Jade enema pumps, cloning experiments, the head of John the Baptist, zombis, mad Japanese doctors, Quentin Tarantino and more demons than you can shake a scalpel at... just another day for the Medivac unit at Bethlehem West Hospital.
A plan was hatched between Kronos, Vapula, and Lucinda, the fledgling Demon of Cloning. They would clone the Head's brain material, which would hopefully contain some part of the Head's oracular powers. This brain matter could be placed in Vapula's technological devices in order to divert the user towards their Fate.
Lucinda set up a laboratory in the Bethlehem West hospital in Brisbane, hopefully far from detection or interference. With the assistance of Absalom and some duped humans, she has been working on the cloning experiments for about two months. The hospital administration, fooled by Lucinda's lies, believe she and her team are working on possible cloning techniques for antibodies and medicines. The work has progressed slowly but surely, and they hope to make the breakthrough soon.
What no one realized was that there was another demon in the hospital - Irene, a servant of Saminga who works as the morgue attendant. Irene is a fairly sad, disreputable demon with a habit of screwing up. She lost a few ranks and Forces some months back, and has been demoted to working here. She's quite lonely, and more than a little bit crazy. Some weeks ago, she made a zombi to keep her company on the long shifts, which cheered her up immensely. The zombi, called Johnny, has been reduced to only a head, which she feeds blood and keeps in a refrigerator.
The noise of the zombi's creation was heard by Lucinda, who panicked, thinking it could be angels in the hospital. She formulated a plan to try and distract any angels, by having some other event happen at Bethlehem West. She contacted Duke (an old acquaintance), who she knew was at Movie World shooting a film with Quentin Tarantino, and asked if he could stage something with his people. Rather than jeopardize his cover, Duke called in a favor from Usagi, who was on his way to Australia with Dr Yamaguchi and his team. After some arm twisting, Usagi agreed to send Yamaguchi to Bethlehem West.
Unfortunately for everyone's sake, security failed at two points. First, news leaked of Yamaguchi's cancer cure before they left Japan, and the media hype is putting focus on Bethlehem West before they even arrive. Secondly, Irene's burst of noise was detected by a passing servitor of Janus, who didn't have time to check it out but has passed the news along. Now a team of local angels is sent to look into the matter and see what's going on - both with the cancer cure and the disturbance
But wait, there's more. Unbeknownst to anyone, a Shedite Servitor of Malphas has come to Bethlehem West in the last few days. Pathros was inhabiting a young man who was injured in a bus accident, which was attended to by the hospital's Medivac unit, an emergency response team, with a very high success rate. Pathros has decided that the unit should be closed down, since saving lives is hardly what Malphas wants. He has taken over the body of Harry Richards, the director of Medivac, and has started trying to sabotage relations within the unit. He knows nothing of the other demons, and is very surprised by the arrival of Yamaguchi and Co.
Then the PCs arrive.
A cure for cancer would be a wonderful thing for humanity - but it could be a demonic trick. A passing servant of Janus reported hearing a very faint celestial disturbance in the area a few weeks ago, but he was on his way to Nimbin and couldn't hang around. As the angels on the spot, Heaven wants you to investigate and see what is going on.
And while you're there, there's plenty of opportunity to help humanity. Do everything you think is necessary...
Corporeal Forces: 3 Strength-5 Agility-7 HP: 25 Ethereal Forces: 4 Intelligence-8 Precision-8 HP: 32 Celestial Forces: 4 Will-10 Perception-7 HP: 40
Special Rite - 2 Essence if she encourages someone to clone something
Story - As a fairly new recipient of a Word, Lucinda is out to prove something. She saw the potential in the Head, and suggested the cloning project to her Superior. She had thought that coming to Brisbane would keep things quiet, but she hadn't counted on Irene making noise. She wasn't sure what the situation is, whether the disturbance is divine or profane, so she pulled some strings and arranged for the Yamaguchi Project to come to Bethlehem West. Now she isn't sure what's going to happen, and is losing control over the situation...
Lucinda is very good at making decisions - she's firm and determined. She's not good at gathering information, though, and sometimes (like now) she makes a decision without thinking it through properly. She tries to cover this up, but if it gets away from her she loses all confidence.
Corporeal Forces: 3 Strength-6 Agility-7 HP: 36 Ethereal Forces: 3 Intelligence-6 Precision-6 HP: 18 Celestial Forces: 3 Will-7 Perception-5 HP: 21
Story - Absalom has been assigned by Kronos to guard the head of John the Baptist, and to keep an eye on the somewhat ambitious Lucinda as well.
