SLA Industries: Mort by Traveller
What is it with the UK and hive cities anywayOriginal SA post SLA Industries: Mort
What is it with the UK and hive cities anyway
Hello and welcome to the FnF writeup for the Mort Sourcebook! This is the last SLA Industries writeup I'll do before diving into THE TRUTH, because I'm a lazy git and don't have Mors Rattus' stamina to go through an entire game line. But it's OK, you can get where THE TRUTH is going (or was supposed to, at least) with these three books. After all, after THE TRUTH got out, further sourcebooks disregarded it as canon, not that it was ever made explicit before it. So, on with it!
As you can imagine, this book covers both Mort City as well as the planet Mort. Both of which are pretty horrible places to live for like, uh, 95% of the population but hey, it's SLA. Everyone wants to make it to that 5%! Unlike the previous two books, though, this one does not start with fiction of a little girl about to get shanked by some creeper with a hankering for bad '90s poetry. Instead, it takes place right after the little girl gets shanked and gutted, under a raging storm, with the creep sneering and taunting the storm (!) about the reason why he is committing these murders (hint: he ain't tellin'). And somehow, the storm seems to be actually pissed at him!
Then he drops this little gem.
THE CREEP posted:
OH, THERE, HUSH NOW. I WILL EXPLAIN TO YOU IN TIME, MY BELOVED BROTHER. IN TIME. I WILL ALSO PUNISH YOU FOR THE BETRAYAL YOU HAVE INFLICTED UPON ME. THERE SHALL BE NO MORE MERCY, NO MORE PITY FOR YOU OR ANYTHING I HAVE CREATED IN MY LIFE!
DO YOU HEAR ME, SLAYER? I COME FOR YOU!
That's not ominous at all. He stops ranting, settles down, then seems to promise the corpse (?) that they are far from the "final chapter" of this story and leaves.
What's the deal with this guy? Oh, the deal with this guy.
Then there is a paragraph about a Stormer guy wishing more people would listen to Slayer. If more people did, he wouldn't have had to be made.
Please to be forgiving the horrible stitch job.
There's an in-setting tourist's guide to Mort City, with places to go and not to go. There's also a size 5 disclaimer saying that all indicated areas are on surface levels, not all of Mort is mapped, SLA Industries is not obligated to assist you if you run into trouble, do not fold or bend, etc.
SLA HQ, Karma, Dark Lament, Shiver HQ and the Mort Spaceport are self-explanatory. Central Park is 18 square km of dome-protected park, one of the few places in Mort where people can see real trees and plants (admission is free, too!) Necropolis is "the biggest cemetery next to a Death World mass grave", containing the remains of over 400 billion people over and under ground. The Arena is the biggest sport complex in Mort and home to the always popular Contract Circuit.
As for places not to go, there's Doc Jug's, a small curio shop reputed to sell unusual artifacts of all kinds - even some from White Earth itself, the rumors say. The Cafe Royal is a Downtown club controlled by the Johannas, who apparently rule over half of Downtown according to this. It's a dangerous place and they don't take to outsiders kindly. Heartland is four massive tower blocks clustered together, and the turf of Krosstown Traffic, the biggest biker gang in Mort. Fat Chance Stadium ran out of money during construction, and it's now used as neutral ground for gangs to voice grievance and conduct negotiations. The Wall Gates are the entrance to Cannibal Sector One, very popular in media and guarded by a large force of Shivers. Salvation Tower, you already know it. The Carrien Clave is the largest infestation of Carriens in Mort, though no one knows for sure why they flourish in that particular spot.
Let's go on a downwards trip! Starting from Mort Central , the oldest and richest part of town. SLA's underground factories are here, too, but buried under 900 years of dead architecture, the official word is that there is no way in except by going through Upper Downtown. Central used to be the entire city, but as the population grew and new sectors started to be built around it, Central dedicated itself to business, and when space ran out for all the offices and buildings, they decided to build upwards, the towers of Central rising thousands of feet above the rest of the city these days.
SLA HQ , of course, is the biggest and flashiest building here. It seems to be made just of silver windows, but it's obviously protected to hell and back with every possible defense. The Black Chapter, Slayer's own bodyguards, protect the building along with a team of Necanthropes dedicated solely to safeguarding Slayer and a veritable army of regular guards. The security measures are extreme and they have full authority to eliminate anyone deemed to be a threat against SLA and Mr. Slayer. As for Central at large, it is protected by a wall, not as large as the Downtown walls but effective enough, staffed by Shivers and Dark Finders always on the lookout for subversives and traitors. Other points of interest are Slayer's Crib , the largest, oldest BPN Hall in Mort, where operatives are supposed to pick up their missions - though they usually end up in gigantic queues that tend to take longer the better the job is. With the usual cavalcade of psychos, druggies and killy mutants that make up the SLA operative workforce, tempers run high and fights are not uncommon, which is why there's a permanent force of Dark Finders and Shivers to pacify rowdy ops. It's no wonder many Slop squads resort to using financiers to pick up missions for them. The Pit is the biggest, best night club in Mort, reserved for SLA operatives, and it actually gets its own section later so we'll skip it.
Uptown is where most SLA operatives, corporates and rich civilians live. It looks dull from the outside, rows and rows of grey apartment blocks, but the inside is usually completely different as ops get free reign on interior design. Many districts develop a character of their own - few people care to even drive past well-known Brain Waster blocks, for instance. Shivers and Dark Finders are common here as well, though mostly to police the tenants rather than to protect them. The Arena is here, where people gather to watch bloodsports of all kinds and bet on them. Millions of credits may change hands on a single fight, and Contract Killer fights are especially popular. The current hero of the Arena is Blue Sky, a Frother of the McGiver clan loaded up to the gills with Nuke Tendon implants. There are also bars and nightlife in Uptown, though they have a certain reputation as being kind of dull compared to their Central equivalents. Not that they aren't useful for ops: The Academy, for instance, is a bar known for its financier clientele, always looking for the top squads. Alas, not everything is nice in Uptown: fast food franchises here are literally battling each other to death in their competition for clients, and so far SLA is not stepping in. Some believe Slayer will just let them kill each other until one remains because capitalism.
