +30 test confirms her worry is genuine, and it seems she has bit of a crush. She falsely believes her crush is unrequited, but reluctant to broach the subject, largely due to his apparent “addiction” to the Jasmine Garden.
  • If her opinion to the group is favourable and they ask about odd behaviour, she will volunteer that he asked her to create a Grimoire (See Below), and retrieve it from the bookcase.

The apartment is small and divided into 3 rooms; a main room, a bathroom, and a small bedroom.
The main room is decorated in the style of a romanticised office or study, with the walls lined with bookshelves and leather lined furniture, whilst the room's AR softens the lighting and generates a scent of cigar smoke and brandy.. Most of the bookshelves are simply decorative façades, but one is real; the majority of the books are fake leather bindings with plastic pages, containing copies of art books and hard copies of his university textbooks.
The designs are of moderate quality, but unique – Rowan created the designs as coursework.

In contrast to the main room, the bedroom is almost bare, with nothing adorning the creme-coloured walls. It's clear that all Rowan's efforts have gone into the main room. A small book titled “Twenty Go To Ten: A Beginners Guide To Programming” lies on the nightstand.

The bathroom appears singularly unremarkable. The walls are decorated with tiles which fade from white near the ceiling to black at the base, with identical black tiles covering the floor.
The faint smell of mint fills the room, and a toothbrush lies discarded next to the sink. There is nothing noteworthy to be found here.

Investigation or Perception tests can reveal the following items of interest;

  • If Berlin has not volunteered it, a simple Success test will reveal the Grimoire, as it does not match the style of the other books. Failure on this test will still give this clue, but increase [Delay] by one – the test is to find it quickly.
  • There is a plate of food (Veal Ravioli in Whitepepper sauce) in the kitchenette's Maker, now cold and denaturing. An aditional Interfacing test will reveal that the maker had been set to produce it for lunch on the day Rowan vanished. A further meal had been programmed in for dinner (Cheese fondue with Garlic Bread and Steak-Strips), but not produced as the receptacle was full.
    The maker is a very cheap version, otherwise the meal would have been disassembled automatically.
  • Concealed under the bed is 30cm square box of thin black plastic. This was the package delivered on day 7. Opening the box will reveal it is almost entirely filled with aerogel packing material, save for a small round hollow in the center. Additional Research or Networking checks will quickly reveal that this was a package for delivering a Nanite capsule, and the size of the package is to help conceal the nature of the contents from casual observers. Characters with Nanoscopic vision can see several inert nanobots around the hollow, which can be identified using Research or appropriate Knowledge skills as a variant of the Taggant nanoswarm, modified for internal use (See "The Grimoire" below.)
  • Rowan's closet is displaying a minor error message timestamped the morning after the visit, which is marked as read but hasn't been deleted, with a. Reading the message will reveal that the self-cleaning mechanism has detected an unknown substance on one of the Shirts inside, which can be readily identified as the clothes Rowan was wearing to the Club. If requested the closet will display the basic composition of the substance, which can be identified using appropriate Knowledge skills as a basic Taggant Nanoswarm.

- The Grimoire.
This appears to be a large book, luxuriously bound in leather, with pages are paper yellowing with age - whilst obviously not an earth original, the quality of the reproduction is superb.
Whilst the exterior displays no title, the interior presents a copy of Edmond Rostand's “Cyrano de Bergerac”.
Essentially, the Grimoire is an elegantly made mesh-terminal, and can be found in the thousands in the Library .(3. Universidade de São Paulo), largely created by design students as part of their coursework. The Binding conceals a stripped down ecto sans neural interface, and the pages are embedded with minute touch sensors and chromatophores.
In it's intended purpose, information and texts can be pulled out of the Library's mesh network and displayed on the pages, allowing the Grimoire to “become” any book stored on the servers.
Berlin has creates several of these for the Library as part of her coursework, and created this example at Rowan's request and loaded it with it's current contents.