Absalom is quite egotistical, fairly arrogant, and a bit of an arsehole. Kronos is the most powerful Demon Prince, and Absalom is fairly powerful for a non-Word-bound servitor. He's developed his natural Djinn emotional state to a disaffected, cynical state, and tends to sneer at anything and anyone. He would really like a Word, but he hasn't worked out what he wants to try for.
Absalom's main problem is his lack of diplomacy. Sure, he can pretend, but he's not good at forging alliances or working with others. He's unlikely to get a Word because he won't make the connections he needs in the world of Infernal politics. He's too blunt, and he tends to sneer at those who come to him for assistance.
Currently, he's posing as Robert Absalom, assistant to Dr. Germane. He hates this, but realizes that he doesn't have the knowledge to carry off a better disguise. He takes out his frustrations on other people throughout the hospital. He offers to assist the staff when he has free time, just so he can interfere with the patients and the setup. He often hangs around the Medivac area. He's careful about causing Disturbance, and will rein in his hobby if he knows that there are angels in the area, but probably won't have the willpower to give it up completely. He does check on the Fate/Destiny of patients on occasion, and this might be a clue that gives away his presence. If he has to choose between the cloning project and a particularly juicy Fate/Destiny thing, he'll agonize over it but probably go for the latter.
Absalom does have good fighting skills, and has a sawn-off shotgun hidden in the laboratory. If it gets to the stage of open warfare, he'll gleefully start stalking the halls, gun in hand (if that fits in with the tone of things).
Corporeal Forces: 3 Strength-6 Agility-6 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-4 Precision-4 HP: 8 Celestial Forces: 3 Will-7 Perception-5 HP: 21
Story - Pathros was inhabiting the body of a young man who was having problems relating to his co-workers. The plan to exacerbate the problem was going quite well - until there was a bus accident and the original host was put into a coma. The bus crash was attended by the Medivac unit, and Pathros saw how well the team worked together. He's decided to break up this group, and has inhabited the body of Harry Richards, the Medivac administrator.
Pathros' main fault is that he thinks small. He's taken centuries to build himself to the fairly average stage he's at now, and confines his attentions to small matters. Breaking up Medivac could be beyond him. He avoids physical confrontation, is terrified of angels, but fears screwing up even more. He's an accident waiting to happen.
Pathros' general strategy is to break the trust between the Medivac members. His main weapons are his Attunements, which cause Disturbance (pity, that). He'll also use the Song of Attraction to play with the emotions of NPCs.
As a Servitor of Malphas, Pathros has completely overpowered the personality of Harry Richards. While he has all the memories, his actions are a bit off, and this can be noted by those who know Harry (like Craven and O'Malley).
Harry went straight from Med. School to Vietnam during the war, and still has some problems dealing with that part of his life. He's worked in and administered emergency wards for years, and has been the best in the country. These days, however, he's drinking more, overwhelmed by memories of Vietnam, and the Medivac unit isn't as successful as it could be. His office is filled with photos and articles about the wards he's managed before, and a few photos of the war. There's a bottle of whiskey in his desk drawer.
HP: 2 (24 when possessed)
Corporeal Forces: 2 Strength-4 Agility-4 HP: 16 Ethereal Forces: 4 Intelligence-8 Precision-8 HP: 32 Celestial Forces: 4 Will-8 Perception-8 HP: 32
Servants: Quentin Tarantino/2, Max Shelby/4
Story - Duke has seen better days, but he's on his way straight to the top. A few years ago he seemed a definite to get the Word of Artistic Management, but it was snatched out from under his nose. Now he's aiming for the Word of Chic Violence - which is where Quentin comes in...
Tarantino's films have been pilloried for their depiction of violence as 'cool', for their profanity, for... well, for lots of things. Most of this is Quentin's own idea - but Duke's been working to encourage that style ever since he saw the potential in Reservoir Dogs. Duke has been cruising for a while on the success of Quentin's films - Nybbas loves the idea of desensitization to violence - but he knows that he has to start pushing the envelope to have a shot at his Word. His current plan is to up the stakes - make the films darker, wittier, crueler, to have people leave them with murder in their minds and laughter on their lips. Tarantino is filming at the Gold Coast Movieworld at the moment, and Duke wants this film (make up a film you think will be amusing) to be the breakthrough.
