As each of the team enter Suite 4018 on the fortieth floor of the luxurious Ottoman Hotel, they are greeted by their escort from earlier, Tomas, and a second man who shakes their hands firmly and introduces himself as Jonathan Haroun, the Ottoman’s security chief. Haroun isn’t as tall as Tomas although he’s far more bulkily built, and sports a shaved head and a well-trimmed goatee beard which is beginning to grey. He holds himself just as Tomas does though – like a well-trained fighter, alert and ready to spring into action, but with an air as if he’s listening to something others cannot hear. It’s a poise and energy the team all familiar with themselves , often from looking in the mirror: a man who is well used to violence of the kind that kills, and who is being fed information via HUD and communications channel from a computer database about everything he could possibly need to build a tactical picture of every possible threat.
Tomas gives them a quick tour of the suite itself, which is medium-priced for the Ottoman. The suite is very well appointed, in a theme of honey-brown woods and pale gold trimming, with large self-polarizing windows of thick laminate looking out over the city. It has a holo-screen and full top-spec entertainment center, a public terminal with heavily restricted access to the hotel’s own computer net and several device recharging pads in the lounge and each bedroom. It has two bedrooms each with a king-size bed as well as a large lounge holding two couches which produce queen-sized beds when folded out. The bathroom holds a semi-circular hot-tub which can accommodate four, an ultrasound shower with room for two or maybe three and the usual sink and commode – all with gold-plated fittings and marble surrounds. There’s a small kitchen with a ceramic hob, microwave and coffeemaker but the wet bar has been removed. In its place there now stands a gun safe keyed to the team’s ID badges.
After completing the tour, Haroun opens the gun safe and extracts several items: a combined earpiece, mastoid communicator and camera set for each of the team members, a small computer to connect to each comm-set, and finally a holstered pistol for each. He takes one of the pistols out of its holster and holds it up at chest height.
“This is a Rayson Vortexo! pistol,” he says, “and it uses a wave-shaping chamber that forms a small puff of Deepsleep knockout gas into a vortex ring – a high-velocity smoke ring – that can even be bounced around corners. It’ll drop or dramatically incapacitate most folks who aren’t specifically augmented against gasses . It only has an effective range of fifteen yards but it has a burst radius of a yard, so get close then make sure you’re careful who’s nearby if you use it. Each cartridge holds both the gas and the powercell the pistol needs to work, and has enough of both for five shots. There are enough refill cartridges in the safe right now to give you fifteen shots each. Please don’t flash them around unless you need to.”
Haroun and Tomas pass around the comm-sets, computers and pistols, then Haroun asks the team members to connect to the hotel’s net for the rest of their briefing. As soon as each Edgerunner jacks in, a deep and cheerful voice speaks to them, as their HUD or virtual reality interface unfolds a visual of a bald male with a naked chest floating among stars.
“Good evening, and welcome to the Ottoman Hotel. I am Marid, the hotel’s resident A.I. and I will be your guide for the rest of this tour as well as your first point of contact should you require information or assistance in the successful completion of your duties. I monitor or execute every aspect of the hotel’s functioning, from bookings to air conditioning and from taking room service orders to handling incoming air traffic. You can call on me at any time simply by saying my name, Marid, on any hotel comms channel, via any terminal in the building or by simply speaking clearly and loudly in all areas off-limits to the public.”
“Firstly, we have various comms channels you are likely to use as security personnel. I can handle individual ad-hoc comms nets as soon as you give me a password or phrase for a new channel and anyone with the pass for that channel will be able to hear, speak and share data on it. The general house switchboard channel is Alpha and I can route your comms to any user or combination of users on the staff. The all-personnel security channel is Gamma, and any communications or data shared on it go to all security personnel. Finally, the open emergency channel is Omega. It is voice only and every member of staff will hear transmissions on it – also, anything on Omega is broadcast over speakers throughout the building. I would stress Omega is for extreme emergencies only.”
“Next, your comm-set and wearable computer are locked to your own ID badge number‘s RFID chip. Please remember they cannot be accessed if they are more than three yards from your badge. Floorplans for the hotel for your guidance have been loaded onto your wearable computer and are accessible here:”
A menu unfolds in the visual field of each team member.
1. Ground Level Entry and Facilities
2. Main Casino
3 – 6. Casino Mezzanine Floors
7. Main Theaters
8. Fitness Amenities
9 – 15. Conference Rooms (Identical in general layout to theater level, subs. multi-function configurable rooms for theaters)
16-18. Guest Rooms and Suites
19. Bazaar Nightclub
20 – 27. Guest Rooms and Suites
28 – 33. AV Hangar Space, Offices, Dorms, Central Security and Computing
34 – 59. Guest Suites, VIP Suites.