A quick inspection of the system will reveal it has been inexpertly locked with a password, which can be cracked with an Infosec or Interfacing test. Once the password has been cracked, the pages blank out before presenting the system menu.
Quick perusal will reveal that the Grimoire has been linked to a Taggant Nanoswarm modified for internal use, currently set for covert use. The nanoswarm can be activated from the Grimoire, which will send out an anonymous signal to determine the Nanobots' locaions.
Doing so will cause the grimoire to call up an overhead map of Noctis, upon which a series of points trace an intermitant path from the Library towards the bridges to Qianjiao, although it is unclear which bridge is the destination
The spacing between the points and path taken indicate that Rowan was inside a vehicle, which also explains the sparse information – only those taggants which escaped the vehicle have responded to the call.
Anyone with interfacing above 40 who looks can also tell that Rowan attempted to set the Grimoire to automatically retrieve the Taggant Locations and transmit the information to Berlin if he didn't log in by hand once per day, but botched the programming due to lack of skill.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
3. Universidade de São Paulo.

3. Universidade de São Paulo.

The Universidade de São Paulo Library is a domed building four stories high, lying slightly south of the Noctis-Qianjiao bridges.
Seemingly formed of shining alabaster, the Library is a literal work of art, built as a “living” sculpture. The layout is reminiscent of the old US Capitol building, consisting of a cupola from which four wings extend radially in a semicircle.
The main entrance lies directly below the cupola, opening into a wide, lofty hall extending the hight of the building. Wide balconies strewn with leather chairs circle the bookshelf-laden walls, whilst screens mounted into the cupola display the blue skies of earth at day, and magnificent cosmic vistas at night.
The susserous of conversation blends with footsteps over lacquered floors, soon muffled as one moves into the carpeted wings, each packed to bursting with rows upon rows of books.
On the upper floors of the wings are filled with desks and workstations for those performing extensive research, and modified Disc-drones offer themselves to visitors needing assistance carrying the wealth of knowledge sequestered here.
The only other entrance is a tunnel leading to a subterranean loading dock. The entrance to the tunnel lies several streets to the West.

The Library is fully functional. Famous or renowned works are available as hardcopy replicas above, and the servers stored below ground store millions of texts on every imaginable topic which can be accessed through specially designed interfaces called Grimoirs (See Above), which can be requested freely. The hardcopies and Grimoirs may not be removed from the building, but can be produced quickly for a cost.
Students from the university, including Rowan, often work part time in the library as “Lectors” who provide assistance and support to the visitors at a small fee. [Characters in the library gain a +10 bonus to any research or knowledge checks they make. This can be increased to +20 for a [Trivial] expenditure, or +30 for [Low].

When the group enters they will be met by one of Rowan's coworkers, one Topan de Groot, who will offer their assistance.

Topan knows, or can quickly learn that Rowan was on duty the day he was taken. He came in at 8:16 and assisted five visitors. He was automatically logged out of the system at 15:02 for inactivity.
A successful Diplomacy test will get Topan to reveal the visitors' account details: the first three were students, the next was a tourist, and the last was female morph, who asked for Coran by name. She left no other details. Increase [Evidence ] by one.

Accessing the library’s security spimes will show a woman (Bethari van Haitsma) entering the building where she was met by Rowan, who clearly knows her.After a brief discussion he led her into the stacks in the second wing, after which the cameras will were switched to privacy mode.

Further viewing requires an Infosec or Interfacing-20 test, showing Rowan leading her through the stacks and fetching books from the shelves (if interested, it can be determined that the books were works on Political Ethics including Machiavelli's “The Prince”), whilst chatting amicably.
During this Bethari purposefuly ran her hand over his.
Whilst appearing flirty, this was acutally an excuse for her to apply her “Laughing Policeman” and “Oxytocin-A” toxin glands. Three minutes later, Kinaesthetics checks reveal that Rowan started acting oddly as the drug began to kick in, and about 25 minutes later Bethari made another request. Rowan then led her through the stacks to the staff-only entry to the facilities below. Increase [Evidence ] by one.
Accessing the Spimes in the staff only areas requires either a successful Infosec / Interfacing -20 test, or convincing De Groot to grant them access rights, in which case the recordings show Rowan leading Bethari to the loading docks where he opened the external door, allowing a dark green Aircar to enter, after which she used her eelware to render him unconcious.
The driver of the vehicle (one of the Les Ghoules gang members) then assisted Bethari in bundling Rowan into the back seat, and they quickly drove away .Increase [Evidence ] by two.

