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Virusbusters

by Kyle Plattee

Virusbuster is a business on Aubaine that caters to the fears of the Collapse. They offer anti-Virus services such as cleaning and monitoring of household equipment as well as "Virusproofing kits". They advertise heavily on Tri-V and offer franchises to open other Virusbuster outlets. Typically Virusbusters come into the home to examine faulty equipment, using "canaries and high-tech diagnostic equipment". If they find an infected system, they offer to take it back to the shop and fix it or attempt a repair on the spot. Virusbusters are nor responsible for any damage done to the equipment while fighting the Virus.

Popular opinion is that the equipment is largely fake, especially given the company's statistics: 20% of all high-end tri-V systems seem to be infected with Virus. Likewise, the Virus seems to have an affinity for small, portable devices such as cameras, mini Tri-V players, food processors and computer games. But you can never be too sure, there are enough documented cases of infected equipment, especially Auction equipment, that their claims cannot be ignored. Virusbusters does a brisk business with the frightened,paranoid, insecure and gullible.

Virusbusters has come under a lot of pressure in the past three months. The Aubaini Ministry of Justice has begun an investigation into the legality of these operations and the possibility of widespread deception and fraud. One of the franchises was even found to be taking away home entertainment centers they claimed were "infected and had to be destroyed," and then shipping them offworld. A Virusbusters spokesperson claimed that they cannot be held responsible for the criminal acts of individuals.

An excerpt from a Tri-V comercial: "Seventy years ago, Virus nearly wiped out mankind; even now it is the dominant lifeform across most of known space. It infects everything it finds, like a plague. Even Aubaine was once infested, and periodcally rears it's head. Don't be caught unprepared: Virus can kill. "But we can help. If you see signs of erratic behavior such a these, unplug the device and call us right away. Service within 20 minutes or your money back!"

Adventure Ideas

A Virusbusters team goes to the Auction to see if anyone wants "free Virus checking." They are looking to see if anyone is willing to pay for their services and to scout out useful equipment for their patron (either criminal or business). They see something interesting that the PC's have and ask to "check it out: no charge!" If refused they might be seen skulking about discreetly looking at the item. They might try to steal it later. Either way, the PC's will be approached in a few hours with a private offer to purchase the item.

An idiotic NPC thinks some of the group's gear is infected and calls the Virusbusters to come and clean up the mess. While working on that, they offer to check some other likely candidates for infection. Sure enough, there's a problem with the (pawnable item X). They'd like to take it back to the shop to remove the infection, But not before they offer their full line of protective plugs, circuit breakers, filters and room deodorizers to protect against Virus.

A team of Virusbusters arrives to check out some equipment. Unbeknownst to them, their equipment is already infected with a real Virus: they contaminate everything they test! This will become apparent in about four or five hours. If the Virusbusters are confronted, they will be shocked and attempt to track down the original location of the Virus. They, with the players' help, track back through several homes and businesses all experiencing trouble. The original infection can come from:

  • High efficiency water pumps from an Aubanini seabase being refurbished by the Schalli.
  • Some TL-14 relic video equipment bought at auction by a movie company.
  • A Guild plot to disrupt Aubaini/RC society.
  • A vehicle repair shop that has been repairing relic equipment.
  • Vigilantes RC forces trying to make Virusbusters look bad.
  • Items smuggled past customs to avoid the Auction tarrifs.
  • Assorted thugs who have stolen things from any of the other plots.

    This event will become front-page news through the RC, being the first major breach of Viral security since the RC was formed. Although the damage caused was minor, it is a serious wake up call. Several new companies will form that can competently handle local Virus infections. This publicity may also attract attention to the PC's who helped solve the problem. A potential patron has some other problems that the PC's might be able to help with...

    A man named Jared Michaels requests transport to a system convenient to the PC's travels. One of the PC's recognizes the man's face but not where it was from. He will claim that he has been on TV several times as an expert on Virus and that's where the PC's recognize him. Actually he is Jadaam Spellerian, the founder of Virusbusters. He is fleeing the planet in anticipation of his arrest for defrauding the people and government of several million credits. He carries with him some 400,000 credits in assorted valuables. He is very charismatic and friendly. Although not prone to violence, he may become desperate if confronted -- attempting deception, bribery, escape and violence in that order -- to get away. If he is transported, there will be no problems. A few weeks later, Aubaini officials will want to question the PC's about their involvement with Jadaam.


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