Sunday, November 10, 2013

314: Master Chemist

ENTRY 314: Master Chemist

“You see this mottling on the skin? Repeated damage from subcutaneous injections. And from the look of it, his drug of choice has been contaminated by flesh-eating bacteria. Observe how easily I can bruise the muscle...hmm, if the noise bothers you, yes you may gag him, but keep the airway clear. This one will be ripe for processing soon."
- Master Chemist instructing the apprentices, Tuesday afternoon

Among the Nine Lives, the venerable Master Chemist holds sway over all technical operations related to chemistry and pharmacology, overseeing the creation and distribution of drugs, purchase and testing of source chemicals, the cleanliness and efficacy of the labs and facilities, and the training and management of subordinate lab technicians, drug dealers, etc. While dealing in chemical narcotics, stimulants, etc. has diminished somewhat due to the greater profit margins of narcoalgorithms and shifting attitudes and legalities that make formerly banned substances available, the Nine Lives still have a considerable market in counterfeit and cheap pharmaceuticals, as well as smuggling in combat drugs, substances that are difficult or expensive to manufacture locally, and various materials (often fake or substitutes) for traditional medicine practices that are still popular in ethnic enclaves.

Master Chemist is an older gentleman, with skin like pale yellow ivory marked by an intricate network of dark blue tattoos, some of which glow at odd times. A practical man, he is almost always dressed in tailored suits of artificial silk which often double as lab clothes, favoring little jewelry or ostentation. A firm believer in better living through chemistry, the hidden pockets of his suit contain a pharmacopoeia of pills, inhalers, small single-dose syringes, and other samples, and he often diagnoses those around them and gives them "prescriptions," couching his language to be mystical or scientific based on what he believes their mindset to be.


Morph: Flat
Skills: Academic: Biology 60, Academic: Chemistry 80, Academics: Genetics 40, Art: Cocktails 50, Deception 25, Fray 35, Free Fall 45, Hardware: Chemtech 80, Interests: Black Market Drugs 50, Interests: Chemistry Research 50, Interests: Traditional Chinese Medicine 45, Interfacing 30, Kinesics 30, Language: Native Mandarin 85, Language: English 75, Language: Hindi 66, Medecine: General Practice 45, Medicine: Pharmacology 60, Networking: Autonomists 25, Networking: Criminal 65, Networking: Scientists (Chemists) 33, Palming 50, Perception (Taste) 44, Profession: Chemist 50, Protocol 40, Research 35
Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cosmetic Augmentation (tattoos), Emotional Dampner, Enhanced Smell, Enhanced Taste, Multitasking, Oracles
Traits: Aged, Allies (Nine Lives)

Using Master Chemist

"Traditional" drugs are not on the way out in Eclipse Phase, though some players might get that impression. While quite a lot in the way of narcotics, hallucinogens, etc. can be emulated using software, there are quite a few biomorphs still running around that need everything from erectile dysfunction and birth control medication to classical tobacco, cocaine, opium, datura, alcohol, etc. The Nine Lives seek to fulfill those needs only where there is a market - most major habitats have hypercorps competing to produce the latest chemical enhancer or drug and market it as a friendly product, while the Nine Lives are mostly content to operate knock-off brands, especially commercially unsuccessful products that are discontinued and leave the remaining addicts fighting over the dwindling supplies. The Master Chemist, then, is technical overseer of a middle-sized operation that spans the range from legitimate to hideously illegal based on which habitat he occupies at the time; his age and contacts within the Nine Lives have secured his position, but he is not an ambitious man looking to expand the boundaries of his domain - which his superiors see as sensible, but his underlings see as a sign of potential weakness.

As a contact, the Master Chemist is at base an excellent supplier and sometimes-employer, able to provide any drugs the player characters need and in return needing them to make deliveries, steal precursor chemicals, equipment and recipes; and of course act as a general authority - "There is knowledge in here," he will often say, tapping his head "That has never been committed to a computer." He functions much the same as an antagonist, although he draws a line between professional and personal animosity - if the PCs interfere with a Nine Lives operation, he will see they are afflicted in kind, using Nine Lives resources, and will often allow them a chance to buy their way back into his good graces. If the matter becomes personal, however, the Master Chemist will target their friends and families, working to destroy all they hold dear, offering the player characters only one way out - and many of the Master Chemist's enemies have been found dead by "suicide," having taken quite an overdose.

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