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SLA Industries: Campaign Premise

Unrest grew in the populace of Mort as the centennium neared. Demoscopic research showed an unacceptable rise in youth rebellion among SLA-employed families of better-than-average status, accompanied by a sheer drop in TV consumerism. The last thing SLA could want was a new generation of free-thinking, headstrong rookie employees - therefore a number of countermeasures were brought into effect in 899 SD. Among these was a new kind of electronic stimulation which surpassed the TV experience; a technology which had barely reached beta status, but which was now forced into mass production. On the consumer side, the new development sported a helmet which was equipped with numerous electrodes on the inside; when hooked up to a special receiver the helmet could play back sensory information directly into the brain of its wearer. This part of the technology was pretty standard and had been used in earlier time to some effect. The new part was a newly designed version of the Finance Chip - one that did not make its presence known to its host but which could broadcast all thoughts, sensory input and emotions of its host to a mobile receiver and recorder setup.

The plan was to provide a new kind of entertainment for the jaded - research data analysis had revealed that the modern youth did no longer show interest in the exploitation of SLA operative missions or contract killers; especially their tendency to showact in front of the camera. It's not real if you know there's a camera somewhere.

Chancel Productions, the highly successful originators of the Urban Slaughter serial killer docushow, were brought in to create a new kind of TV feature based on the new technology. Dr. Arthur Seneca, founder of Chancel Productions, himself planned and styled the feature show meticulously. Based on Shiver Unit / SLA Operative tactical reports and statistics the Aggrovate Gang, based in Eastsector Downtown around East Main Street near the Perimeter Wall; on one end of the shortest straight line you could draw across a map of Mort between Suburbia and the Cannibal Sectors. The Aggrovates were a perfect match for Chancel's requirements: the average age of the members was about two years above that of the target group, providing perfect identification opportunities; they were living in an area which was still close enough to Suburbia to have a substantial number of SLA employees working in low-rung capacities while being just 'slummy' enough to make an interesting difference to the sheltered and spoilt life in Uptown and Mort Central; they dealt in petty crime but mainly provided paid security services for the civilian inhabitants of their turf. The area itself was considered low information priority, which meant that only basic misinformation, propaganda, entertainment shows and commercial programs were provided there; by classifying the new project high-level information it was made sure that no news or other information of it filtered down to the gang members. The show itself was slated in a daily prime-time two-hour slot on Channel Core 4, an expensive and exclusive Pay-TV channel which only the rich could afford even to know.

With the help of one of the largest Ebon / Brain Waster operative teams in SLA history, all specializing in the fields of Communication and Senses Ebb, the entire gang was subdued for a period of 12 hours during which all were fitted with the new biogenetic chip. After the procedure their memories were edited to remove the event.

From that moment on everything every single member of the Aggrovates did, experienced, thought, and felt was broadcast to a relay station secreted away all across the gang territory. A production team of two dozen technicians and editors sifted through the material, enhanced it, cut it down to feature-length size and fed it into the TV circuit. The effect was instantaneous. Target group coverage was above 90% from the start. Chancel-designed events such as serial killer intrusions, shoot-outs with Monarch and the like brought the coverage up to nearly 100%. To preclude any desasters, Chancel brought in clandestine Wraith Raider snipers and occasionally other operatives to remove any obstacles deemed too dangerous for the Aggrovates, while staying completely out of sight. An illegal clinic, operated by Doc Morose, a former employee of SLA subsidiary Trauma Team with an impairing drug habit, was fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment and ample resources to provide medical assistance. Doc Morose's compliance was assured by providing him with a highly addictive stronger drug giving him better trips while reducing the detrimental side effects. As long as the Aggrovates fared well and the truth was kept from them, Doc Morose was a made man.

A last-minute modification of the chip included an Emergency Full Stop, a biochemical reaction which put the body of the host into suspended animation when severe trauma occured - the system could mean the difference between life and death. Chancel also had Shiver and Trauma Team units at its disposal if something unforeseen happened; but Dr. Seneca made sure that this was never the case.

The show did exceedingly well throughout the rest of 899 SD and well into 902. The Aggrovate merchandising spread through Mort Central as a fashion wave, and the red-and-white colour preference of the Aggrovates became ubiquitous. Aggrovate action figures and Doobries of the characters with the largest fan base were an instant success. All the time the lid on the information about the show was utterly secure and the Aggrovates never had an inkling about what was actually happening.