One problem here is Connie, Tarantino's mother, who doesn't like Duke much and has too much influence with Quentin. Duke's been trying to think of a way of getting rid of her - and then came this thing with Lucinda...
Duke arranged for Usagi and Dr. Yamaguchi to come to Brisbane. Then he convinced Connie that she has bowel cancer. Tarantino decided to bring his Mom to the hospital to get her cured. This gives Duke a chance to watch the show, and possibly a way to get Connie taken down a peg or two; since she hasn't got cancer, she'll seem less credible in Quentin's eyes when he finds out (and if that fails, there's a lot of things that can go wrong in a hospital...). Hell, if Connie dies, that could be just the thing to push Quentin into making the kind of movies Duke's after...
Corporeal Forces: 3 Strength-6 Agility-6 HP: 30 Ethereal Forces: 3 Intelligence-6 Precision-6 HP: 18 Celestial Forces: 3 Will-6 Perception-6 HP: 18
Story - Kobal still has problems understanding the Japanese sense of humor, and how they can be both so serious (all that business stuff) and so stupid (those self-mutilation games shows). His Japanese Servitors are charged, along with their other projects, to try and work out the Asian sense of humor.
Usagi is a young but upwardly mobile servant of Dark Humor who's doing his best to put it all together. It's all about the incongruity of things, he's decided - the juxtaposition of the staid with the surreally funny. As an experiment, he's put into motion the project with Dr. Yamaguchi. He's convinced Yamaguchi that the Shenzau enema pump, in conjunction with the doctor's brown rice and vitamin mix, can cure cancer. The project is two-fold - first, the humor of everyone coping with the whole 'enema' thing, which is obvious and weird and designed to appeal to the Asian sense of humor. And second, the comedy value when it's revealed that the cure doesn't work!
Unfortunately, things have gotten out of hand. Duke called in a favor that Usagi couldn't refuse, so he's had to spring things early. Now the secret is being revealed in a non-Asian setting, and Usagi can't get an 'accurate reading' from his great experiment! Even worse, the news leaked early, so there's the media crowding around, which carries a risk of the secret being revealed too early. Still, you've got to laugh, right?
Usagi is a bit peeved with the way things are going, but is carrying on regardless. He's doing his best to keep the experiment going, as well as have some fun in Bethlehem West with the whole culture-clash comedy thing. He also has a weakness for human women (not surprising in an Impudite). He pretends to have a fairly weak grasp of English, both as a precaution (so he can snoop around), and because it's funny.
Corporeal Forces: 4 Strength-8 Agility-8 HP: 56 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-4 Precision-4 HP: 8 Celestial Forces: 2 Will-5 Perception-3 HP: 10
Discord - Paranoia/ 2
Story - It's not her fault, you understand; she's doing her best, but others have it in for her. They told Saminga that she was incompetent, that she was useless, but that's not true. Yes, she made a mistake or two, but she tried, and that should count for something! But they convinced Saminga to demote her, strip her of authority and responsibility.
But she's going to show them. She found the job as morgue attendant at Bethlehem West, and works among the corpses (you can trust dead people). She's got a plan, too - she's going to make this hospital into a Tether of Saminga, with herself as Seneschal. She's not sure exactly how, just yet - it'll probably involve killing lots of people, so that's all right.
She's been very lonely, so she made a playmate a while ago; just a little zombi called Johnny. Johnny's head fell off at one point, and the body stopped working, so she keeps his head in a freezer and feeds him bits of bodies. Johnny's not much of a conversationalist, so she's going to make another friend soon.
Frankly, Irene's loopy. She's paranoid, lonely, and a Habbalite, so she's got some bad craziness. She'll assume that any celestial presence or strange events in Bethlehem West are her enemies trying to hurt her again. She'll fight back as best she can - which might mean killing anyone who looks suspicious (and that's everyone).
Irene has one trait that makes her a very dangerous opponent - she's stopped caring about the rules. She acts without regard for the Disturbance her actions make, and she doesn't care overly if mortals realize she's a demon (although she has enough control to not bring it up in casual conversation). Irene is the wild card in this adventure. Her pet zombi head is a nice red herring as well - if/when the PCs realize they're chasing a head, they might grab the wrong one...
Lucinda: She tries to be ingratiating and friendly to everyone (of course she doesn't mean it, she's a Balseraph). If alliances are needed, she'll attempt to get friendly with anyone who can help her get ahead.