The above events have left numerous traces, both physical and electronic.
A simple Investigation check will reveal that the books Rowan took out are still where they were left, and slight scuff-marks on the floor lead through the security door to the loading dock., which has been improperly sealed.
These should all be impossible, as the Library's monitoring systems should have informed the staff that the books had been abandoned and resealed the door. An Infosec/Interfacing test will expose tampering in the relevant spimes, concealing the recordings from search results, monitoring systems and alarms. The recordings themselves remain as the system is set up to detect missing data and sound an alert.
This is also why the any previous searches from other locations will not have produced the recordings – they need to be accessed directly.
Failing either of the checks should increase [Alert] by one. Succeeding on either increases [Evidence] by one, but this doesn't stack with any gained by accessing the Spime Recordings.

- Trespassing. - If the group enters the employees only area without being cleared by De Groot beforehand then they should encounter no significant problems; the disruption to the Spines prevents automatic alerts and they are not entering any critical areas. Should they be discovered they should get away with a slap on the wrist, and an increase in [Delay] or [Alert] .

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
4. The Luminosity Lounge.

4. The Luminosity Lounge.

Close to the southern end of Biobrug, nestled between a restaurant serving Italian/Chinese fusion cuisine and an "ARt" gallery, an AR facade welcomes customers to "The Luminosity Lounge" in shifting shades of blue and green, surrounded by jellyfish and other oceanic creatures, a theme mirrored by the Doorman's aparantly aquatic morph.

Once inside, visitors find themselves under the impression that they are underwater; the décor consisting of wooded timbers resembling driftwood illuminated by “seaweed” growing out of the walls and ceiling, laden with bio-luminescent pods which sway gently as though in a current.
The ceiling is an aquarium filled with engineered fish from Biobrug, and the public AR channel completes the illusion that the entire structure lies on the floor of a shallow tropical sea.

Regardless of the time of day, the lounge is about half filled with a mix of students discussing artificial organisms and professionals engaged in meetings.
If questioned, both the bartender or doorman will direct the group to the waitress who served Rowan's party without further ado.

Prill Anaya is an Friendly but overworked and unhappy indenture, determined to get through her contract with the minimum of fuss, and will quite happily answer any questions in promised a decent tip. She knows the following;

  • Rowan arrived with his friends around 20:15, and stayed until midnight. The group were friendly all round, and came accross as a group of harmless art nerds. Rowan tipped well, but was generally quiet and unnoticeable.
  • At about 22:00 the group was joined by 5 others, who appeared to not know them. One of them (Bethari) went straight to Rowan and spent most of the night talking with him, something one of the girls (Berlin) wasn't happy about.
  • If questioned about Bethari she will not be able to identify her, as Bethari used Skinflex to alter her features. Prill assumes that she works for one of the owner's other clubs, as she came out of the employees-only area without the security system reacting.

Characters with nanoscopic vision who examine the booth Rowan's party sat at can discover traces of the same Taggant nanoswarm found on Rowan's clothes with a successful Investigation or Perception -20 test.

Access to the spimes in the main room is available to the public, and if examined show the events in detail, including that Bethari is the same woman who took Rowan from the library. Tracking her movements within the club will show her emerging from the employees-only area, gathering random people from the crowd, and eventually moving to the booth. After they left she returned to the Employees-only area.
The spimes in the employees-only area cannot be accessed from outside; in order to find out more, one or more characters must gain access to the back rooms and main office unnoticed.
Moving from the Lounge to the Backrooms or from the Backrooms to the main office requires an InfoSec test to bypass the security systems and an Infiltration test to move without being noticed.

When in the Backrooms, the security spines can be accessed with an infosec test, which will show Bethari moving from the main office to the lounge and back. These are the only times that she can be seen. It's clear that she either has access to equipment capable of concealing her form the system, or more likely she has access credentials sufficient to strip her presence from the records - or at least those she conciders important.

The main office is little more than a private bar in the style of a romantisized captin's cabin, with the only concetion to utility being a standalone Terminal in the corner of the room. From here the security footage from the security spinmes throughout the building can be reviewed without making tests.
The footage for this room show Bethari entering earlier in the evening and depositing a small bag on the couch, from which she retrieved a small spray canister containing the tagant nanoswarm. She then briefly accessed the Terminal to set the security system to ignore her presence and left.
She later returned brioefly to retrieve the bag.