Then the breakdowns started. At first, a couple of Aggrovates broke down with severe haemorrhage, suddenly bleeding from ears, nose, eyes and mouth. Death set in within five minutes. Chancel determined the source of death to be a malfunction of the chip. Within the framework of the Aggrovate storyline a different explanation was sought. When David Kouplitt, one of the best received Aggrovate characters, also succumbed to the malfunction, Dr. Seneca decided to start Operation Upgrade. This was further hastened by the fact that a fan of Kouplitt went autistic with shock after witnessing the death-throes of the chip and its host. Quickly a new version of the helmet setup was released at reduced cost to owners of the old one - it was fitted with an Extreme Emotion Dampener, but only about 87% of the old setups were returned. Almost every further death due to chip failure was accompanied by a couple of similar cases where youths still used the old setup. Operation Upgrade was also designed to address this problem and give a satisfactory explanation to the bereaved parents. Research on the new chip had not ceased, and a new, more stable version had already been developed. Now that David Kouplitt was dead and with a growing number of fans dropping out of the show, new blood had to be brought in. Operation Upgrade was supposed to supplant the Aggrovates with a more aggressive and lethal gang: the Bluejacks.

Originally the Bluejacks had been operating in an area just north of the Cannibal Sector Perimeter; they had a lot of combat experience and the gear to face just about anything, thanks to DarkNight. Seneca arranged for GoreZone to move into their turf; in the ensuing chaos, he pulled off the same stunt as when he recruited the Aggrovates, but with an added twist - after fitting some of the Bluejacks with the new version of the chip he had the Ebon specialists change their memories so that they could be moved to the Aggrovate area without feeling displaced; and instead of GoreZone he had them put the blame on the Aggrovates. Thus a lethal, instant enemy was created.

The Bluejacks were heavily armored and outgunned the Aggrovates. Their blue and yellow armour could easily be colour-keyed to include sponsor logos on the eventual broadcast. They shaved their heads and painted them white, with a red triangle pointing downwards from their foreheads to their chins. Red symbols on their left cheeks made it possible to identify individuals under this warpaint. This spawned yet another fashion craze when the Bluejacks were finally introduced into the series as a worthy, DarkNight-sponsored adversary. The storyline had it that they were responsible for the deaths of David and the others, using some hitherto unknown DarkNight development. Yet though they were clearly cast as villains they built up a fan base quickly.

The Bluejacks spent a season searching for the headquarters of the Aggrovates; leaving many civilians dead but inexplicably failing to extinguish the Aggrovates, though further deaths due to chip failure were blamed on them. The Aggrovates on the other hand managed to take down a couple of Bluejacks with lucky shots, or so it seemed - invariably the Bluejacks in question were not chipped, and the bullet which took them down actually came from a well-timed sniper rifle.

For a couple of months the Bluejack fan base grew until it was as large as that of the Aggrovates - which split the target group nearly in half. But the target group itself had changed - the original fans had grown older and dropped out while their younger brothers and sisters, who followed in their steps, could no longer relate to the actor characters who were now four years their senior on average. Furthermore the rebellious vein the program had set out to counter was no longer present. The program had outlived its usefulness, and surveys showed that its market penetration was now lower than 30%.

Dr. Seneca failed to understand in time that the series had to come to an end. He stepped up the nastiness of the Bluejacks, sacrificing a couple of minor Aggrovate characters and their supporting cast, but this only resulted in a public outcry - it was demanded that SLA Industries put a stop to this DarkNight incursion with extreme measures. At the same time many sponsorship contracts concerning the major Bluejack characters were cancelled.

Dr. Seneca had proven unable to assess the reaction of the public correctly because he was too much emotionally involved with the project. Therefore he was quite unceremoniously dumped by the shareholders and replaced by Tanith Cayne as CEO, a Brain Waster operative with her own plans for the show.

Market analysis showed plummeting rates for the show at the time Cayne took over. Hardcore fans of certain Bluejack characters remained, and the Aggrovates' distress had engendered a surprising rise in sympathy for the gang, focussing in the main on three characters, two brothers and one sister of David Kouplitt. Cayne decided to make very far-reaching changes.

The series did no longer fulfil its original purpose, and the purpose itself had, as surveys showed, dissipated. Cayne decided to bring the show to a spectacular end, in effect reducing the cast to the surviving Kouplitt siblings on the one hand and the Bluejacks on the other who were to take over the Aggrovate turf. Eventually the Bluejacks would find themselves in the middle of a GoreZone show again - with no advance warning this time. But the Kouplitts were to be set up with an undercover operative who would present them with tasks, actual BPNs or designed scenarios for the show, for them to solve bravely and valiantly - while watched over by a reduced but well-trained group of veteran operatives (nicknamed the 'Guardian Angels') and recording personnel. Cayne was aiming for the effect of an operative show without the main actors actually being operatives or even knowing they were on camera and the added immediacy of the experience through the chip.

The story begins with the Bluejack raid on the Aggrovates' secret hideout. The storyline expects the Kouplitt siblings to survive and make it out of there - alone. With their lives in tatters they will be contacted by Sherwood - a seedy P.I. they already know and who helps them escape.