Suburbia is the middle class sector of Mort, with most civilians and some less lucky operatives living here. It's mostly peaceful, though the presence of the main surface level manufacturing areas of Mort means it's a regular target for Soft Companies and terrorists. Juvie gangs are a notorious problem of suburbia: though they are mostly a nuisance, sometimes ops have to be called in. Dark Finder presence is rare, but Shivers are common. A major threat here is the sewers: though a wall divides Suburbia from Downtown, there has been a steady amount of crime here, and ops blame the sewer system which is at least 70% unmapped. Residents have appealed to Slayer to do something about it, but so far the only response from SLA is sending more ops with Blue BPNs to do sewer maintenance. Of particular concern is the rise in serial killings. Someone, or something, is pushing the criminal elements of Downtown into Suburbia.
Downtown is, as we already know, where life is kind of shitty. Most people here live on the dole, starting at the TV all day. Crime is rampant and there is little respect for the law - and in turn, the law cares little about Downtown. Most of it is underground, though it's not until Level -20 that there is a roof under your head at all times. The regional structure of Downtown is complex, but the biggest divide is between Upper Downtown (where the gangs, DarkNight mercs and most of the regular folk live) and Lower Downtown, where people do not officially live and where flashfloods are a common, deadly occurrence. Points of interest include Paradise, the best end of Downtown, right next to the perimeter wall. Paradise is comparatively safer and there are no floods here, but a lot of serial killers. Then again, it might just be that the media reports on them more, since Paradise is safer to send journalists in. At the other end, there is the Bayou, separated from Cannibal Sector One only by the Shiver-guarded giant wall. There is constant raiding by Carriens, scavengers and mutants here, and only those with no one else to go come to the Bayou, but no one is ever rejected as long as they don't rock the boat. The Bayou is lead by the Cabal, a sort of town council for the location, which is in turn led by The Lady of the Right, a young lady (and rumored witch) of Orientan descent. Fat Chance Stadium is here, as pointed up above, as well as the black market - not a specific location so much as a network of dealers and shady businessmen. Better have some contacts before trying to buy stuff from them, though, they don't appreciate SLA sting ops much.
Oh fuck who let Bruce Timm in here
The Cannibal Sectors were created by the fall of Salvation Tower, urban wastelands where sane people do not go. They take their name from the cannibal families that lurk in these sectors - though Carriens and Manchines are more popular in the media, the cannibals are probably the main threat to someone travelling through the Sectors. Sector One is dominated by the ruins of Salvation Tower and the presence of Digger, the deadliest of all Manchines. Ruins here are relatively undisturbed, mostly because Digger does not like company. Sector Two is ruled over by Carrien clans. The leader of these clans is a huge Carrien with blood-red horns dubbed, of course, Bloodhorn. It is known to be highly intelligent for its kind, to the point of being able to use automatic weapons. Carriens here are better armed, armored and organized than elsewhere. Sector Three has been virtually taken over by ex-War Criminals, and has been nicknamed the War Sector. Carriens and cannibals have mostly fallen in the crossfire, leaving the Vets alone to murder each other. Some of the Soft Companies have tried to entice the maniacs to work for them, but it never pans out. Media pays a lot for War Criminal footage (up to 20 credits per second), but cameramen are considered to be enemy scouts by the deranged Vets and thus priority targets. Sector Four is the main base of the cannibals - which, to be honest, do not restrict themselves only to human flesh. They're usually organized into families along matriarchal lines, and have all sorts of rites and ceremonies regarding the eating of flesh. Living victims are preferred for these rituals. Families are usually on the move, mainly because of the superstitious belief that once the fireplace they are using goes out, the place is cursed and they need to seek out a new one, preferably by killing and eating another family and taking their fireplace. Finally, Sector Five is the smallest Sector and not dominated by any single group. Mutants here are more abundant than in the other Sectors, though, due to the presence of a giant toxic lake ironically known as Clearwater. Rumor has it that some mutant cannibals have even developed psychic powers rivalling the Ebons, while Clearwater itself is home to some sort of giant squid monster. Ebons that have encountered claim that the beast is intelligent, in great pain, and completely fucking insane.
To end this entry, the Mort Spaceport , conveniently located on the edge of Uptown and near Suburbia. It is extremely secure, guarded by Dark Finders and Shivers at all times, and dominated by the huge Glyph Pillar Besinkievkedo ("Guidance") used by Ebon Navigators as a point of reference for their jumps. Possible destinations include Polo (Wraith Raider homeworld, scarce details), Dante (War World per excellence), Kn'nth (Shaktar homeworld, still holding strongly to their culture and religion), Static (Ebon homeworld, unspoiled and beautiful) and New Paris (popular tourist planet, where SLA rules with a "chic lace glove")
Oh, there's also a small piece of fiction where an asshole SLA Corporate ends up getting fired after her secretary gives her the wrong notes for a meeting. Then again, the Corporate stole her boyfriend right under her nose, so there's that. After being fired, the ex-Corporate drowns her sorrows in drugs, and loses her shit - until, by the end of the day, some mysterious light seems to consume her whole. Spooky!
SLA does not approve of NTR.
Next time: The Pit!
Best bar in the universeOriginal SA post SLA Industries: Mort
Best bar in the universe
Nightlife is always hectic on Mort, and there are plenty of bars, clubs, pubs and more around the city. Unfortunately, there is a divide between operatives and civilians, and there were many barbrawls over who had right to use a particular bar. Needless to say, ops won most of them on account of sheer firepower, and as the fights and loss of life (and most importantly, property) escalated, the matter came to the attention of SLA HQ.
