Saturday, 18 October 2014

Six more Bounties on the Board (Ruralpunk Edition)

Flush with cash after the hacker crackdown in Florida, our intrepid cyberpunk era bounty hunters... probably spent it all on booze and cyberware, because genre conventions. That means a road trip!

These bounties all have a Ruralpunk whiff about them (marijuana, pig slurry and coal dust!). This can be attributed to my usual obsessions, and the fact I'm half way through an Elmore Leonard book set in Kentucky.

Featuring: Dog Fighting! Terrorism! Cheerleading!

1. Nancy Fry
Price: $4000
Wanted by: City Police

Nancy Fry is a ripperdoc with an unusual speciality: designing, producing and installing cyberware for fighting animals, particularly dogs. She had a hidden clinic set up in the city, with 3d printers for the materiel and a surgery centre. 

Now she's on the run after animal rights activists located her base of operations and trashed it, revealing it to the police in the process. Right now she's up a strip-mine blasted mountain with the country-Frys (less refined, more inbred than the city-Frys) waiting for the police to forget about her. Her priority is to replace her equipment. The problem isn't money, but acquiring unregistered machines and setting them up somewhere private. Entrepreneurial Bounty Hunters could use her to uncover an entire world of printer-hackers and electricity thieves. 

If you saw Nancy Fry walking down a suburban street you'd make her for a put-upon housewife. She has neuralware, cybereyes with magnification and elaborate tool fingers, but she relies on gun-totin' varmint-huntin' country-Frys for protection. 

2. Heidi "RedEye" Braun
Price: $15,000
Wanted by: State of Iowa

It's all change in Iowa! Two third tier agri-businesses recently collapsed, resulting in a corporate feeding frenzy. 

The reason for these sudden bankruptcies? An act of eco-terrorism.

RedEye is a biohacker. Three months ago she deployed a bespoke mutant fungus against fields around the town of Carroll, whose (essentially harmless) red spores strongly resembled an outbreak of Nigerian Grain Blight. The USDA reacted rapidly to the apparent NGB eruption, burning several hundred square kilometres of crop. The resulting financial losses threw the local economy into chaos during a year of especially tight margins. The only organisations to profit were the AAA agri-corporations, who took the opportunity to grab some of the last available farmland in the state. 

RedEye claimed responsibility on behalf of an anti-GMO activist group with a very limited profile. Tracing her will require careful groundwork, made more difficult by her continued movement around the South and Midwest of the United States.

When the hunters find her, they'll discover that RedEye is very, suspiciously, well equipped for a two-bit eco-terrorist. In addition to her chemputer systems, she has delta grade cyberware with speed boosters and a smartgun system, all ex-military marque. 

They might also discover the cortex bomb, before it cleanses her brain...

3. Hanna Callahan
Price: $2000
Wanted by: Outta-State Police

Casinos acknowledge that cyber-eyes with high-tech vision modes are beyond common these days. They like you to disclose predictive neural-ware and "frozen face" systems and draw the line at pheromones, but your fancy iEyes are just fine in any legit establishment.

This is not always the case in underground poker games run by backwoods criminals.

Here's what went down. Conniving shitface Milo "Shitface" Brown tried to cheat Bucky O'Rabbit, Bob "Two Eyes" Gourley and Hanna "Dat Smile" Callahan out of their money by using a set of cards printed with tags only visible to his fancy x20 magnification city-brought eyes. Thing is, Hanna's (disguised, near-invisible) cyber-eyes came with the same system.

So Hanna spots the scam, uses it to her advantage. Bucky, Milo and Bob lose everything. Milo stands up, accuses her of cheating using "the tiny-ass tags I put on the cards." Bucky and Bob draw pistols and shoot Milo. Hanna shoots Bucky and Bob.

Bob has a secondary heart installed (turns out, everybody at the game had 'ware!) and survives to talk to police. True to his nickname, he saw everything. Now Hanna is on the run. Kinda. Really, she's just doing what she always does - hustlin' an' gamblin' an' shootin' an' smokin' an' lovin', all across these United States of America.