If the group hasn't realized this themselves, a COGx3 or Interfacing check will reveal Bethari's identity through her login credentials, and from there a simple mesh search will reveal basic information about her as well as the locations of various properties she owns.

Cross-referencing this list with the information from Rowan's taggant swarm and/or the footage from the library will reveal only one conceivable location that they could have been taken – a construction site further along the bridge (5. Construction Site.)

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
5. Construction Site.

5. Construction Site.

Dangling from Biobrug is the future site of the executive clube "StarTear"
It resembles nothing less than a bead of glass; consisting of a 30m diameter cylinder droping from the bridge, then widening out into a 50m diameter sphere. The outer “walls” are apparently seamless windows of artificial saphire.
Within, Rowan lies strapped to an ego-bridge, whilst a Les Gholes interrigaor tries to break his mind.

The club is currently unfinished; whilst the superstructure and walls are present, the interior is almost completely devoid of furnishings. Some decorative elements have been completed, and engineer nanoswarms are busy constructing the rest.

At this point, the amount of [Alert] the group has accumulated comes into play. The following details are determined according to the [Alert] level.

- Security System. - The complex is being monitored by a Les Ghoules Infosec specialist, who is also the one monitoring the mesh for signs that anyone is investigating. He can be found in the Lounge on level 2.

  • If the [Alert] is less than 4, then the Specialist is barely paying attention. The security system is only being passively monitored, and any Infiltration checks the group makes to avoid the Spimes is unopposed.
  • At [Alert] between 4 and 6, the Specialist is actively monitoring the security system, and is passively monitoring the Spime footage, opposing any Infiltration tests with Perception -20 for distraction.
    The elevator in the Garage is no longer operational
  • If [Alert] is above 6, then the Specialist is paying explicit attention to the Spimes, opposing Infiltration with Perception without penalty.

- Guards. - In addition to the Infosec specialist and Interrogator (see below), there are 4 Les Ghoules gang members guarding the site. The guards' locations and equipment depends on how alert they are.

  • At [Alert] less than 4, they are all on level 2. Two are in the lounge with the Infosec Specialist, watching a show on the projector, whilst the other two have sex in the showers. Their weapons and armour are in the locker room.
  • Between [Alert] 4 and 6, they are wearing their armour and have weapons to hand. One will be patrolling the main stairwell whilst the other three play cards.
  • Above [Alert] 6 one will be guarding the Infosec Specialist in the lounge whilst two patrol the stairway, and the last ganger is hiding behind the main desk in the foyer. All of them are under the effects of MRDR.

- The Cavalry. - At this point, the characters may be tempted to contact Philippe or Coraline with Rowan's location. This is perfectly valid, but it should be clear to the characters that they are expected to sort things out themselves and can expect a smaller reward for a partially completed job. It may also take time they may not have.
If they nonetheless choose to do this, skip to the Epilogue below and add the value of the [Alert] meter to [Delay] .

- Mesh Inspection. - Examining the mesh activity of the construction site entails a simple Infosec or Interfacing test, and will reveal that the Security systems are being monitored, and that all other mesh signals from within the structure are being blocked.
Success on the test will also reveal the locations of the security spimes outside the structure, and an excellent success will uncover the connection to...

- The Watchdog. - As a defensive measure, a modified automech armed with a Sniper rifle is attached to the bottom of the bridge 270 meters away. It is being controlled over the mesh, and will only attack if ordered – if the connection to it's controller is severed or disrupted then it will remain passive.
If given a specific target it will attack that one only and cease if it falls, otherwise it will target any morph it sees on/in the structure that isn't on it's list of friendly targets (Rowan, Bethari, and the Les Ghoules gang members). Once it has a target it will only fire if it has taken a complex action to aim (+30) at the target, and if it loses the bonus it will spend actions to reaquire it.
Once it has expended it's clip, it is harmless.

- Outside / Level 1.
There are two enterances to Starfall. The first is a double door which will eventually form the main erterance, but is currently sealed , and a goods enterance which is locked. Both require either an infosec or Hardware (Industrial) test to open, but the security spimes covering the loading dock are poorly places (+20 to infiltrate to get to the doors unseen).

