Fashion Victim

In the cloning facility, a cloaked figure wearing a strange mask roughly shoulder checks you before hurrying down a side row.

Level: 2
Start: Tamhas, Clones, Tau Station

Introduction

A young man, quiet and jittery, welcomes you as you enter the cloning facility. His eyes dart nervously back and forth, as though looking for someone or something else. A name tag on his lab coat reads, “Tamhas.” He looks quite unwell, and squints though the lighting is dim.

Tamhas says: Welcome to the Crick-Watson Cloning Facility. Please don't touch anything. On your left —-

Tamhas's forehead suddenly furrows as he turns slightly green. He brings a hand up to his mouth then rushes past you, mumbling an “excuse me” as he flees, vanishing around a corner.

  • Explore the facility.

As you tour the cloning facility, walking past the rows of silent, bubbling vats full of still bodies and thick green liquid, someone suddenly shoulder checks you roughly before hurrying down a side row. As they rush past, you catch the sight of a strange mask under the hood of the dark cloak they're wearing. The mask is red, with a leering mouthful of fangs, metallic eyes, and two sharp-looking horns protruding from its temple.

You have accepted the "Fashion Victim" mission.

  • Call out to them.
  • Not my problem.
  • Follow them.
  • Follow them discreetly.

Follow them discreetly:
(Agility check)

You step quietly into a side row, paralleling the cloaked figure. They stop before one of the vats, glancing furtively around as they check a digital panel on the vat's front.

  • Call out to them.
  • Hide and watch them

Hide and watch:
(Agility check)

You slide behind a vat, peeking around the side just enough to see the cloaked figure. They stare at the vat they've stopped at, motionless for a moment.

Inside the vat, a woman floats serenely, her long hair rippling around her head like a dark halo. Suddenly, the cloaked figure reaches out and releases a valve on the side of the pod. A hose snaps loose, and green liquid begins gushing out of the pod. The figure reaches for another valve …

  • Stop them!
  • Do nothing.

Stop them:

You rush forward, pushing the figure away from the clone pod before they're able to release the second hose. The figure struggles with you briefly, until a voice distracts you both.

The voice says: Warning. Liquid volume falling below recommended levels. Current clone status: Viable. Early clone awakening activated. Please confirm. Early clone awakening activated. Please confirm or clone will be destroyed.

As you turn toward the draining vat, the figure pushes away from you and runs off. The panel on the tank is flashing a message that reads, “Confirm early awakening or destroy clone.”

  • Press “Destroy Clone.”
  • Call out for help.
  • Press “Confirm.”

Confirm:

You tap the screen for “Confirm,” and lights begin to flash around the pod. The clone's eyes suddenly snap open! She sees you! Her frightened eyes dart around, and her hands go to her throat as she instinctively fights against breathing in the oxygen rich liquid. Soothing music begins to play and an automated recording begins speaking.

The voice says: Welcome back, Ailya. Please do not be concerned. You are waking up at the Crick-Watson Cloning Facility. Please try to relax. You will feel a moment of disorientation. This is normal.

The voice drones on as the liquid slowly drains. The woman seems to be listening to the instructions, and though she's still frightened her face is finally free of the liquid. She begins to cough up the green fluid. Soon, the vat has drained enough that the glass front opens upwards.

The woman reaches out for you, struggling!

  • Let her figure it out.
  • Help her!

Help her:
(Strength check)

You rush to her side, helping her gently from the vat and wrapping her in one of the thick robes that's hung by the side of every vat. She struggles, coughing up the liquid until it's clear of her lungs. She takes a huge, shuddering breath then looks around.

  • A voice suddenly calls out …

A voice says: By the Black! What do you think you're doing!

A older man wearing a white lab coat is rushing toward you and the cloned woman. His face is furious with rage as he looks from you to the woman.

  • Convince him you were helping.
  • Demand that he help her.

Convince:
(Social check)

Me: Someone else did this to her. I'm helping!

The man, who wears a badge reading “Doctor Briggs,” blinks at you for a moment then looks around.

He says: Oh, well, thank you then, ser.

The doctor crouches, putting himself at Ailya's eye level. From a jacket pocket, he takes out a thin flashlight, which he shines into her eyes quickly.

The doctor shouts: Tamhas! Oh, where is that wretch.

He looks up at you, his face still flushed with anger.

He says: What happened here? Why is she awake now? Where is Tamhas?

  • "Someone wearing a cloak tried to kill her!"
  • "I saw Tamhas when I first arrived."

I saw Tamhas:

Me: I saw Tamhas when I first arrived. He didn't look so good.

Briggs growls: He's going to look worse when I find him! How dare he leave the floor unattended!

  • "Someone wearing a cloak tried to kill her!"

Me: Someone wearing a cloak tried to kill her!

You tell him about the assailant, and about their actions to try to destroy the clone. Briggs' eyes grow wide as he looks around.

  • Briggs stands, checking the vat's display.

Briggs stands, checking the vat's display.

He says: I will contact security immediately. Now then, let's see. She's come out just a little too early. She only had a few segments to go, but… yes, I think she's going to be fine.

He crouches again.

He says: Ms. Faizan, you are safe now. Welcome back to life! Our humblest apologies at the rude awakening. I'm Doctor Briggs, apologies if you already remember that.

Ailya looks from you to the doctor and blinks slowly, confused.

  • "I'm glad you're okay."
  • "I saved your life!"

