You all gather in Absalom Station at the Lorespire Complex, where Venture-Captain Arvin has contacted you with a mission.
A large vesk in a muscle shirt sits at a table in the small reception room, messily consuming the various laid-out refreshments. Venture- Captain Arvin stands on the opposite side of the table, visibly annoyed at the vesk, and turns toward the arriving Starfinders with some relief. “Thank you for your quick response. Some new technology has come to the Society’s attention”—the vesk clears his throat loudly, and Arvin’s eyebrow twitches in irritation—“from our… contact Julzakama. If you would…”
The vesk, Julzakama, stands, pulling a battered gym bag out from under the table. “Feast your eyes on this little gemling.” He reaches into the bag and removes what appears to be a severed human hand. Julzakama waves the limb then offers it to Arvin to shake.
Arvin declines the offered limb, rubbing his temples, and explains. “As you might have guessed, this is a prosthetic limb. It’s a standard cybernetic augmentation, but this one was made with a new type of biotech, so well grafted that it’s almost undetectable without magic. Its special features are just as well hidden.” Arvin takes the hand from Julzakama to demonstrate a nearly invisible compartment large enough to conceal a knife, several data drives, or a small toolkit. “Such technology would be invaluable for covert and diplomatic operations, and the Society would like to find the specialist who crafted and installed it. But therein lies the difficulty. Julzakama, if you could explain the… circumstances of this discovery?”
Julzakama holds up his hands, saying, “Now, I wasn’t personally involved. Some vesk workers known to some of my customers got in a territorial dispute with some manlings. Stuff happened, one of these guys turned his winnings over to my customer to settle a bet, and here we are.” Julzakama gestures at the hand, smiling ingratiatingly, and continues, “I thought you Starfinders might be interested.”
“Indeed, we are.” Arvin folds his hands behind his back. “Julzakama tells me that his acquaintances’ rivals had been known to acquire their gear from gray-market operations in the Freemarkets. As that is our only lead so far, I’d like you to investigate the area; even if none of the listed clinics are the source, they may have more information on who is.”
You may make ask questions now and may additionally make a CULTURE (RECALL KNOWLEDGE) or DIPLOMACY (GATHER INFORMATION) check for additional information
their start there.
Kallus stands with his arms crossed as he listens to the story of how this 'hand' was procured. He nods as they tell him their best lead, which is in his area of expertise. The merchants talk a lot when they are paid well. It should be an easy task. He opens his datapad and scans the Infosphere for the particulars, closing the Search window on the the others assigned to this mission. Their bounties would have to wait...
Cultures: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
A business-mannered Lashunta sitting at the back is just as disgusted and irritated with the vesk devouring snacks. He makes several expressions of embarrassed sympathy to Arvin’s as he delivers the mission details.
I do not know anything about the dirty open air markets. Maybe some of my old colleagues do...
He fires off several emails to old coworkers.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Only to be reminded they were part of the same nerdy, safe mono-culture that he came from.
No matter, I can be useful in other ways.
Excuse me, do you mind if I have a look at that prosthetic?
He looks it over to see if any of the parts are from familiar sources.
engineering: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
"I don't judge" the Ysoki shrugs his shoulders and comes to inspect the hand as well.
Medicine (Take 10 for 16)
Culture (Take 10 for 18)
Roquefort reveals the first two spoilered information boxes
"Freemarkets huh? The bazaar of the bizarre down there. You got any leads warmer than this cold dead hand?"
"If we find the source whaddyawant us to do? Detect and report, or start a new friendship?"
"Speaking of the hand, can we take it with us? A lot easier to show than describe eh?"
Gunnar stares intently at Julzakama. "You sure you don't have any more info Julz? Last time we met you tried "negotiating" for some extra credits after you'd already called and offered us the goods. That's not what's happening here is it? You're not holding onto some juicy little lead you can conveniently remember for a fee are you?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
The venture captain nods and hands over the... hand... to Sefel to examine. Unfortunately, even to the technomancer's trained eye there aren't any particularly noteworthy sources to the materials. The weapons are mass-produced blades and strangely there are no maker's marks or other identifying features on the graft; it appears have been made by synthesized components that are not commercially available.
