SPECIAL DELIVERY

goodstories

A statement often made by Doctor Edward E. Edwards

A statement often made by Doctor Edward E. Edwards

Ankang (安康) is a name shared by a number of psychiatric hospitals or asylums in the White Sun System. The term literally means “peace and health for the mentally ill.” Many of these institutions are prison-hospitals for holding prisoners judged to be mentally ill, and run directly under the Federal Anglo-Sino Alliance Government. Some patients sent to these institutions are political prisoners or Mahāyāna practitioners. By some estimates 3,000 political prisoners are held in about 25 ankang institutions across the White Sun System.

AsylumAbel Smith and Doctor Edward E. Edwards decided that the best way to make sure that Templeton Steele never resurfaced to bother anyone again was to admit him into Persephone City’s Ankang, otherwise known as the PERSEPHONE CITY ASYLUM FOR THE INSANE. Steele could live out the rest of his life within the walls of the Ankang, paying for his crimes against humanity. Neither men felt bad about putting the scum away. He’d made a ton of money selling weapons to both sides during the Unification War. He had the blood of millions on his hands. Payback is a bitch. [1]

AllianceFedStunGun

Alliance Soldier with Stun Gun

Thanks to Randa, the Star Voyager had a fake registration as a private medical transport freighter. Additionally, Abel and Edward both had fake Indentcards.  Arriving at Persephone City’s Ankang, they auto-docked in the Medical Bay Hangar. [2] Two Alliance soldiers met them and inspected their paperwork. Again, Randa had created a counterfeit profile for Steele. Finding the paperwork legitimate enough, they escorted Temple Steele into the facility.

psychiatric-hospital

Mental Hospital

Abel and Edward entered the facility after being processed and issued visitor passkeys. Again, Randa’s work on the fake Identcards was flawless. Luckily, there was no requirement for retinal or fingerprint scans.

Entering the Ankang, they found it was laid out much like an emergency medical center. The two Alliance soldiers were standing near one of the small observation rooms, holding Steele by the elbows. Edwards walked right up to one of the doctors and started spouting off about Steele, saying he was transferred directly from Deadwood due to a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder. Edwards claimed the man had psychotic features that made him have delusions of grandeur, often claiming to be famous or respectable people.

After a short conversation between the two doctors, Abel and Edward were directed to go down to one of the employee lounges to relax until Steele was processed for admittance. They decided to stop by the commissary for some snacks but ended up picking up a maintenance technician named Tony instead. Tony made the mistake of being in the right place at the wrong time.

Manipulating Tony proved easy for Doctor Edwards. The tech used his access cards to get Abel and Edward into the Restricted Area containing the Lab linked to Department 7 and Level 7. They talked Tony into allowing them into Office 10, and then Abel knocked the man cold with a solid gun stock to the back of the head. Edwards followed up by doping the man to make sure Tony didn’t wake up, and even planted some illicit drug paraphernalia near the bunk just for good measure.

The Secret Lab

The Secret Lab

 Edwards and Abel did their best to hack the hospital Cortex system. They were able to access the maintenance folders by using Tony’s Identcard. They noted that recent completed jobs included servicing Blastomere Tanks, Cryo Chambers, and installation of several new AutoDoc Gamma Knife Robotics. Edwards attempted to gain information about pharmaceuticals housed in the facility, but was unable to pull up that information with Tony’s Identcard. However, the Doctor was able to put in a requisition for several pieces of medical equipment to be placed at the entrance of the Medical Bay Hangar where it could be easily made to disappear. The list included a Blastomere Pack, a compact Cryo Chamber, two MedComps, a Modular Operating Theatre, and a crate of basic medical supplies. In all, the take was over 20,000 credits of medical equipment.

Abel had a mind to knock out the power sustaining the secret lab. He knew from looking at the schematics of the hospital that there was a large section of the subbasement housed within the mountain itself that went deep underground. However, to reach the power station would mean entering into the subbasement. He didn’t want to risk going into that area of the hospital without back up. It would be too risky.