Foyer- The entryway to the club partially constructed; bare grey walls contrast the with shining silver sculptures lining the way to the front desk.
Garage- This garage is simple and utilitarian. The aircar which transported Rowan is parked here.
A doorway leads to the Stairwell, and a freight elevator runs the length of the club.

- Level 2.
Most of the staff facilities can be found here, including the locker room and lounge which has been turned into a makeshift bunkroom.

Locker room- This small room is purely functional – a small bench runs the length of the room. A pair of showers lie behind a partission.
Lounge- This simple lounge has been converted into a makeshift bunkroom by the LG gangers. Three cots lie adjecnt to the enterance, and a cheap couch faces a simple AR projector. A small aquarium in the corner completes the image of utter mediocrity.

- Level 3.
Kitchens- Unlike every other room in the building, the kitchen is a shrine of technological supremecy. Multiple top-end makers stand ready to produce finger-food by the handful, and an industrial food-preperation unit fills the center of the room, it's shining metal arms hanging limp, ready for the chef to take control.

- Level 4.
Main Floor - This level is dominated by the main floor, a shining hall of crystaline perfection.
The entire room appears to be made of crystal – even the floor seems to be made of frosted glass – and the slight lensing of the martian landscape gives the impression that the viewer stands above the entire world. It is heady, awe-inspiring display.
Around the central core several alcoves offer privacy, and in one of these Rowan lies unconcious in an ego-bridge, watched by Bethari and a Les Ghoules intrrigator, whom she is berating for the delays in breaking Rowan's mind – all trace of the friendly girl from the spime recordings has vanished.
Once they see the characters, they will both attack without reservation – at this point, they must kill the group or lose everything.

If, or rather when, a firefight breaks out in the main hall, the panes of glass will almost certainly begin to shatter. They are strong enough to withstand physical activity and the room won't “completely” collapse, but weapons fire will cause the room to fill with shards of glass, and the flooring may fall away.
In every round after the first, energetic motion such as running or avoiding an attack entails a freerunning test – failure means the character takes 1d10/2 damage from slipping or cutting themselves on loose shards. On a severe failure they take additional damage equal to their wound modifier as a foot or leg slips through a hole in the floor and is gashed on the razor-sharp edge.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
6. Epilogue.

6. Epilogue.

Once Rowan has been secured, the group can contact Philipe, who will soon arrive with a squad of mercinaries to secure the site.
His reactions and subsequent events depend on how low the [Delay] and how high the [Evidence] meters are. If both are at least Medium then Philippe and/or Bethari will grant bonuses as you think appropriate, and may well have business for the group in the future...

Delay.

- Low (0 to 3)
Rowan's mind is largely intact, and he will recover after a few months of therapy.
He will be grateful to the group. If the characters ever need a hand in the future, both he and Coraline would be glad to assist.

- Medium (From 4 to 6)
Rowan's mind has been badly damaged by the procedure, but the block is intact. If saved, he will require extensive psycosurgical assistance to recover, and it is possible he will be killed and a new fork will take his place.

- High (7 or Higher)
The block broke just before the group arrived at the site. Rowan's mind is irrevocably damaged, and the only option is to kill him and replace him with a new fork.
A few months later, rumors will surface from either Les Ghoules or Bethari that Coraline has been psycosurgically abusing and forknapping her indentures. The Jasmine Garden will go out of business soon after, and Coraline will face charges.

Evidence.

- Low (0 to X)
Bethari will be charged with kidnapping and (neural) assault. She will be fined, but suffer no significant consequences.

- Medium (From 4 to 6)
Bethari will be charged with conspiracy, forknapping and possibly association with organised crime. She will lose everything, and be reduced to a Indenture after 5 years cold storage.

- High (7 or Higher)
All of the effects of medium, plus an additional conviciton of Industrial espionage. Unless the players speak up (sacrificing some of their reward), Bethari will be executed and dumped into permanent storage.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
7. Characters.

7. Characters.

- Philippe Delacoure.
“Good day. A mutual acquaintance has vouched for your discretion, and indicated you may be open to offers of employment...”
- Morph: Observer.