In 887 SD, Mr. Slayer commissioned the construction of an operative-only nightclub. No expenses were spared: a 2 kilometer square area of Mort Central was completely leveled, important offices like the Department of Transportation relocated to the other side of the sector, and construction proceeded under heavy security. All people could see from outside was a giant fusion blast shelter.
When it opened, though, all doubts and misgivings were left behind. Because, you see, the Pit is the best dive in the World of Progress.
Yeah. Galo Sengen.
From the outside, the Pit is grey and forbidding, a giant block of concrete. At the entrance ("Deth's Door", after the Shaktar that runs gate security for The Pit) the words "Lasieate ogin sperenga voi ch'entrate" are written, which is Killian for "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." Wait, I thought Killian was English. Is this Esperanto? I think it looks like Esperanto.
Weapons are to be left at the gates, and anyone trying to smuggle weaponry inside is immediately detained by the guards, who politely ask for the weapon the operative surely forgot to check in. Weapons are tagged and the operative given a matching tag to redeem them when checking out; if lost, The Pit opens during midday for hungover, embarrassed ops to recover their lost guns and blades. The only exceptions are natural weapons like teeth and claws, Karma implants and Necanthrope weapons - Necs never have to hand over their stuff, but misusing this privilege will be immediately reported to Preceptor Teeth.
The Pit itself is layered, Divine Comedy style, in nine concentric circles. The large hole at the center of the first seven circles is known as The Well, which houses at its center over thirty gauss elevators that go up and down the levels. The elevators can be reached by several walkways that crisscross the Well - for the more height-averting type, there are escalators in each level as well. The Pit's structural supports are giant Glyph Pillars, set in place to absorb any FLUX discharge by Ebb users. Powers just fizzle harmlessly, but some Ebons complain that the Pillars function too well, absorbing FLUX even without power use.
On with the levels! The first and largest is Stasis One , one giant nightclub and bar and the one all operatives going into The Pit have to pass through. There are four separate dance floors, always crowded to the brim - though Stormers usually have little trouble finding space to dance, especially when industrial or hardcore music is blaring through the speakers. Meanwhile, the outer wall of Stasis One is one continuous bar, nearly 2 kilometers long. Most drinks are 1 credit each, served in lightweight, shatterproof dangers that won't break to an edge and aren't heavy enough to be used as dangerous missiles. There are also some light snacks available but no one comes to Stasis One to eat. The craziest ops (Frothers, mostly) try to climb the Cage, the scaffolding supporting the lighting and sound speaker systems over Stasis One. Management discourages this practice, but no one really does anything to stop it - and someone falling into the dance floors is always a show.
The Cave is the second level, focused on live entertainment. Bands play seven times a week, in one of the two massive stages in each end or one of the four lesser stages between them. There are four bars here too, but the noise makes impossible to get anything from them without writing the order down for the bartenders. This is the only part of The Pit with an entrance fee, but instead of buying tickets for individual concerts, they are bought for periods of time, like bus passes. Bands from all over Mort dream of playing in The Cave, but the audience is picky and all too willing to chew out underperforming acts. Fights between devotees of different music styles are common, but when real trouble flares up, the performance stops immediately until peace is restored. The silence is so deafening to regulars that The Cave, for the most part, polices itself to keep the music going.
Level Three, The Trof , is themed around food. The place has a "natural" aesthetic to it, with plants, shrubbery and other green things around. Even the Glyph Pillars are styled to look like giant trees. There are many restaurants here: Gluttons serves good quality, generously portioned, pretty ordinary food with the less adventurous eater in mind, while BacBurgers tries to be the platonic ideal of fast food (average length of stay in BacBurgers is of 7 minutes, from ordering to leaving) The Beef Rack is an all-you-can-eat buffet dealing in steaks, ribs and chops, and has an special dispensation from the Racial Equality Program - they don't serve Shaktars or Stormers on account of their appetites. Attempts have been made to charge them an extra fee, but there has been no agreement on this issue. 4-Square (or Asinbasingedo in Ebon) is similar to Gluttons menu-wise, but it's made with Ebon comfort in mind. Ebons and Brain Wasters keep to opposite ends of the restaurant, but if a Necanthrope arrives, they'll sit wherever they damn please and screw whoever is near them. The Winter Bar caters to Wraith Raiders - temperatures are chilly, and food is usually more expensive since in many cases, it's still alive. At least the staff helpfully provides ear plugs for the rare non-Wraith Raider that eats here so that they don't have to hear all the screeching, roaring and crunching of a Wraith Raider meal. Red Crowleys is also an all-you-can-eat buffet, though not as focused on meat as the Beef Rack Here is where you come to gorge yourself on fish and chips, frex. Shaktars and Stormers can eat here, though they don't care much for the non-meat foods. The Band is a Shaktar restaurant, made with their comfort in mind. It's very popular with this race, though food is very expensive since so many special ingredients are imported from their homeworld. Finally, The Royal is an incredibly posh restaurant where you better know how to order stuff in New Parisian, what wine goes with what food and what knife to use with what meal. Food is amazingly expensive here, and the waiters are very adept at conveying contempt while remaining respectful.
I ain't going to no food joint that has FEEL THE WIDTH as a motto, no.