As they left Office 10, the lights switched to a dull red color and alarms began to sound. For a moment, they thought that they had been discovered. However, both saw that the cause of the ruckus was actually a young male patient within the lab. He was strapped to a mobile operating suite with wires, sensors, and electrodes attached to his scalp, face, chest, limbs, and a fingers. He seemed to be having some kind of seizure. His was thrashing and flailing around violently. Doctors, nurses, and security swarmed him.

Zan

Zan

Abel remained calm and in his protective position. He glanced over at the Alliance Troopers holding Steele. They moved the man into the observation room, and pulled the sliding glass door shut. At the same time, Edward did not hesitate. He simply walked straight into the middle of the action.

“My God, people!” Edward shouted. “Who failed to properly sedate this patient?!” He pulled two tranq-darts out, one in each hand, and prepared to jab them into the flailing young man. More guards arrived from the upper level of the lab. They shoved the medical staff to the side and started to restrain the patient in his chair. One of the guards attempted to shove Edward out of the way, but the Doctor stepped to the side and sank both darts into the boy’s leg. All the while, Edward was jabbering in a loud voice about how incompetent everyone in the lab was and how it was a terrible violation of policy to have this young man waking up during a procedure of this type.

“He’s dreaming,” shouted one of the nurses. “Scary monsters!”

Edward focused and attempted to Read [3] the young man. He reached out with his mind attempting to feel and sense the young man’s thoughts. It was an ability that the Doctor unlocked during his time serving with Department 7. The ability was erratic and difficult to control. He made contact with the young man, and saw a flash of the incident to come in only seconds.

Edward gasped, and reached for his Tranq-gun, but he was too slow. The young man, Zan, burst into action. He threw his arms up into the air while simultaneously kicking out. Although it shouldn’t have, it sent all five Alliance soldiers flying away from him. Then he was moving, impossibly fast towards Edwards. As he passed one of the soldiers who was now on his knees, Zan skipped the man’s weapon from its holster and brought it to bear on Edward.

AllianceBoardingTeamMP5SD3s

ALLIANCE BOARDING TEAM

Suddenly the doors to the lab whooshed open and a Response Team of three Alliance Stormtroopers and two Officers rushed through the door, shouting orders. “Down! Now!” they shouted out of sync. “Get down on the ground now!”

The Doctor moved to place himself between the newly arrived Alliance agents, and Zan. “Don’t harm him!” shouted Edwards. “He’s only a child. Everything is under control!” Edward called on his experience as a former Physician with the Alliance to call up his best authoritarian voice. “I’m a doctor with Department 7!” [4]

This is the method of attacking by stratagem. The words echoed in Zan’s mind. It wasn’t his voice. It was Them. Their voices. The Doctors. Hurting, not Healing. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

Zan moved with practiced grace. His face was stoic and grim-faced. He was a warrior. A soldier. He was trained to kill. They had made him that way. They cut into his brain over and over until he could follow orders without moral questions – without thought – without remorse. He glanced at the Doctor, and past him to the Response Team. He could hear everyone thinking at once. He sensed their fear. He felt their aggression. He knew they meant to kill him. Put him down like a rabid dog. Like Frankenstein’s monster.

Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

Zan made eye contact with Edward for only a moment. He reached out with his psychic abilities to Read the Doctor. He looked through Edward’s thoughts and memories like a one might flip through a book. A fraction of a second later, Zan turned and dashed towards Abel. This was the path of least resistance.

If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

Abel gripped his Glock 17 and took a step forward. Raising the weapon, he aimed for the boy’s forehead. Then, suddenly, he raised his hands as if surrendering. [5] “I’m not going to hurt you,” Abel said in a sincere voice. “We’re here to help.”

Zan stopped suddenly, blinking twice at Abel. His shoulders drooped, and he lowered his head sadly. He lowered his arms to his side, letting the gun fall to the floor. His entire demeanor seemed to change. His looked up, tears forming in his eyes. “Help me,” he choked out with a sob. “They’re hurting us.”