I'm glad you're okay:

Me: I'm glad you're okay.

Ailya looks at you, blinking. She manages a weak smile at you.

  • Together, you help Ailya stand …

Together, you help Ailya stand.

Briggs says: Take your time, miss. You are feeling the aftereffects of the process. You'll have decanting sickness for a little while, but soon you'll feel tip top. Now then, would you please come with me so that we can get you comfortable and dressed?

Ailya says: … clothing …

Briggs says: Yes, miss, that's correct. We're going to get you dressed and cleaned up.

Briggs steps closer to you, lowering his voice.

He says: I don't know who you are, but I appreciate you being there for her when she woke. I'm going to take her to get cleaned up. Would you do me an enormous favor? Please find my assistant Tamhas. Wretch though he may be, he's not usually one to shirk his duties. I'm worried something's happened to him.

  • "I think I've done enough."
  • “Sure, I can do that.”

Sure, I can do that:

Me: Sure, I can do that.

Briggs nods his thanks and gently leads Ailya to a side room.

Search the cloning facility for Tamhas.

  • Search for Tamhas

(Intelligence check)

You find Tamhas exiting the head. He stops in the doorway and sways, wiping a hand roughly across his chin.

  • "Your boss wants you asap."
  • "You don't look so good."

You don't look so good:

Me: You don't look so good.

Tamhas blinks at you then nods. The nod seems to pain him, though, and he sways again. He looks a bit green.

He mumbles: Yeah, sure. I'm okay, ser. Thanks. Excuse me …

He starts to take a step then sways and tips forward.

  • Catch him!
  • Let him fall.

Let him fall:

Tamhas pitches forward, crumpling to the ground. He is still for a moment, then pushes himself up woozily. He sways again and leans forward, bracing his hands against his knees.

He says: Ugh … uhm, would you … help me get to Briggs? I seem to be a tad unwell. Must have been something I ate.

  • "Come on, let's go."
  • "I've done enough."

Let's go:

Me: Sure. Come on, let's go.

Tamhas nods his thanks, and puts his arm over your shoulder as you slip yours under him. He's incredibly hard to move!

  • Bring Tamhas to Briggs.

(Stamina check)

Tamhas is a sloppy mess, and you have a hard time getting across the building, but you eventually manage to half drag, half help him get back to Briggs.

  • Talk to Briggs.

You find Briggs in a well-lit office. Tamhas raises his free hand to shield his eyes from the lights as you deposit him into a chair.

Briggs exclaims: By the Black, what is wrong with you, Tamhas?

Tamhas groans: Nothing! Sorry, doctor. Some food poisoning or something.

Briggs puffs out his lips, considering. Then, he stands and walks over to Tamhas, bends towards the man and then shakes his head.

Briggs says: You smell like the breweries of Ghost of Mali! Late this morning, and now still hung over? Or still drunk?!

  • Tamhas groans …

Tamhas groans slightly.

He says: Not still drunk. Sorry. Woke up in Sick Bay. They said I was good to go, but …

Briggs says: How dare you come to work like this! Or behave like this before a shift! Do you not take your duties seriously?! You … I … we are custod —-

Tamhas cuts in, saying: Custodians of people's hope for life after death. Yes, yes, I know.

  • The technician scowls at the floor …

Tamhas rubs his head, scowling at the floor.

Briggs says: While you were being lax in your duties, an assailant came in and tried to murder one of our clones! Luckily for us … for YOU, that this good citizen was able to help in time! What do you have to say for yourself?

At this, Tamhas' head snaps up. Eyes wide, he glances from you to Briggs. He seems about to say something, then presses his lips together

Briggs says: Has there ever been a guiltier looking person than this one before us? You know something.

Tamhas looks up at you both, then back to the floor, as though he can no longer meet your eyes.

  • Threaten him into talking.
  • Convince Tamhas to talk.

Convince:

Me: It seems like you know more than you're saying, Tamhas. You probably want to fess up before anyone else gets hurt.

Tamhas drops his head, defeated.

He says: You … you're right. I'll talk. Doctor Briggs, I'm so sorry.

  • Tamhas collects himself.

Tamhas collects himself, then begins to talk.

He says: I don't really know what happened. I went out for a quick pint after work. Just one pint! Then … I don't know … I remember my drink tasted funny. I remember talking with someone, but I don't remember who. Their face … I don't know. I can't remember. I woke up in the medical center. They said … They said my drink had been laced with some sort of scopolamine concoction.

Tamhas looks up miserably at the angry doctor across from him.

He says: Sorry, Doctor Briggs. I thought I was okay, but just kept feeling worse and worse. I didn't want to leave you alone. I know we have a lot of awakenings happening today.

Briggs' face finally stops being flushed red with anger. He lets out a huff of breath then walks behind his desk. He opens a wall panel, takes out a bottle of water, and hands it to Tamhas.

  • Just then, there's a knock on the door …

Just then, there's a knock on the door and Ailya comes in.

Briggs says: Ah! Ms. Faizan! You are looking much better. How do you feel?

Ailya takes the chair he pulls out for her and sits down, leaning slightly away from Tamhas after catching a whiff of him. She's cleaned up, fashionably dressed, and her hair is no longer gunked up with green goo.

She says: I … feel fine, I think. Better than your tech, here. You … <name>, right? Doctor Briggs told me that you helped me.

She's turned to you, her large brown eyes warm as they meet yours.