Arvin looks to Roquefort and shrugs apologetically. "That is all we have to work with at the moment, though I trust that you will be able to discover better leads within the Freemarkets. Perhaps seeking out an Abadarcorp representative for current permits might be advisable?"
If anyone has the AbadarCorp Respect boon, it is recommended that you slot it.
"As for the other, if we want Starfinders to have access to such augmentations, we need to find whoever created them. A new "friendship" would be ideal, but at a minimum we are looking for more information on the augment's whereabouts and identity beyond mere rumor. For taking the augmentation, however... strolling about a place of commerce with what amounts to unlicensed and potentially stolen goods isn't a wise idea. I think I'll hold onto it for now."
To the dwarf, Julzakama raises his arms. "Hey, I'm here because I'm being paid, nothing to hold out on. Though if I remember right, -last- time it was you Starfinders that wanted to push the deal beyond what we'd agreed to." He turns to Arvin. "Don't think I haven't forgotten that you tried to stiff me on that!"
Culture: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
A young human with a cocky grin leans back in his chair, tipping it against the wall. He looks like any of the hotshots you've seen down at the bars around the docking bays. He wears some sort of device on his temple, extending just over his left eye. Must be some new fad the kids think will give them an edge.
"Hey, anything is for sale, right? Especially in the Freemarkets. If you can't capitalize on a skill or item there, you go under. So we just go looking to buy. For the right price, we'll find who's selling."
Gunnar narrows his cold blue eyes and responds in Vesk."You calling me a liar boy?" Sure your agreement with Arvin was all settled up, but it was you that tried to squeeze a few extra credits out of us in exchange for intel on the goods we'd paid for. I don't blame you for wanting to make a quick credit, but don't think to bend the truth with me Julz. Now I'll ask one more time. Is there anything else you might know about that there augment?"
"We'll check out the permits and see who might be in business. Be good to get an idea of how fresh the graft was or roughly when someone upgraded, give us an idea of when we should be looking for some backyard doctors chop-shop"
"As for stolen goods, well I suppose someone has to report their hand as stolen first, in which case we're just a bunch of concerned citizens looking for the rightful owner who we didn't think would be hard to find 'Yeah officer, he's like a regular guy, but with a hand that fell off' - should be a gem"
Roquefort signals to put the hand in his backpack - "You can bet your bottom credit I ain't storing that thing in my cheek-pouch chummer"
How about the AbadarCorp Acquaintance boon? Any help?
The vesk raises his hands, "Hey, no need to get hostile. I'm here, I'm paid, we have a firmly established deal" He shrugs, clearly mentally believing that he was the one swindled previously. "I told everything I know."
The Boon specifically has to be AbadarCorp Respect. But one player has it, so that's fine. Does anyone have anything else to ask before moving on?
Kallus watches the others interact with the vesk and wonders if they know him somehow. "Either way, the longer we are here, the longer whoever dropped this thing has to get further away. We should go. As the flyboy said, 'anything' can be found in Freemarket."
"Freemarkets it is, we can go see if the Abadarians have a listing of who is down there, if life was spectacularly easy they will have a spreadsheet describing the marketholders too and lots of good info you know Stall #34 - Sally Jones, 'Sals Jams', delightful home-made fruit spreads. Stall #35 Dr. Backyard, 'BoostU', unregistered medical services and suspect cyberware', could it be that easy? Anyone know some Abadarians?"
Turning his attention to Roquefort, Gunnar responds,"Yeah, I've had dealings with those corporate types before. Ran into a few on Akiton a while back."
A rather smart looking Lashunta in the back of the room takes all of this in.
nuwildcat62Today at 5:32 PM
rollemBOTToday at 5:32 PM
24 ⟵ 1d20 + 5
"If we find where these are created, there's a good chance of recovering some valuable salvage..." Jaxon sits up, suddenly seeming more interested at the prospect of tracking the augmentation down. "I doubt shady chop-shops are listed in the directory, but a more reputable medical clinic might know where dangerous operations are done."
Roquefort helps himself to Julkzamas gym bag and wraps the hand up then packs the bundle in his backpack.