Abel put his hand on the young man’s shoulder reassuringly. He glanced at The Doctor. Edward was already in action, shouting out orders and demanding that Zan be committed to his care.

“Dammit people,” Edward was shouting. “This is going into my report when I get back to Rim’s Dream and Level 7.” He stomped and waved his hands. He spouted off a list of medical supplies that would be required to transport Zan back to the Blue Sun System. In doing so, he nearly doubled the amount of loot they were able to expropriate from the hospital. [6]

Within an hour, Abel and Edward were taking off in the Star Voyager, heading back to Eavesdown Docks. They had nearly 40,000 credits worth of appropriated medical supplies on board. And Zan. Zan was there, too. Everything was shiny.

“Shiny, Zan.” said Abel with a wide smile. “I can’t wait to introduce you to the rest of the Crew.”

cropped-firefly_serenity_1_by_the_neverhood-d5mqn6w-png.jpg

redbarBehind_The_Scenesredbar[1] This story takes place right after WEDDING PLANNERS wherein the characters captured the bridegroom, Templeton Steele. Steele is a sleazy dude and a war criminal. Much like Cornelius Evazan‘s dislike of Luke Skywalker in “A New Hope” nobody on the crew liked Steele very much. So after the Captain pistol-whipped him senseless, the Doctor drugged him up and gave him a chemical  lobotomy.  Not to leave anything to chance, the Doctor also did some facial reconstruction to make Steele look different. After Randa produced some fake credentials to give Steele a serious background with mental illness, the group was ready to ditch the Arms Dealer on in an Ankang on Persephone. This was all role-played within a flashback and montage scene.

[2] Neither character had a good rating for their Fly or Operate to land the ship effectively. Instead of burning through a Plot Point or taking the chance at Botching a roll, they opted to place the ship on autopilot and have it auto-dock with the hangar. They could have used a Plot Point to put a D6 Asset into play like “Leaf on the Wind” to help them but they decided it wasn’t worth the chance of picking up a Complication like “Crashed into the Landing Pad Again” at D6.

[3] The character of Edward E. Edwards is a Reader. He had Latent skills that became Active while conducting experiments on participants at the Academy. He started using mind-altering drugs to suppress the effects, but this merely made the abilities erratic and unpredictable. Edward’s player announced he was using a Plot Point to trigger “Secrets, Secrets” under his Reader Distinction. I set the stakes with a [MENTAL]+[FOCUS]+[READER] for a total of 13. Ed’s player failed the roll with a 11 using his [MENTAL]+[KNOW]+[READER]. This placed a PARANOID D6 complication into play.

[4] Doctor Edwards has a Distinction called “Former Alliance Agent” which allows him to spend 1 Plot Point to double his INFLUENCE when trying to convince Alliance agents that he is a Doctor attached to Project: Oracle.  I set the stakes at 11 and Edward’s player managed to roll a 13 with his [SOCIAL D8]+[INFLUENCE D12+D12]+[(Fast Talk) D6]+[FORMER ALLIANCE AGENT d8]. With this success, the doctors and guards believed that Doctor Edwards was really a visiting Doctor from Level 7 a part of Project: Oracle.

[5] Abel has a Distinction “Harmless Looking.” This allowed him to appear “safe” to Zan, making the boy fall out of his programming. Abel’s player had originally intended to use his Glock 17 to Double Tap the kid in the face, but decided that he’d swap that action out for exactly the opposite. As a Gamemaster, I awarded this choice with a Success rather than having the player roll for it. The best game mechanic with Firefly is not rolling dice, it’s role-playing and acting.

[6] Again, the Doctor was role-playing his success of using his FORMER ALLIANCE AGENT distinction. In a stressful situation sometimes people just follow the person who shouts the loudest and seems to know what the Hell he’s talking about.

 

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About Big Rich

D&D, WEIRD WAR, STEAMPUNK, FIREFLY, CTHULHU, COMICS, and ZOMBIES ... oh my. Big Rich is just another geek cluttering your internets with senseless nonsense.
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