The PCs

The PCs are siblings, brothers and sisters of the deceased David Kouplitt. Like their brother they have been gang members from the day they were 12 years old, the minimum age to be considered a member of the Aggrovates. They have been tutored by various other gang members and have risen in rank, replacing older gang members deceased or gone on to greener pastures. At 20 or so surviving gang members are slowly becoming too old - they usually join other outfits not concerned with territory as much as profit, organized crime, trafficking etc. Some even get respectable low-income jobs with SLA or not quite as respectable jobs as freelancers for smaller companies, shop owners, Monarch law officers etc.

Wire and Venom are now on the brink of having to leave the Aggrovates - no-one is going to oust them, but the feeling of no longer fitting in persists. Tease has a couple of years for him - but without his brother and sister it wouldn't be the same anymore.

The Kouplitt siblings miss their elder brother David sorely - he had been the head of the four, devising plans for action, scheduling tasks etc. and making sure that the Aggrovates delivered what they were paid for by more than half the inhabitants of their turf.

Tease (Jarod Kouplitt)

The youngest of the surviving Kouplitt siblings, 17-year-old Tease is best known for his open ways, giving him a wide range of contacts on various levels of society within the Downtown turf of the Aggrovates. He's done a few favours, seen to things, arranged exchanges and made himself generally useful to many people. He's got a talent for organizing gadgets and information, and people trust him to see to it that debts are repaid.

Venom (Gail Kouplitt)

With two older brothers and one younger, Venom, now 20, learned to stand in for herself very early in life. In the end she came out tougher than any of her brothers. Venom considers herself a warrior, honing her skills and keeping her body in top shape whenever her time permits it. She knows and can handle most weapons accessible to Downtown gangs; she has learned to modify and repair such equipment as well.

Wire (William Kouplitt)

22-year-old Wire is a hardware specialist. Motorcycles, computers, hi-tech gear is his domain. If it's broken, he fixes it; if it needs spare parts, Wire and Tease will be able to get them and use them efficiently. Wire isn't above improvising either.

Supporting Cast
Tanith Cayne

Tanith Cayne, an up-and-coming Brain Waster operative, has recently taken over the reins of Chancel Productions as CEO, replacing the company founder Dr. Arthur Seneca, and is personally in charge of the AggroTurf show. Getting rid of most of the crew she is about to decrease the cost of the show considerably, while giving it a different thematical spin at the same time. At the moment she is testing the new concept of the Kouplitt siblings teaming up with Sherwood, a P.I. in the sector who is also on her payroll.

She is not above stopping the show before it becomes disastrous - but in the meantime her team of top-notch recording and editing personnel keep a close watch on the three Kouplitts and the chip-fitted Bluejacks from well-hidden mini-studios which pepper the area and receive a continuous data stream from the biogenetic chips. The team is assisted by Wraith Raider snipers, human bodyguards and a Trauma Team for emergencies, though these supporting personnel have the primary task to watch out for the plotline and the secrecy of the show first, for the Kouplitts second, and if they've still got resources to share for the technical staff last.

Dr. Arthur Seneca

Dr. Seneca has been quite unceremoniously dumped by the shareholders of Chancel. His company had no longer been technically his for years - but removing him with so little compassion has hurt him deeply. Dr. Seneca has received a generous compensation which allows him not to work anymore - and while he is free to move about in Mort Central and Uptown, where his luxurious flat is located, he was quick to find out that he has been put under constant surveillance. The shareholders are not taking any chances with him - he is not to disrupt the show with any petty and undoubtedly self-destructive attempts at revenge. This strengthened his resolution all the more - Tanith Cayne has to fail, and in a way she herself was to blame. Dr. Seneca is no longer willing to regain his former position; he just wants Chancel, Cayne and the show to founder. He can only bring this about with most clandestine means - and he intends to have the Kouplitts find out for themselves how they have been used all the time. He will settle for having it all go down in flames if necessary.


Sherwood is a slimy private eye - a job which only covers for his career as a petty criminal. He featured on the AggroTurf show a couple of times as a supporting character, and the Aggrovates count him in as an ally. Tanith Cayne has recently contacted him as the SLA operative she is and recruited him as a subordinate retainer - a chance he would have been stupid not to take. He believes to be doing footwork for a SLA talent scout, and he has been sworn to secrecy. Cayne told him to recruit further talent for covert operations in Downtown. Sherwood is completely in the dark about the AggroTurf show and will keep the little he knows secret at all cost because he knows that nothing that can happen to him is worse than what Cayne can do to him if he betrays her.

Doc Morose

Doc Morose is an ex-employee of SLA. As a young man he had been on several successful Trauma Teams but the stress took its toll and he began to use drugs. When they began to interfere with his performance he was kicked out. Without a job Morose found himself homeless in Downtown, but David Kouplitt and other members of the Aggrovates found him and set him up as head of an illegal free clinic which until then had been maintained by unlearned staff only. That was two years before the AggroTurf show started.