  • "No problem."
  • "I'm glad I could help."
  • "Yup! I did."
  • "Right place, right time."

Glad I could help:

Me: I'm glad that I could help.

Her smile grows and something close to affection seems to ghost across her face. Then she turns back to the doctor.

She says: Doctor Briggs, what do you know about my … death …

Briggs says: Well, nothing aside from what I told you. We weren't, for some reason, notified of your passing. That happens sometimes. Perhaps the station's security systems haven't been updated properly. I have notified them of the attack, and they told me they were sending someone over … eventually to take a statement from me. They may be in touch later with you both.

Ailya stands and thanks the doctor then turns to leave.

She says: I understand that I have you to thank for my … second life. May I talk with you a moment? I have a proposition for you.

  • "Yeah, I guess."
  • "No thanks."
  • "Sure! What's up?"

Sure:

Me: Sure! What's up?

She thanks Briggs and then you and Ailya walk out of the office. Her movements are slow, the decanting sickness still compromising her. Once out of earshot, she starts speaking lowly.

She says: Listen. I need your help. You are the only one I trust right now. Those two … well, without you I would have been permanently dead. I need your help. I will compensate you for your time, of course.

She stops in the middle of a row of clones and turns to look at one of them. A child, floating serenely with her eyes closed. Ailya touches the glass of the tank for a moment, then steps back. Tucking a stray lock of her wavy hair behind an ear, she turns to you.

She says: I need you to help me figure out who murdered me.

  • "Why not go to security?"
  • "No thanks."
  • "Murder?"

Murder:

Me: Murder? You were murdered?

Ailya says: It seems that way. I don't remember any of it, aside from hearing a noise in my apartment and then feeling a pain at the back of my neck. Security told Doctor Briggs that my … that someone struck me very hard in the back of the head with some sort of electrified metal rod or something.

  • "Why not go to security?"

Me: Why not go to security?

She says: They barely did an investigation! They just closed my case and said there wasn't enough evidence. I don't believe them. I don't trust anyone. Well, except you, now.

  • "I guess I can help."
  • "I'm in! Let's catch this killer!"
  • "No thanks."

Let's catch this killer:

Me: I'm in! Let's catch this killer!

She breathes a sigh of relief.

She says: I knew you'd say yes. I … have a good feeling about you. I mean, other than that you rescued me. Okay, first things first. I need to go back to my apartment. That's the last place I was and … where they found my … body. Ugh. I can't believe this is happening. In any case, meet me at the Cone?

Meet Ailya in the Residential area.

Next NPC: Ailya Faizan, Residences, Tau Station

  • Talk to Ailya.

Ailya is waiting for you in the Cone's plaza. She stands before the light fountain, watching the sprays of color arc into the air and sprinkle down to the holographic pool below.

She says: Ah, <name>. I'm glad you came. I'm still a bit out of it, and I feel safer with you around. Come on. My apartment is on the 25th floor.

She leads you to a lift inside the residential area. She steps inside and waits as you join her.

She says: Floor 25.

A small light arcs along the round walls of the lift as it silently begins its climb through the station's outer hull. Ailya starts to say something, but the lift's door opens.

A mellow voice says: Floor 25.

Ailya hesitates, then looks at you.

  • Go first so she can follow safely.
  • Make her go first.

Go first so she can follow:

Me: Allow me.

You step out of the lift, glancing up and down the curved hallway. You see an elderly woman unlocking her door a few doors down, but otherwise, there's no one else in the hall. You beckon to Ailya, who nervously steps out of the lift.

She says: Ugh. I am so nervous that whoever … killed me is still around. This is awful. I really appreciate you being here, <name>.

The two of you make your way down the hallway, which has a railing on one side and doors to apartments on the other. The open-air center of the Cone stretches up many floors above you, with fewer and fewer apartments and suites lining the walls as the asteroid's end tapers off.

  • Ailya stops before a door …

Ailya stops before a door. She takes a deep breath, looks over at you and then steps up to the door's eye scanner. A deep red light sweeps across her eyes, and the scanner displays the words, “Access Granted. Welcome! This unit will be available for rent shortly!” The door opens and Ailya starts to move forward, then stops in shock.

She whispers: It's … it's entirely empty.

Looking past her, you see a medium sized studio apartment. Two rooms are visible, the kitchen and an office / bedroom. The bed has been tucked away into wall, and a small metal desk with a matching chair are the only pieces of furniture that you can see. The scent of bleach hits you.

Ailya steps slowly into the apartment, coming to stand in the bedroom. Looking down, you see a dark stain on the floor. It's been scrubbed, but the damage to the plastic flooring has already been done.

Ailya sways and moans slightly, her knees crumpling under her.

  • Catch her!
  • She's short. She won't fall that far.

She's short:

Ailya crumples to the ground as you watch. Her knee his the ground hard, and she cries out. With an unsteady hand, she reaches for the nearby chair and pulls herself up into it.

She says: Sorry, I … I think I'm still recovering from the decanting sickness.

She looks around the two small rooms in disbelief.

She says: I'm going to call the super.

She sits up, and blinks, activating her CORETECHS. You see the light from it, reflecting in her eyes. She swipes her hands through the air, tapping at a display only she can see.

She says: He's not answering. I can't believe this. Listen, <name>. I need to take a break. I … Will you please go speak to the super for me? I've left a message that you're coming down.