Absalom: She somewhat resents having a watchdog of Kronos' in on her project, but she copes. She has no major beef against him, finding him a bit too overt but still reliable. She depends on him if things go wrong...Absalom: He knows who's really in charge - the Servitor of the most powerful Prince, that's who. He'll be condescending to any plea for assistance, reluctant to get help if he's in trouble.
Duke: She knows Duke from way back, and while they don't trust each other, they share lines of communication. If betrayal seems likely, she'll suspect Duke first.
Pathros: As long as he doesn't disrupt her operations, she's indifferent. If he interferes, she'll try to dispose of him somehow.
Irene: Get rid of her! Irene's presence has jeopardized this entire project - and anyway, Saminga's servants should all just piss off! When Lucinda finds out about Irene, she will do her best to dispose of her quietly...
Usagi: This is what Duke cooked up as a distraction? Bizarre. She'll try to ignore Usagi and Yamaguchi for as long as possible.
Lucinda: The glory from this project belongs to Kronos, not Vapula. Let her think he's on her side for as long as necessary, then discard her and take charge of things.Duke: Man, it's a hell of a show here - wish I'd sold tickets. As long as no one bothers my boy Q or gets in the way of what I want, let 'em go. This is funny.
Duke: A clever operator, and his master is in favor with Kronos. If needs be, help him if he's in danger, but don't go out of the way. Remember that he's a Balseraph and can't be trusted.
Pathros: Who cares? Stay out of the way, little Shedite.
Irene: An annoyance, particularly if she interferes. Ignore her until it becomes necessary to have her removed.
Usagi: This three-ring circus - you call this an appropriate smokescreen? This is ridiculous. Try to make sure that Usagi (and Kobal) lose face over this - as long as the cloning project stays secret...
Lucinda: Cloning? Could be potential there... who needs to hire extras? You've done your part, arranging for the show - if she needs more, she'd better pony up with the goods.Pathros: You cultivate a certain smidgen of paranoia as a servitor of Malphas. Pathros doesn't trust anyone, least of all demons - but he could be in over his head here, and he might need allies if he's discovered.
Absalom: Bit creepy, but he works for the Man, you know? Stay on his good side, but not to the extent of kissing his ass.
Usagi: Those wacky Japanese. Enemas? The boy's a riot. If this works out, it'll be good media, and it helps get a line on Connie. Encourage the boy.
Pathros: Yeah, whatever. Stay on your side of the court, don't get in my way. Maybe we'll do lunch sometime.
Irene: What is this, Halloween? Slasher flicks are way passe, kiddo. Scrape that stuff off your face and go back where you came from. Idiot girl - get rid of her.
Lucinda: Cloning? Hmmm... something Malphas should learn about. Don't disrupt anything just yet - but take notes.Usagi: I could be in over my head here - but if it works, what a coup! If I can find other chances for jokes, I can stay on Kobal's good side.
Absalom: A bully, but he can respect that. Ultimately untrustworthy, but try to stay on his good side.
Usagi: Strange idea, but good if it works out. Help out if necessary, but only if he pays you somehow.
Duke: Those Tarantino films are great, you never miss 'em. Duke has lots of contacts in the industry - be his pal and help out.
Irene: What a loser. Slice her up and throw her in the incinerator.
Lucinda: Cloning? Wacky. There's potential there, but I don't wanna go too far. Maybe leave her alone.Irene: I'll show them. Show them all. They think they're better than me, but we'll see just who comes out on top, won't we Johnny?
Absalom: A fate-finder? Humiliation time! Gotta get a plan to stick it to the Man (or Kobal'll stick it to me...). Anyway, stuffed shirts are easy to embarrass.
Duke: He twisted my arm to come here, but now I'm here it's kinda fun. And man, Tarantino films are a scream! Stay on his good side.
Pathros: Who cares? Just do your thing; stay out of my way.
Irene: Now that's funny. Help the poor girl out - this could be hilarious.
Lucinda: Bitch. I want to make a glove puppet out of her head.
Absalom: Make him die, make him die, make him die...
Duke: Those films are stupid, and not enough people die. Make Duke pay for treating Death lightly.
Pathros: If more people die, good - but that's my job, not yours! Get out!
Usagi: All right, you can live, but only because cancer is a good thing. But don't you laugh at me. Don't laugh!