Hanna hates shooting people. For that reason she carries a smart-linked custom .44 so she can get it over with as quickly as possible. 

Frankly, she isn't a police priority. No-one liked that shitface anyway. Still, money is money...

4. Denny Corvin
Price: $10,000
Wanted by: City Police

In the dark future, it seems like anybody dealing with fierce competition resolves it with gunfire. Corporate warfare, political activism... cheerleading...

Denny Corvin didn't kill somebody for a place on the high school cheerleading team (although that has happened, I'm sure!). Denny was a professional, cheering for a major city football team.

This is where we take a digression into some cheerleading politics (I'm sure you can't wait...). Sporting authorities have stringent regulations around cyberware. Those same authorities can barely agree whether cheerleading is a sport.. In the USA, the various weakened governing bodies split over the issue. 

Denny belongs to a team that allowed cyberware. In fact, they insisted. She and her team-mates were rebuilt like race cars, for physical power and grace ...and then the governing body leadership changed, and her body literally became illegal. They chose to do this following a series of cases in which cheerleaders commit suicide after becoming profoundly alienated from their own manufactured physicality. 

Three days ago she walked into the a city restaurant and executed the manager of the football team that funded her rebuilding (and provided the physical specifications she originally agreed to). She then managed to evade police in a kinetic foot chase aided by a rainstorm which impeded their pursuit drones.

It's unclear whether Denny has become cyber-psychotic. It is in the legal interests of her doctors, her 'ware manufacturers and the football team that she isn't. They've provided bounty money in the hope that cowboy hunters will kill her before she can go before a psychologist. They've also put her name on the street - the medical corporation want her found... dead in an alley, killed by some gangster out to avenge a popular team manager.

Denny knows nothing about combat tactics or evasion. What she does have is a commando grade physicality designed for high speed movement and precision. Her dexterity is super-human, as is her sprint speed. Her neuralware accurately predicts movement by other humans in close proximity, which turns out to be a supremely effective close combat tool. She has strength enhancements capable of carrying a pyramid of cyborgs, or punching through a solid wall. What she lacks entirely are stealth enhancements.

Her motives at the current time are unclear.

5. Joey "Inspiration" Rey
Price: $3000
Wanted by: Federal Marshals 

Josefa ("Joey") was an underground boxer in an eastern seaboard state where the sport became illegal due to health concerns. Her career was short and successful, winning matches and building a following. Then she killed a gambling syndicate handler called Fatlip for reasons unclear. Turns out, Fatlip was an uncover vice cop.

Now she's on the run from Federal Marshals. Rey has vague plans to lay low with share-cropper relatives for a few months and then make a break for Brazil (she speaks fluent Portuguese as a first language).

Rey is as fast and physically powerful an unenhanced fighter as runners are likely to meet. In Cyberpunk 2020, she has a Resist Torture/Drugs skill of +7.

6. Janet "Janet Aquaria" Brogan
Price: $2000
Wanted by: State Police

"Janet Aquaria" is a small town con-artist interested in New Age theology, Chinese medicine and general spirituality, who travels small towns and eco-gee bringing hope in exchange for, like, money. Lots of money.

Janet would have been a competent charlatan in any era. Instead, she grew up on the streets of Atlanta, hustling for a street booster-gang. Her natural skills have been supplemented by a spectacular amount of cyberware; pheromones, facial analysis systems, social skill chips... 

In the big city her bag of implanted tricks could be detected relatively easily. In the rotting towns and squalid ecogee camps, she might as well be a supernatural vampire, hypnotising her prey. 

Almost a year ago she tried putting her moves on a FEMA official. That official had modern bioware and realised what was going down. She pursued Brogan out into the night before posting a police report. 

Brogan is dangerous out of all proportion with her bounty value (which reflects how little the police care about what happens to poor ecogees). In addition to her street hardened skills and varied cyberware, she usually surrounds herself with a group of loyal disciples. Several now accompany her from town to town. Guns come cheap in the camps, and her followers will die before they hand her over to the hunters.

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