The Sink-Hole , Level Four, is Frother land. The four major Frother clans (McGiver, Cullen, Morrigon and Derga) claim it as their own, as well as the myriad lesser clans attached to them. It's monumentally stupid for one clan member to go to another clan's turf, and the level is rife with bar brawls. The Well barrier is extra high compared to other levels, to keep people from being thrown over the edge and to keep Frothers from vomiting and spitting on the people that prefer Level Five, Virtual , dedicated to gaming, Bars here tend to serve more snacks and soft drinks that booze as the gamers prefer their heads clear. Arcade games and gambling machines are everywhere, but the most popular are the Ebb-powered virtual reality pods. The most popular VR game is Gygidion, a multiplayer powersuit combat simulation. On Friday evenings, VR public displays are turned off and users can enjoy a variety of sexual games. These are usually frequented by unknown human operatives, since people with image can't be seen playing virtual sex when they can get (or at least are supposed to) the real thing anytime they want, for free. Shaktars and Ebons avoid Friday night VR, Stormers are highly confused by it, Wraith Raiders tend to look disheveled after it but seem to enjoy it, and Brain Wasters have been banned ever since one of them got a little too happy and almost wasted half the level in a fire.
I TOLD YOU THEY MADE THEM CATGIRLS! ISH!
And speaking of Brain Wasters, Heretics is dedicated to them. It's a dark place full of obscene glyphs and graffiti, and Pit employees dread shifts in Heretics so the bars usually shortstaffed. Brain Wasters love to draw attention to themselves, and fights are so common that they barely draw any attention. The Glyph Pillars almost seem to come alive every night, as the Wasters can't seem to control their abilities. Bar brawls are so common the level is divided in various units that can be sectioned off by fast deploying shutters - and woe betide the unlucky sod about to be bisected if they're in the way of one.
Myrhdrs , the seventh level, is dedicated to the Shaktars and it's probably the most calm and serene place in The Pit. Staff here tends to be permanent rather than rotated by shift like in the other levels, as long as they perform to the satisfaction of their Shaktar patrons. The level is patterned after the number seven (seven-sided tables and bars, etc,) because it is sacred to the Shaktars, and is decorated with many plants from the Home Worlds. Non-Shaktars are treated with great politeness, but not allowed to socialize unless they have a braid of friendship from another Shaktar. Shaktars tend to group into families that keep to themselves, though there is no animosity between them. It would be very rare to see a drunk Shaktar here, as it would mean a grave disrespect to their family elder. There is also a Circle of Justice here, a sand ring where disagreements that cannot be solved otherwise can be solved by a honorable fight to the death.
Sinokenon , that supposedly is Ebon for "Union" is Necanthrope territory, and the Well ends right above it. Glyph Pillars are blocked here, as a mark of respect for the patrons, and it is the only place in The Pit where weapons are common. There are many bars, private booths, seating areas and such here, but there is a distinct pecking order: Necanthropes divide themselves based on age and social standing, and a hotblooded new Nec trying to have a walk through elder areas will soon be shown their rightful place. A stern warning is usually enough: fights here are extremely rare. Still, the atmosphere is menacing enough that the Sinokenon shift is almost as unpopular among The Pit employees as the Heretics shift.
There's not even Diablerie to even things up, goddamn
Finally, Treachery is the smallest level, with no particular theme to its name. There are only five bars here, surrounded by a motorcycle racing track. The bars are The Pit-Stop , which also doubles as a garage and maintenance area for the racing track. Races here are the only official sporting event in The Pit, and unofficially lots of money changes hands with each race. The Pit-Stop does not charge for use of their facilities, but riders and mechanics are expected to drink there. The Mass caters mostly to humans, though Wraith Raiders are not uncommon, and is where operatives come to indulge their sensual side, with very attractive, scantily clad men and women serving - and servicing - the clientele. Erotic videos and 24-hour Alien Sex Channel feeds are on the vid screens at all times, and there is also specialist staff to attend somewhat more unusual or harmful 'needs'. Services are technically free, but drinks are thrice as expensive as any other bar in The Pit. The Respite is a friendly bar aiming to give personal service to all its customers: think Cheers, only SLAized. Drinks are twice as expensive as usual, but people honestly don't mind paying that and more for the atmosphere. The Joint is a drug-themed bar where clients can get crunk as fuck on whatever poison they want, with a helpful supply of munchies to get through the night. Secretly, The Joint checks its clients for dependency - if taken too far, reports are made to their superiors so that proper treatment can be arranged. Clients don't know of this, and many would leave if it were made public knowledge. Finally, Bradleys is a small live music bar, which usually takes the place of someone grabbing a guitar and singing. Drinks are cheap, but the bar is dingy, smelly and cramped, the music is not so good and the staff spend very little maintaining it, and somehow Bradleys is always full. I guess people love their shitty holes in the wall.
There's some writeups on housing - Downtown housing, average op's flat and luxury Mort Central apartments - but it's not too interesting. Fun fact, though - TVs in Downtown cannot be turned off and have no volume control. SLA! Let's close this entry with a bit of fiction: a senior news editor watches with his team raw footage of a news team sent to Downtown to track down a serial killer going by the name of "Lady Muck." The TV station is highly interested in this killer, as they have offered a reward for any information that would lead to her capture. Janice, the journalist, tries to get information out of the Downtown inhabitants, but none are really willing to cooperate. The only friendly face they found, Harold the super of a rundown apartment block, had no clue and flipped his shit at the thought of a serial killer in his block. After long, tedious interviews, Janice and company finally come face to face with Lady Muck - it's Harold himself, in drag, a complete second personality. Murderous as fuck, too, as he chops up the poor news team. The editor and his crew are happy about the footage and decide to put it up on the evening news, and he decides to send Janice (who managed to survive) flowers at the hospital for her efforts. Real flowers, too - she's a trooper that kept the channel from having to pay their offered reward.
Next: The Shivers!