Corporeal Forces: 3 Strength-6 Agility-6 HP: 24 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-4 Precision-5 HP: 8 Celestial Forces: 1 Will-2 Perception-2 HP: 2Status/2, Toughness/1
Story - Max always wanted to be a movie star, but he was hampered by his total inability to act. Never one to admit to his own shortcomings, though, and capitalizing on his athletic ability, he became a stuntman, while looking for his Big Break.
Unfortunately, Max wasn't the most stable man in the world (and still isn't). While doing stunt work for a rather ordinary TV action drama, he developed a crush on Marcy James, the female lead. She did nothing to lead him, but his crush grew into lust, then into obsession. He got thrown off the show for bothering her, but that didn't stop him, and he started stalking her. His work deteriorated, and he was thrown out of the Stuntman's Union, devoting all his time and interest to his obsession with Marcy. Finally, he ended up stalking and murdering her one rainy night.
Then Duke stepped in. He'd been watching Max from afar, sizing him up. He made him an offer in exchange for service and his soul. Max had shaky sanity, no money and a body in his lap, and readily agreed. Duke got rid of the body, gave Max a job as Tarantino's bodyguard, gave him infernal power and all the rest.
Max rather likes being a Soldier of Hell. Never burdened with anything like morality, he sees it as a way of getting what he wants. He obeys Duke out of fear more than loyalty - he knows Duke has the evidence of his murders (yes, plural - Max is the obsessive type), and would release the evidence if he crosses him.
He doesn't much care for people, and they often don't care for him. Quentin tolerates him as a necessity, and Connie hates him but can't do anything about it. Max lords his position, his physical fitness, and anything else he can find over others. He has an overconfidence problem, and thinks he's way cool. If things come to blows, he'll scream down hospital corridors on his motorbike, guns blazing, damn the consequences.
Max has two main problems. First, his overconfidence. Second, his obsession with attractive women. When meeting a female PC or NPC, make a reaction roll for Max. If the check digit of a successful result is 5 or 6, Max will become obsessed with that character and begin to stalk them. He'll only stalk one woman at a time - if more than one character qualifies, choose the most interesting one.
Corporeal Forces: 1 Strength-3 Agility-2 HP: 3 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-5 Precision-4 HP: 10 Celestial Forces: 2 Will-4 Perception-5 HP: 8Status/6
Story - It's Quentin Tarantino, man... you know enough about him already. He's shooting a film at MovieWorld, and has been drawn into this by Duke, his manager.
Tarantino's fame has gone right to his head, and he's become used to being obeyed. He also plays his image as the famous director to the hilt - butting into conversations, mapping out camera angles with his hands, trying to get laid... and so on.
Once you get past the image and the ego, Quentin's a decent guy. He cares about his mother, and is terrified that she might die of cancer. He wants to find out if the Yamaguchi treatment is for real, and to cure his Mom. Of course, he'll try and get this done by throwing his weight around and being a dickhead.
Quentin knows nothing about the War, and would never suspect the truth about Duke and Max. If he finds out... well, he probably wouldn't believe it anyway. Then he'd stick something similar into one of his films.
Corporeal Forces: 1 Strength-2 Agility-2 HP: 2 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-5 Precision-4 HP: 10 Celestial Forces: 2 Will-4 Perception-5 HP: 8Status/4
Story - Connie Tarantino's just an ordinary American mother whose son happens to be rich and famous. And like a good mother, she's used her relationship with her boy to get her own cut of the action.
In all honesty, Connie's a nice lady. Kind, sincere, bright and perky, she might be getting a little old but she's got lots of energy. Her hobby is collecting comic books, mainly alternative and offbeat stuff, and with the money that Quentin gives her, she can afford to indulge in things like original art, signed comics, statues and all that other junk that most collector's can only dream of.
Connie doesn't have a problem with Quentin's movies - she's hipper than she looks - but she's not crazy about some of his associates. She dislikes Duke and Max very much - she doesn't trust them in the slightest, and she tries to use her influence with Quentin to distance him from them.
This is one reason why Duke has targeted her. He's used his resonance to convince her that she has liver cancer (nasty), and that she doesn't have more than a year to live. This comes just as she's taking a holiday with Quentin in Australia (while he makes his new movie). Quentin has rushed her to Bethlehem West in the hope of getting Dr. Yamaguchi to treat her.