"Looks like were done here, time to go hit the markets" He starts heading out the door.
Sefel looks doubtful that this will be easy, and is feeling less than useful with his network of contacts from a very different corporate world.
Yes, we should head down there. I also doubt shady chop shops are very permanent. I suspect it's going to take a lot of asking around, persuasion and connecting of dots in very shifty sands.
Moving on; if there was anything else anyone wanted from the briefing, let me know.
As you make your way to the Freemarkets, several of you note that a well-dressed shirren AbadarCorp representative is one that you've worked with in the past, identified as Mr. Philt. Spotting Gunnar, the shirren's antanae twitch in way of greetings. "Hello, Respected dwarf. It it excellent to see one such as you and your companions; I trust our paths will be profitable." He elicits a gentle clacking, before continuing. "Tell me, what brings you to Freemarkets? Buying? Selling? I have some official business to attend to here, but as a token of good will against future partnerships, I would be glad to offer some assistance in your endeavors.
Added the image of Philt to the Sheets.
Gunnar nods in acknowledgment."Greetings Mr. Philt...Uh, I mean Respected Shirren. Sorry, polite greetings ain't my specialty, but I appreciate your generous offer. We've got our hands on a pretty fancy augment, and we're trying to find the ones that made it. So I suppose you'd say buying is our aim."
Gunnar waves Roquefort forward."This here's Mr. Philt. He's with AbadarCorp, and he's an awful good friend to have. Might be if you show him the hand he could lend a... well he might be able to help."
Roquefort looks to the rest of the party "See? This job is going to be easy, Gunnar knows a guy"
He then unpacks the rolled up sportsbag from the backpack and surreptitiously opens it to show Philt the grisly contents (whilst keeping them secreted from casual observers)
"Seems we're looking for a purveyor of a new kind of augmentation, we believe they could be, or have been, based out of here"
Philt draws out a tablet, and presses several buttons, navigating through a few displays before looking up. ”Augmentations. The official directory is outdated, and only three of the clinics have current permits: BioBoost, the Cytech Clinic, and Metagenesis.” He thinks before adding, ”I am investigating a number of customers who have disappeared in the past two weeks and several of the missing people had biotech augmentations installed recently. I, and AbadarCorp, would appreciate any information you might be able to discover in this matter. To that end, I can also send a message to the Freemarket Vendors that you are acting an official capacity; that may aid you in making vendors more forthcoming.”
You know the last isn't over-exaggeration. The presence of AbadarCorp is visible everywhere and you haven't even entered the market.
Gunnar frowns as Philt relays his information to the group."If these disappearances are related to the augment specialist we're looking for it could mean the subjects ain't exactly willing."
Jaxon nods. "True. Philt, would you be willing to give us a few of the names of people who have disappeared? Perhaps we can learn more about their procedures and see if it's linked. Having a specific person might help us dig into any records."
Sefel frowns at the last of the shirren’s suggested procedures.
If you inform them all of our presence won’t those involved in this sale or the disappearances have time to scatter from the market and lay low? This doesn’t seem advantageous.
Kallus frowns at the shirren and looks at Sefel. "Exactly right. Nothing like telling the rats it is time to abandon ship. "
D'ris chimes into the party.
"I think the best course of action would go to the listed businesses that have licenses and see if we can persuade them to give us the names of less reputable establishments where one could get this kind of work. They may also be able to tell us more about the augment that we have."
Sefel nods at the fellow Lashunta and technomancer! and concurs.
Yes, let's simply follow these leads under the radar. If AbadarCorp authority can help us, is there a badge or papers or something else we can carry around and invoke discretely as we see fit?
He directs the last question at the shirren.
Philt thinks for a moment then nods. "That I can do. I doubt that the notice would cause the alarm you all are imagining; inspections are a matter of course. But my name alone carries weight."
Spoiler: There is no negative for accepting Philt's aid. Let me know if there's anything you want to ask him before we move on.
Kallus Harridan wrote:Kallus frowns at the shirren and looks at Sefel. "Exactly right. Nothing like telling the rats it is time to abandon ship. "Roquefort looks at Kallus.