  • "Yes, I'll talk to the super."
  • "No way!"

Yes:

Me: Yes, I'll talk to the super.

She says: Thank you <name>. I'm not sure what I'd have done today without you.

She glances around at the empty apartment, taking in the empty closets and shelves.

  • "Where is the super's office?"
  • "Are you safe here?"

Are you safe:

Me: Are you safe here?

She nods saying: I'm going to change the passlock on the door, so it will only allow my retinal scan to open it. And I'm going to use the deadbolt. Before … well, before I only had a password on the passlock. Someone must have hacked it. I can't believe this. Anyhow, I'll be safest here now, I think. No one will get in a second time. Weird that the place I died is where I'm safest now.

Her eyes stray to the dark stain on the floor, and she shakes herself and looks away.

  • "Where is the super's office?"

Me: Where is the super's office?

She says: Cornelius has his offices at the Government Center. Please, go talk to him and ask where my things are? Why my apartment is empty?

  • "I'm on my way."

Me: I'm on my way, then.

She says: Thanks, <name>. I hope I'm recovered by the time you get back. I'm going to order some food while you're gone. I'm famished.

Talk with Cornelius in the Government Center.

Next NPC: Cornelius, Government Center, Tau Station

  • Enter Cornelius's office building.

Cornelius' office is housed in a building next to the governmental offices. Made from regocrete, a cement mixture of rocky material from the asteroid itself as well as leftover rubble from the Catastrophe, the building is tall and narrow. When you first enter the building, you notice that there's no front desk. There's a lift, with a tall screen next to it. The screen probably was used at one point to display which rooms belonged to whom, but right now it's fritzing out, alternating between a blue screen and static.

  • Ask around for Cornelius.
  • Search for Cornelius.

Ask around:
(Social check)

You spend about half a segment wandering aimlessly, before you finally find a cleaning woman. She pauses, her cleaning bots orbiting her like tiny satellites, and gives you directions to the office Cornelius is in. You make your way to the floor he's on. The door to his office is open when you arrive, and he seems to be the only one here.

  • Talk to Cornelius.

Cornelius is a middle-aged man, with dark hair that wraps from ear to nape to ear, leaving the top of his head shiny and bald. To balance out this lack of hair at the apex of his head, Cornelius wears one of the bushiest beards you've ever seen. At the moment, he's focused intently on a slate that's propped up in front of him, while he absently eats a squishy looking food product from a ration package.

As you knock on the door's frame, he looks up.

He says: Yes?

  • "What have you done Ms Faizan's things?!"
  • "I'm here on behalf of Ailya Faizan."

I'm here on behalf of Ailya Faizan:

Me: I'm here on behalf of Ailya Faizan.

Cornelius tilts his head at you, seemingly confused by your statement.

He says: Oh! The dead woman! Yes, terrible thing that. I don't have a comment on that. You'll have to talk to security.

He goes back to staring at his slate, using one hand to scroll its screen, while the other pulls more biomeat from the ration package.

  • "Perhaps 50 credits will get a comment from you?"
  • Threaten him into talking.
  • Convince him to talk.

50 credits:

Me: Perhaps 50 credits will get a comment from you?

Cornelius raises an eyebrow at you, then sweeps away the proffered creditchips.

You have given 50.00 credits.

He says: Maybe. It depends. What do you want to know? I'm not fond of speaking ill of the dead. Especially in a gossip column.

Me: I'm not with the press. I'm here because Ms. Faizan is still alive. Well, alive again. She had a clone gestating and has returned. But you've allowed her apartment to be cleaned out!

Cornelius blinks at you.

He says: Well that's impossible! Look here.

  • He turns his slate to face you …

Cornelius shows you Ailya's file, and points to a line that reads, “Affiliation: Promethean Sect.”

He says: You see? She's a member of the Sect! She wasn't supposed to have a clone! Not with their whole “One Life” business. That's why I cleaned out her room. I can't even rent it right away because she bled all over the floor and ruined it! Stars, I haven't even had time to change the locks!

He pauses, and you see the light of his CORETECHS in his eyes.

He says: Oh, oh my. I do have a message from her on my CORETECHS. Sent just a bit ago. Sorry, I'm so bad at keeping up with messages. That's why the floor got ruined! I didn't act fast enough on the tip. Oh dear.

  • "Where's her stuff?"
  • "What tip?"
  • "What's a Promethean?"

What tip:

Me: What tip?

Someone sent in an anonymous tip to check on Ms. Faizan's apartment. Security traced it back to a terminal in the Port. With how many people pass through there daily, it'll be nearly impossible to tell who sent it.

  • "Where's her stuff?"
  • "What's a Promethean?"

Where's her stuff:

Me: Where's her stuff?

He squirms a bit, looking uncomfortable.

He says: Look. You have to understand. She filled out her information as being Sect. That means her stuff was either sold to a junk recoverer or incinerated. Her body too. All gone, I'm afraid.

  • "What's a Promethean?"

Me: What's a Promethean?

He says: They're this crazy cult or something. From Daedelus! I don't know. They wear robes and don't let their members come back as clones. Can you believe that?! Dying from a stupid accident instead of just downloading into a shiny … mostly new body? It's crazy!

  • Cornelius sighs dramatically.

Cornelius sighs dramatically.

He says: Listen, I feel bad. You tell her … Ah, tell her that I'll repair the floor. Won't even charge her for the damage! And … uh … first month's free!