Connie does believe she has cancer, and feels the symptomatic pains, but doesn't let it slow her down. She's canny and clever, and keeps her eyes and ears open. If she takes a shine to the PCs, she could be a helpful source of information on Duke and Max (although she doesn't know about their true natures), and about other things in the hospital she comes into contact with. Think a younger, tougher Miss Marple. Oh, and she's not above using the PCs for her own ends - whether it's getting them to take down Duke, or just running into town to buy back-issues.
Corporeal Forces: 1 Strength-2 Agility-2 HP: 2 Ethereal Forces: 3 Intelligence-6 Precision-6 HP: 18 Celestial Forces: 1 Will-2 Perception-2 HP: 2Status/5
Story - Dr. Yamaguchi is a bona-fide genius in the field of medical research. But like many geniuses, he has some fairly strange ideas and practices.
At the moment, the strangest idea he has is about his cancer cure, which involves a mixture of brown rice, vitamins and minerals being pumped into the patient as an enema. Healthy, sure, but not what would normally cure cancer. But - if you use the special enema pump, the ancient Shenzau jade pump - then the mixture will actually cure cancer! Not just bowel cancer, but cancer of most internal organs!
Very strange, true, but so far research is very promising. As to why only this enema pump works - well, sometimes Dr. Yamaguchi talks about the unique atomic structure of the time-worn jade, of the pump's slight magnetic field. But mostly he talks about the planet Sirius, about Zen and ancient Japanese mysticism. Half the time, no-one knows what the hell he's on about.
Dr. Yamaguchi has trouble dealing with the world outside his head - it could even be a minor form of autism! He combines the stereotypes of the inscrutable Oriental and the absent-minded professor. All that he really can concentrate on is his research and his strange ideas about the world. Oh, and golf. He loves golf.
Unbeknownst to Usagi, Yamaguchi's Destiny is to be a major player in the discovery of a cure for cancer - and his Fate is to become a discredited laughing stock. If Usagi or Absalom every realize this, things could change very quickly.
Yamaguchi is no more than a pawn in this game, and doesn't realize that the 'cure' is a trick concocted by Usagi. If he finds out, though, he won't lose faith. He'll just keep working at finding a cure that works.
Author's Note: Dr. Yamaguchi, and indeed the whole enema pump idea, is pretty much lifted wholesale from the Tom Robbins novel, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. A decent book, if rather self indulgent. Reading it will probably give a much better idea of the way Dr. Yamaguchi behaves than the above material does.
Corporeal Forces: 2 Strength-3 Agility-5 HP: 6 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-4 Precision-4 HP: 8 Celestial Forces: 1 Will-2 Perception-2 HP: 2Status/3, Charisma +2 (Sex appeal)
Story - Kimchi is one of Dr. Yamaguchi's assistants (Usagi is the other). She got the job through her father's connections , but though she's competent enough, she's so bored. She wants to be a model, or a actress, or a singer, or... something interesting. Instead she's here in this country where it's too hot, and all the boys are gaijin, and her silly boss talks such nonsense.
So, Kimchi chats up boys and tries to have fun. Any male PCs that she makes a good reaction roll against will have her trying hard to get them into bed, or at least to take her out and show her a good time. She was seeing Usagi for a while, but his weird sense of humor drove her away. Anyway, he made her feel tired and worn-out all the time.
Kimchi has zero interest in the War, and won't believe in it if it crops up. She serves mainly as comic relief and as a entry into Dr. Yamaguchi's group.
Corporeal Forces: 1 Strength-2 Agility-2 HP: 2 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-5 Precision-5 HP: 10 Celestial Forces: 2 Will-4 Perception-5 HP: 8Status/5
Story - On the surface Arch is all swagger and attitude, complete with shaved head, earring, tattoos and bikie leathers. He spends his free time playing drums in a rhythm and blues band.
His attitude is a manifestation of his determination to rebel against his wealthy background. Despite appearances, Arch comes from an extremely conservative family and was educated in private schools.
Arch is highly intelligent and an extremely good doctor. His caring nature makes him more popular with the nursing staff than the other doctors. He shares his small house with his Harley, which takes pride of place in the living room
Arch knows nothing about the demonic infestation of Bethlehem West. Irene freaks him out, and he avoids her. He has heard a little about the 'experiments' in the labs, and is slightly curious. He has been struck by the fact that Harry is acting a little oddly recently, but puts it down to a mid-life crisis (and possibly alcohol). He finds the Yamaguchi media circus quite amusing, and wants Tarantino's autograph.
Arch is a strong ally for the PCs, and a good candidate for Soldier status. He doesn't believe in God, but will change his mind if he sees proof.