Jaxon elbow Kallus. He whispers, "Dude...you can't say that...
Fair enough. That was simply my intuition on the it
Sefel hesitantly accepts the shirren's recommendation.
Very well. You know this place better than I. If the announcement can only help, let's do it.
Gilded doors separate the Freemarkets from the previous station sector. The entrance area contains a sizable shrine to Abadar to the right; to the left, an office issues permits, takes complaints, and receives petitions. Through the entry zone, a giant signboard with a directory of businesses offers onlookers a way to locate their desired merchandise.
The walkways are laid out in an orderly manner, with lifts and staircases at regular intervals leading to the Markets’ three retail levels. Kiosks sporting AbadarCorp logos offer carts for rent and advertise delivery services. Other businesses promote themselves in a riot of lights, music, and recorded ad pitches. Businesses are not grouped by type; food stalls operate next to jewelry stores, and specialists repair high-end electronics next to secondhand clothing racks.
Queue Investigation Montage. With Philt's aid, you receive a +5 to the following checks.
SECOND TIME AROUND
This pawnshop is a more established business than most in the high-turnover markets. A gossipy ysoki who named Dot has owned and operated this location for several years, making her a senior Freemarkets proprietor. She sells Freemarkets branded gear that includes all equipment with an item level of 2 or less from the Starfinder Core Rulebook
BioBoost specializes in nutritional supplements and “legal chemical enhancements.” Its muscular salesperson, Isidre, takes a slightly supercilious tone with you if they bring up biotech or augmentations in general. Their shop provides customers with the means to improve their bodies through hard work and discipline, not “shortcuts” like augmentations.
THE CYTECH CLINIC
The Cytech Clinic performs cybernetic augmentations, not biotech, but its owner directs the party to Metagenesis and Renew-You, mentioning the latter used to perform cybernetic augmentations.
Visitors can use a computer terminal to schedule augmentation surgeries, though the next available appointments are several weeks away.
HARD AS NAILS
This vesk barbershop specializes in horn grooming and scale detailing, and its owner, Katazoa, can be heard decrying local gang violence even from outside the building. Once you enter, you see that the clientele is predominantly vesk with a smattering of other reptilian humanoids.
Synthathesia is taped off, with an official Freemarkets sign saying it is under investigation for suspected illegal drug sales. Another sign, from Absalom Station’s public health department, requests that any former customers contact them. Several fliers promising inexpensive legal aid in personal-injury cases or criminal defense have been taped to the building.
Metagenesis focuses on broad-spectrum biotech augmentations, such as chameleon skin and bodily increases. The owner, a verthani technomancer named Chryson is unfamiliar with the augmentation the PCs describe. Examining the augmentation you have, though, he is able to tell them that the augmentation has an unusually high concentration of nanites in its construction. Under normal circumstances, most of the nanites used in biotech augmentations have a short life cycle. They are used to make changes to the body to help the biological components graft properly, and after this phase ends, they die off and are cycled into the body’s waste within days. This augmentation has substantial sections made entirely of repair nanites with long life cycles, which is very unusual. Due to the customization that any biotech augmentation requires, however, he cannot tell you anything more.
Kallus looks down at the elbow and back at Jaxon with a raised eyebrow. "Sure. I'll keep that in mind," he smirks and to the others he says, "I'm not used to the niceties of conversation, I'll be around for back up should you need a little more edge to your influence."
In Dot's Second Time Around shop....
Excuse me, Dot? What do you know of special augmentations such as this being sold in the markets?
Diplomacy, DC15: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6 welp... that's neither aid nor aid-able
He fishes the hand out of his pack but clumsily drops it onto the counter, making a sudden and abrasive clattering sound. The Ysoki sharply demands he buy something or leave.
Oh... Sefel mutters sheepishly, and then proceeds to look around the store for something he needs...
Gunnar also tries to improve the situation at Dots, but doesn't do much better despite showing Dot Philt's token.
Diplomacy with Philt's bonus: 1d20 - 1 + 5 ⇒ (4) - 1 + 5 = 8
A bit confused. Shouldn't we be starting with the three shops Philit gave us?