- Description:
Philippe is a low level Oversight Auditor and is a true believer in the PC; he believes that the order it provides is a requirement for Transhumanity's future survival, and that the corruption and oppression that entails are a necessary evil.
He is driven by his sense of ethics and accountability, and tries to limit permanent harm when necessary – this has limited his career progression. This has also made him more prone to internal monitoring of his activities.
Philippe is a friend of Coraline Melati, and handled the legalities and licences she needed to get her Brothel up and running.
When she contacts him for help, he uses mesh searched to find agents willing and able to help, using Oversight resources to bankroll the job. Using dedicated assets would be overkill.

Those using the mesh to investigate Phillipe will turn up the following if successful on a simple networking test:
His ID is active in Valles New-Shanghai, and he participates in mesh discussions regarding the philosophy and ethics of Hypercapitalism, usually on the Pro-PC side of the conversation.
He is listed a legal contractor for the “Silver Wheel” hypercorp, which works on dissassembler/recycler programming.
On a critical success, or one with a MoS of 40+, certain irregularities in his records can be found, indicating some or all of the above information has been falsified. No clues to what information has been falsified is available.

- Roleplay:
Sit with a straight back and raised head.
Look directly at the person speaking.
Keep your hands below the table, and never move them.

- Stats:

COG: 20 COO: 15 INT: 30 REF: 25
SAV: 20 SOM: 15 WIL: 20 Mox: 1
Ini: 9 Spd: 2 Luc: 40 TT: 8
IR: 80 Dur: 35 WT: 7 DR: 53

- Active Skills:
Deception 80, Demolitions 40, Freeruning 50, Impersonation 60, Infiltration 80, Intimidation 60, Investigation 80, Kinesics 75, Kinetic Weapons 50 Networking [PC 80 (Oversight 90) Criminals 50, Fame 40 Firewall 35], Persuasion 75, Perception 40, Protocol 65, Unarmed 50 (Grenades 60).

- Knowledge Skills:
Interest (Chessboxing 40, Microbrews 45, Fashion 45), Profession (Accountant 75, Lawyer 75, Assassin 60)

- Reputation: C- 70, F- 45, G- 50, R- 20, I- 55.

- Notable Gear:
Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, Eidetic Memory, Emotional Dampers, Endocrine Control , Toxin Filters, Medichines, Mental Speed, Reflex Boosters.

Defences: Fray 65, 13/15 (Light Bioweave, Smartmaterial VacSuit [Shockproof], Smart Skin, Second Skin.)
Ranged Attack: 50 - Medium Kinetic Pistol with 100 Biter rounds (AP-2 3d10+2 DV)
Melee Attack: 60 - 6 Sticky-HE Minigrenades (2d10+10 DV)


- Coraline Melati.
“Welcome to the Jasmine Garden, dear patrons. How may our humble establishment bring you comfort this fine day?
- Morph: Sylph.

- Description:
Coraline is the owner and proprietor of the brothel “The Jasmine Garden”.
Originally the (bored) wife of a middle manager on earth, she died during the Fall and was revived as an indentured Sexworker. After working off her contract and discovering to her outrage her husband had not only survived but had knowingly neglected to have her restored, she combining an innate knack for the lifestyle with the lessons gleaned from a lifetime of hearing her ex gripe about work and opened the Jasmine Garden.
Initially she wanted to become a success to show her husband what he had abandoned, but these days she no longer cares about her old life, and simply enjoys her work.
She will not sleep with customers for money, instead concentrating on running the business – however, well spoken or polite individuals may be invited for an “after hours” session.

- Roleplay:
Relax your shoulders and clasp your hands over your heart.
Speak with a soft voice, and always smile.
Take everything the best possible way – never become annoyed or aggressive.

- Stats:

COG: 15 COO: 25 INT: 20 REF: 25
SAV: 30 SOM: 20 WIL: 15 Mox: 1
Ini: 9 Spd: 1 Luc: 30 TT: 6
IR: 60 Dur: 35 WT: 7 DR: 53

- Active Skills:
Deception 80, Freerunning 40, Impersonation 40, Kinesics 80, Networking [PC 50 Criminals 40, Fame 40 E 35], Persuasion 80, Perception 35, Protocol 70, Unarmed 40.