60. Garden, Roof Pool, Restaurants and Bars, Owner’s Penthouse
Then the voice of Marid continues.
“Visual recognition protocols and short profiles of V.I.P. guests and some key members of their entourages have also been loaded onto your computer. You can of course enter your own data on guests and share that data with other staff members at any time and are encouraged to do so should you see the opportunity. The more we at the Ottoman know, the better service experience we can provide.”
“Lastly, it has been determined that the performance of your contracted duties may require technical details about the Ottoman building and its security infrastructure. This detail has been uploaded to your wearable computer. Accessing top-level restricted data now, please stand by.”
“The hotel has several physical security features. All windows are all self-polarizing so residents can set the level of opacity by remote and all doors all have RFID locks, keyed only to authorized personnel and connected to a silent alarm system but capable of being opened or locked by A.I. over-ride. All floors have complete A.I.-monitored fire detection and retardant systems built in, using foam and inert gases as required. External doors are all double entry, each comprising an airlock, so as to avoid sudden microclimate gusts as pressure between different floors tries to equalize, but these also provide additional security protection against suspicious intruders.”
Moreover, each entry has a remote T-Ray Portal Scanner and all elevators, stairwells and public accessible areas are all covered by lo-lite capable video and audio surveillance. In addition, the elevators have non-lethal gas spray systems and all stairwell landings have sonic barriers, remotely triggered by the building’s integral A.I. control system."
This time, the A.I.’s voice comes with considerable subliminally-delivered detail.
T-Ray Portal Scanner (TL9): This illuminates its target with tunable terahertz radiation. The absorption spectra of the resulting image is analyzed and cross-referenced with a database to check for chemicals of interest. This is good for locating drugs or other chemicals, explosives, and weapons. Gives +4 to Search skill for identifying non-living objects, including cyberware.
Biometric Scanlock (TL9): Integrated into a lock on a door, case, or other device. Takes 1 second to process an encrypted transmission from a suitably enabled RFID chip. Picking it requires Electronic Repair tools (p. 82) or an electronic lockpick (p. 95). Lockpicking rolls are at -2.
Elevator gas: Sleep Gas (TL9) An advanced sedative, an engineered variant of the heroin molecule, mixed with a skin-penetrating agent. It causes rapid incapacitation. It is a contact agent that requires a HT-6 roll to resist. Failure results in unconsciousness lasting for minutes equal to the margin of failure, followed by ordinary sleep.
Stairway Sonic Barrier (TL9): There may be a faint ripple in the air (make a Vision roll to notice) from the sonic field. It inflicts a HT-6 affliction attack on anyone trying to cross. The effect is a hearing-based cone-shaped affliction attack that ignores DR, but has no effect on someone who cannot hear. A victim gets a HT roll to resist at the penalty noted for the weapon; add +5 for Protected Hearing and +3 beyond 1/2D range. Failure means suffering the disadvantages Hard of Hearing and the Moderate Pain (p. B428) irritating condition for minutes equal to the margin of failure on the target’s HT roll. Failure by 5 or more results in Deafness (making the target immune to further attacks) and retching (p. B429), plus loss of sphincter control, resulting in the Bad Smell disadvantage until cleaned up. The weapons are sometimes nicknamed “bowel disruptors” due to these unpleasant consequences.
The four central hotel columns are made of ceramic-carbon nanotube reinforced plascrete with a cladding of a ceramic-metal laminate, DR300, HP 500 and are designed to withstand an impact by a passenger aircraft without losing structural integrity. Doors and windows are composed of an auto-polarizing ceramic-plastic laminate and are all DR25, HP40. Floors and external walls are reinforced plascrete DR96 HP80. Internal walls are rockcrete DR12, HP 54. Vaults are of a boron whisker/ tungsten alloy laminate DR300 with Hardened 2, HP200.
The stream of data finally ends and the voice of Marid cheerfully continues.
“This concludes your orientation. Welcome to the staff of the Ottoman Hotel. It is now 11.30 pm and you are on duty at Midnight. Thank you and remember i am just a call away should you need me.”
The virtual world dissolves away leaving each team member facing Haroun as he taps his head and says “Thirty minutes, gentlemen. I suggest you that you may wish to begin in the main theater, where Mr. Bey will formally open the Grey Auctions in a few minutes.”