The thin power armored lineOriginal SA post SLA Industries: Mort
The thin power armored line
So, about those Shivers. Their chapter starts with a speech made by a captain to new units, which is basically WE ARE THE LAW, CIVVIES DON'T LIKE THE LAW SO SCREW THEM, AND OPERATIVES ARE NOT GODS SO SCREW THEM TOO. Currently, the Shiver Commander is Matthew Cradle, a tough, hardassed guy that somehow managed to stay above all the bullshit and corruption and rose from line Shiver to the top in just over thirty years, a meteoric rise. Since Shivers - unlike Ops - are trained to work together and there are lots of them, a Shiver rebellion could easily plunge Mort into civil war, so it's a demonstration of Cradle's leadership and loyalty to Mr. Slayer that he has managed to rise so far, so fast. He may not be loved by his force, but he is a fair dude and all respect him.
A handy organizational chart.
On paper, Shivers are very organized and follow their procedures to the hilt. In reality, the Shiver organization is plagued by politics: promotion is as much a game of getting on the superior's good sides as anything else, and despite recent anti-discrimination legislation, three of the four Divisional Commanders and more than 78% of the Sector Commanders are female. Corruption has also walked with the Shivers since they were created: the average Shiver gets paid very little, achieving livable wages only at Lieutenant rank and above, and so Shivers resort to extorting criminals and gangs to get money for themselves, their vices (drug abuse is rife among them) and appropriate bribes for their superiors. All in UNIs, of course, no electronic Credits that can be traced by the system. Crime pays, and quite a bit. After all, they keep being asked the impossible by headquarters, and the Shivers need the money more than the street punks, right?
There's also a handy guide to bribes here. Ops pay more than civvies because the Shivers don't like assholes that make more money than them.
Shiver types! Standard Shivers are grouped in ten-man squads (1 sergeant and 9 line Shivers), equipped with Blocker body armor and the Browbeater gauss rifle. They're the ones that interact with operatives the most, and the ones with the lousiest pay. Sleeper Shivers have one of the most dangerous duties in Mort - they are given an APC, enough supplies for several weeks, and order to patrol an area in Downtown for six months. They have little patience for 'soft' approaches, leaving them for the Shivers in actual stations. They have little interaction with other Shivers, only dropping by stations to leave prisoners and collect supplies, and most carry illegal weaponry because fucking Downtown does not forgive. Fire Shivers are SLA Industries' firefighters, equipped with special fire APCs that can be used as riot control vehicles in a pinch. Firefighting is such an important duty that operatives have no control over their activities, and they have little qualms over running over pedestrians, other vehicles or even through buildings to shave off seconds from their response time. Fun fact: many more people die to Fire Shivers than to the fires themselves.
Mort has better production values than the other two books. Yay for Wizards, I guess?
EDIT: other Shiver types. DAC handlers don't get a writeup but LOOK AT THAT FUCKER HE HAS A MUTANT K9.
Dispersal Shivers are authorized to wear PP8 Exo Heavy Armor and FEN 603 pistols. They are the riot police and they give zero fucks about, well, most things. They are the least corrupt of all Shiver types (with the probable exception of Enforcers) and, like with Fire Shivers, Ops have no control over them. In fact, interfering with Dispersal Shivers carries a fine of 1,000 Credits at the very least. Enforcer Shivers are the most mysterious, under SLA Industries' direct command. They are not called on to make arrests - when they show up, it's to kill. They also wear Exo armor but are armed with Blitzer handguns with HESH ammo, because there is no such thing as overkill for them. Enforcers are the newest Shiver type, created in 820 SD. Finally, SCAF (Shiver Copter Airborne Forces) are the flyboys of the force, patrolling the city from above with their helicopter bikes. They fly over everything from Mort Central to the Cannibal Sectors and have the attitude to match, but their visibility also makes them a target for lunatics. Interdivisional rivalry plagues the Shivers, and it's not uncommon for units to ignore or cut off requests for reinforcements or help from other units based on their type or sector.
There are some guidelines on how operatives should interact with Shivers, and then a piece of fiction where a Dirty Harry type ex-Shiver is brought to heel by an uncaring Lieutenant. It does not end well for the guy. Interesting to note, though, apparently Finance Chip scanners are illegal? The corebook could have mentioned that.
Vehicles! The Stingray is a modified dropship design based on the ones used in War Worlds. They can carry 100 troops, are able to operate in space as well as in atmosphere, and are armed with 3 chainguns to clear a landing zone. The Hammer APC is the standard Shiver ground vehicle, tough and large enough to carry Stormers and Shaktars. The SCAF helibike and the Battle Taxi APC are reprinted from the corebook as well. As for gear, most of it is reprinted from the corebook or from Karma - the only really new items are the Dispersal Shiver's riot shield, pretty effective in close combat, and the Mini-Browbeater gauss pistol carried by SCAF pilots.
Oh, it did not look like a Rhino at all.
Then there is a section where many people - mostly Downtowners - are interviewed on aspects of life in Mort. Long story short? LIFE IN DOWNTOWN IS KIND OF SHITTY. Also, Monarchs, the 'civvie' police officers, are mostly looked down on by everyone, as the guys that didn't make the cut for either operative or Shiver duty. Underfunded and undertrained, Monarch Law Enforcement (descended from the original Mort police force, whereas Shivers are descended from ancient SLA military units) are no match for Mort's dangers but hey, someone has to beat up pimps and recover stolen purses.
"He's some sort of bro. "
Next: Life in Downtown keeps being shitty.
Where trains and libraries are hardcoreOriginal SA post SLA Industries: Mort
Where trains and libraries are hardcore
You're aiming the wrong way, kitty.
Let's talk about Downtown! To be specific, Lower Downtown . Ask any random non-Op in Uptown and Suburbia about the Downtown underground and they will say it's nothing but factories and warehouses. They are sort of correct, as below the ground in Central, Uptown and Suburbia it's indeed full of manufactories where Low-Wave Stormers slave churning out products for the World of Progress. The media would like everyone to believe the entire Mort City underground works like this, but the truth is, as always, a little different in Downtown.