Doc Morose never even tried to fight his addiction, and the Aggrovates thought nothing of feeding it. Morose could stabilize himself with the use of even more drugs long enough to fulfil his obligation to the gang when they came in wounded or sick - for a time. But then the impact of the drugs began to fade.

Then Dr. Seneca stepped in. He gave Doc Morose access to stronger drugs with less side effects which actually lessened the involuntary shakes he had. He improved the shabby equipment, in many cases giving old machines state-of-the-art insides, and stocked up the resources of the clinic. He bought out Doc Morose completely with that. Doc Morose is just as loyal to the project as Sherwood, and he knows a little more about it - he knows about some modification having been made to the Aggrovates' minds without their knowing it and believes it to be a new kind of gang control and riot suppression device being tested here. As he does not want his free flow of high-level designer drugs to cease the secret rests safe with him for the moment.

Mr Sabadell, Crime Lord

Mr. Sabadell's organization works from a high-security building in a southbound street just off Main Eastern and a couple of blocks from Eastern Terminal. The whole building contains the offices of various of his enterprises, most of which are even legal, and a penthouse on top which oversees the whole district (but not the Perimeter Wall). The penthouse is supposed to be his main office, but actually he never visits it in person. Actually he rarely visits Downtown at all, preferring to remain in his luxurious Suburbian apartment and keeping in contact with his subordinates by video.

Sabadell is an obese man with a tanned, bald head and a winning smile framed by a blond beard. He keeps a veritable harem of beautiful women. His organization deals with every sort of services, legal and illegal, he can put his hands on. In many ways Sabadell is a SLA employee - but he is also on DarkNight's paylist and freelance as well. While his main interest is in the Downtown East Terminal sector his empire spans more than that and has ties into Suburbia and even into Uptown. He has a wide net of contacts and a lot of power, but he is not the only kingpin of his kind; there must be dozens, even hundreds more given the vast extension of Mort. But around East Terminal not much goes on that doesn't fall under his jurisdiction. Monarch isn't going to lift a finger in the area without his approval, and neither do the Aggrovates. Shiver Units are an exception - but Sabadell knows not to tread where SLA doesn't want him (at least not obviously), so he keeps out of the Shivers' way.

The Aggrovate project wouldn't have been possible without paying 'license fees' to Sabadell. None of his operatives in the area know about this, so no contacts the PCs have will be able to provide information, but Sabadell and some trusted minions of his know quite a bit about the operation.

Many Aggrovates who live long enough are spotted by Sabadell's talent scouts and become members of his organization once they grow too old for the gang. Sabadell considers the Aggrovates a fertile training ground. He lets go of them only reluctantly, but recompensation was such that he accepted with a heavy heart. He is not yet fond of the Bluejacks, whose violent but brainless approach is not the kind of quality he expects, and he may be willing to reinstate the Aggrovates in due time.

Kenneth Shy, Shiver Sergeant

Kenneth Shy is a S.C.A.F. Shiver Sergeant posted in the East Terminal Dowtown sector. He has already absolved two tours of Sleeper duty near the Cannibal Sectors; there's not much that can faze him in this relatively quiet post. He is not as haughty as many other S.C.A.F.s, and has good relations to his ground-hugging colleagues. He also has good relations to the Aggrovates and other elements of less reputable standing - even a S.C.A.F. doesn't earn as much as he should...

The Aggrovates

The Aggrovate gang has a good 200 members. Not all of them are in the main headquarters, when the attack goes down, and not all of them are chipped. Maybe two dozen, among them five of the remaining chip carriers, die in the attack; a further six chip carriers remain active, among them (hopefully) the PCs. Among the dead, however, is almost the full leading unit of the Aggrovates, first and foremost their 18-year-old leader Shawn 'Harpy' Berringer. A succession dispute is very likely to erupt between Kevin Chay (17) and Brandy 'Scourge' Netsui (18). Brandy has most of the more violent member behind her, while Kevin acts as big brother of the youngsters. The PCs might also have something in their favour, should they decide to stick with the gang and reach for the leadership.

The Kouplitts

Jeff and Ethel Kouplitt have resigned long ago. In their time they had been up-and-coming Aggrovates, but when they had David, their first child, at the age of 17 and 16 respectively, that life ended. A new life began as wage slaves for SLA Industries, with Jeff commuting into Suburbia and to a mindless job on an assembly line 300 km from home; Ethel stayed home until the youngest of the four was old enough to understand television, then took up a similar job of her own 250 km away in the other direction. This life has eaten away whatever personality they might have had in their pre-marital youth, and today all they ever do when the working day ends and the household is fit to roll on for another day is watch TV, eat, rut, and sleep. If asked they might not even know when they saw any of their children last.

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