He smiles brightly, his beard flaring as his forced grin cuts across his face.

  • "Okay, I'll let her know."
  • Force him to give her a better deal.
  • Negotiate a better deal.

Negotiate:
(Social check)

Me: Come now. I think you can do better than that for her. She lost her life thinking she was safe behind the security system that you have in place here. It would be a shame for the rest of the residents to find out in the news that their homes were so easily hackable.

He says: Alright! Okay! Just tell her not to go to the press or my superior. It's not MY fault she entered her information in wrong, but I'll … I'll give her three months free of rent and a clean space so she doesn't have to see the stain. And … well, I just had some people evicted who went off to Nouveau Limoges and never returned. I'll move their furniture into Ailya's place. It's all rather nice, and she'll have something to tide her over.

Return to Ailya in the Residential area.

Next step: Residences, Tau Station

  • Talk to Ailya.

You touch the screen outside of Ailya's apartment, and it flashes, telling you that your image is being relayed inside. After a moment, Ailya opens the door, smiling slightly at you.

She says: <name>, you came back! I wasn't sure … well, I guess I was right about you. Come on in. What did you find?

  • "Someone sent in an anonymous tip."
  • "I got you a few free month's of rent."
  • "The super had you down as a Promethean."

As a Promethean:

Me: The super had you down as a Promethean.

She gasps, her eyes wide.

She says: What? Are you serious? I am NOT a Promethean. I mean, obviously.

She gestures to her new self.

  • "I got you a few free month's of rent."
  • "Someone sent in an anonymous tip."

Anonymous tip:

Me: Someone sent in an anonymous tip. That's how they found your body. Security traced it back to the Port, but with how many people pass through there daily, they say that it's impossible to tell who sent it.

She says: What? That's crazy. I mean, who could have known? Only my … my killer.

  • "I got you a few free month's of rent."

Me: I got you a few free month's of rent.

She says: You … you did? I … wow, thank you.

Me: And you won't have to stay here. He's going to put you up in new quarters.

Her eyes drift to the dark stain on the floor.

Quietly, she says: Thank you, <name>. I don't think I could stay here.

  • Ailya is still, taking it all in.

Ailya is still for a unit, taking it all in. Then she takes a shaky breath.

She says: So let me get this straight. Someone killed me and someone called in an anonymous tip about it. This is crazy. The person who killed me also hacked into the database and changed my status to Promethean?

  • "Why would someone want to kill you?"
  • "Do you know anyone who could hack the database?"

Why kill you:

Me: Do you have any idea why someone would want to kill you?

She says: None at all! I mostly keep to myself. I only really talk to the people I …. work … with …

She gasps, her eyes wide.

She says: My research! My prototype!

Seeing your confused look, she takes a deep breath and tries to calm down.

She says: I'm a designer, a fashion designer. I work at the Clothier. My research focuses on blending chemicals, cloth, and other materials together to make anti-energy fabric. I … I just had a major breakthrough. A fabric that will be stronger, lighter, and which has the potential to deflect more energy than any of our current products. My boss shut it down. Said it would be too expensive to manufacture. I was going to leave … I was going to take my research to Benevolent Dynamics.

  • "Do you know anyone who could hack the database?"

Me: Do you know anyone who could hack the database?

She says: No! I mean, I don't think so?

  • She starts heading for the door.

Ailya stands and starts heading for the door.

She says: Come on <name>. I have to get back to my office. To my research! We have to get to the Clothier!

Meet Ailya at the Tau Station Clothier.

Next step: Decommissioned Area, Tau Station

  • Meet with Ailya.

Ailya seems to be feeling much better by the time the two of you reach the bright blue building that houses the Clothier. Without even checking in at the front desk, she sweeps through the entry hall and brings you to a lift.

Unlike the lift in the Cone, this one jerks roughly when it starts to climb, and the sound of the machinery that powers its ascension can be heard grinding and squealing through the lift's walls. Seemingly renewed, Ailya is nearly dancing from foot to foot, as the two of you wait for the lift to reach the sixth floor.

The lift shudders to a halt and the doors slide open with a stutter. Without waiting to see if you follow, Ailya hurls herself down the hallway and pushes open a door at its end.

  • Step out of the lift.

The scene inside the research and development office is one of surprised chaos. People stop dead in their tracks to stare at Ailya. One of them, a young woman, drops her mug as Ailya passes by.

Ailya says: Hey, Carla. Miss me?

Ailya ignores everyone else and barges into an office whose door has her name outside of it. As Ailya pushes open the door to her office, you hear a yelp of surprise.

  • A thin man rises from behind a desk …

A thin man rises from behind a desk in the office. He wears his dirty blond hair slicked straight back. A tight slate grey turtle neck clings to his lanky form, and a long black chain with a pendant swings as he rises.

He says: Oh my stars around. Ailya?!

The man rushes over to her, enfolding the young woman in his arms.

He says: Oh, girl! They told me you were dead!

His voice catches in his throat, and he dabs at an eye with long fingers. Ailya stiffens at first, then relaxes into the hug. In units, she's crying on his shoulder, the events of the past few days finally catching up with her. The man pats Ailya comfortingly and looks over her shoulder at you.

He says: Who are you? What's going on? How is she alive?

  • "I'm here to make sure nothing else happens to her."
  • "I'm a friend."
  • "She had a clone."

A friend:

Me: I'm a friend.