- Knowledge Skills:
Interest (Morph Design 35), Profession (Manager 70, Escort 50), Art (Dancing 60, Erotic Entertainment 60, Storytelling 65)

- Reputation: C- 80, F- 55, G- 20

- Notable Gear:
Striking Looks 1, Light Bioweave, Eelware, Enhanced Pheromones, Enhanced Smell, Mnemonic Augmentation, Oxygen Reserve, Multi-Tasking, Sex Switch.

Defences: Fray 25, 5/5 (Light Bioweave, Smart Skin)
Melee Attack: 40 – Unarmed (1d10+2 DV +Shock).


- Bethari van Haitsma.
“I don't want to hear excuses, just get it done!”
- Morph: Fury.

- Description:
Bethari is the owner of several nightclubs including the Luminosity Lounge, and has kidnapped Rowan Asperson in order to discover the secret of the Jasmine Garden's profitability. To facilitate this, she has made a deal with members of Les Ghoules, trading credit and Rowan's morph to secure an expert in psychosurgical interrogation.
Born on Mars, Bethari began her career as a manager in a small financial research hypercorp, and made her fortune selling it out to a competitor. She used the funds and contacts she gained to start her own chain of Clubs and lead them to success.
She is an egotistical, amoral businessperson who believes in economic morality – those who fail in business don't deserve success, and has nothing but contempt for those trapped in Indenture contracts.

- Roleplay:
Put your hands on your hips, and tilt them to the side.
Speak in short aggressive statements.
Disdain ethical arguments, but respect those concerning business.

- Stats:

COG: 15 COO: 30 INT: 15 REF: 40
SAV: 15 SOM: 30 WIL: 15 Mox: 2
Ini: 9 Spd: 3 Luc: 30 TT: 6
IR: 60 Dur: 50 +10 WT: 10 DR: 75

- Active Skills:
Deception 60, Freerunning 50, Impersonation 50, Infiltration 60, Kinesics 60, Networking [PC 40 Criminals 60, Fame 50], Persuasion 60, Perception 50, Throwing weapons 60 (Improvised 60), Unarmed 50 (Claws 60).

- Knowledge Skills:
Interest (Narcotics 60) Profession (Manager 70, Accountant 50), Art ( Cocktails 60, DJ 65)

- Reputation: C- 80, F- 55, G- 20

- Notable Gear:
Bioware Claws, Chameleon Skin, Drug Glands (Kick, MRDR, Phlo - Effects Included Above), Drug Glands (Hither), Eelware, Striking Looks 1, Light Bioweave, Enhanced Pheromones, Enhanced Vision, Mental Speed, Mnemonic Augmentation, Poison Glands (Laughing Policeman, Oxytocin-A) Toxin Filters.

Defences: Fray 75, 10/14 (Light Bioweave, Crash Suit, Second Skin, Smart Skin)
Melee Attack: 60 – Bioware Claws (AP-1 1d10+4 DV +Shock).


- Apartment Complex Security Drones.
- Morph: Modified Servitor Robot.

- Description:
These basement quality security drones are re-purposed servitors running basic combat AI.

- Stats:

COG: 10 COO: 10 INT: 10 REF: 10
SAV: 10 SOM: 10 WIL: 10 Mox: -
Ini: 4 Spd: 1 Luc: 20 TT: 4
IR: 40 Dur: 30 WT: 6 DR: 10

- Active Skills:
Freerunning 40, Beam Weapons 40, Spray Weapons 40, Kinesics 60, Perception 40.
- Knowledge Skills:
Building Layout 80, Security Codes 80, PC Law 80.

Mobility:Wheeled 4, Thrust Vector 8.
Defences: Can't Fray, 10/10
Ranged Attack: 50 Mounted Laser Pulser (2d10DV or 1d10DV+Stun), 50 Freezer (Incapacitation).


- Luminosity Lounge Doorman.
- Morph: Olympian.

- Description:
The doorman/bouncer of the Luminosity Lounge is a large, bored man in a morph customised to look like a deep one.