Corporeal Forces: 1 Strength-2 Agility-2 HP: 2 Ethereal Forces: 2 Intelligence-5 Precision-5 HP: 10 Celestial Forces: 2 Will-5 Perception-4 HP: 10Status/5
Story - Caroline has been a doctor for quite a few years. She's a nice, friendly woman, good bedside manner, committed to her patients, plays netball and reads detective stories in her free time.
And she has bowel cancer.
She found out in a routine check-up a few months ago, and it's hit her hard. She's been a member of the Uniting Church all her life, but she's really losing faith at the moment. She's divorced, single for a while, no children, no one to really turn to. She's throwing herself into Medivac work very hard to avoid thinking about the cancer, and about the fact that she probably has less than a year to live, but it preys on her mind. She's started taking painkillers in secret, stealing them from the supply cabinets, and doesn't want anyone to know (not addicted yet, but maybe soon).
She sees the visit by Dr. Yamaguchi as being her only hope. She's keeping tabs on the events, desperate for a chance at life. She could be an ally for the PCs - or she could be co-opted by the demons to be an undercover agent. She's a good person, but she's run out of hope and doesn't want to die. The PCs could attempt to cure her, or give her her faith back, or just give her a chance to share her feelings.
Medivac officers are doctors and paramedics, often very focused on their job.
The cloning researchers don't know about the Head - their work forms the infrastructure upon which Lucinda builds.
As well as Max Shelby, Tarantino has a couple of Australian bodyguards, Kim Davidson (female) and Tony Olivetti (male). They're armed with truncheons and know some martial arts. Tarantino refers to them as the Reservoir Dogs and makes them dress appropriately, and they're really not impressed by that. They work for the movie studio, and don't care much for Shelby.
Dr. Yamaguchi has two efficient Japanese gentlemen who keep a careful eye on him. They know martial arts, but will only fight as a last resort. They will do their best to protect the doctor if things get dangerous. No one ever mentions their names.
The patient load increases with the news of Yamaguchi's cure - cancer patients, unsurprisingly. There are some desperate people who want to get their health back. For some PCs, the patients are a faceless backdrop. Others will want to interact with them as much as possible. If you've got Kyriotate PCs, this might well form their main pool of Hosts. Flesh out some ideas and try and keep things varied.
The Head is the head of an adult Arab man, in his late forties. While withered and damaged by the passage of millennia, it's still largely intact. The Head's eyes have been removed and replaced with bronze orbs, although the eyelids are usually shut. There are also other bronze bits in the Head, prongs and arcs of metal piercing the skull, and it sits on a bronze and hardwood base.
The Head has the power to determine the Fate and Destiny of any mortal. Furthermore, it knows just how the human can achieve that Fate/Destiny, and what encouragement will lead them there. The Head gives an oracular message to those who consult it, and while it's always cryptic, it inevitably leads to the mortal's Destiny. Never their Fate - the Head is a divine object, and cannot be used by demons. Humans with diabolic intent who consult the Head will find that the information will still end up bringing them to their true Destiny.
To use the Head, a mortal must touch it bare-handed. They will then involuntarily spend all their Essence (this can't be avoided, even by Soldiers or Saints). If they spend at least 3 points of Essence in this fashion, the Head's eyes will open, blank and bronze. It will look at them and then make a statement that can lead them to their Destiny. The Head is cryptic and more than cryptic, with statements that contain multiple levels of meaning. The recipient of the prediction will have some ability to unravel the message, and will almost always be able to achieve their Destiny.
Currently, the Head is in an airtight locked compartment in the cloning labs, complete with Waldo arms and extraction equipment. There's a large incision in the back of the skull, where Lucinda is extracting small pieces of John's brain for study and cloning, hoping to unlock the predictive power of the Head and bend it to serving Fate.
The nozzle is very valuable as an antique, but Dr, Yamaguchi - who found the nozzle a few years ago under mysterious circumstances - believes it has even more valuable properties.
Yamaguchi has spent the last few years working on a cancer treatment, partly based on medical science, partially on folk medicine. His medication is made from a base of powdered brown rice, mixed with megavitamin, beta-blockers, amino acids and other medical things, meant for the treatment of bowel cancer. Eating it didn't work so well, inserting it as a colonic worked better, but it still wasn't a cure. But, when Yamaguchi used the Shenzau pump - complete remission of bowel cancer, as well as major improvements in other cancers of the internal organs! A breakthrough. While the power of the enema pump is yet to be explained, there are theories, and Dr. Yamaguchi and his backers hope to crack the mystery soon.