He says: Well, thank you for helping her, then, friend.

  • There is a sudden commotion.

A sudden commotion behind you makes you all look towards the door. A man with an extremely fancy mustache and beard, both flecked through with silver is standing in the doorway with his mouth open in shock.

He says: A … Ailya! But they said … They told us …

At this, Ailya gently frees herself from her friend's arms and turns to face the bearded man.

She says: Pietro! What is the meaning of this? I haven't even been dead a week and you've already moved Hans into my office?

Pietro glances around, then steps into the office, shutting the door behind him.

Pietro says: Let's talk without this … stranger here.

  • Convince him to let you stay.
  • Threaten him into letting you stay.

Convince:

Me: I'm not leaving her side, and you should focus on answering her questions. Pretend I'm not here.

Ailya says: They're with me. And they're right. Answer my questions … please.

Pietro says: Hmmm … well. As you wish. Listen, Ailya, darling! They told us that you were dead! And that you'd secretly been a member of the Prometheans!

Ailya says: Are you daft? Have I ever once said anything about the One Life or about being a Promethean. It's like, an official mandate that those people have to constantly be trying to spread their gospel or whatever.

  • Pietro looks nervously at you both.

Pietro looks nervously at you both. He removes a purple handkerchief from the pocket of his white suit jacket and pats at his forehead.

He says: Well, yes. Be that as it may, I've already promoted Hans to your position. Listen, I don't want any trouble. How about … ah … well, you can have Hans' old position! And … well, we will of course give you a bonus. It would be best if we kept this little incident in house.

Ailya says: Right. We wouldn't want everyone know how expendable you feel your employees are. I'm not taking your hush money, and I'm not taking Hans' old position as a machinist. I quit! But before I do, I'm taking my work with me. Excuse me, Hans.

Ailya pushes past Hans and goes over to the computer terminal on the office's desk. She sits down, absently lowering the chair so her feet aren't dangling in the air. She types for a few units, then sits back, her dark eyes watering.

She says: It's gone. It's all gone. All my work, my research. This office … it's empty of my things! Where is everything?

  • "You wiped her data?"
  • "Where are all of her things?"

Wiped data:

Me: You wiped her data?

Pietro's eyes widen as you turn toward him.

He says: I didn't, no! Of course not.

  • "Where are all of her things?"

Me: Where are all of her things?

Hans says: I don't know. The room was empty when I moved in.

Pietro says: Don't look at me, I was at the sustainable fabrics fashion show on Paris Spatiale the past few days!

  • "Was there a backup?"

Me: Was there a backup?

Ailya says: Good call, Perleone. Let me … no. No! All my research. The backup data cube – it's gone! Everything I've ever worked on since being here. It's all … my name has been scrubbed from every project. My solo work … things I did cycles ago. It's all gone.

Pietro says: That's impossible!

He rushes over to look at the desk's screen.

He says: This is … I had no idea! We've been hacked! Who's been in here?

Hans says: I don't know! Oh, Feeny might know. I think she helped to clean out the room.

  • Offer to hack the computer to find the missing files.
  • Offer to talk to Feeny.

Offer to hack:

Me: I could try to hack the computer myself. See if I can recover the files.

Ailya says: You know how to do that? Wow, thanks.

  • Attempt to hack the computer.
  • "Actually, I'll go talk to Feeny."

Attempt to hack:
(Intelligence check)

You successfully hack into the computer, taking back routes and uncovering most of the deleted files. Everything but her recent work. In doing so you, also catch wind of a digital trace. You follow it back to its source.

Me: Someone hooked up their CORETECHS to the desk terminal, downloaded all of Ailya's files, and then sent them to themselves as backup. … Who's Maximillion?

Ailya and Hans gasp.

Ailya says: Max? Are you certain? He … he's my ex husband.

Pietro says: Maximillion? Wait a moment …

You see him accessing his CORETECHS, waving his hand through the air and tapping at displays only he can see.

He says: Yes, here it is. I thought I recognized that name. He sent me a message with his forwarding address in case anything else of his wife —- of Ailya's was found. I hadn't gotten a chance to read it yet. He's staying at the Mermaid on København.

  • Ailya pulls you aside.

Ailya pulls you aside, stepping away from the Pietro and Hans, who continue looking through the computer's files.

She says: Max. I can't believe it. Can he be the one who killed me? He doesn't have a technological bone in his wretched body! He has to be working with someone. Hang on, I'm going to try to connect to him.

She pauses and activates her CORETECHS. After a few units, she shakes her head. The motion makes her brows furrow, as though it pains her.

She says: He's not responding. I can't believe this. I can't go to København. I don't feel safe right now. I can't believe this.

Her eyes start watering and she sways. She looks exhausted. The decanting sickness still has its grip on her.

  • "I think I've done enough here."
  • "I can go for you."

I can go:

Me: I can go for you.

She says: You … you would do that? But, he might be a murderer? You may not be safe!

  • "I should be okay."
  • "Yeah, you're right. I think I've done enough here."
  • "I'm not afraid of him!"

Not afraid:

Me: Don't worry about me. I'm not afraid of him! Are you going to be safe alone, though?

She says: I don't know what I'd do without you, Perleone. And yes, I should be okay while you're gone. I'll stay in my quarters. Besides, Max is on an entirely different station. I'm uploading a picture of him to your CORETECHS.

