AMBER ZONE: Send in the Clones

Players’ Information:

The PC’s are approached by a well-dressed gentlemen aged in his mid-50’s. He introduces himself as Armand Morgan, majordomo and confidant to his lordship, Frederik, the Marquis de Bonneville – well sort of. You see the actual Marquis was killed in a re-entry burnout on his personal small craft as he was returning to his estate a few years ago. Armand was aware that the Marquis had purchased a life insurance policy ten years ago where, in the case of an accidental death, his salvaged DNA would be reanimated. If there was no DNA to salvage (as it was in this case), an additional DNA sample was taken, placed in cold storage and would be available as a Plan “B”. Welcome to Plan B.

The Marquis had become suspicious in his later years that someone was trying to kill him. He had a wafer chip inserted in the back of his cranium and he would download his memories each and every night on to alternating chips. He also had a decent amount of money secretly stored away that only Armand would know about and be able to access. Always his faithful servant, Armand grabbed the memchip from the day before to his death to be secretly appropriated for later use. Armand was fired within a year of his lordship’s death by the Marquis’ wife, Julia. Since her husband’s death, she has laid claim to her late husband’s lands and wealth, in order to continue to raise her two sons and daughter. According to Armand, all three children have been placed with other family members, or have been sent to boarding school. Julia has taken on a young lover by the name of Leopold and has been living the high life after she did her obligatory year of mourning.

Armand is convinced that Julia did something to the ship to have it lose control. He needs help to get his lordship his lands back and help find out what actually happened to the Marquis those three years ago. He has contacts back on their homeworld who are willing to reopen the crash investigation and he has retained a trusted lawyer to help him regain his lordship’s property as its rightful owner. Armand will offer the PC’s Cr. 5,000 per PC per month (over twice the normal rate) as bodyguards to the Marquis. He will pay for all fuel and goods consumed along with an additional Cr. 250,000 if their mission to restore the Marquis is achieved.

The Clone
The Marquis – Image from Wikimedia – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:

If the PC’s accept the offer from Armand they will be introduced the following day to the Marquis himself. The Marquis is a pompous, ego-centric and conceited 35-year old who is still getting used to his body and his memories (-1 DM to all skill rolls, including weapons). Frederik is anxious to get back to his homeworld to set things straight. (If the PC’s do not possess a starship, he will be able to rent a Fast Yacht to carry all of them to their destination).

Obviously, Armand and Frederik are not just going to march in and yell, “Honey I’m home!” They buy out a penthouse flat in a nearby hotel and the PC’s are provided rooms off to the sides of the suite. They are all greeted by their lawyer, Arles Beauchamp, who has the place prepared for them, including hiring some of the old servants who were removed by Lady Julia after the Marquis’ death. He tells them that the Lady Julia has discovered their efforts and he is worried that his lordship’s life may be in danger. They talk for a while and agree that all their business will be conducted out of the hotel complex. The lawyer has hired six bodyguards for the Marquis, but Armand argues that they are well protected already (by the PC’s). Arles reluctantly sends them away. The rest of the day is spent better securing the hotel rooms and buying any additional sensors they may need to help them keep the Marquis safe. Meanwhile, servants will be scurrying about making the hotel suite more presentable for his lordship.

The next day a local police detective and a starport traffic controller come to visit the hotel room. The Marquis knows he was and is a skilled Small Craft Pilot (skill level-3) and an accident that took his life in the manner is unlikely. Both of the visitors agree. As the discussion continues, three florists show up at the door. These are scheduled to be there at this time. Inside one of the vases is a 2.5kg block of plastic explosives that has a proximity trigger. When the trigger hidden in the phone of the florist moves more than 100 meters away from the vase, it will explode. The florist is ignorant of this danger. If the PC’s do not search the vase the explosive will go off when the delivery guys enter the elevator. The explosion will kill the two guests, slightly wound Armand and the Marquis will be unscathed. His lordship will be in ill temper and will throw a tantrum about the fact they need to change rooms. This will take the rest of the day. Later that evening, Arles will show up and once again recommend that he hire the bodyguards he dismissed yesterday. Frederik agrees and hired them immediately.

The next day, the lawyer returns and he has arranged a meeting between him and Julia at a local restaurant. The Marquis initially refuses, but later on relents on the condition that the PC’s and the other bodyguards come along. The meeting is awkward and not long after the appetizer is served, the “former” couple get into a heated argument. As they both stand, the lawyer runs to their table (which is off in a corner) as the Marquis slaps his ex-wife hard across the face. She stands her ground as the Marquis storms off and leaves with his guards in tow.

Later that night, in the wee hours of the morning, the hired guards will attempt to kill the Marquis in his sleep. Armand will have been released from the hospital if he was injured and he sleeps in the outer chamber of his lordship’s bedroom. If the PC’s are not alert, the six bodyguards will attack Armand with their slug-throwing pistols. Armand will be armed with a snub-nosed slug-thrower of his own. As they enter the Marquis’ bedroom they will open fire on what they think is his body, but it is in fact another clone. This clone is a failed stand-in that is used for body parts only, and it only is capable of basic speech with a simple language base. It also has a fail-safe dead-man’s trigger on its heart. If the heart stops for longer than 30 seconds, a mini-grenade will explode, inflicting damage equal to a fragmentation grenade. Where is the Marquis? Actually he is asleep with Julia.

You see, she and Frederik were suspicious that someone was trying to kill the two of them. They did not know who to suspect so they had a backup plan. They figured that Frederik’s return would trigger the murderer to finish off the job. They narrowed the suspect list down to a handful of people, with the prime suspects being Armand and Arles. If any of the assailants survive (and they will give up if four of them are killed or unconscious) they will gladly tell them it was Arles who hired them. The authorities will arrest Arles quickly and he will confess to them quickly.

Arles was in love with Julia and he wanted to remove her husband to do so. He confesses that he was the one who had the maneuver drives of the Marquis small craft sabotaged – causing the death of the Marquis. He was unhappy when she ended up with her boy-toy Leopold (who was actually a bodyguard hired by Frederik before his death). When he found out that Armand was going off to retrieve the replacement clone for the Marquis, he did what he could to bring the Marquis into his confidence, or so he thought. He swears his undying love for Julia as he is carried off to the local detention center.

The next day, Lady Julia calls on the PC’s to thank them for their loyalty to her husband. She confesses that it is a bit weird living with her husband of ten years ago, but she says getting acquainted all over again will be fun for them both. She pays them all the money they have been promised, with an additional Cr. 250,000 bonus!

A few days later, the news vids report of the return of the Marquis – and his untimely passing a second time due to a medical condition caused by his cloning. If the PC’s are smart, they will take the money and head off-system.

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