Jaxon squints at Dot, then looks around the shop. "Hey, is that a equinox detonator? I haven't seen one of those in a while. You know when I was growing up, my friends and I would set them with small firecrackers and watch people jump out of their skins." He chuckles. "Hey, Dot, how about I take that off your hands if you help us find what we're looking for?"
Diplomacy (Philit's bonus): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Diplomacy (Philit's bonus): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Basically, the three shops Philt gave don't pan out; Bioboost is a shop for "natural" enhancements, Cytech Clinic is for cybernetics, not biotech, and Metagenisis didn't have additional information specific to what you had beyond what was listed. Cytech Clinic did mention a shop called Renew You that wasn't on the list Philt gave you.
Roquefort puts on his best manners and speaks to all the merchants, getting his buddies to nod and smile a bit at opportune times when he is talking, and just nod in understanding when the shopkeepers are talking.
The strategy aimed at getting some sort of headway on the investigation.
Roquefort Take 10+Philt Bonus = 17 Diplo. One assist should jag us the Vesk as well, so guessing that should be ok :p
"Well, Cytech reckon we should ask around Renew You, so let's find out who they are and pay a visit. I wonder why thein ain't on the list? I doubt Philt would have held out on us."
Computer take 10 - 16. Find a listing and address (or former address) for 'Renew You'
Although Renew-You isn't on the list of active establishments, it isn't difficult to locate the shop's address. When you arrive, you find that the Renew-You clinic is a modular unit that resembles a shipping container. Although it is clearly older than the surrounding structures, it looks clean and well maintained. Metal doors are rolled down over the entrance and windows, and a neat sign reading “CLOSED INDEFINITELY” hangs over the posted business hours. The door is locked, but it wouldn't be difficult to bypass the security (There are no alarms / countermeasures you can find, and you will pass taking 10)
The inside of the clinic is divided into a reception area, an office, a small workshop, and an operating area. Searching the premises reveals that all computers and physical records have been removed. Additionally, Roquefort thinks that there is less equipment present than would be required to operate an augmentation clinic. It doesn't look like there has been activity here for at least a week.
As you are investigating, a halfling child approaches timidly. Clearly nervous, the boy says, "Hi... umm... my name's Senndi. I'm trying to find the doctors that worked here. Do you know where they are?" The child seems reluctant to speak, but clearly is worried about something and assumes you have some sort of official capacity to be here. "It's mamma!" Senndi exclaims on the verge of tears. "She got an augmentation at the clinic, and it worked great, but now she's really sick! I was hoping to find the doctors to help her, but no one has seen them." He glances around helplessly.
Before the inevitable question comes up, he really does seem distraught, and is not faking things. Not that having a child be bait or a villain is something that would ever occur in a scenario, ever.
Roquefort spent about 1.4 seconds in contemplation at the front door of the closed store before arriving at the decision and signalling the big slabs of intimidatory muscle in his group "Hey you guys keep an eye out for trouble", and then beginning to slip the basic security systems.
Rifling through what is left of the clinic he sighs a little "They've skedaddled, at least a week ago. A lot of equipment missing, I wonder if they relocated the chopshop somewhere else?"
Take 10 SM would be a 19, so happy that the GM isn't trying to hoodwink us!
"Heya kid, your ma came here? I' not a proper doctor so much but me and the guys can come have a look - we know a few guys we might be able to help"
D'ris will follow Roquefort's lead and follow them back. Before doing so though I would want to make a perception check on the inside of the clinic.
nuwildcat62Today at 11:02 AM
rollemBOTToday at 11:02 AM
16 ⟵ 1d20
The halfling child nods. "Uhuh. Auntie Mirra said we weren't supposed to talk about it, something about it not being nice. But she was coughing all the time, until she came here, and got better! But now it's gotten even worse!" He tugs at your clothes. "You can help!? Please, you gotta make her better!"
Do you follow him?
Did I learn anything on my perception check?
"Sure kid, let's go see your aunt"
Through comms "Let's go speak to this aunt while she is still breathing, better a living lead than a dead one. We can come back and go through this place and pull up the tiles afterward, just remember to lock the door behind us"