Lower Downtown is a place the media mostly tries to ignore. It's rundown and crumbling, a maze of narrow walkways and derelict buildings, and the people living here mistrust outsiders in general and Slops in particular, even more than regular Downtown residents. Physically, they are changed too, with mutations becoming more and more common the lower you go. Shivers rarely go beyond Level 30; Monarchs don't dare to venture even half as deep.
The residents of the lower levels don't even exist according to SLA official records, and without access to even what passes for social services in the World of Progress, most can only get their hands on money by stealing it. They're not yet as far gone as the cannibals outside the walls, but they certainly aren't shy of eating rats, giant pigs, wild cats and dogs and other, less pleasant sources. Even the air here is stained, toxic smog accumulating with depth. Anyone visiting and breathing the air without proper filtering should get themselves checked in immediately, though fortunately according to our friends in the Environment Department the locals are used to the smog and not in any danger from it!
The last official census of Downtown recorded 285 levels, though the exact number is hard to know. There's relatively little difference between Level 1 (surface) and Level 20, except that things go bleaker more industrial in the lower levels. Most gangs make their homebases in Levels 15-18, comfortably away from the Shivers but not deep enough to be in real danger from the things lurking below. Levels 20-30 hold the unfortunates with enough money to survive but who cannot afford to live in hospitable areas, and beyond that there be dragons. With fewer and fewer Ops willing to risk their hides in Lower Downtown, treks into the lower walkways are handled by Black (suicide) BPNs with staggering 1500 credits per op rewards - as long as the squad brings back proof that they have gone beyond Level 100 and information that aids in the mapping of Lower Downtown. Hooray, dungeon crawls!
One of the rising threats from Lower Downtown are the Scavs, bands of scavengers from all races (even particularly intelligent Carriens) that kill everything they come across then loot them with gusto. They don't sell their stuff in the regular black market, so SLA intelligence believes a whole new black market is being developed in Lower Downtown. Little is known about the Scav's origins, but their sweep-like raids seem to be in search of something, though no one knows what. Surprisingly, the ones bearing the brunt of the Scav's predations are the Props, Downtown's hired guns, to the point that rare rumors say that Props will go after Scavs without even getting paid to do so. Unfortunately for Downtown residents, the Props' focus on the Scavs has left other threats, like mutant incursions, unchecked.
DEATH HOCKEY THE HOCKEY THAT KILLS
Downtown is not entirely unprotected. Apart from Slops and Props, there are flash floods that wipe out everything in their path, serial killers that murder public enemies as often as the public, gangs that protect their turf with blade and gun... and the trains. See, the Gauss trains that travel in the underground can easily reach Mach 4 and stop for pretty much fucking nothing. Intruders entering Mort through the sewers and service hatches tend to follow the convenient Gauss tunnels, which combined with the regular train service has made them an actual defensive measure against the horrors from Lower Downtown. Hell, SLA Industries pays train drivers for "roadkill" properly captured on train cameras: this bounty has become a vital part of the drivers' wages. On the other hand, this means that a Gauss train stoppage means more than late cargo and passengers. It means that civvies are dying.
One vital spot for SLA Industries and Mort in general are the power shafts that reach all the way to the planetary core. Using principles of heat exchange, they generate vast amounts of electricity, and without them Mort simply would not have enough energy to function. The location of the shafts is a carefully guarded secret, one that organizations like DarkNight and Thresher would love to have, and quite a few ops have had to handle Red BPNs protecting an emergency technician crew fixing a power shaft before the mutants come.
Let's go above ground and away from Mort City to Meny ! SLA Industries' primary college town, Meny used to be the site of one of the first atmospheric processing plants developed to purify Mort's contaminated air. The plant suffered a reactor failure and it had to be evacuated; the failsafes worked perfectly, but the entire island it was on was covered with a giant dome just to make sure. Ironically, forty years later, Mort's ecosystem collapsed, and the engineers that were sent in to determine the status of the reactor found that not only the automated repair systems had fixed it: the dome had also protected the natural environment of the island, preserving species thought to be extinct in the planet at large. SLA Industries quickly moved in and prepared the area for a new city project, but unlike SLA standard procedure, many natural enclaves were preserved. Of course, they were also useful as training grounds. Meny was to be SLA Industries' foremost center of learning and knowledge. The core of Meny is the Tank, the area housing all the educational facilities and buildings, surrounded by the sections of the city that house the students, staff and support personnel. Student accommodations are adequate, though the wealthier districts are reserved for retired SLA employees that moved to Meny for a cleaner life.
TRIGGER DISCIPLINE, MAGGOT
Life at Meny College is hard: students are expected to study 14 hours a day and they only get a 100 credit allowance from SLA. Suicides are an everyday event, though most people survive the experience, with the help of peers, tutors and assorted drugs. But all the same, Meny's nightlife is as fast-paced as you would expect of a college town, and even some active operatives make trips to Meny for their cheap, awesome bars and pubs. The stationed Shivers are, however, pretty damn antagonistic towards the students. Granted, since they are being taught that they'll get to boss Shivers around when they graduate, some try to exercise privileges not yet granted, but the Shivers are mainly trying to make the most of the brief opportunity they have to push fledgling Slops around. Apart from the Shivers, though, Meny is heavily defended: a detachment of the Black Chapter itself is tasked to defend Meny's dome from sabotage and attack, and hundreds of weapon platforms with SAM launchers and remotely controlled chain guns protect the dome itself. Also, Stigmartyr agents can be seen here as well... not so much to protect Meny, but to sanction any unfortunately curious student that trips over Integration Twenty or some other highly damaging document kept in Meagre Tower, the largest repository of knowledge in Mort.
Does this make me look fat?
Next: SLA goes Far East.