They won't. Unfortunately, the whole thing is a 'joke' cooked up by Usagi. The pump has no powers. What Usagi does is use a combination of the Song of Healing, the Song of Light and his Prank attunement. This alleviates the patient's health temporarily, and alters the test results so that it appears the cancer is in remission. He doctors the data to support the idea, then changes the stored data on disc so that when it comes time to finish the joke, Yamaguchi will look like he's been lying all along.
The pump is also extremely valuable, and it's always possible that thieves might decide to steal it...
The morgue is a big room, all shiny and cold. One wall is lined with pull-out drawers, which is where the bodies are kept. Bodies are rarely out on display, unless things have been busy. There are a couple of large examination tables in the centre of the room, and trays of scalpels, saws, medical equipment and suchlike (possible weapons - Power ranges from 0-2). There are a couple of freezers for medicines, serums, etc., all that medical type stuff.
In one corner is Irene's desk. It has a bin stuffed with memos that she never reads, and a scrapbook of 'strange death' news notices in one drawer. In the nearest freezer is the head of Johnny, Irene's pet zombi. Johnny sits in a tray of ice and bits of frozen meat. He gibbers, mumbles, and occasionally spits blood. Only one eye still works, and he looks around wildly at anyone nearby. His brain has turned to much, and he's no longer sentient. He is, however, great wild goose chase material once the PCs work out they're looking for a head...
Inside, you have a well set out and comprehensive genetics lab. Workspace, computers, centrifuges and microscopes and stuff like that.
There are 8 other researchers here, other than Absalom and Lucinda (see Humans). They have no idea about the true purpose of the work here - they do other tests and experiments, forming the basis upon which Lucinda works in secret. If PCs talk to them, they will say that Lucinda is good to work with, but that Dr. Absalom can be an arsehole.
At the back of the lab is Lucinda and Absalom's office, which is partitioned off and usually locked. This is where the Head is kept, in a glass work box that is usually covered in an opaque metal shell. Strapped to the bottom of Absalom's desk is a sawn-off shotgun. Lucinda keeps her pistol in her desk drawer, or on her person. The files on the computers largely relate to the 'normal' cloning that goes on, with a bare smidgen of info about anomalous material (the Head's brain matter, which the humans have done a small amount of work on without knowing what it is). The real meat is in private and encrypted folders; you need to enter the password (Vapula65000) to get in. This has all the info on the Head, the project, and how far it's progressed.
Currently, they've yet to successfully clone brain material that retains the Head's oracular ability, but they're getting close. The last few batches have reacted to stimuli before the stimuli was added, and the feeling is that they will break the secret within the fortnight.
One thing that may be annoying is keeping a grip on Disturbance. There are two ways to handle this. One is to use dramatic necessity - have the enemy hear the noise only if it serves your purpose. The other is to try and work out where other Celestials are when a character causes Disturbance, then work out the odds and roll the dice. Or you could combine the two.
A large chunk of the adventure is keeping secret just who's a demon, and rolling dice whenever the PCs encounter someone significant is a bit of a giveaway. One idea might be to make a bunch of dice rolls ahead of time, and write the results (the d666 numbers) down in a list, crossing a roll off in order whenever the rules call for it. Cumbersome, but sneaky.
The cloning plotline is 'high-concept' - it has little immediate relevance for the War, but could have big effects in the long-term. It's the least obvious problem facing the PCs, and could be overlooked by the really oblivious.
Usagi and the cancer cure are the most immediate things facing the PCs, but hopefully they'll be immersed in the swing of things to look for fun above and beyond this plotline.
Pathros and Medivac are more 'realistic' problems - a direct and immediate case of demons trying to increase human suffering. While minor in the 'big picture', this is something the more down-to-earth types will enjoy playing with.
Duke and Tarantino are partially comic relief, partially an 'immediate' thing, what with Duke trying to manipulate Tarantino's movies. This should be fun for the more extroverted players.
Finally, Irene exists largely as a red herring, but a fun red herring, and one who can become fairly important in the other plotlines. She also provides an avenue for action (along with Absalom and Max Shelby).
On the whole, this adventure should have a fairly "Twin Peaks" feel - yes, there are lots of strange characters, but the strangeness doesn't quite overtake the events and the more 'normal' elements. There's room for comedy, but also for some quite nasty things.