- Stats:

COG: 15 COO: 20 INT: 15 REF: 20
SAV: 20 SOM: 35 WIL: 15 Mox: -
Ini: 7 Spd: 1 Luc: 30 TT: 6
IR: 60 Dur: 40 WT: 8 DR: 60

- Active Skills:
Beam Weapons 40, Exotic Melee Weapon [Trident] 50, Fray 50, Intimidation 60, Kinesics 40, Networking: Criminal 20, PC 40, Palming 50, Perception 50,, Protocol 55, Unarmed Combat 50

- Knowledge Skills:
Profession (Police Procedures 30, Doorman 50), Interest (Autonomist Politics 40)

- Reputation: C- 30, F- 20, G- 10

- Notable Gear:
Enhanced Vision, Enhanced Hearing, Gills, T-Ray Emitter, Muscle Augmentation, Prehensile Tail

Defences: Fray 50, 6/8 (Heavy Bioweave, Armor Clothing)
Melee Attack: 50 – Trident (Modified Shock Baton) (AP-2 2d10+5 DV +Shock)


- Les Gholes Gangers.
- Morph: Ruster.

- Description:
Bethari van Haitsma hired these Gang members to discover the secret of the Jasmin Garden. They are professional but uninterested in their task – they're in it for the money.
Two of the Guards use the Kinetics Package below, one the Beam Package and the last uses the Spray Package..
The values in Bracketed Italics are for those using MRDR.

- Stats:

COG: 15 COO: 20 INT: 15 REF: 20
SAV: 15 SOM: 15 (25) WIL: 15 Mox: -
Ini: 7 Spd: 1 (2) Luc: 30 TT: 6
IR: 60 Dur: 40 (50) WT: 8 DR: 60

- General Active Skills:
Fray 50, Intimidation 40, Infiltration 35, Kinesics 40, Networking: Criminal 60, Palming 40, Perception 45, Protocol 40, Thrown Weapons 40, Unarmed Combat 35.

- Knowledge Skills:
Profession (Police Procedures 30, Squad Tactics 45).

- Notable Gear:
2x Doses of MRDR.

Defences: Fray 50, 16/18 (Light Bioweave, Smart Skin, Second Skin, Light Body Armor)
Ranged Attack: 40 – 2 Concussion Grenades (1d10/2 DV +Knockdown/Stun)

- Kinetics Package.
Skills – Kinetic Weapons 55
Ranged Attack – 65 Kinetic SMG with Reactive Rounds (AP -4 2d10+5 DV)

- Beam Package.
Trait – Ambidexterity 1
Skills – Beam Weapons 55
Ranged Attack – 2x 65 Laser Pulser (2d10 DV, Concentrated Fire).

- Spray Package.
Skills – Spray Weapons 45
Ranged Attack – 55 Shredder (AP-10 2d10+5 DV).

- Infosec Specialist.
Skills – Hardware (Electrical 45, Robotics 50), Infosec 65, Programming 60, Interfacing 50, Profession (Security Systems 50, Robot Programmer 40)
Gear – Mental Speed, 2x Doses of Drive, Various Software.
Ranged Attack – 30 Medium Kinetic Pistol (AP-2 2d10+2 DV)

- Interogator.
Skills – Medicine (First Aid 60), Profession (Interrogator 60), Psychosurgery 40, Blades 60, Thrown Weapons 60
Gear – Mental Speed, 2x Doses of Drive, Various Software.
Melee/Ranged Attack: 60 – 8x Wasp Knives (AP-1 1d10+3 DV + CR Gas)


- Les Ghoules Watchdog.
- Morph: Automech.

- Description:
This Automech has been modified to act as a sniper turret.

- Stats:

COG: 10 COO: 10 INT: 10 REF: 10
SAV: 10 SOM: 10 WIL: 10 Mox: -
Ini: 4 Spd: 1 Luc: 20 TT: 4
IR: 40 Dur: 30 WT: 6 DR: 10

- Active Skills:
Climbing 40, Freerunning 40, Hardware (Electronics 40,Industrial 40), Kinetic Weapons 40, Perception 40.
- Knowledge Skills:
Academics (Structural Engineering 80).

Mobility:Wheeled 4, Thrust Vector 8.
Defences: Can't Fray, 4/4.
Ranged Attack: 60 (40 -10 Range +30 Aim) – Mounted Kinetic Sniper Rifle (AP-12 2d10+10 DV), 12 Shots.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?