Legal scum and villainyOriginal SA post SLA Industries: Mort
Legal scum and villainy
Orienta is on the other side of Mort, the third of the planet's great cities along with Mort City and Meny. It's a chaotic sprawl where class segregation is not as clearly marked as in Mort, with luxury mansions rubbing shoulders with dingy hovels, and where every square inch of space has already been used up. Oh, and it's also Mort's drug traffic hub. The population is mostly human, and non-humans (even those born in the city) are always treated as outsiders. Shaktars have an easier time than the others since they share certain character traits and traditions, Ebons simply cannot comprehend how the city manages to survive, and Brain Wasters are too busy insulting the "little yellow people" to care. Only Wraith Raiders see Orienta for what it truly is, a living demonstration of the principles of stealth and secrecy - a big hunting ground where the local wildlife is hostile.
CAN'T SEE SHIT, TEMAE.
History time! Back when Orienta was built, it was a smallish development in the middle of nowhere without the need for attention of Mort City. Control over Orienta was given to a core team of five employees mostly left to their own devices. But it seemed to be in the nature of the city to be corrupt, and it was not long before the SLA overseers were absorbed into the city's underworld networks. They quickly took over the flourishing crime syndicates, turned SLA facilities to drug labs, and the local Shivers into their personal army. Eventually, rumors of corruption reached Cloak Division and representatives were sent to Orienta, but they found nothing - because, see, in Orienta everyone is on the take, from the Core Team overseers to the lowest maintenance worker. Everyone keeps the machinery of crime and corruption running, and to this day, SLA HQ knows that something is wrong with Orienta but have no evidence to back their suspicions. The only one that knows is Mr. Slayer himself - and he, for one, appreciates his minions' subterfuge and cunning, and approves thoroughly. He will continue ignoring the situation as long as the Team follows the guidelines he gave them so long ago, and likes to use Orienta as a stick to prod his executives with.
Orienta has the lowest rate of violent crime in not just Mort, but the entire World of Progress. Shiver duty is pretty easy here, especially taking into consideration all the "incentives" that make sure they stay blind, deaf and dumb. If crime pays in Mort, in Orienta it does so up front, in cash, first day of the month.
The two main criminal organizations are The Trang , the 'official' Core Team-backed thieves and drug barons. They provide the Company with a large cut of the illegal profits, and also work as SLA's unofficial police force, dealing with the people Shivers can't or won't touch. Rogue criminal elements are not tolerated in Orienta. The other main syndicate, the Rising Sun , is more subtle and little other than its name is known. They have restricted themselves to disrupt the drug trade with new narcotics so far, but word has it that their leader is none other than a freaking rogue Necanthrope of immense power. No agent of the Rising Sun has ever been captured alive: they die rather than risk revealing their secrets.
The black market is, of course, present in Orienta, but unlike Downtown's secretive network of dealers, in Orienta the market peddles its wares openly in the streets, Shivers studiously ignoring what is obviously stolen weaponry and whatnot. The Shifting Bazaar , as it is called, is a 500,000 square feet maze where everything is for sale - guns, drugs, rare artifacts and most importantly, information. This includes some of SLA's juicier secrets, but though many Ops could afford traveling to Orienta, some of them are so juicy that the Company will murder you just for asking about them. SLA Industries knows about the Bazaar and for a time tried repeatedly to close it up, until they succeeded - only for the Core Team to reopen it a few years later. The official reason is that this way they can keep an eye on subversives and control rumors. Mr. Slayer knows that the real reason is that the Team is corrupt to the core, but as far as he is concerned, they're just doing a fine job.
Feng Shui is thattaway, Mr. Abomination.
The Bazaar is deliberately confusing, and guides are available so that people may actually get out of it. People are known to have entered the market and exited days later, loaded up with useless objects and drugged up to hell and back. Some never return at all. The stalls move around constantly, adding to the confusion, and "The Mist" (the fumes from the myriad drug stalls) almost seems to have a life of its own. At least the drug stall holders are kind enough to watch that no one steals from their drugged up customers - thieves making off with their next cash injection is bad for business. Sometimes they can lose a day's profits after a Shiver raid, which is mostly symbolical and usually only undertaken when Mort Central bigwigs show up. The market's day to day affairs are run by a Trang agent named Tsung-Li from one of the few permanent buildings in the Bazaar, the administration office. All stalls need to be properly licensed, and she is there to make sure that the Bazaar runs smoothly and to ensure the safety of buyers and customers. The greatest punishment she can deal (apart from swift execution) is banishment from the Bazaar - since illicit activities are the lifeblood of Orienta, this is a fate far worse than death for many, since no one will even speak to a Bazaar exile.
One of the weirdest groups in Orienta are The Unfortunate. They are mythical figures that seem to know all, but you can never seek them out - it's them that come for you. If someone shows you a grey glove in the Bazaar (say, during a street performance) it means that the Unfortunate are looking for you. Those to claim to have met the Unfortunate are few and never talk of what happens during the meeting, but word has it that it's an opportunity that never comes around again so you better make the most of it if they find you worthy to ask your questions.
The main legit employer in Orienta is Karma. Many bioresearch firms are housed here, and many of the World of Progress' leading minds in biogenetics come from (and sometimes still live in) Orienta. But of course, the criminal tendrils also have a hold here, and many of the labs also double as drug houses. They cater solely to the pleasure end of the drugs spectrum, and the scientists here have created some of the wildest drugs in the universe. Probably none of this could take place without the assent of Karma's leading official in Orienta. Currently, this person is Keston Celpa, a Wraith Raider socialite that somehow manages to make enough time in her 'busy' schedule to appear at all major parties and gatherings, and is always accompanied by an entourage of highly loyal operatives.