She activates hers, tapping away at the air between you, then making a swiping motion towards you. A notification pops up on your display, telling you you have an incoming file. The image she sent you of Maximillion shows a young man with a dashing smile that looks brilliantly white against the incredible darkness of his skin.

She says: Please hurry! I don't know why he's there, but you must see if you can get the data cube from him before he vanishes. It's the back up with all of my work on it.

You see her back to her apartment and make sure she's securely locked away.

Travel to København and look for Maximillion at The Mermaid.

Next NPC: Pompano, Inn, København

  • Talk with the concierge.

The Mermaid is a nautically themed hotel, situated inside an ancient, hollowed out freighter. As you pass by the bar, someone exits, and the sound of a raucous sea shanty pours over you. The Mermaid's concierge stands behind a tall desk. A nervous looking man, his name badge proclaims him to be “Pompano.” He sees you and hastily straightens the ridiculously large pirate hat he wears.

He says: Ahoy, matey, an' welcome to thee Mermaid.

  • "I'm looking for someone named Maximillion."
  • "What's with all the seafaring stuff?"

Seafaring stuff:

Me: What's with all the seafaring stuff?

He smiles a bit, looking around at the walls.

He says: Lars, the bartender at The Mermaid's Nest next door, is really into old Earth stuff. I don't know where he found most of the things that are on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. But he owns the place and the pay is good and he's actually great to work for once you get used to hearing the same songs all day, so …

He straightens his hat, nervously smiling at you.

  • "I'm looking for someone named Maximillion."

Me: I'm looking for someone named Maximillion.

He says: I'm sorry, ser. But guest information is confidential. Privacy is a very important thing to us here at the Mermaid.

  • Make him tell you.
  • Convince him to tell you.
  • "Perhaps a few credits will change your mind?"

A few credits:

Me: Perhaps a few credits will change your mind?

Pompano sniffs and turns his nose up at you, which makes his enormous hat nearly tip off of his head. He hurriedly grabs it and straightens it out.

He says: How dare you imply that I might be bought! I adhere to the strictest of hospitality codes!

  • Convince him to tell you.
  • Make him tell you.

Convince:
(Social check)

Failure

Pompano is unmoved by your words, and rolls his beady eyes at you.

  • Convince him to tell you.
  • Make him tell you.

Success

Me: He left his forwarding address for us, in case anything else of his late wife turns up. I need to speak with him about her things.

Pompano's face softens.

He says: Oh, that poor man. I had no idea that he'd lost his wife. He was by here earlier, actually. Asked me which level of the station the marketplace is on. Perhaps you'll find him there.

Search the Market for Maximillion.

Next step: Market, København

  • Enter the marketplace.

To say that the marketplace of København is bustling would be a grave understatement. The rows of kiosks and shops are mobbed, with customers pushing past each other in the packed rows. You are barely able to move through the crowd, and more than one person bumps into you roughly. Above, lights and cables, strung from the hulking shell of a destroyed cruiser, sway gently.

  • Search for Maximillion.
  • Ask if anyone has seen Maximillion.

Ask:
(Social check)

You ask around, describing Maximillion, and finally someone nods.

She says: Aye, I've seen that one. He's been coming round the past few days, selling all manner of things.

She points and you see a man matching Maximillion's picture at a nearby shop, haggling over a small object.

  • Approach Maximillion.
  • Sneak up on him.

Sneak up:
( Agility check)

You sneak up on Max, sliding into a nearby shop and pretending to look at a spool of nanowire.

Maximillion says: I need to know what's on this cube.

The vendor takes the cube from him and looks it over.

She says: Standard datacube.

She touches the side of the cube and a tiny filament uncoils. She attaches the filament to a device, then touches the side of her head. Another filament bursts forth, its coil bouncing as it springs loose from her head. This she attaches to the device, then you see her activating her CORETECHS.

  • Interrupt them!
  • Wait for her to unlock the cube.

Wait:

You settle into your hiding place and wait. It takes a while, but finally the vendor nods.

She says: Okay, it's unlocked.

Credits exchange hands, and Max turns to go.

  • Let him go with the cube.

Max closes his large fist around the cube, a look of satisfaction on his face. He takes off, getting lost in the crowd. You stand there, wondering what you're going to tell Ailya about her life's work.

You have failed the "Fashion Victim" mission. You can retake this mission and try again.

Interrupt:

The vendor pauses a moment, then hands the cube back to Max.

She says: I need to grab another cord. This one isn't giving me a clear enough image. I'll be right back.

Now's your chance!

  • Wait for her to unlock the cube.
  • Approach Maximillion.
  • Snatch the cube from his hands!
  • "You have something that doesn't belong to you."
  • Let him go with the cube.
  • "Excuse me?"

Snatch the cube:
(Agility check)

You manage to nab the cube from his hand!

He cries: How dare you! Give that back!

  • You got the cube!

Suddenly, the blur of a shape goes hurling into you, flinging itself at you and grabbing the cube from your hands. The shape looks familiar – it's the cloaked figure from the Clone Vats! They turn to face you, their mask slightly askew. In their hand, they wield a wicked looking stun baton. A thin current of electricity runs up its shaft as the attacker pulls it back, readying it to swing at you!

  • Dodge!
  • Block!

Block:
(Strength check)

You swing your arm up, meeting the attacker's forearm with your own. The electrified baton sizzles above you, inches from your forehead. With a charge, you barrel into the attacker, knocking them to the ground! The cube falls to the ground next to them as they fall hard, and struggle, clutching their chest. You've knocked the wind out of them!