Fort Chimera is the Shivers' main base in Orienta, and the main prison in the city due to the absence of Monarch forces. The prison stretches 127 levels underground, but there is a major secret here: forty years ago, a prison break took level on one of the lowest levels of the prison, and it would have been successful had the prisoners not taken their sweet time killing every Shiver they could find. The lower levels were locked until Dispersal Shivers could be sent in, who then found... nothing. Not one of the prisoners could be found in the sealed levels, and since the security system had been destroyed during the jailbreak, there was no record of what happened down there. A secret report was made after the levels were thoroughly examined and the dead Shivers recovered, and soon the place was crawling with Internal Affairs, Stigmartyr and Dark Finders. Sixty of the latter were locked inside the sealed levels with a standing order to murder anyone that enters, the heads of staff of the Fort were sent back to Mort for 'retraining', replaced by Shivers from Artery, and the Dispersal Shivers that still live serve as military police in Dante. If anyone knows the truth about Fort Chimera, it's probably the Unfortunate, but the average person would rather brave the levels themselves than deal with them.
He has no fucks to give. No lungs or stomach, either.
Finally, sample BPNs! They're a smattering of one-page adventures for your game. Here's a quick summary!
Gang vs. Gang
is a Blue BPN where the Slops are sent to control and suppress civilian disturbances in Downtown. Eventually, they'll end up in the middle of a gangfight between the Tigers gang and the Shadows gang, and probably outnumbered. They can try allying with one gang against the other, waiting for them to kill each other, or anything they can come up with.
is a Silver BPN where the Slops are required to serve as bodyguards for a Contract Killer named Nightshade while he is on a four-day lecture tour in Meny. Mostly, Nightshade's financier wants bodyguards for him so that he looks more important than he actually is, but the guy is also an arrogant, psychotic asshole that will not think twice before trying to cut up heckling students and what not. Fun!
is a Red BPN, with Slops needing to rescue a Gauss train trapped by a cannibal family, a serial killer and his pet Carriens before they murder the passengers. They'll also need to clear up the road before more bad guys come. The Slops will also be expected to follow the cannibals into their tunnels and wipe them out for good, otherwise they'll try their luck again the following week and the Slops will have to do it all over again, only without extra pay because they will be considered not to have fulfilled the BPN.
is another Red BPN. There is a threat of a DarkNight raid that night at the Spaceport and extra hands are needed. Eventually, a DarkNight shuttle will try to strafe the spaceport. It will be shot down, but six mercs will survive with detailed plans of the spaceport. They will be difficult to capture or kill, so the squad will need to work fast while taking care not to damage the valuable property present in the spaceport.
is a Blue sewer maintenance BPN. A serial killer known as Ratman will show up, and try to lose the Slops if they try to catch him, but he'll end up ambushed and killed by a pack of Carriens. Other than usual sewer dangers, it's a straightforward mission.
Wild Pig Hunt
is a Red BPN: a carnivorous pig is loose in Suburbia! It was reported by a lonely old lady that will try to keep the Slops as busy as possible just to have someone to talk to. The pig itself should be easy to find and will actually be friendly unless approached aggressively, because it's the pet of a local Frother. She is very attached to her highly illegal pet, and will not accept parting with her piggy.
is yet another Red BPN: a Third Eye New team has been shot down in Cannibal Sector 5 and needs immediate evacuation. The culprit is a Shaktar ex-War Criminal that believes the news team to be enemy scouts: they are bound and gagged in her lair. Her Shaktar honor still holds in her twisted mind, so the Slops may potentially solve this without murder. Which is good, as she is armed to the teeth with military weaponry.
is a Silver BPN that requires Slops to act as security for a media team going into Lower Downtown. They want to make a piece about how lucky people are living in defensible areas instead of the lower levels.
The team should find all the dangers of Lower Downtown - mutants, Props, Scavs, and more. They'll also run into a huge beast that the media crew will want dead in close combat. Eventually, a flashflood will take the Slops and the team and deposit them in Cannibal Sector One, where they'll be attacked by the Sector's critters.
is a Grey BPN where the squad will have to protect a corporate after death threats have been made to her by a serial killer named Entropy. They'll have to protect her for 24 hours, and she may potentially end up getting laid with a squad member. The corporate will be safe during the 24 hours that the BPN lasts, but days latter she will try killing the corporate again. She may survive or not the attack, depending on whether she's managed to form a relationship with a squad member - either way, the team will be offered the job of finally taking down the serial killer.
is a Yellow BPN. A SCAF pilot has gone down due to unknown circumstances over Downtown, and it's up to the team to retrieve her gear. This will involve a lot of bribes and interrogations of Downtown citizens, as the gear of the SCAF pilot is all over the place by the time the squad gets there.
starts as a regular Blue BPN dealing with civilian disturbance suppression. The squad will spot a little girl stealing from a stall and taking off: if they give chase, they'll find that the girl is a decoy for an ambush set up by a Downtown gang, looking to get their mitts on SLA gear. It will be a hard fight, as it's in their turf.
- Finally, Clearance Duty is a Blue BPN where the squad will have to clear a Downtown building of its inhabitants before its scheduled demolition. They were already informed of the demolition two weeks ago, but some refuse to move. These include a lady with six children and nowhere else to go, a guy completely too drunk to understand what is going on, a man that has barricades himself and taken his family hostage until promised a place to live, a deaf mute that thinks everyone else is possessed, and whoever else the GM can come up with. Oh, and the team is not authorized to offer any other accommodation, as the Housing Department says there simply are no apartments available at the time.
Oh fuck, that elf is going to shiv me!
Whew! And that's it for SLA Industries: Mort. There's a glossary with terms, but it basically covers stuff we've already seen so far. The only weird thing is that the White Earth entry comes with two D-Notices (that is to say, even asking about it is grounds for termination), but White Earth had already been mentioned in the in-setting guide to Mort so... I don't know. SLA!
Next... we'll see.