  • Unmask them!

You reach down pick up the cube, then yank the mask from their face. A young woman with furious eyes glares back up at you.

She hisses: It's you!? The idiot who got in my way at the cloning vats!

You recognize her! She's the woman who dropped the mug at the Clothier when she saw Ailya. Carla scurries into a seated position, getting her breath back. The sound of an energy weapon charging up makes you all turn your gaze to the shop owner, who's hefted a large pulse rifle to her shoulders.

The vendor says: All of you stay put. Security is on the way.

  • Accuse Max of murdering Ailya.
  • Accuse the cloaked woman of murdering Ailya.

Accuse the cloaked woman:

Me: It was you who killed Ailya! Why, Carla?

The woman on the ground glares from you to the vendor.

Carla sneers, saying: I'm not saying anything.

  • Make her talk.
  • Convince her to talk.
  • "I'll give you the cube if you talk."

Convince her:
(Social check)

Me: If you tell me why you did this, I might be open to giving you the cube.

She says: What are you looking for? A bleeding heart, eh? You want me to say I needed to save a family member or something?

She glares at you, then the words pour out of her, like a dam bursting.

She cries: I should have been promoted into Ailya's position months ago! I've been at the Clothier longer, and I work so much harder than she does! But stupid Ailya got the job instead. I even helped her with the creation of the fabric a few weeks ago. That design is revolutionary, but Pietro wouldn't let us make it. Ailya didn't deserve to get to go work for Benevolent Dynamics! But I do! I've been putting all my money into technical university injections. I'm smarter, more knowledgeable, and my designs are just as good!

  • "What about you, Maximillion?"
  • "Why try to erase Ailya, Carla?"

Why erase Ailya:

Me: Why try to erase Ailya? Killing her wasn't enough?

She hisses: Of course it wasn't! I needed Benevolent Dynamics to think that I made everything on my own. I was replacing everything with my name, but they moved Hans into her office before she was even cold. Guess my telling everyone that she was a Promethean worked. But he was so obsessed with decorating his new office, which should have been mine, that he wouldn't get out so I could finish. I can't believe they promoted him over me too!

  • "What about you, Maximillion?"

Me: What about you, Maximillion?

He looks at the ground, his short dreads falling slightly to cover his face. Without looking up he mumbles his reply.

Max says: I heard she died. And that she was a Promethean. She and I … we weren't really friends, but we weren't really enemies.

He shakes his head sadly.

He says: I should have known. She couldn't have changed that much since we were close. We've been divorced for a pretty long time now, and I just figured she'd found faith or something. Anyhow, I knew she was working on something big. I need the money. Bad. I owe some Kyarr on Taungoo big time after losing a few rounds of cards. I mean, I didn't think she'd mind. She'd want for me to be safe and happy, right? I didn't know … I thought she was dead.

  • Carla looks furious …

Carla looks furious, as though she may spring up and try to attack you again. But her face suddenly pales when her eyes catch something behind you. Security has arrived. Together, you and Maximillion tell them Carla's role in the murder, the vendor nodding her head and confirming what she heard from Carla. They slap Carla in cuffs and drag her off, promising that they'll be in touch and will investigate. Carla struggles as they lead her away.

Carla screams: It should have been ME! ME!

Maximillion says: I feel really awful about selling off all of Ailya's stuff. I'm going to pay her back right away. I haven't spent any of it yet. I'll let her know. And I'll … I'll find another way to make good on my debt.

  • Call Ailya.

Using your CORETECHS, you connect with Ailya and catch her up on everything that happened.

Me: … and now she's with station security. They'll be in touch. And Max is going to send you back everything he made on what he, uhm … borrowed from you.

She says: I can't believe it. I barely knew her. She said she helped me with the design? I don't … oh stars. I remember I was trying to work out an equation one day at the coffee machine and she was there. I think she said something to me, but I don't remember it at all, I was so lost in my calculations. She thought she helped me? Wow. I had no idea she was so jealous of me. You'll never know how grateful I am, <name>. See you soon.

Return to Ailya at the Residences on Tau Station with the cube.

Next step: Residences, Tau Station

  • Talk to Ailya.

Ailya opens the door with much less trepidation this time.

She says: <name>! I'm so happy to see you! Come in!

The super has moved Ailya into new quarters, which also seem to be on a more exclusive level of the Cone. Her apartment now has three separate rooms, though it's still modestly sized.

She says: Cornelius felt bad that the locks on my old apartment were so easy to hack. I had no idea that Carla was so good at computers. She should have just tried for a career in that instead of fashion. Pietro said that her designs were so bad they shunted her back into fabric cutting a few weeks ago. That might be what triggered her breakdown. So bizarre. So much hatred for a near stranger! In any case, wow, <name>. I can't believe all of this. You got the cube and caught my killer!

  • "Here's the cube."

Me: Here's the cube.

You hand her the cube, which she cradles in her hands.

She says: Thank you, <name>. You've given me a second chance at life … or would it be a third? In any case, I'm not going to waste it. I quit my job at the Clothier and I've got a meeting later today with a representative from Benevolent Dynamics. I've got a new, sweet place to live and can spend the next few months not worrying about rent. You made all of this possible. Thank you.

You have received 45.00 credits.

You have completed the "Fashion Victim" mission.

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